The Massachusetts men's basketball team has had little trouble handling a non-conference schedule that ranks sixth in the country to date.
Derek Kellogg's Minutemen face a tough test against Florida State on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Cade Belisle, Massachusetts Daily Collegian)
The Minutemen (10-0) have rolled, prevailing over the likes of LSU, New Mexico (then ranked) and Brigham Young. They're also 2-0 against teams from the ACC, with victories in the season opener over Boston College and the Charleston Classic championship over Clemson.
They'll try to make it 3-0 against the power conference Saturday.
No. 22 UMass faces Florida State in the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at 2 p.m. in Sunrise, Fla., the team's last game before it goes home for Christmas, and the capper of a tough road trip this week that began with an 83-71 win over Ohio on Wednesday.
Here are some things to look out for as the Minutemen and Seminoles square off for the second time in the last three seasons:
Seminoles rolling lately: Florida State is going for a third straight victory Saturday fresh off a complete dismantling of Charlotte in a 106-62 laugher on Tuesday. Six different players scored in double figures for the Seminoles in that one, including Aaron Thomas, who had a game-high 26 points off the bench. Florida State also shot 54 percent from the floor.
FSU no stranger to ranked foes: Saturday's game against UMass will already be Florida State's fourth ranked opponent of the season. The Seminoles throttled then-No. 14 VCU, 85-67, on Nov. 21, and came very close to beating their other two ranked foes. They fell by two in overtime to then-No. 14 Michigan and lost by one to then-No. 15 Florida, so a number attached to UMass' name probably won't affect them much. However, FSU is just 1-7 against Top 25 teams since the start of last season.
Homecomings for Lalanne, Bergantino: This game provides something of a homecoming for UMass centers Cady Lalanne and Tyler Bergantino, who are both from Florida. Lalanne starred at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, which is about three hours from BB&T Center in Sunrise, the site of Saturday's game, while Bergantino played at Nature Coast Technical in Brooksville, which is about four hours away. Both players had about 50 combined ticket requests for Saturday's game as of Thursday night, according to UMass Athletics.
Probable starters: Based on previous lineups, here are the projected starting lineups for Saturday's game:
*G Devon Bookert, So.: 8.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG
*G Montay Brandon, So.: 10.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG
*F Okaro White, Sr.: 14.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG
*F Robert Gilchrist, Sr.: 5.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG
*C Boris Bojanovsky, So.: 7.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG
*G Chaz Williams, Sr.: 16.3 PPG, 7.9 APG
*G Derrick Gordon, So.: 10.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG
*F Raphiael Putney, Sr.: 12.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG
*F Sampson Carter, Sr.: 13.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG
*C Cady Lalanne, Jr.: 14.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.8 BPG
Where to catch the game: The game will be televised on SUN Sports, locally on NESN (which will join the game in progress) as well as select Fox affiliates. There's plenty of TV options, but if you're not near a set, you can find the game on the radio as usual on 105.5 FM WEEI (Springfield), 1440 AM WVEI (Worcester) and 95.9 FM WATD (South Shore). I will not, unfortunately, be down in Florida for the game, but the Musket still has you covered. Both Bob McGovern (@BobMcGovern on Twitter) and Andrew Ivins (@andrewivins on Twitter) will be in Sunrise for the game, so follow them for updates.
Have a UMass basketball question for Steve Hewitt? Send him a tweet @steve_hewitt or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and it could appear in an upcoming mailbag.