BLOG: Three former UMass players and three former coaches will be in the NCAA men's basketball tournament

  • Former UMass coach Derek Kellogg (left) will be taking LIU-Brooklyn, while former assistant coach Adam Ginsburg (right) is on the Iona staff that’s also going to the tournament.  GAZETTE STAFF / JERREY ROBERTS 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Three former UMass players and three former coaches from the 2016-17 team will be in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and there’s a pretty good chance two of them could face each other.

Texas Southern’s upset of top-seed Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament final Saturday meant an NCAA Tournament trip for Donte Clark and assistant coach Shyrone Chatman.

Clark, who averaged 18.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this season, had 14 points and six assists in the final before fouling out early. He took advantage of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule to join the Tigers without sitting out, after earning his UMass degree.

The Tigers are 15-19 overall, but that record is a little misleading. Texas Southern was winless against the nation’s toughest nonconference schedule, but went 12-6 in league play.

But teams that are under .500 almost always end up in the play-in games in Dayton.

Also likely to land in Dayton is LIU-Brooklyn (17-16). The Blackbirds, who are coached by former UMass coach Derek Kellogg and feature Zach Coleman on the roster. LIU won the Northeast Conference tournament Tuesday when they upset top seed Wagner. Kellogg, who coached UMass for nine years, was fired after the 2016-17 season and hired in Brooklyn.

Coleman, who also used the fifth-year transfer rule, averaged 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 31 games.

LIU’s RPI is 233 which will be one of, if not the lowest in the field which would send them to Dayton for a game to earn a No. 16 seed. Matt Vogel, who held a variety roles at UMass under Kellogg and Travis Ford, is LIU’s director of basketball operations.

Iona won’t be joining the reunion in Dayton. The Gaels (20-13) are likely headed for a 14 or a 15 seed. The Gaels are in the field after beating Fairfield to win the MAAC Tournament meaning an NCAA trip for former UMass guard Zach Lewis and assistant coach Adam Ginsburg. Lewis played one season at UMass after transferring from Canisius, also utilized the graduate transfer rule. He averaged 9.2 points per game during the season but he averaged 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists to earn the conference tournament’s Most Outstanding Player honors.

Of the former UMass players eligible to play this year, only Seth Berger, who transferred to Oregon State, won’t be in the NCAA field.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage