Saturday, February 7, 2009

GAMEDAY: Boston University vs. University of New Hampshire

One more win. One more win and the Terriers will tie their longest winning streak (of eight) since they reeled off a program-high 12 wins in the 2003-04 season. One more win and BU will be done with its two toughest stretches of the schedule (save the America East Tournament) where they played four games in nine days followed by four-in-eight.

And while Saturday's game against the University of New Hampshire is by no means the penultimate contest of the schedule for the Terriers (though their contest Wednesday against the University of Vermont at Patrick Gymnasium just might be) it has the potential to mark what will be the end of a remarkable run by a depleted Terrier squad. Not only have the Terriers endured the loss of two key players and logged an almost unhealthy amount of minutes, but they've found a way to win in a variety of ways during the entire stretch.

UNH coach Bill Herrion, who recently received a five-year contract extension, said he was admittedly worried about BU coming to Lundholm Gymnasium, especially given their 7-4 road record and only one conference loss away from Boston (62-61 against Albany). In fact, the Terriers have demolished America East opponents in their house of late, especially on BU's recent three-game road swing that kicked off with a 18-point come from behind win over Maine and concluded with an impressive win at the RAC against UMBC.

The last time the Terriers and Wildcats met, BU dominated the game wire-to-wire, forcing UNH to shoot a paltry 24.1 percent from the field and 2-of-33 from beyond the arc. There's rarely any chance of BU forcing the Wildcats into such a poor shooting afternoon once again, so BU's offense will have to continue putting up points at the rate it has since it entered conference play. The Terriers are averaging 74.9 points per game. Interestingly enough, UNH's defense has been the best in the conference, allowing 63.6 points per game. Given the short rest (one day) and early travel, it will be interesting to see how the Terriers react on the the road against the Wildcats. There's no doubt Corey Lowe and John Holland will need to continue their absurd pace of dominant play, but if every player for the Terriers shows up, the game could get out of hand. Also, it's unknown whether Marques Johnson will be ready to go given he injured his knee in practice Wednesday. As soon as we find anything out, we'll let you know.

Bottom line: At the end of this game, the Terriers could be in prime position for a showdown that has the potential to decide the conference on Wednesday afternoon against Vermont, as BU is in sole possession of first place and controls its own destiny with seven games remaining -- a situation that even the Terriers' veteran group of players has never found themselves in.

Projected starting lineups:

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