Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid-week notebook

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

With the Boston University men's basketball team currently resting -- physically, at least -- with a nine day break between games to account for finals week, it marks a good time for Full Court Press to examine a few notable trends and pieces of news and information to review in this relatively dead period.

Attendance improvement?

When Patrick Chambers was brought in to be the head coach here at BU, woeful, substandard attendance was something that administration hoped to improve with the hire. Attendance at both Agganis and Case Gymnasium remained low last season, and has remained at a similar level this season.

In a recent interview with The Daily Free Press, Chambers floated out the idea of posting a poll with attendance ideas to see which ones BU fans would most like to see, a request we here at FCP would love to follow through on.

E-mail suggestions or just use the comments section with ideas, and if not, we should have a poll up with some of our own ideas here in the next couple of weeks.

Chambers even said he'll bungee jump off StuVi II if it gets more people to the games. For the sake of the health of Chambers and the peace of mind of school administration, let's think up some ideas to get people to games.

Behind the losses

The Terriers (4-7) are currently mired in a season-high four-game losing streak, a period of games that has highlighted many shortcomings of this re-made, inexperienced team. In all fairness, I'm not going to include numbers from the road game against then-No. 11 University of Kentucky because that was a game that few expected BU to stay competitive in, much less win.

In the successive losses to Bucknell University, La Salle University and Harvard University, the Terriers have posted the following statistics in the following categories:

Field Goal Percentage: 37.8 percent

3-Point Percentage: 40 percent

Assists Per Game: 13

Turnovers Per Game: 12.67

Assist to Turnover Ratio: 39-38

Rebounding Margin: 87-107

This much is clear: despite a great 3-point shooting percentage in this stretch, the Terriers continue to struggle to shoot the ball from the field, as they still rank 320th of 347 Division-I men's basketball teams in field goal percentage. The numbers imply that this team, especially a star player like senior forward John Holland has become far too dependent on trying to hit the outside shot rather than use his length, speed and athleticism to take the ball to the basket and draw attention from opposing defenses, thus opening up opportunities for his teammates.

The high number of turnovers is still to be expected from a team continuing to gel together, but the low number of assists is indicative of BU's failure to create good shots, distribute the ball and knock down open shots.

Being on the losing end of a 107-87 margin on the boards isn't good news for BU, but at least part of this can be attributed to the absence of junior center Jeff Pelage. Freshman forward Dom Morris and junior forward Patrick Hazel have both been forces on the glass so far this year, but will both gladly welcome Pelage's return to the lineup, which, given being in uniform and participating in warmups before the Harvard game, could be as soon as Monday against St. Joseph's University.

Quality losses

There's another side to the slow start that this BU team has experienced thus far this season: the losses, for the most part, haven't come to bad teams by any stretch of the imagination. Here's a look at the records of the seven teams the Terriers have fallen to eleven games into the season:

Northeastern University: 2-5

No. 11 Villanova University: 8-1

Hampton University: 7-2

No. 16 Kentucky: 7-2

Bucknell: 4-6

La Salle: 6-4

Harvard: 7-2

Combined Record: 41-22

Of those teams are two top-25 teams and perennial national powers in Villanova and Kentucky, the talented preseason favorite to win the Ivy League in Harvard, a long, tall team that nearly upset Villanova in La Salle, and a team that has fallen victim to a very tough early season schedule in Northeastern, a team whose record doesn't reflect how good of a team they are.

Obviously, the Terriers have not gotten off to an ideal start, but there's not too much reason to panic just yet: they've simply had a tough schedule against some very good teams.

Redshirt situation

Eleven games into the season, even though an official announcement or release hasn't come out yet from the team, a simple look at the team stats can reveal that two players on the BU roster will be redshirting this season: freshman guard/forward Malik Thomas and center Mat Piotrowski.

Both were members of BU's heralded 2010 class, but each has yet to see even a minute of action yet this season despite the Terriers participation on both sides of several blowouts so far this season. Additionally, both players have stayed on the bench to give playing time to walk-ons Chris Kurz and H.J. Gaskins.

So while nothing has been made official by the team, at this juncture in the season, it's safe to say that Thomas and Piotrowski will both potentially save a year of eligibility by redshirting this season.

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