Sunday, November 22, 2009

GAMEDAY: Boston University vs. Georgia Tech

The goals for the Boston University Terriers upon arriving in Puerto Rico were clear. Put in three solid performances against excellent competition and improve as a team. Winning would be a bonus. Three days after their first game, BU is set to compete in its third and final scheduled contest. Once again, the opponent is superior on paper, but with this trip already deemed a success, the Terriers have everything to gain and very little to lose.

The Terriers secured their first win on Friday due to superb rebounding on both ends of the floor. Jake O'Brien turned in one of the best performances of his career, totaling 14 points and 13 rebounds. Today's competition is a step up. Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal, put together, are quite possibly the best frontcourt duo BU will see this season.

Lawal broke out as a sophomore, averaging more than 15 points and nine rebounds and establishing himself as an NBA prospect. Favors, a freshman, arrives with even more hype, ranking among the top freshmen in college basketball as a projected top-5 pick in next year's NBA draft. Favors has already adjusted to the college game, scoring 18 points against George Mason on Friday, making 6-of-6 from the field and 6-of-6 at the free throw line while adding seven boards and three blocks. To say the Terrier frontcourt will have its hands full is an understatement.

BU matches up better in the backcourt, but given anticipated difficulties in the rebounding and post scoring departments, the Terriers will need significant improvement from Friday's 29.3 percent shooting performance. Aggressive drives to the basket have led to much of the Terriers' limited success on offense to date; with Lawal and Favors patrolling the paint for the Yellow Jackets, BU needs its outside shooting to complement its dribble-drive penetration.

Georgia Tech is the first ranked team on the Terriers' schedule. Winning this game, especially with Scott Brittain still unavailable, would be a monumental achievement, one of the biggest victories the program has seen in years. A win isn't necessary here, but continuing a trend of outstanding effort and game-to-game improvement is still important. Doing so will allow BU to return to Boston with sustained momentum and a positive outlook regardless of today's result -- and in a young season featuring several surprises to date, who's to say the Terriers won't surprise today?

Projected starting lineups:
Boston University
G Tyler Morris, 14.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.3 APG
G Corey Lowe, 12.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.0 APG
G Carlos Strong, 8.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.8 APG
F Valdas Sirutis, 1.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.8 APG
F Jake O'Brien, 9.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.8 BPG

Georgia Tech
G Iman Shumpert, 13.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG
G Mfon Udofia, 7.3 PPG, 3.0 APG, 2.7 RPG
G/F D'Andre Bell, 4.7 PPG, 1.7 APG, 1.0 RPG
F Gani Lawal, 14.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.7 BPG
F Derrick Favors, 12.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG

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