Countdown to CBB Season: 72nd Reason to Be Pumped—100 Years of UMass

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2008

Every day I will give a new reason to be pumped for the upcoming college basketball season.  Here's the 72nd reason to be excited for college basketball season.

100 years.  There aren't a lot of things that have been around for 100 years.

On Nov. 10, UMass basketball can boast they've been around for a century when they open their season at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic.

The Minutemen have had lots of success over the past 100 years.  According to B/R's Brett Lissenden, they are the 51st-most prestigious program in the country since the tournament expanded over two decades ago.

Now, while the whole 100th year celebration will be all fun and self-promoting, it's not the true reason to be excited over UMass.

It's the fact they run up and down the court in Usain Bolt-like fashion.

The Minutemen finished fourth in the country in tempo at almost 76 possessions a game.  Most teams finish around 70, while slower-moving teams like Georgetown typically don't crack 60 possessions in a game.

UMass' furious pace really played to their advantage in 2008, and it will again in 2009.

The Minutemen were the first team in 80 years to go into Syracuse's Carrier Dome and come away with not one, but two wins in a single season.

Early in the non-conference slate, UMASS beat Syracuse 107-100.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That game was played at the pace of an NBA game, and the score reflected it.  SU simply couldn't keep pace and eventually lost the game late.

The same happened in the Postseason NIT.  UMass came to the Dome, got down 21 points in the second half with 14 minutes to play, and came back to drop the Orange 81-77 in an 83-possession game.

The Minutemen were led by several seniors, including Etienne Brower, Gary Forbes, and Dante Milligan.

They do bring back several key components.  Guards Ricky Harris and Chris Lowe will anchor the offensive attack, with Tony Gaffney and Matt Glass manning the frontcourt.

The center will be the brother of former Florida Gator and current NBA benchwarmer Matt Bonner.  The 7'1'' Luke Bonner has showed great range from everywhere on the court while also using his height to dominate under the basket.

UMass will also throw freshman David Gibbs into the mix.  He's a highly touted recruit that scores very high on the recruiting scale at an 85.  He's described as very quick and explosive, two attributes that will make him a perfect fit in the track meet UMass calls basketball.

This lineup will face numerous tough challenges in the non-conference schedule.

The Minutemen get a shot at both National Championship game participants, Memphis and Kansas, and will participate in the Preseason NIT.

UMass will also host BCS conference foes Boston College and Vanderbilt.

So reason 72 to be pumped for the start of basketball season is the chance to watch UMass basketball celebrate its 100th year of existence by scoring 100 points a game.