By Brian Willwerth
With conference play in full force, we begin our weekly look at the Division 1 schools in Massachusetts.
* Let’s start with Northeastern. They’re not just the Huskies; they’re the first-place Huskies. NU is a perfect 6-0 in the CAA, with four of those wins coming away from Matthews Arena. What’s more: their next four games are all at home. Joel Smith, averaging nearly 16 points per game, leads the Huskies. Is this the year Northeastern goes dancing for the first time since 1991?
* Speaking of teams dreaming about going to the Big Dance, that’s what they’re doing in Amherst. UMass is 12-5 on the year, and off to a 2-2 start in a loaded Atlantic-10 that now includes ranked powerhouses Butler and VCU. The Minutemen get the Bulldogs at home, but have to travel to Richmond to take on the Rams. You’d have to think UMass needs to win at least one of those games to get one of those so-called “quality wins” on its resume.
* At Boston University, the Terriers are ineligible for the NCAA tournament because they’re jumping to the Patriot League next year. So it’s easy to overlook the fact that the women’s hoops team is on a serious roll. With a comeback victory over UNH on Saturday, BU has won 13 in a row, and is 16-3 overall. The Terriers have a first place showdown coming up against Albany on Wednesday night at The Roof.