Saturday, February 21, 2009

GAMEDAY: Iona College vs. Boston University

The number three is abound prior to this afternoon's ESPNU Bracketbusters game against the Iona College Gaels, who the Terriers will be meeting for the fifth time in school history (series is tied 2-2). Three games remain in the regular-season schedule and the Terriers have locked up the number three seed in the America East Tournament -- which begins in less than two weeks -- and they're currently on a three-game losing streak, including two losses to the league's top two teams that knocked them out of contention for the regular-season title.

Following the non-league matchup against a middle-of-the-pack team in the MAAC, the Terriers will round out their conference slate with two home games (one at Case Gymnasium, the other at Agganis Arena). With one win in any of their final three games, the Terriers will ensure a winning season for the first time in three years, and the first winning season any current player has experienced, with the exception of Matt Wolff (who was at BU in 2004-05). While that certainly isn't the goal, it's a significant mark nonetheless, as it shows progress (albeit, not to the level of which many thought the program could reach) with a core group of players.

While the previously mentioned threes are important, The number three is also part of the most recent controversy surrounding the Terriers, as in, 13 -- Corey Lowe's number. Lowe, who was benched in the second half of BU's most recent loss (Wednesday to Stony Brook) has had a history of slight controversies while at BU, and this appears to be another. It could be a quick one, however, as BU coach Dennis Wolff said Friday before practice that Lowe will start against Iona and play his normal minutes the remainder of the way barring any other unforeseen incidents.

As far as playing time goes for the team as a whole, not just Lowe, Wolff said he doesn't plan on changing his approach to the final three games at all. He said he will continue playing the starters and isn't going to change their roles (in terms of minutes played to potentially avoid fatigue prior to the tournament). Given the six-day rest between the final game against Hartford and BU's first tournament game, Wolff feels that amount of time coupled with the reduced practice schedule/intensity will be enough to have his squad rested and ready for the most important weekend of the year.

As far as this afternoon's game goes, it simply serves as a chance to begin playing better basketball following three losses -- all three presenting a few flaws in what seemed like a pristine Terrier team during its eight-game winning streak. With no questions lingering about what seed BU will be in the tournament, perhaps that lack of pressure will enable the Terriers to focus purely on playing better basketball, which is what they need to start doing quickly. Lowe had served as somewhat of a microcosm of the team over its last 11 games, playing brilliantly in BU's eight wins and not as well in the losses. The Terriers won their Bracketbusters game last season against St. Peter's, and while the result of the game won't impact the standings, it's an important contest for the Terriers, if only to lock up their first winning season in three years and put a stop to the three-game losing streak. Too bad tip-off isn't at 3:00.

Projected starting lineups

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