RALEIGH, N.C. — Located in Amherst, UMass is sometimes regarded like it’s Crimea, a far-off territory that has been annexed by a foreign power.
It’s unfortunate and fuels the frustration and paranoia of UMass fans.
So, Mr. and Miss Boston Sports Fan, I implore you to take a break from the Bruins bearing down before the playoffs, the Patriots’ offseason arms race with the Broncos, Grady Sizemore’s candidacy for the spring training Hall of Fame, and the Celtics’ march to the NBA draft lottery.
Marcus Camby, Lou Roe, Edgar Padilla, and Carmelo Travieso aren’t walking through that door, but your State U is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. Time to break out a tattered “Refuse to Lose” T-shirt and pay attention.
Unless you’re 25 or younger, you probably remember when UMass basketball was all the rage in the mid-1990s, the pinnacle being a Final Four appearance in 1996. (The school was later forced to vacate that appearance due to the illegal acceptance of gifts by star center Camby.) The UMass bandwagon was standing room only back then. As the program’s prominence faded, so did the interest inside of Route 495.
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