Saturday, December 6, 2008

GAMEDAY: Marshall University vs. Boston University

Welcome to Round Two at Agganis Arena. Much has been made about the Terriers' inability to play at the state-of-the-art facility since BU's opening-night loss to George Washington. This afternoon, not only will BU will have an opportunity to prove its Agganis doubters wrong, but also show Marshall what type of team they can be after throwing a shell of their current format on the Cam Henderson Center Court last season. In that 70-47 loss, Matt Wolff was the only current BU starter to take the court for the opening tip. Corey Lowe and Tyler Morris were both out and John Holland was still coming off the bench.

Naturally, the Terriers have a completely different look this time around, one that relies heavily on the 3-pointer. It seems as though the new 3-point line (moved back a foot) has had absolutely no effect on BU's shooting. In fact, they're shooting more from downtown this season than they have in each of the previous two campaigns. BU's taking 46.5 percent of all its field goals from beyond the arc -- a mark that's ninth-highest in the nation. As reported in previous posts and articles, BU coach Dennis Wolff could stand to have a more consistent inside scoring threat, but without Scott Brittain and Jeff Pelage being fully healthy, there's no way to tell what role they could ultimately play (offensively, at least) once conference play rolls around.

Speaking of nationally impressive rankings, Marshall's offensive rebounding percentage of 42.9 is fifth best in the country, which could spell trouble for BU, especially if the Terriers' shooting percentage dips as it has almost every other time the team has played at Agganis. Rebounding itself is a gray area for the Terriers because on most nights, whether or not BU outrebounds its opponents is based on how hard its players work in the trenches, not how tall the opponent is. After all, BU doesn't have a Chris Holm who can keep his feet on the ground and grab at least five boards a game. The work ethic will need to be there this afternoon in order for the Terriers to stay in it. Still, if BU can manage to shoot even close to as well as it did against Northeastern and Harvard, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. The question is, will they be able to shoot that well at Agganis or not?

Marshall is coming off a bad loss to East Tennessee State (76-72) and is much more youthful than they were last season. Two freshman guards Damier Pitts and Shaquille Johnson lead the way in the backcourt. If BU forces as many turnovers as it did against Harvard, The Herd's youthful duo could be in for a long day.

Projected starting lineups

BU searching for payback
Herd plays Saturday in Boston

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