Friday, March 20, 2009

Huge Day in BC Sports

I am not sure if I can emphasize this enough, but I'll try: TODAY IS A HUGE DAY IN BC SPORTS. We have NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament action and we have Hockey East Semifinal action. I am going to preview both games for you.

I'll start with the Basketball Game first:
#7 Boston College (22-11) vs. #10 Southern California (21-12) - 7:20 PM EST.
Boston College has had 6 days off since they last played vs. Duke in the ACC tournament. BC came oh so close in that game, losing by only 1 with a last second jumper from Rakim Sanders bouncing of the front of the rim. BC is also going to be making the trip back to the NCAA tournament after a year hiatus. They were one of the big surprises on Selection Sunday as well, not because they got in but because they got such a high seed (7 seed). The Eagles must have been exstatic to get out of the 8/9 slot due to who they would play if they are able to get past the first round.

Now onto the game. They are going to be facing one of the hottest teams in the NCAA tournament in Southern Cal. The Trojans caught fire at the end of the year winning 5 in a row, including 3 in a row to win the Pac-10 Tournament. They are considered the best 10 seed in the tournament by some people however they did finish 5th in down Pac-10 this year. USC should not be under estimated because they do have a great team and do play some great defense. But they do struggle mightly on the road, having only won 3 games on the road all season with one of them being against Chatanooga and the other being against lowly Oregon. BC may just have another advantage against them as well. They are going to be playing in the Metrodome in Minneapolis and it is often said that your shot changes in a dome. Therefore, BC playing in the Georgia Dome last week in the ACC tourament will give them a huge advantage against USC who hasn't played in a dome all year.

USC has some very great players which is going to lead to some very great matchups in this game. I am going to give a little preview of a few of those in this game:

DeMar DeRozan (USC) vs. Rakim Sanders (BC)
DeMar DeRozan is one of the premire Freshmen around the country and he is also one of the most athletic players in the nation. Rakim Sanders is also one of the most versitile wings in the nation as he can post up in the paint or drill the open three pointer. This is going to be the most intreging matchup of the game as these two will probably going to be going head to head on both ends of the floor. Rakim Sanders is known to be one of the better and most aggressive defenders in the ACC while DeRozan has been a question mark all year. If Rakim Sanders can hit his shots early and get hot he can definitely get the better of this matchup but if not BC may be in trouble because DeRozan is very good on the offensive end.

Marcus Simmons (USC) vs. Tyrese Rice (BC)
Marcus Simmons is known to be USC's lockdown defender. He was able to shut down UCLA's best guard Darren Collison in the Pac-10 and has really come on in the second half of the year. While Tyrese Rice is considered one of the best Points Gaurds in the country as he can put up 40 points in any game. Rice has struggle for the past couple weeks as he has only been shooting around 35%. But he seems to always show up in big games and this is probably the biggest game of the year. If Rice can take Simmons off the dribble and get to the rim a lot, I like BC changes but if Simmons is able to force turnovers BC may just be in trouble.

Taj Gibson (USC) vs. Josh Southern (BC)
Taj Gibson is the Pac-10 defensive player of the year and he can block almost everything on the defensive end but he can also put the ball in the basket on the offensive end. Josh Southern has matured over the season and his post game on both ends of the floor has improved greatly. The key to this matchup is foul trouble, if one of the two is able to stay on the floor while the other is in foul trouble then that team will be in trouble. Both of these guys have had trouble stay on the floor all year so if either team wants to win, these two need to stay discipline and stay on the floor.

There you have it...If BC can win two of the three matchups I think they will win. My prediction for the game BC 75 USC 71.

Now onto the other important game of the night....
#6 Seeded Boston College (18-13-5) vs. #1 Seeded Boston University (29-6-4) - Appox. 8:00 PM EST.
The rivalry renews. This time in the Hockey East semifinals. If you looked at the BC hockey team after the third BC/BU game (where BC lost 5-2) you would have thought these teams won't meet in the postseason this year because BC was playing that bad. However, Jerry York has worked his magic again and somehow got BC to win 5 of their last 6 beating Northeastern once, Providence twice and sweeping New Hampshire in the Hockey East Quarterfinals last weekend. This team just seems to love the playoffs and they seem to just know how to win when they need to and they sure need to win this game. BC is playing for their NCAA tournament lives, they are currently in 17th in the PWR rankings (the rankings the NCAA uses to select the field) and can only have any shot at the making the field if they win tonight. BU has a #1 seed all but locked up but they still have something to play for. BC has knocked BU out of the playoffs many a times in the last decade and this is their chance to do the same and you better believe they will be ready to play and I'm sure Coach York will have his boys ready to play as well. There are several things I think BC needs to do in order to win this game and I am going to give them to you along with my prediction for the game.

TOTH's Keys to the Game:
1. John Muse - if BC wants to have any chance, John Muse has to continue to play the way he has been playing in the last few weeks. He shutout UNH last Saturday, a week after recieving the Hockey East defensive player of the week title. He needs to build off of that success in order for BC to win.
2. Defense - I am not going to sugar coat it, the defense has been terrible all year up until the last few weeks as well. They need to play more responsibly defensively, not turn the puck over in the defensive and neutral zones. BU has some great scorers and play makers like Colin Wilson and Matt Gilroy so BC needs to be extra careful around them. Petrecki needs to continue to be physical but he also needs to be smart and not get goaded into stupid penalties. If they play well, John Muse plays better as does the rest of the team.
3. Brock Bradford - BC needs to go up early and Brock Bradford is one of the best goal scorers in the country. If Bradford can give BC a lead early it is going to give them a huge confidence booster which could be the key to victory.

My Prediction: I think BC plays extremely well but I think they fall just short because of their weak backend....BU 3 BC 2 in 2OT. (I sure hope I am wrong though)

Here's to a great a great day for BC sports and I sure hope both teams can pull out the victories leading to an even better night!



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