Wednesday, January 14, 2009

GAMEDAY: University of Vermont vs. Boston University

Things have been a little hectic beginning the new year for the Terriers, but perhaps there's one bigger surprise in the league than BU's underachieving non-conference portion of the schedule -- the University of Vermont's 0-2 start to America East play. In a league where the champion may only lose two or three games all season, the team that established itself as a prominent favorite after BU began to falter was UVM. Boasting a prolific offense filled with scorers who can torch teams in a number of ways, the Catamounts are averaging 78.1 points per game and enjoyed a successful non-conference schedule.

Losses to Binghamton University and the University at Albany, however, have somewhat turned the league upside down and given teams (if they didn't already believe so) the hope that any one opponent can beat any other on any given night -- especially since Albany's win came at Patrick Gymnasium.

The Terriers, playing without two of their top five scorers (Carlos Strong and Tyler Morris who are both out for the season) will need to adapt exactly that mentality if they hope to topple the Catamounts. BU's new blend of inside-outside offense could aid the Terriers and help eliminate extended dry spells while shooting from the perimeter, especially at Agganis Arena, where the team hasn't been known to shoot particularly well. Speaking of top scorers, Wednesday's game (which will be televised on NESN and ESPN Full Court) will feature five of the top seven scorers in America East in UVM's Mike Trimboli (15.8), Marqus Blakely (15.3) and Colin McIntosh (14.0) and BU's Corey Lowe (17.0) and John Holland (15.8).

Perhaps more so than BU's new offensive mentality, Holland could have one of the biggest impacts on the game. Coming off two consecutive 25-point performances to begin league play and a recent America East Player of the Week award (shared with UMBC's Darryl Proctor), BU coach Dennis Wolff has said Holland's played two of the best games he's ever played as a Terrier. If Holland's hot streak continues, the Catamounts will be forced to key-in on the dangerous weapon who can score from anywhere on the floor and that will make things a lot easier for BU's other scorers. Perhaps Holland has benefited from the team's change in defense, switching from man-to-man to a zone after news of the injuries to prevent a high number of fouls as well as fatigue. It will be interesting to see how UVM's high-powered offense reacts to the Terriers' zone and how they will try to break it given their extremely deep and balanced amount of offensive talent.

Projected starting lineups:

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