|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
The Boston University basketball team has found themselves in a downward spiral headed into the last month of conference play. Coach Pat Chambers and his squad have fallen to fifth overall in the America East conference and have dropped two straight games against the upper echelon teams of the league. BU has suffered recent losses to conference foes Stony Brook, Maine, and Vermont, currently ranked first through third in the conference.
Four of the six Terrier wins have come against the bottom feeders of the conference UMBC, UNH, and Albany, who have only combined for five conference victories. BU has struggled against the better teams in the conference, getting blown out by 20 at Vermont last Sunday, January 17th, and recently getting defeated by 16 against Stony Brook. For the third consecutive year, BU has been picked as the preseason conference favorite to win the America East, but this statement is looking bleaker by the day. Coach Chambers has some serious work to do before their next game at Agganis Arena, this Thursday vs. New Hampshire.
Digging Deeper Into the Terrier Season
Despite the recent Terrier losses to Stony Brook and Vermont, BU has shown signs of brightness over the course of the season. A strong nonconference schedule, which included games against ranked teams UConn and Dayton, as well as a trip down to Puerto Rico where BU faced top teams Kansas State, Georgia Tech, and Indiana should have prepared the Terriers for America East competition. Coach Chambers challenged his pupils early and even though the team lost many of the games against the bigger schools, fans felt that his team would roll all over America East competition. However, this has not been the case. BU has played down to its competition and have been plagued all season by slow starts to games.
Early turnovers and poor shooting allowed both Vermont and Stony Brook to jump out to huge first half leads. The Terriers found themselves down 20-2 and 13-0 very early in both games. Similar to previous seasons, BU is also lacking a scoring presence in the paint. Omari Peterkin was the last inside presence that BU had, and he was not a skilled inside scorer by any means. Jeff Pelage is this season’s “Omari”, but Jeff has struggled with early fouls and still needs to gain confidence around the basket.
The motto “live by the three, and die by the three” is an accurate description for the Terriers this season. BU is a combined 14-59 (24%) from three point land in their losses. The next couple of games will be a huge test for BU and their eventual seeding in the conference tournament. With the top six teams only separated by two games in the standings, the number one seed is still up for grabs. Five out of the remaining six games will be played in the friendly confines of either Agganis Arena or Case Gym, and this should give the Terriers the advantage on paper. The end of the season will be a wild finish to determine who will be dancing in March.