Last year Tennessee faced UMass in Puerto Rico, and Jarnell Stokes notched a career high 24 points in an 83-69 Tennessee win. The Vols got to the free throw line a bunch - 33 times to just 14 for the Minutemen - and held point guard Chaz Williams to 5 of 15 shooting and budding post star Cady Lalanne to just five points. Williams and Lalanne still represent the biggest threats for the Minutemen - 15.8 points and 7.0 assists for Williams, 11.4 points and 8.0 rebounds for Lalanne.
To learn more about the Minutemen, we traded questions and answers with Jimmy Kelley of SB Nation's MAC blog Hustle Belt, hustling so much they still cover UMass Basketball even though the Minutemen only participate in football MACtion. Their questions, our answers are here. We asked them:
1. How has UMass changed from last year to this year? Tennessee's win over UMass last year sticks out in the minds of Vol fans in looking at this matchup - how have the Minutemen grown since then?
The biggest difference is the belief and maturity of this team. Everyone has been, there done that, won some, and lost some. Even the younger players like Trey Davis and Tyler Bergantino, both sophomores, have seen everything once and know how it feels like come up short of your goals. Everyone on that roster wants to bring UMass back to where it was in the '90s. Especially Chaz Williams. Williams has been one of the most electrifying players all season and has really been the most consistent player UMass has had. But to answer the original question, maturity has made UMass more resilient than last season.