By Brian Willwerth
It’s been a long time since Boston University will see a sports weekend quite like this.
We all know about the success of the hockey team over the years. That hasn’t changed much. The Terriers are hosting Northeastern in the Hockey East quarterfinals and this particular Hockey East opening round match up promises to be some quality hockey.
But what really spices up the weekend, is what will play out on the court.
The men’s basketball team hosts Stony Brook in a nationally-televised game on Saturday afternoon at Agganis Arena. The winner goes to the NCAA tournament. BU lost in the title game last year in Vermont. But now, the Terriers get to host the America East championship game for the first time since 2003, and it’s the first time hosting the game at Agganis (they play the majority of their home games up the street at Case Gym, a.k.a. “The Roof.”)
The player to watch in this game will be senior John Holland, the America East Player of the Year. He leads the Terriers by averaging 19 points per game. He’s only the 2nd player in BU history to score more than 2,000 points in his career (Tunji Awojobi is the other.) If Holland has a big game Saturday, BU will be tough to beat.
BU swept Stony Brook during the regular season. But the Seawolves cannot be overlooked. They’re looking for their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. SBU has won four straight – including an upset of top-seeded Vermont in the America East semifinals.
The Terriers have won ten in a row. An eleventh straight victory would earn them their first ticket to the Big Dance since 2002.
If all of this isn’t enough, the Lady Terriers host Hartford Saturday night with a tourney berth on the line. That game tips off at 7 p.m. at The Roof. The BU women’s team hasn’t hosted a championship game since 1990. The Lady Terriers have only been to the Dance once; that was back in 2003.
It will be interesting to see if Agganis Arena and The Roof are sold out on Saturday. BU does not exactly pack ‘em in for basketball. I can tell you from personal experience: it is an accomplishment when 1,000 fans make it to a game at either location. If that’s not enough, Spring Break starts this weekend. That didn’t stop Vermont fans from packing Patrick Gymnasium for the title game last year.
We’ll see if BU fans show there’s more to athletics than just hockey.