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UMass men's hoop schedule ‘competitive’, will put Minutemen in position to make a run for NCAA tournament

University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams, left, drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams, left, drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

University of Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg said his team’s nonconference schedule is designed to excite the fans and put the Minutemen in position to make a run for the NCAA tournament.

“We’re playing a very, very competitive schedule which puts us at a national level,” Kellogg said. “I wanted to put together a schedule with enough high RPI teams that have national name recognition to excite the fans and put us in position where we can compete for an NCAA tournament berth. It’s as competitive as any I’ve seen.”

Not including potential second and third round games in the Charleston Classic, the slate features five games against teams in the big seven conferences.

UMass will open the 2013-14 season against Boston College in the TD Garden on Nov. 10. The game is part of a Bay State tripleheader that will also pit Holy Cross against Harvard and Boston University against Northeastern.

Two days later, the Minutemen will play in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon for the second straight season. UMass will host Louisiana State at 11 a.m. (ESPN2) at the Mullins Center.

The Minutemen will host Youngstown State at 1 p.m. on Nov. 17 before heading to the Charleston Classic, where they will face Nebraska on Nov. 21 with two more games on Nov. 22 and Nov 24.

UMass will face Florida State in the Orange Bowl Classic at the BB&T Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 21 (time TBA).

The Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase was officially announced Tuesday. UMass will play BYU on Dec. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

UMass also has its four contractually mandated Mid-American Conference games. The Minutemen play Northern Illinois (Dec. 14, 3 p.m.) and Miami Ohio (Jan. 4, TBA) in Amherst. They play at Eastern Michigan (Dec. 3, 7) and at Ohio (Dec. 17, TBA).

UMass will host Providence on Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU, and will close out its nonconference slate at Elon on Jan. 18.

The Minutemen will face AIC in an exhibition game on Nov. 5 (time TBA).

The Atlantic 10 schedule will likely be released in early September.

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

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