Saturday, January 31, 2009

GAMEDAY: Boston University vs. the University of Hartford

A winning streak is no easy thing to extend -- especially in the America East, where every one of the nine teams has shown the ability to beat any other on a given night. But the Terriers will look to do just that Saturday against the worst team in the conference (Hartford). The Hawks are on a five game losing streak, while BU will look to push its season-high winning streak to five games. If the Terriers win, they'll tie their longest winning streak in the last three seasons. The game is also televised nationally on ESPNU, which probably gives an added edge to Hartford and its fans as students and others who wouldn't normally attend the game will fill out the stands.

While the Terriers had two days off at the beginning of the week (which undoubtedly helped them regain the strength and stamina they lost over their last trying stretch of four games in nine days) their last two practices have left something to be desired. While the time off was necessary, one wonders if it will hamper the Terriers and remove them from their steadfast groove of solid play.

If that's the case, Hartford's an ideal opponent for BU to start its newest fatigue-plagued stretch against (four games in eight days). The Hawks have the worst record in the conference and haven't lived up to expectations. To make matters worse, they lost their best player in mid-December (junior guard Joe Zeglinski) and he won't return this season. Zeglinski was averaging 15.3 points per game. Since his departure, senior guard Jaret von Rosenberg has shouldered the load, scoring 13.7 points per game. While Hartford is a decent offensive team (63.7 points per game), their defense has been their downfall. In addition, the Hawks doesn't rebound particularly well (especially offensively), so if they're struggling from the field, they probably won't get many second chances at net.

For the Terriers, John Holland and Corey Lowe have been unbelievable since the beginning of conference play. Lowe is averaging 18.2 points per game, while Holland is averaging 17.8 points per game (third and fourth in the conference respectively). In addition to BU's two biggest scoring threats, however, the Terriers will need contributions from their big men in the middle. Scott Brittain has averaged 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game since being re-inserted into the starting lineup. BU coach Dennis Wolff, however, is still looking for more out of his junior forward and much more from freshman forward Jeff Pelage. Pelage has been a bit of an enigma this season as he's shown flashes of brilliance, but hasn't been able to consistently display the proper effort necessary for a collegiate basketball player. If he does, Pelage could be an extremely dangerous weapon for the Terriers, especially given the shortened bench.

Projected starting lineups:

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