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Bulletin Board: UMass working on seed

With an NCAA Tournament bid seemingly secure, the University of Massachusetts is now playing to improve its seed in the 68-team field, which will be unveiled in nine days.

In the Bracketology predictions on ESPN and CBS, the Minutemen have fluctuated between a No. 6 and a No. 8 seed in recent weeks. An Atlantic 10 championship could boost them to a No. 5 and a quick exit in Brooklyn, N.Y., could sink them to a No. 9. The most likely scenario would be finishing between No. 6 and No. 8.

Historically that’s a pretty big difference.

Since the tournament expanded to 65 teams in 1985, No. 6 seeds are 170-138. They beat the No. 11 seeds 66.9 percent of the time (91-45) and fare reasonably well against No. 3s in the second round, winning 45.7 percent of the time (37-44).

Drop one line and the likelihood of an extended stay drops considerably as No. 7 seeds are 116-140 in NCAA play. They usually beat No. 10s in the first game (84-56, 60 percent). Their success rate against No. 2s in the second round is much smaller (21-61, 25.6 percent).

Being a No. 8 seed is much scarier. They beat the ninth seed 51.4 percent of the time (72-68), which is a fine number if you’re the casino playing against blackjack players, but it’s basically a coin flip in one game. If they win as a No. 8, they’ll play a top seed, which has never lost to a No. 16. No. 1s beat No. 8s 81.1 percent of the time and beat No. 9s 89.9 percent of the time. Not exactly the odds you want.

Impacting the bracket — While UMass appears to be in the field, it figures to have an impact on the bubble teams.

Saint Joseph’s, Dayton, Florida State and Richmond all boast wins over UMass as a reason they belong in the field. BYU, Nebraska, Providence, Clemson and LSU all lost to UMass. Those nine teams head into the last weekend of the regular season and their conference tournaments needing to convince the committee of their worthiness.

Williams player of year? — A week ago it looked like Saint Louis’ Jordair Jett, the best player on the best team, had secured himself the Atlantic 10’s Player of the Year honor, but the Billikens’ three-game losing streak, that includes a tough game against Dayton for Jett, could open the door for UMass point guard Chaz Williams, who was already a strong candidate. If Williams outplays Jett in UMass’ game against SLU (Sunday, 2 p.m. at the Mullins Center) that will be the last impression the coaches have of both players before voting.

— Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette

UMass hockey ousted

It was a fitting end to a difficult season for the UMass hockey team.

Connor Brickley cored with 1 minute, 7 seconds left in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie and seventh-seeded Vermont University eliminated the 10th-seeded Minutemen, 2-1, in a Hockey East play-in game Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt.

Vermont moves on to the Hockey East quarterfinals where it will take on either No. 2 UMass-Lowell or No. 3 Providence, depending on how the other two play-in games (both tonight), play out.

The game-winning goal came on assists from Matt White and Anthony DeCenzo, and Brickley fired a low shot that squirted underneath UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz, who finished with 24 saves.

UMass took a 1-0 lead 2:40 into the second period on a Troy Power goal with assists from Conor Sheary and Steven Iacobellis. Vermont tied the score with 2:42 remaining in the frame on Michael Paliotta’s bullet that beat Mastalerz.

Brody Hoffman finished with 18 saves in the win.

UMass finished the season 8-22-4.

Baseball

West County registrations

The West County Babe Ruth Baseball team will hold registrations Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. at Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Buckland.

Players must be ages 13 to 15 (as of April 30), and cost for the early registration is $85.

For more questions contact John Finck at 775-3710.

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