Who plays?: Mt. St. Mary's (1-2) hosts the Boston University Terriers (3-1) in their first home game at the Knott Arena this year
What's at stake?: The Northeast Conference and the America East are two Mid-major conferences that are always trying to gain superiority in this section of the country. This matchup features the two preseason favorites in both. Boston University has gotten off to a better start winning three in a row, while the Mount has dropped two straight after winning its opener. The Mounties embark on another three game road trip after this game, they'd like to gain some momentum before heading out.
When is tipoff?: Saturday Night at home, 7:00pm.
Where is the game?: The Mount opens its home schedule. Part of the festivites will be the raising of the NEC championship banner. The game is also the Mount's first home game since longtime head coach Jim Phelan was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. If you can't make it to the game, and what excuse can you possibly have other than a Christmas parade or something, WTHU-AM Thurmont 1450 will have the radio call. Steve Stofberg and The Mouth of the Mount Roy Sigler bring you the action on the Mount Radio Network. Sigler was the head coach at Boston University in the early 70's before Rick Pitino arrived.
The Analysis: Another quality mid-major matchup for the Mount. The Mount is ranked #23 in CollegeInsider.com's mid-major poll, the Terriers are also receiving votes. Still the Mount has struggled to get wins against its difficult schedule at the start of the season, while BU has pulled in wins against Bucknell, St. Peter's and hometown rival Northeastern. The Mount has struggled to find consistent scoring behind guards Jeremy Goode and Jean Cajou. Kelly Beidler and Shawn Atupem have both provided possibilities, but the Mount needs to continue to develop more of an inside game. I also think that this could be the game you see the Mount's up-tempo attack really flourish. BU made 15 three-pointers in the win on Tuesday over Northeastern and has had a trio of players John Holland, Corey Lowe and Jake O'Brien averaging more than 13 points.
Advantages for Mt. St. Mary's: Playing at home with all the celebration going on from last year should provide a boost to the Mount. Also the team should be playing with confidence after near losses on the road at Virginia Tech and George Mason. Plus, the fact that BU plays a more up-tempo style than the last two opponents, should help the Mount's offense solve some of its recent difficulties.
Advantages for Boston University: A wise man once said, "there is no substitute for winning games" And if a wise man never said that, I just did. BU has been winning games - and Northeastern was picked to finish ahead of George Mason in the CAA, so you can't knock the level of competition. Plus the Terriers seem to have the offense going both inside and outside, with Lowe and Holland knocking down jumpshots and O'Brien gaining points inside.
What to expect?: I think this is going to be an entertaining home opener. The homecourt advantage might not be as much as it normally is as the Mount Maniacs are on Thanksgiving break, but playing at home with the championship ceremonies should help the team. I think the uptempo style from both teams will end up being to the Mount's favor. I also expect that the Mount's defensive intensity will not allow the Terriers to make 15 three-pointers. Of particular interest will be how the Mount defends Holland, a 6-5 wing player with range. I would expect Beidler will be a key asset in this area. The end result could depend on this matchup. In the end, I expect the Mount to prevail 78-72, but it won't be easy.