Wesley Saunders (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

Harvard

Record: 23-4, 10-1 (1st in Ivy League)

Harvard went 7-1 in February to secure its place atop the Ivy League standings, demolishing Penn and Cornell twice each and losing only to Yale on February 8. The Crimson’s seven wins came by a whopping 17.3 points on average, as it took full advantage of the weaker Ivy teams. More importantly, Harvard went 2-1 in a stretch in which it played its three toughest rivals, Brown, Yale and Columbia, in succession. The not-so-good news is that the Crimson’s final three games are once again against those three teams, although it faces that stretch with a two-game lead over Yale. The Ivy League has no tournament, so the regular season champion qualifies directly for the NCAA Tournament.

Harvard has the stingiest defense in the conference, allowing just 59.9 points per game, which ranks 12th in Division I. Shooting guard Wesley Saunders leads the Crimson with 14.1 points and 1.8 steals per game, point guard Siyani Chambers averages 11.1 points and a team-high 4.6 assists, and Medway native Kyle Casey is scoring an even 10 per contest.

Continue reading College Basketball February Roundup: 4 Mass. Teams in Good Position for Stretch Run »

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The Eagles celebrated on the Carrier Dome floor after their upset of previously undefeated Syracuse. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

Boston College handed #1 Syracuse its first defeat of the 2013-14 season, a 62-59 overtime stunner at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday. The win ended a five-game losing streak for a BC team that has only won two games in Atlantic Coast Conference play this season, both against Virginia Tech. It was an emotional victory for the Eagles, who were wearing “DK” patches on their jerseys in honor of longtime sports information director Dick Kelley, who passed away on February 13 after a battle with ALS.

The unlikeliness of BC’s upset is best reflected in the folowing stat: its 19 losses are the most ever by a team to beat the top-ranked team in the AP standings. The Orange had won their first 25 games by an average of 11.8 points, but had beaten their last two rivals, Pittsburgh and North Carolina State, by a total of just three points. In these teams’ first meeting, Syracuse prevailed 69-59 at the Conte Forum on January 13.

Continue reading BC Ends Top-Ranked Syracuse’s Undefeated Season with Huge Upset »

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Chaz Williams (Photo courtesy of umassathletics.com)

#21 Massachusetts

Record: 17-3, 4-2 (4th in Atlantic 10 Conference)

UMass climbed as high as number 13 in the AP rankings in January, before dropping two of its last three games of the month and plunging down to number 21, still two spots higher than it was at the end of December. The Minutemen reeled off five straight wins to start 2014, none by more than 10 points, including their first three conference games. Losses at Richmond and at St. Bonaventure, who they’d beaten earlier in the month, left them two games behind #19 Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 standings.

UMass still owns the highest-scoring offense in the conference at 81.6 points per game, which ranks 41st nationally. Guard Chaz Williams leads the Minutemen in scoring (15.7 points), assists (7.3) and steals (1.5). Power forward Cady Lalanne has 13.5 points per game and a team-leading 9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Also averaging double-figure scoring are forwards Sampson Carter (10.8) and Raphiael Putney (10.7).

Continue reading College Basketball January Roundup: UMass Holds in Top 25 »

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Cady Lalanne, Chaz Williams (umassathletics.com)

#23 Massachusetts

Record: 11-1 (1st in Atlantic 10 Conference)

UMass climbed one spot in the AP rankings over the month of December despite sustaining its first loss of the season, a narrow five-point defeat at Florida State on the 21st. The Minutemen bounced back from that setback with a 69-67 overtime victory over Providence to close out 2013 on a high note. Overall, they continued their dominant run in a month that included their first 100-point game - a 105-96 defeat of BYU on the 7th - and their largest margin of victory of the season in an 80-54 drubbing of Northern Illinois one week later.

Massachusetts rings in the new year in a virtual tie with Saint Louis (12-2) atop the Atlantic 10, and continues to lead the conference in offensive production with 81.6 points per game. Five players are averaging double figures in scoring: guard Chaz Williams (15.3 points with 7.7 assists per game), center Cady Lalanne (14 ppg on 58.3% field goals with 10.1 rebounds), forward Sampson Carter (12.8), forward Raphiael Putney (10.8) and guard Derrick Gordon (10.2).

Continue reading College Basketball December Roundup: UMass, Harvard in First Place »

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B. J. Denker (AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Douglas Collier)

Arizona, 42; Boston College, 19

Boston College’s eagerly anticipated return to postseason football following a two-year absence turned out to be something of a bust, as the Eagles were soundly defeated by the Arizona Wildcats in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Lousiana. Arizona outgained BC 529 to 351 in total yards and Ka’Deem Carey easily outdueled Andre Williams in the matchup of the nation’s top two running backs.

The Eagles got off to a rough start, as quarterback Chase Rettig threw an interception on the opening drive to safety Jared Tevis, who pulled the ball down at the Arizona 46-yard line. The Wildcats only made it three plays, though, before Carey fumbled the ball at the BC 30, with the defense recovering. It was midway through the first quarter that Carey made up for his mistake by scoring on a two-yard touchdown run. Boston College got on the board before the end of the period with kicker Nate Freese‘s 32-yard field goal to make it 7-3 Arizona.

Continue reading BC Gets Blown Out in AdvoCare V100 Bowl »

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Charley Molnar (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The University of Massachusetts Amherst fired head coach Charley Molnar last Thursday following the program’s second straight 1-11 season. The 2013 season was also the Minutemen’s second at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, after their move from the FCS. In a statement, director of athletics John McCutcheon said that “it has become clear … that we must improve our performance in several areas and move in a new direction to ensure success in the FBS.”

Molnar was signed to a five-year contract when UMass moved to the FBS and the Mid-American Conference after the 2011 season, taking over from Kevin Morris. Although the transition to the top flight was expected to be rough, Molnar’s situation started to turn south in September, when the Daily Hampshire Gazette revealed a 2012 video that showed players boxing and wrestling each other, a practice that has since been banned by the NCAA. A group of former Minutemen football players called for the end of such practices, which Molnar defended in the interest of building “mental toughness and accountability.”

Continue reading UMass Fires Charley Molnar After Two Seasons »

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fenway park

Football returns to Fenway Park on November 21, 2015, when Boston College will take on Notre Dame. This is the first time the pigskin flies through the air in Kenmore Square since 1968.

Professional football has a rich history in Boston. Believe it, or not, three professional franchises called Fenway Park home: the Redskins in the 1930s, the Boston Yanks, and the Boston Patriots. The Redskins shipped out of Boston in 1936 for Washington, D.C. The Boston Yanks played four seasons at America’s most beloved ballpark from 1944-1948. After this franchise folded, the final team to play on the outfield grass was the Boston Patriots. The last game played in 1968 was against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pats would move to Foxboro in 1969.

Continue reading Fenway Park to Host Football Again for BC-Notre Dame Rivalry »

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