One team opens its season while another plays its first legitimate opponent as the UMass Minutemen host the in-state rival Harvard Crimson (1-0) in their season opener during the ESPN Tip-Off Classic on Tuesday in Amherst, MA.
UMass opens its season with high expectations after advancing to the semifinal round of the 2012 NIT before bowing out. The Minutemen return their top scorer, Chaz Williams, who averaged 16.9 points, 6.2 assists and 2.2 steals over 37 games in his freshman season. UMass will also get its top five leading scorers back from a season ago, including Raphiael Putney who averaged 10.1 points.
Harvard's year started off with a 69-54 win over MIT, thanks to a 14-point and eight-rebound game from Jonah Travis. A victory over MIT won't help the Crimson in their quest to reach the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, but it is a good start after a tumultuous offseason that saw stars Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry as a part of a large cheating scandal. The loss will be tough to swallow, but they have a more-than-capable head coach in Tommy Amaker who should lead them to respectability once again.
Tuesday morning's game tips off at 10 a.m. ET and will air nationally on ESPN.
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