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Boston Terriers at Kentucky Wildcats: Game Preview

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Boston was a fine team last season, and got to the NIT. But against the suddenly monstrous Kentucky Wildcats, this looks to be a tough spot for the scrappy New Englanders.

Boston's John Papale
Boston's John Papale
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After a pretty dramatic and… dare I rhyme it… emphatic victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, the Kentucky Wildcats welcome the Boston Terriers into Rupp Arena. Once again, this is part of the inaugural Cawood Ledford Classic early-season event. You may recall that former Kentucky coach and current Louisville Cardinals coach Rick Pitino was the head coach of the Terriers from 1978-1983, and he amassed a 91-51 record there, taking BU to the NIT once and to the NCAA Tournament once.

Boston University made the transition from the America East Conference to the Patriot League last season, and finished at the top of the league, losing to Illinois in the first round of the NIT by only 4 points, 66-62. They lost in the Patriot League tournament to American to miss the NCAA’s.

General

About Boston:

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Conference: Patriot League
Head Coach: Joe Jones (since 2011)
NCAA Appearances: # 7
Most recent NCAA appearance: 2011
Most recent NCAA win: 2011
Founded: 1839
Enrollment: 33,421
Last season’s record: 24-11, 15-3
Source: Basketball State

Season so far for OPP:

Season record: 1-1, (0-0 conf.)

Boston University lost their first game of the season to Northwestern, at the TD Garden in Boston, a semi-home game by six. In their most recent game on Wednesday, they defeated the Norfolk State Spartans 71-63.

Series history

Kentucky and BU have met a totals of three times previous to this; 1986, 1994 and 2010. Kentucky has won all three contests by significant margins.

Stats

TEAM Roster:

NO NAME Status Year POS HT WT Hometown/Last School
0 Eric Johnson S FR G 6-2 180 Durham, N.C./Carlisle (Va.)
22 Nathan Dieudonne S JR F 6-7 225 Louisville, Ky./Trinity
32 Justin Alston S JR F 6-8 220 Washington D.C./Archbishop Carroll
2 John Papale S* JR G 6-3 190 Wallingford, Conn./Choate Rosemary Hall
21 Cedric Hankerson S* SO G 6-5 190 Miami, Fla./Coral Reef
15 Cheddi Mosely MR FR G 6-3 175 Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony's
3 Eric Fanning MR+ SO G 6-5 190 Trenton, N.J./Wagner
5 Blaise Mbargorba R+ SO C 6-11 210 Hightstown, N.J./SMU
41 Dylan Haines R@ SO F 7-0 230 Liverpool, N.Y./St. Thomas More (Conn.)
1 Nick Havener R FR F 6-8 200 Sarasota, Fla./Riverview
13 Will Goff R FR G 6-3 180 Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain
14 Braiten Madrigal R& SO G 6-4 180 Downey, Calif./St. John Bosco
20 Cameron Curry R& SO G 5-9 170 West Covina, Calif./Chino Hills
25 Dylan Brossman R& SR G 5-9 160 Reamstown, Pa./Cocalico









Legend





S Starter
MR Major reserve
R Reserve
* Returning starter
@ Returning player
+ Eligible redshirt
& Walk on

Source: Boston University Athletics

Team Comparison

Stat UK BU
Record 3-0 1-1
RPI 10 55
Home 2-0 0-0
Away 0-0 1-0
Neutral 1-0 0-1
Top 25 1-0 0-0
Sched. Strength 32 42
AP Rank 1 NR
Coaches Rank 1 NR
Kenpom.com 1 130

Source: Statsheet.com

Four Factors

Kentucky vs. Boston pregame four factors

Boston University Team Notes

  • BU has shot the ball very well overall this season, both inside and outside the arc. Kentucky must guard the perimeter in this game, as Boston shoots a lot of threes (over 37% of their shots are from outside).

  • The Terriers do not rebound the ball particularly well (29.3% OR).

  • Boston gets to the line a lot. Their FTR is 39th in Division I, well better than Kentucky at 183

  • Boston takes reasonably good care of the basketball, but they can be turnover prone.

  • Boston has a nice mix of experience and youth in their starting five, but they are very young off the bench.

  • Boston is a smallish team, and their significant size has not been particularly good so far.

Boston University Player notes

  • Sophomore swingman Cedrick Hankerson leads the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and is used in over 28% of possessions. He plays 90% of available minutes. He’s also the best passer on the team.

  • Eric Johnson is nominally the starting point guard, a freshman who rarely shoots. He’s struggled with turnovers, as freshmen will.

  • Nathan Dieudonne, a junior foward, leads the team in rebounding. Dieudonne is from Trinity High School in Louisville.

  • Justin Alston, a junior forward, is the only starter who has not attempted a 3-pint shot this season.

  • Junior guard John Papale is the biggest 3-point threat on the team, making 6-13 attempts. Reserve Cheddi Mosley is also a dangerous shooter from the perimeter and has made 5 of 7 attempts on the year.

Injuries

No injuries to report for either team.

Likely matchups

Starters

  • Eric Johnson vs. Andrew Harrison/Tyler Ulis — This is a rare circumstance where Kentucky is more experienced than their opponent. Johnson, on paper, is no match for Andrew in any area I can see. He’s smaller and turns the ball over a lot. Against Ulis, I think Johnson will struggle to bring the ball up the court.

Advantage: Kentucky

  • John Papale vs. Aaron Harrison/Devin Booker — This is a fairly even matchup on paper. Aaron is bigger, but Papale is a dangerous shooter who can really stroke it, and will demand a lot of energy to defend. Aaron is more talented, however, and is due for a big game. Booker’s energy will make Papale work very hard defensively just to keep up with him.

Advantage: Kentucky

  • Cedric Hankerson vs. Alex Poythress/Trey Lyles — Hankerson may be more of a 2-guard than a forward, and his speed may give Poythress problems. He’s a good player with a lot of skill and can make shots from inside and out. But Poythress’ defensive prowess and athleticism make it tough for Hankerson to have a big game. When Lyles is in the game, Hankerson just won’t be able to handle his size and overall skill.

Advantage: Kentucky

  • Nathan Dieudonne vs. Willie Cauley-Stein/Marcus Lee — Dieudonne is at a tremendous size disadvantage, and it will be hard for him to rebound against this kind of size and athleticism. When Lee is in the game, he’ll have exactly the same problem.

Advantage: Kentucky

  • Justin Alston vs. Karl-Anthony Towns/Dakari Johnson — Size an length are going to make for a long night for Alston. He’s neither big enough nor long enough to deal with Kentucky at this spot.

Advantage: Kentucky

Bench

Cheddi Mosley is a talented freshman wing guard who can score. He’ll be the first guy off the bench moving Hankerson to ballhandling duties. That may be BU’s most productive lineup. Eric Fanning is a sophomore guard who has provided good minutes in relief, and Blaise Mbargorba brings needed size to the game, although he’s not thick enough to provide much help on the glass.

Kentucky’s two main bench players, Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins will probably be in the game early on this one. They are a match for any of BU’s players at their positions, and Willis may be better than anyone on BU’s team.

Advantage: Kentucky

Analysis

Boston is a good team, and no mistake. They are a top three team in the Patriot League this season, and although they lack quality depth, their starters are skilled and dangerous. The problem is, they are running up against a team that is vastly bigger, stronger, and more talented than the Terriers.

If Kentucky comes out with energy in this game, it will become uncompetitive very quickly. Now that the Wildcats have a taste of blood in their mouths after the rude dismissal of the Kansas Jayhawks Tuesday night in the Champions Classic, they have some idea of just how devastating they can be defensively when they keep their feet and trust the interior help. Assuming Kentucky brings that energy, the Terriers will struggle even to get a shot off inside 18 feet.

This is a bad time for the Terriers to run into Kentucky, and they are likely to suffer a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Wildcats.