Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Ever Epic-Ultimate Terriers Basketball Blog Post

So I have not written a blog post in over a week, sue me it's my blog.  I have been busy with work, weddings and the NFL playoffs.  But to make up for it I am writing an Epic blog post, one that will be celebrated as a historic moment in my short blogging career.

To kick it off I wrote a letter to Coach Chambers (@Coach_Chambers). And then I included my thoughts on the three games that I have not written about yet and finally a preview of tomorrow's game versus top bear in the conference Maine.  As always these are my thoughts as a fan not as a serious journalist or analyst.

Dear Coach Chambers,

You only seem to tweet before games and after wins. What about after losses?  I was waiting for a tweet after the UVM loss, which you could not have been pleased about. Nothing.  To be honest your tweets are actually pretty boring and generic. To save you some time I came up with a few templates you can use:

  • We had a good practice today we are getting ready for [insert team]. We are getting better!
  • We are on the bus to [insert college campus] to play [insert team]. It will be a big game for us!
  • A good win today against [insert team], we are continuing to get better.
Come on coach! I don't think you get this whole blogging or twitter thing at all.  We want to know what you are thinking.  We want to know what your team is thinking, We want to get inside your head. That's the whole point of Twitter. If I wanted know what you are doing I would just look at the Basketball schedule on the BU Athletics website.

I have to say I am bit disappointed so far about the level of excitement and enthusiasm you brought to the program so far. I thought you wanted to bring a young attitude and a fresh personality to this team.  Please materialize some personality soon. If not for me, do it for the program, do it for the fans.

Lastly, I apologize for being critical, and I love that you are the BU coach, but it needed to be said.  Coach Chambers please be less boring in your interactions with the public and with the media. That's all.

Your Fan,
Jimmy C

Onto some thoughts on some recent games past and future and the current state of parity in the America East.

1/17 - BU v. Vermont - Patrick Gym - BU loses 78 - 58

This was the last game I previewed about a week and a half ago.  Judging from what I wrote you could tell that I was genuinely excited about this game.  This was supposed to be the signature win of BU's young America East conference season.  I recorded this game on my DVR and was looking forward to watching it. Earlier in the season I talked about actually traveling to Vermont to watch this game live at Patrick Gym (and maybe I would've thought about this more seriously if the Jets didn't make it as far into the NFL playoffs as they did this year).  In hindsight, I am very glad that my plans to attend this game never progressed beyond the infancy stage.

This game happened on a Sunday as I was coming back to Boston from one of my best friend's weddings (Congratulations Kyle).  Sitting in the back of my friend's SUV I checked the score frequently.  With about 7 minutes left in the first half BU was down 28 - 3.  Was I reading this right?  When I went home and actually watched the first 13 minutes my nightmare was confirmed.

BU was spanked in this game by a Vermont team that looked like they would cruise to the America East title.  I was distraught. This was one of those losses that just punched me in the stomach.  If BU is going to play like this versus Vermont there is no chance that they will be able to win the America East Tournament Final, which at the time appeared it would take place at Patrick Gym in Burlington Vermont.

But then it happened, the stars aligned just like they had for my Jets a few weeks previous.  The rest of the America East started to beat Vermont. After beating BU and one more win versus the struggling Hartford Hawks, Vermont lost consecutive games to Stony Brook and Binghamton.  At the moment of this post BU is 6-2 and Vermont is 5-2, technically we lead the Catamounts in the America East standings. BUT, BU has played one more game than Vermont. I will touch on the parity in the America East later in this post.

1/19 - BU v. Albany - Agganis Arena - BU wins 79 - 59

I was pretty psyched to go to this game. No, not because the Terriers played Albany, I wanted a free Terriers  Basketball jersey.  As part of a promotion the first 1000 fans in attendance received a free jersey.  I did not get one and this upset me, I really wanted one.  I blame the T for being so damn slow.  I left my office at almost exactly when the whistle blew at 5:30, I did not arrive at the arena until 6:30, too late to receive a free jersey. They looked cheap but it would be cool to have one, maybe I will find one on eBay one of these days.

The game itself was not really that exciting.  To be honest for most of the first half I was sitting right next to the BU Dance Team, I was distracted by their snappy new uniforms.  The rest of the game was something we had seen earlier in the season, BU set a program record for most three-pointers in game with 16.  Previously, in the non-conference slate they set the record with 15.  To be honest I don't like so many three-pointers in one game.

I have this discussion with my father all of the time.  Is it really Basketball if all a team does is shoot three pointers and hope they make them?  Ultimately this is why the three-point line was moved back by a foot a year earlier. Teams recruited great shooters and unleashed fury from beyond the arc. What is more exciting a John Holland dunk or a John Holland three-pointer?  Exactly, 99 people out of 100 are going to say dunk. Check this out.

The only exception, is Corey Lowe's three-point attempts. They are actually really exciting. He will shoot NBA range three-pointers, four or five feet from beyond the arc, with a defender up close and personal, complete with a hand right in the face. Check this out.

The picture isn't that great but the shot he made was ridiculous.  Look at the arc on the ball and how far in the air that thing is, holy moly.  Corey Lowe is the only player in the America Easy who can make a three-pointer exciting.

The rest of this game was pretty boring. BU made a couple of exciting plays that were non-three pointers, most notably a Jeff Pelage dunk in the opening minutes.  Right away you knew if Pelage can dunk, then this was going to be all BU. If it weren't for the free jersey. I may have skipped this one like I skipped the UMBC game.  There's nothing more really to write, BU dominated a lesser team that they should've handled easily anyway.

1/23 -  BU v. UMBC - In Maryland - BU Wins 79 - 61

I would've been shocked if BU lost this game. I didn't watch the game, I didn't listen to the game, I just read about it on the BU Website.  The article itself is a lot of fluff actually.  How do you write about a game where nothing exciting happened whatsoever and one team beats the other team by 18 points?  You include a bunch of statistics. Three Terriers scored above 20 points, Lowe, Holland, and O'Brien, to lead the Terriers to their fifth win in the last six tries blah blah blah.

Who cares? It was UMBC who has won only one game this season.  I know there was an article in the Daily Free Press about UMBC being no cake walk, but really? Let's be honest with ourselves if the Terriers didn't win this game by 18 points I would be worried. I probably would have completely bashed this BU team on this blog.  A win is a win, that's enough about this game.

Parity in the America East Conference
Over the past week and a half something has happened.  Teams are beating each other.  There no longer is that one team or even two teams that rise above the rest as the heavy favorites.  Initially, after the BU v. Vermont game, I thought that team was Vermont. But then Vermont lost to Binghamton and Maine.  Stony Brook has lost to Vermont and Maine. Four of the nine teams have two losses or less and none are undefeated.  That means the only team with one loss at the halfway point is Maine, who the Terriers play in Orono Maine tomorrow night.

1/27 - Preview of Maine v. BU - Orono Maine
This is where we are, a win versus the Maine Black Bears would put the Terriers in first place in the conference.  At the beginning of this season season or even three weeks ago, I would not have believed that last sentence.  How does this game eclipse the Vermont game as a more important game for the Terriers in terms of the conference standings? And at this point in the season? I am baffled.

The University of Maine Athletics website has already posted a preview of the game, there is an even better preview on the America Least blog.  I am not going to say that Maine has been lucky so far and that this is a team the Terriers should beat.  Because I can't discredit what they have done.  They have quietly become the best team in the America East conference and have won 8 of their last 9 games.

BU should not be favored in this game.  Can BU win?  Of course.  Maine is historically in the middle of America East, they never suck but they are never the best. Right now they are enjoying their best start in conference play in a little over a decade since the 1999 - 2000 season.  They are on cloud nine in Orono.

I never thought I would be saying this but I would be excited and mildly surprised if the Terriers beat the Black Bears on the road.  A win over Maine would be what I thought a win over Vermont would've been, a signature conference away win.  A win would catapult the Terriers to their first spot at the top of the standings all season. Let's do it!

BU v. Maine 1/27 at 7 PM
Listen at 1510 AM


Saturday, January 16, 2010

JC's Preview: Away at Vermont - Televised on ESPNU

When I was going through BU as a student this was the biggest rivalry for the Terriers in America East Basketball.  BU was always at or near the top of the conference, but they were always second to Vermont.  When Vermont beat Syracuse in the tournament, BU was right at the top in the regular season. I was annoyed when Vermont beat the Cuse.  That should've been BU.  I will always be bitter.  To this very day I always thought "What if..."  No anymore, this is BU's best opportunity this season to establish themselves as the team to beat in the America East conference tournament.  This games is our season, an away date with Vermont.  This is a very big contest in terms of establishing home court advantage for the America East title game.  This battle is so big that ESPNU is televising it nationally to give the nation a peek into the excitement of a storied America East. The city folk versus the country folk, the North versus the South, private versus the state, anyway you look at it this is the premier rivalry of the America East. This is why I live for America East Basketball.

Coming into the game the Terriers are winners of four straight versus the inferior opponents in the America East (sorry UNH, Hartford, UMBC, Binghamton) Vermont is the biggest away test of the season.  The Catamounts are undefeated so far in conference play, the Terriers dropped only their conference opener to Stony Brook at Case.  These teams are one and two in the America East standings as of Saturday morning.   If the Terriers win, they control the conference.

Key to the the Game
  • Stay fresh. Vermont has something the Terriers don't: depth.  Coach Chambers has to substitute more often than in recent games.  Lowe and Holland cannot play 39 minutes each versus a team as deep and talented as Vermont. Lowe and Holland will get tired at the end and BU will lose.
  • Minimize the number of three point shots.  Vermont only has one major three point threat, senior guard Maurice Joseph.  He shoots 41% from beyond the arc.  The Terriers need to neutralize the number of attempts and the number of successful attempts he executes.
  • Keep the Vermont starting five off of the charity stripe.  Three of their five starters are shooting over 80% from the free-throw line.  The rest of the team is barely above 50%.
That's it really. In every other category these two teams match up pretty even.  It should be a great game and one definitely worth watching if you have access to ESPNU.

This one will come down to the wire.  BU wins in an OT thrilla, 80 - 79.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Boston U outplays UMBC at home, and outlasts Binghamton on the road

Better late than never.  The UMBC game happened on Tuesday at Case but I am just getting around to writing a few thoughts about now.  The Binghamton game happened on Thursday,  some fan I am I totally forgot BU was visiting Binghamton tonight.  This is quite the aggressive schedule for the Terriers.  Since Saturday they have played three games, two of which were on the road.  The Terriers are rolling though since dropping their home opener, they have won three on the road and one at home and will try to continue their four game winning streak at Vermont on Sunday.

The UMBC game was a no contest.  I was a 95% certain that BU would win.  However, with Binghamton's upset of Stony Brook anything is possible in the young America East season.  Here's the recap for the BU game UMBC game.

This was the first BU home game I have not attended this entire season, and rightfully so.  If the Terriers beat UMBC it's no big deal they accomplished what they were expected to.  If they lost to UMBC it would be the biggest disappointment of the year to date.  Thank you that it was the former.

I listened to parts of this game on the radio.  BU seemed to be in control for most of the game.  The biggest positive is that the Terriers won.  The second biggest positive is the Terriers defense.  I don't care if it is UMBC anytime you can play 40 minutes of basketball and hold your opponent to 63 points that's something to build off.  This is the type of defensive performance that the Terriers need to carryover to the Vermont game (I know I completely missed the Binghamton game), which will be one of the most higly anticipated games of the America East Conference slate.

I totally forgot about the Binghamton away game, so I don't have a lot to write.  I think maybe I will just take this time to bash the Binghamton program as one of the worst run division I college basketball programs in the country.  However, considering their history of criminals I was impressed that they beat Stony Brook on Tuesday.

The Terriers beat them by 8 in a 63-55 contest., here's the recap.  This is not a great win for the Terriers.  I think it means more to Binghamton.  They are sticking around in the conference and have overcome a lot to be competitive in conference play.  Come March, if they have a halfway decent season they will be a tremendous story and their coach will be America East coach of the year.

Moving on. I will try to write a preview to this weekend's Boston U v. Vermont game; however, if I don't it's because I am attending the wedding of my very good friend Kyle to his lovely fiance and soon to be wife Sarah, congratulations!

If I don't get around to writing a preview, I recommend you check out the America Least blog.  They have featured the nationally televised (Watch it on ESPNU) BU v. Vermont clash as their game of the week.

Next Up:
Boston U. v. Vermont
Burlington, VT
Watch: ESPNU
Listen: 1510 AM


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Holland-Lowe score a quality win versus the Hartford Hawks

BU wins what will forever be known as the "Holland-Lowe Show."  The junior and the senior put up a ridiculous display.  Holland scored 32 points and Lowe scored 31.  As the recap on the BU site notes this is the first time in the entire history of the Boston University Basketball program that any two players have scored above 30 points in one game.  The amazing part, BU scored 84 points which means everyon else on the Terriers scored only 21 points.  The Holland-Lowe dynamic duo had only 7 points less than the entire Hartford Hawks team.

Both Lowe and Holland were impressive, the rest of the team was pretty pedestrian (except for Carlos Strong who added 14 points).  With Tyler Morris out it's pretty apparent that the Terriers are going to rely on their two best players Holland and Lowe to carry the team when they are playing lesser opponents.  I was disappointed by Jake OBrien's no show in this game.  And the bench scored 3 total points when Valdas Siruitis hit an early three.  The thing that this team lacks the most is depth.  They've returned a lot of seniors but with injuries almost all of them are accounted for in the starting five.  It's terrifying to say this, but BU is just one more injury away from becoming a bottom-dweller in the America East.  When they are good it shows, but only versus the lowly teams, versus mediocre or good teams they struggle.

What It Means
  • BU wins it's second in a row versus a inferior opponent and doesn't show the kind of all around depth you would see from a champion
  • BU is still growing as a team, they are getting better and are a long way from the ever elusive NCAA tournament berth.
  • The schedule makers made it pretty easy for the Terriers to win three straight, next up is the worst team in the conference UMBC.
Random Notes
  • This was my first time going to watch a BU Basketball game on the road, I want to especially thank my roommate John Lewis for the ride there and my father Vito Castignoli for the ride back to my home in CT.
  • Reich Family Pavilion is a great place for a mid-major College Basketball game.  It should be a great place for the America East Championship, I can't wait.
  • This was the first time used my camera extensively in the game, see how the pictures came out below. Unlike last time there were no technical difficulties with the twitter.  I might even get up a video soon.

View from outside the arena

John Driving to the game

The empty Hartford student section

Corey Lowe brings it up the floor as Coach Chambers Barks out a play.

The Holland-Lowe duo leads BU to victory 84 - 70

Next up:
Boston U. v. UMBC
Case Gym 1/12/2010 7 PM
Listen: 1510 AM

Greetings from Chase Arena!

I arrived at the arena just before the tip. The Chase Arena is a very nice facility exclusively for Basketball. An excellent setting for this years America East championship opening rounds.

The game so far has been the Coerey Lowe and John Holland show. They have 30 of the Terriers 34 points. Check out @thejimmyc for some pics.

score: Terrriers 34 - Hawks 27

Boston U travels to Hartford and so do I.

Today is a big day, I'm traveling to my first Terriers away game of the season. Am I pumped, you bet. So far the Terriers are 1-1 in conference play sans Tyler Morris. BU will try to go 2-1 today and reestablish itself as the team to beat in the America East. Check back later for updates and check my twitter (@thejimmyc) page for some photos.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tyler Morris Out for a Month with an Injury to Shooting Hand

If you have not heard already, Tyler Morris is out for a month due to an injury he sustained to his shooting hand in Tuesday's practice. The story I saw was reported in the Albany Times Union blog.  There is also a story on the Daily Free Press website.

This is a big blow to Terrier Nation, I don't like it when players on any team get injured.  It is especially difficult because it is Tyler. I feel really bad for him, this is just another in a series of injuries he has sustained during his collegiate career.  Most of us remember that he was out for most of last season with a torn ACL and was finally healthy to begin this season.

As for the impact it will have on BU and the rest of the season; I'm really not sure yet.  We will see in the New Hampshire game how much of an affect it will have on the rest of the linup and how they plan to cope.  Tyler is one of our starters and he is a pretty good player.  He is one of BU's senior leaders and a key component to this Terriers team.  Initially, I think it will have more of an impact then one might think.  BU doesn't really score a lot of bench points, so if Tyler's 11.2 points per game leave the lineup, who will step up to take his place? The obvious choice would have been the freshman B.J. Bailey but he has left the team as a few weeks ago. Who else?

This is a big blow to BU's depth as a team.  It will be interesting to see if they can overcome this obstacle in the coming weeks. BU's chances of becoming the number one team in the America East in the regular season just got a little slimmer.

Tyler - I hope for your speedy recovery!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Terriers Out -played, Lose to Stony Brook 84 - 75.

Was I excited going into this game? You bet I was.  I arrived a little late, BU was up by a few, I sat right behind the BU bench so my friends watching on NESN might be able to see me in the background.  This was the conference opener.  BU is preseason number one and the Stony Brook Seawolves were preseason number four.  I thought, this is a great way to show New England that BU will be a force to be reckoned with in the America East Conference this season, instead I think the Terriers showed that they are just and average to mediocre team early in the slate.  Hopefully the Terriers will be able to learn a lot from this game, and put up some conference wins sooner rather than later.

BU was just outmatched in this game.  Rebounds and turnovers were about the same with Stony Brook holding a slight edge in both categories.  BU's field goal shooting was horrible, they shot .377 from the field.  They committed a ridiculous amount of fouls compared to the other team (to be honest I thought we were getting hosed in terms of fouls and I let the ref know on occaision what I was thinking. If there weren't kiddies there I would have easily dropped at least a bakers dozen worth of F-bombs).  I think the one plus was the performance of Jake O'Brien.

Jake O'Brien's emergence over some recent opponents is a huge plus for the Terriers.  He and John Holland should anchor a team that is losing a lot of seniors next year.  Jake O'Brien has been BU's version of the answer he can do it all, shoot the three and box out down low.  I'm excited to see this kid do more in the future.

As for Stony Brook, I have to give them a lot of credit.  They went into an actually pretty full Case Gym and they took care of business.  Bryan Dougher made an outrageous amount of three pointers throughout this game (it was very reminiscent of Dayton Rob Lowery's performance).  Dougher was hitting almost everything, he led a team that hit 12 three pointers in 20 attempts.  This is no coincidence, I don't think the Terriers are doing enough to defend against the three.  A lot of these are wide open looks.  I said it after the Dayton game and I will say it again, you can't give up this many threes to an oppoenent and expect to win. Coach Chambers needs to make this a focus when going over film this week.

Random Notes:
  • Case Gym, as mentioned before, was surprisingly full for this game.  Which was a little bit more surprising considering that all of the students are still on break. However, not that many students show up anyway so I don't know how much of a difference this would have made.
  • I thought whoever brought the "let em play" sign was a genius.  However, I feel as though the ref took this as a slight and called more fouls on BU than they did on Stony Brook. 
  • Message to the Refs: C'mon really!? Call a foul on the other team! 25 - 15 is pretty lopsided.
  • I did take some real-time pictures that I was going to tweet during the game but did not get a chance until after the game.  Murphy's law dictated that my phone must run out of battery at halftime as I was about to tweet the pictures (bee below).
  • Let me know what you think of the pictures, I think they could be better (click on the pictures to view a larger version).  I just got a Motorola Droid for Christmas (thanks mom) and it includes a 5 megapixel camera. 

During a first half timeout

Probably one of Bryan Dougher's many three pointers

Next up:
Boston U at New Hampshire
1/7/2010 at 7 PM
Listen: 1510 AM


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Boston u v. Stony Brook

I am on the train heading to the first in conference gmae
for thbe Terriers, The last time BU played Ston Brook, BU won in a 2 OT thriller, hopefully we will be lucky enough to see such a great game again.

A few notes:

Todays game will be televised at noon on NESN and MSG+, check your local listings. Also, look for me on TV, I will be the only person in the gym with a Jasper Howard t-shirt on (sorry BU there is another important game on today).

Check out my twitter page (@thejimmyc) for some real time photos.