Monday, February 1, 2010

Terriers lose a pair of away games.

1/27 - Boston U Terriers v. Maine Black Bears - Alfond Arena - BU loses 56 - 54
This game was a hearbreaker from the very beginning to the very end.  BU went through a few stretches where you thought there were going to break away. But then in usual BU fashion they went cold for extended period of time while Maine continued to play consistently.

Towards the end is where I got emotional.  I was close to turning the game off actually.  But I left it on and BU overcame a ten point deficit in just under 5 minutes to actually tie the game with 2.9 seconds left.  I anticipated that this would go into OT, if BU could play good enough defense to not let them get a good shot off the ball would bounce off the iron and fall short. Finally things would roll our way.

It would not be so.  For years to come I will wonder what Coach Chambers said during that last time out.  I don't want to pretend to be a coach but this is what I would be telling my team given the same situation:

"Keep your arms up, don't foul, keep them out of the lane, AND don't let them get off a high percentage shot."

Those last two points were somehow lost. The Maine Black Bears got off a layup at the last second to win the game.  Let me repeat a layup.  BU played the worst defense they have all season in 2.9 seconds.  It's embarrassing to lose on a layup off of an inbound play with 2.9 left.  There is no excuse.  The only positive I bring out of this game is that with a double digit deficit so late in the game this Terriers team did not give up.

Other notes:
  • Our eighth man and a key sub Tunde Agboola was injured during this game and it is not looking very good.  The injury could not have come at a worse time.
1/30 - Boston U v. Stony Brook Seawolves - Long Island - BU Loses 71 - 55
I did not get a chance to listen to or watch this game, I did look at my phone for occasional updates on the score.  BU went on their second game of a three game road trip and did what they seem to do best:  lose on the road to a team that is better than them.  This seemed a lot like the last time the Terriers played the Seawolves.

I hate using injuries as an excuse, so I never do and neither should Coach Chambers or the rest of the team.  I really don't care that the Terriers are dinged up. Our team needs to step up and our coach needs to prepare the team better for games. For the second time this year the Terriers looked really flat in the first minutes of the game and were never able to fully recover and find a groove (the other time was the Vermont away game).  When I checked the score for the first time it was 10 - 0 and Stony Brook led.  I checked several times and each time it looked about the same or worse than the first time I checked.  Eventually BU got bashed 71 - 66 after they played 40 minutes of mediocre Basketball.

This result infuriated me. Admittedly I was out to dinner and had a few beers so I may have overreacted.  The loss set off a series of tweets directed at Coach Chambers blaming him for blowing the season.  I think this might have been a little too harsh. When you are stuck in the moment you will say very irrational things.  But later it got me to thinking, what/who is responsible for the Terriers mediocrity this season? Who would be your scapegoat?

Was it the right move to fire Dennis Wolff and hire Pat Chambers?
This was a very surprising and controversial head coaching move during the offseason, and looking back right fully so.  The fresh look that that the Terriers were looking to get by making an unexpected coaching change just isn't there.  Here are a few things that have made this situation into a debacle.
  • Almost all of the starters returning and all of the seniors are Wolff recruits.  When you have that many returning key starters and seniors to a team it would make more sense to keep the same system and let the coach have one more chance to perform.
  • They hired a first-year head coach.  Coach Chambers has had zero head-coaching experience and only several years of coaching experience at Villanova. Now all of a sudden he is thrust into a head coaching position for a team with the highest expectations entering the season.  That is a tough position to enter into.
  • BU is still plagued by injuries.  I don't know what this is.  My theory was that they played games at the beginning of the season, the non-conference games, like they were conference tournament games.  Their non-conference schedule was way too ambitious.  Tough games against tough opponents will take their toll.  It's not great to see a senior captain break his hand in practice.
I don't think it is Coach Chambers' fault that BU has performed way below expectations this year. I think the athletic director his staff and the university are to blame.  They made the wrong decision by firing Wolff and hiring Chambers. It was the wrong year to do it.  Wolff would've been on the hot seat and coaching for his job. He spent three years with most of these seniors, he is the one who can motivate and get this current team to perform well when it counts the most under pressure.  Coach Wolff should have been given another chance. Coach Chambers is a first-year head coach and has no experience, with a team that has very high expectations. He was not being set up very well to succeed.  I say this emphatically, especially with players he barely knows, coming into a high expectation season and playing a  non-conference schedule that was way too ambitious.  The BU athletic department basically pulled the trigger too early on the coaching change.  They started to rebuild during a non-rebuilding year.

Hopefully I will be proved wrong in March.

Other News and Notes:
  • With the losses to Stony Brook and Maine earlier, BU falls to 1-4 versus the teams ahead of them in the standings and 5-0 versus the teams below them.  The Terriers are winning all of the games that they should win and losing all of the games that they should lose.  Right now they are the definition of a middle of the standings team.
  • The Bracket Busters matchups were announced today.  BU was not picked for one of eleven games televised on ESPN. BU will travel to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens on February 20.
  • I watched BU beat Northeastern in the Beanpot Semis tonight.  During the past week I have seen two BU Ice Hockey wins and two BU Basketball losses.  These two programs are run so differently, it's really baffling. How is it that the hockey team doe so well year after year yet the Basketball team always comes way short of expectations every year?


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