Thursday, January 8, 2009

GAMEDAY: Boston University vs. University at Albany

While tonight's game at SEFCU Arena (where Boston University hasn't won in three seasons) already had plenty of story lines, two more have been recently thrown into the mix. One involving Corey Lowe from BU and the other, Will Harris from the University at Albany.

First Lowe. It was reported in the Albany Times Union and later confirmed that BU coach Dennis Wolff could bench his leading scorer and junior captain for tonight's game after he received two technical fouls in the Terriers' most recent loss against Holy Cross. If there's one thing Wolff doesn't tolerate it's foolish and undisciplined play, and that's exactly what Lowe's fouls represent. It will be interesting to see what Wolff's decision will be given how important this game is for the Terriers. Will he bench (arguably) the team's best player in favor of sending a message and trusting that things will turn around soon after? Or will he allow Lowe to play, knowing that his presence would greatly improve BU's chances of winning -- a win he and his team desperately need. Certainly, more factors may be contributing to the possibility of Lowe being benched as Wolff said his junior and senior leaders weren't doing their job and attitudes off the court were impacting the teams' play on the court following the loss to Holy Cross. More issues may have arisen over the week of practice and Wolff could really need to send a message. Whatever the reason for Wolff's making public that he may sit Lowe, it adds another layer to the recent downfall of the Terriers. If Lowe doesn't play, John Holland will need to step up even more, which could be difficult given he's got just 24 points in his last three games (13 in his previous two) on 7-of-25 shooting and 1-of-9 from 3.

As for Harris, he has inflammation in his foot, but (again, according to the Times-Union) is expected to play. Harris, a transfer from Virginia who didn't have to sit out a year after having his eligibility waved because of family reasons, is coming off his first career double-double and could be a dangerous matchup for BU, even if he's a little banged up.

Regardless of whether Lowe or Harris play, the game is as close to a must-win as it gets early in the conference schedule for both clubs. The game marks BU's first in conference play and the second for Albany. The Terriers have lost four games in a row and Albany two, but BU's situation is far more dire. Internal issues are plaguing the team and if things don't turn around quickly (both internally and on the court) the Terriers could be in trouble. After a hot start to the season, BU's offense has appeared inept over the last three games and hasn't been able to use the 3-point shot to its advantage as it did earlier in the season. The Terriers are stationed around 20 percent from beyond the arc in their last five games and for a team that takes over 40 percent of their shots in a game from downtown, that mark isn't very impressive.

While BU's shooting woes are noted (39.8 percent from the field), Albany's are only slightly better as their team shooting percentage of 40.2 is 286th in the nation. The Danes have struggled to find a consistent scorer all season, as their biggest contributors have been Anthony Raffa and Tim Ambrose, both chipping in around 11 points per game. The game could turn into an ugly, grind-it-out affair, which may not bode well for BU considering their recent lack of intensity as well as Albany's above-average rebounding. They're rebounding margin of plus-8.1 will bother BU, especially given the amount of shots that could be missed following a six-day layoff. The Terriers will need to show the intensity the did against Notre Dame if they have any hope of beating the Great Danes (despite all their struggles), especially if they're going to be playing without Lowe.

There will be a live blog of tonight's game and as soon as we find out if Lowe and Harris will be in their respective starting lineups, we'll let you know.

Projected starting lineups:

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