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.


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