Sunday, December 6, 2009

GAMEDAY: Bucknell University Bison vs. Boston University Terriers

The Terriers have been bruised and battered, both physically and in the standings. After facing the likes of Kansas State, Georgia Tech, and Connecticut, it's time for BU to transition to a more appropriate level of competition.

UConn provided one kind of test for BU: the impossible task. How would the Terriers do against an opponent whose athletic resources are, by all accounts, far superior? Today's meeting with Bucknell is a different sort of test. Similar to the Harvard game, Bucknell is not considerably bigger, taller, faster, or stronger than BU in any meaningful way. The Terriers have played Bucknell as recently as last year. In theory, since the Terriers won that game, they know how to beat the Bison. Perhaps most significantly, Bucknell is coming off a loss to America East conference member Binghamton, one of the absolute worst teams in Division-I.

Other losses can be waved away as temporary setbacks. A loss today, especially if Corey Lowe is on the floor for the Terriers, would sound a louder alarm.

Lowe has been battling a foot injury all season, and his play has not been up to his usually stellar standard. After another cold night from the field against Harvard, the senior guard did not play on Wednesday. Per head coach Patrick Chambers, Lowe is questionable for today's game.

With Lowe possibly out and senior forward Valdas Sirutis described as doubtful to play today, BU is once again forced to prepare contingency plans for today's game. John Holland has been a consistent force for the Terriers, but one has to wonder who is prepared to step up alongside him. Jake O'Brien, Tyler Morris, and Carlos Strong have all had their share of excellent performances this season; what has hurt the Terriers is those players' collective tendency to produce damaging performances opposite stellar ones. BU can afford average or slightly substandard days from Holland's sidekicks -- it's the 3-of-14 shooting, 5 turnover statlines that ultimately prove too much to overcome.

With Lowe or without, the Terriers have enough firepower left over to win this game. What BU needs more than ever is a solid all-around performance. In all likelihood, Holland is going to get his points and do so in fairly efficient fashion. It's up to the rest of the team to make more good plays than bad. When the best player on the floor is on one side, smart basketball from his teammates goes a long way toward winning. While that might sound overly simplistic or cliché, execution and heady play is what BU needs in order to get back in the win column.

Expected starting lineups:
Boston University Terriers
G Tyler Morris, 11.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.5 APG
G Carlos Strong, 7.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
F/G John Holland, 20.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG
F Jake O'Brien, 12.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.6 BPG
F Jeff Pelage, 1.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.3 BPG

Bucknell University Bison
G Bryan Cohen, 11.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.7 APG
G Darryl Shazier, 13.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.3 APG
G/F Stephen Tyree, 7.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.7 APG
F Joe Willman, 4.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.4 SPG
C Patrick Behan, 11.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.9 APG

Men's hoops faces Bucknell Sunday

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