The Boston University men’s basketball team (19-9, 11-3 America East) did more than just live up to expectations this season. With their sixth straight win capping the regular season, the America East co-champions have momentum on their side.
Beginning this Saturday, the Terriers will attempt to do something they haven’t done since 1997: win the America East tournament and make a trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Terriers will face seventh-seeded Northeastern University (7-20, 5-11) tomorrow at Matthews Arena. The Huskies have given the Terriers fits in the past, including an overtime thriller at Northeastern earlier this season, when BU pulled out a 95-88 win. The Terriers were also victorious at Case Gymnasium, beating the Huskies 63-57.
While the Terriers are currently riding their second six-game winning streak of the season, the Huskies come into the first round in a slump. They have dropped six of their last nine games. BU and Northeastern have met eight times in the conference tournament and have split the series, though BU has won the last four meetings.
One concern for BU is the status of their leading rebounder, co-captain Billy Collins. The junior forward was re-evaluated on Wednesday and is expected to play while wearing a protective sleeve on his right wrist. Collins grabbed 12 points, eight boards and two assists per game this season. He ranked third in the conference in rebounding.
Freshman guard Chaz Carr has been on fire of late, receiving America East Rookie of the Week honors for the fourth time in his first year. Carr has also been named America East Player of the Week once this season, and averaged 14 points in two Terrier wins last week. Carr torched the Huskies for a season-high 36 points in the first meeting between the two teams this season.
In 100 years of basketball at Boston University, the Terriers have made five appearances in the NCAA tournament, the most recent of which was in 1997.
Of the teams remaining in the conference after the departure of the University of Delaware, Hofstra University, and Drexel University, BU and Northeastern are the only two schools to have ever won the conference championship.
If the Terriers win tomorrow’s game, Sunday they will play the winner of the Hartford University and Albany University game. The conference championship will be the following Saturday.