The motto, "Refuse to Lose," came from our former basketball coach at UMass Amherst, John Calipari, who needs no introduction. He is now the coach of the University of Kentucky team, which will play against the University of Louisville, also located in Kentucky, in the Final Four NCAA championship this coming weekend in New Orleans. Even yesterday's New York Times had extensive coverage of his team and the upcoming game.
Yesterday, UMass Amherst played a semifinal game at the NIT basketball tournament against Stanford University in Madison Square Garden in NYC. I had two classes to cover so I could not make it to the game. However, since it was televised on national TV, I did watch the second half with my husband and even our daughter joined in after skating at the Mullins Center (this venue is also where our basketball team plays and trains).
The UMass basketball team members played their hearts out in NYC and although we lost, 74-64, to Stanford this was an outstanding season (and I was even getting updates on how the team was doing when I was in Gothenburg, Sweden for two weeks).
My daughter told me that our star point guard, Chaz Williams, who went to Iona Prep and is from Brooklyn, tweeted yesterday morning that he had not slept well and that concerned me but the spirit and stamina of this team makes us all at UMass very proud. The coach, Derek Kellogg, lives in our general neighborhood, and I salute what he, his staff, and his players have accomplished this season.
Hearing the UMass fans shouting, "Go, UMass!" throughout the game last night in Madison Square Garden and seeing so much maroon and white was terrific.
Tomorrow night the NIT matchup is between Minnesota and Washington at Madison Square Garden, so it will be interesting who ultimately wins the NIT basketball championship.