After a poor week to begin February, Boston's area teams look to gain some momentum this week with some very winnable games. Saturday night's contests between Harvard and Princeton and UConn and Syracuse, highlight the upcoming week's schedule.
It was a difficult week for everyone in the area except for Harvard with the local teams combining to go just: 4-8, with the Crimson earning two of those wins. This week Harvard will get two tougher tests, when they take to the road for a weekend set against two of their biggest Ivy League challengers. UConn's the other team with an extremely difficult road ahead of them this week; the Huskies travel to take on #24 Louisville Monday night and then play at the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon against #2 Syracuse. Our other five teams have excellent chances to gain some momentum in conference play, with at least one winnable game each.
Monday February 6
Boston University (12-13, 8-3 America East) @ Albany (15-10, 7-4 AE) 7 p.m. EDT (All times EDT)
The Terriers have dominated this dogfight, with six consecutive wins and 15 wins in 23 matchups all-time. Boston University won the first game between these two teams 70-57 in Boston on MLK Day and thoroughly dominated the Great Danes. This game should be much more difficult, as Albany is 9-1 at home this season and will look to get the nation's sixth leading scorer, Gerardo Suero, on track, after a very poor game, the first time these teams met. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 7 of 10
UConn Huskies (15-7, 5-5 Big East) @ #24 Louisville (18-5, 6-4 BE) 7 p.m. ESPN
UConn continues their most difficult stretch in Big East play this week when they take on #24 Louisville for their lone meeting of the season. The Huskies responded well on Saturday without Jim Calhoun, to bring their record to 2-2 in games he's had to miss (three-game suspension earlier this season) but Louisville is a much different beast than Seton Hall was. The Cardinals have won four in a row and are 14-2 at the KFC Yum! Center and are playing some of their best basketball all season. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 4 of 5, Overall: 8 of 10
Wednesday February 8
Holy Cross (9-13, 3-5 Patriot League) @ Navy (3-19, 0-8 Patriot) 7 p.m.
Navy is one of the worst teams in the country (RPI of 323 out of 344 teams) and could help spark a potential winning streak for the Crusaders. That's if Holy Cross can come away with a victory in Annapolis, the Crusaders are just 1-11 away from home this season and only beat the Midshipmen by four the first time around (73-69). Significance: 2 of 5, Quality: 1 of 5, Overall: 3 of 10
Florida State (16-6, 7-1 ACC) @ Boston College (7-16, 2-7 ACC) 7 p.m. ESPN3
Boston College's struggles look like they'll continue when they bring their season-high, six-game losing streak into Conte Forum against a Seminoles squad that has won seven in a row. The one good news for Eagles fans is they're not closing up shop, Boston College has lost their past two games by a combined nine points and held leads in the final 10 minutes of both games. Junior guard Matt Humphrey has been a bright spot during the stretch averaging over 14 points per game and four rebounds. Significance: 1 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 3 of 10
Northeastern (11-12, 7-6 Colonial Athletic Association) @ Georgia State (16-8, 8-5 CAA) 7 p.m.
At one point Georgia State led the Colonial conference standings and looked like a real contender, then they went to Matthews Arena. Northeastern's 60-57 victory derailed the Panthers, who are just 3-3 since the contest, after beginning the conference season 5-1. In the January 18 contest, the Huskies hit 11-of-21 threes, including eight in the first half, and Jonathan Lee hit two free throws with 15 seconds to go to put away the Panthers. Significance: 3 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 6 of 10
St. Bonaventure (12-8, 5-3 Atlantic 10) @ UMass (17-6, 6-3 A10) 7:30 p.m.
UMass' loss last Wednesday gives them little to no room for error going forward and that includes losing any game at home. The Minutemen will put their 11-0 home mark to the test against a St. Bonaventure side that is among the six teams within a game of the Atlantic 10 conference lead. Just like the Minutemen though, the young Bonnies squad has struggled on the road, winning just one of four games in conference and five of 11 games overall. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 7 of 10
Thursday February 9
Maine University (11-10, 5-5 America East) @ Boston University (12-13, 8-3 AE) 7 p.m.
It's a weird week for the Terriers who don't play a Friday, Saturday or Sunday game for the first time since Finals Period in December. Boston University earned one of, if not their biggest, win of the season when these two teams played their first time in Orono. After a strong first half by the Black Bears, the Terriers outscored Maine 50-35 in the second half, behind 24 second-half points from senior guard Darryl Partin. Significance: 3 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 5 of 10
Friday February 10
Harvard (20-2, 6-0 Ivy League) @ Pennsylvania (12-10, 4-1 Ivy League) 7 p.m.
Princeton was supposed to be Harvard's biggest threat in the Ivies again this season, but the upstart Quakers could play the role of the dark horse in the league. Because of UPenn's success, this weekend has become the most important on the Crimson's schedule. With a win the Quakers would move into a tie with the Crimson, with their only loss coming on the road to Yale, if the Crimson win, they'll hold a two-game lead with seven games to play. Significance: 5 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 7 of 10
Saturday February 11
Northeastern (11-12, 7-6 Colonial Athletic Association) @ William & Mary (4-21, 2-11) 7 p.m. ESPN3
Northeastern has firmly entrenched themselves in the middle of the CAA standings and a big part of that has been their ability to beat down the teams in the conference's cellar. William & Mary certainly fits the bill of a struggling team in the CAA, as they've dropped six straight contests and haven't beaten a team above .500 all year long. The first time these two teams met Northeastern rolled to a 64-50 victory. Significance: 2 of 5, Quality 2 of 5, Overall: 4 of 10
American (15-8, 6-2 Patriot League) @ Holy Cross (9-13, 3-5 Patriot) 2 p.m.
If Holy Cross is going to be taken seriously by anyone in the Patriot League, they need to start winning against the five teams above them in the league standings. Thus far the Crusaders are just 1-5 against those teams, including a 67-54 loss to the Eagles on January 14. In that game, Holy Cross made a huge comeback from 18 points down, but then were held without a field goal for the final 9:20, as they went from leading 47-46, to losing by 13. Significance: 2 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 4 of 10
UMass (17-6, 6-3 Atlantic 10) @ St. Joseph's (15-9, 5-4 A10) 7 p.m.
This is a sneaky good matchup between two of the teams that are supposedly in the second tier of Atlantic 10 teams. While UMass has stuck around at or near the top of the Atlantic 10 standings behind their strong play at home and softer schedule, St. Joe's has waded through a tremendously difficult schedule to start A10 play. Both teams have a shot at finishing amongst the top two to four teams in the conference, but need to finish strong and this win would be key. The first time they met UMass pulled off a 71-62 win, but only after overcoming a 17-point halftime deficit at home. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 7 of 10
GAME OF THE WEEK: Harvard (20-2, 6-0 Ivy League) @ Princeton (11-10, 2-3 Ivy) 7 p.m. ESPNU
One of our two games of the week, is a rematch of last season's epic Ivy League One-Game Championship that the Tigers won at the buzzer. Harvard has been fantastic the past two seasons but are still looking for their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance thanks to two tight losses last season against Princeton. The Crimson will look to get a little bit of revenge against the Tigers and ensure a less stressful Selection Sunday, when they tip off against a Princeton squad that has struggled a bit (2-3) in conference play. Significance: 5 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 8 of 10
GAME OF THE WEEK: UConn (15-7, 5-5 Big East) @ #2 Syracuse (23-1, 10-1 Big East) 1 p.m. ESPN
Syracuse and UConn always seem to put on a show and the Huskies desperately need a big win to improve their resume after a disastrous January. The last time these teams played they didn't disappoint, UConn earned a 76-71 overtime victory in the Big East Semifinals at MSG, en route to a Big East Title and eventually a national championship. The Huskies hope the Orange can provide a similar spark this time around, as UConn's impressive roster has underachieved all year. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 4 of 5, Overall: 8 of 10
Sunday February 12
Boston College (7-16, 2-7 ACC) @ Virginia Tech (13-10, 2-6 ACC) 6 p.m. ESPNU
Boston College gets one of their three remaining best chances at a win this year, when they travel to play a Hokies squad they've already beaten. Virginia Tech has really struggled in conference play after an 11-4 start to the season and are among the four ACC teams that have just two wins in conference play. In the Eagles 61-59 victory at Conte Forum almost a month ago, freshmen center Dennis Clifford led the way with 15 points and Humphrey added 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Significance: 1 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 3 of 10