After playing seven games in 15 days the Notre Dame basketball team has had a full six days off between last Saturday's game against Ohio State and tonight's home contest with Boston University. The Irish will entertain the Terriers (5-3) at 7 p.m. at the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said that he wanted his team to get its legs back for its final three games before opening Big East play on Dec. 31. Tonight's game is the first of those three followed by home dates with Delaware State and Savannah State.
Boston University does not have a true signature win, but the Terriers have been competitive in all eight of their games. Boston University opened the season with a tough 63-58 overtime loss to George Washington before running off wins over Bucknell, St. Peter's and Northeastern.
The Terriers lost 78-69 at Mount Saint Mary's before defeating Harvard and losing to Marshall at home 84-80. In their last game out, the Terriers beat Yale 55-43.
Junior guard Corey Lowe leads Boston University with 19.3 points per game along with 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Sophomore guard/forward John Holland is averaging 16.5 points and a team-leading 5.3 boards. The Terriers have received solid contributions from freshman forward Jake O'Brien, who is averaging 12.6 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Dennis Wolff is in his 15th season as head coach at Boston University and his son, senior guard Matt Wolff, brings a steady presence to the backcourt.
Holland led Boston University with 22 points and eight rebounds in the loss to the Colonials while Lowe's layup with two seconds left sent the game to overtime. Lowe had a career-high 36 points in the loss to the Thundering Herd, but Marshall converted 25 of 30 second-half free throws to pull out the victory.
Brey has said that he wants his team to do a better job on the glass and this is a game where the Irish should be able to do just that.
The Terriers have been outrebounded by almost four boards per game and have just two contributors over 6-foot-8. Junior forward Scott Brittain checks in at 6-9 and freshman center Jeff Pelage measures 6-9, but together they average less than 20 minutes per game.
The Terriers have proven that they can keep it close even in high-scoring games, but Notre Dame will obviously want to play the game at a faster pace. Boston University is averaging 69.8 points while allowing 66.5. The Irish should be able to get easy points in transition as the Terriers have a less than 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ration.
Brey has said that he expects Preseason All-American forward Luke Harangody to be at 100% after a bout with pneumonia, but if the Irish are able to play this game at the pace that they want, expect Brey to find increased minutes for sophomore guard/forward Tyrone Nash.
Brey wants to use the next three games to develop the confidence of guys like Nash along with senior forward Luke Zeller and junior guard Jonathan Peoples. It will be interesting to see if Kyle McAlarney can shake off his tough game against the Buckeyes, especially if the Terriers choose to pay close attention to Harangody on the interior.
LOOSE BALLS: Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the Associated Press Poll and 13th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll… This will be the third meeting between the two schools and first since December 8, 1987. Notre Dame leads the series 2-0, winning by an average of 25.5 points… Brey faced Boston University 12 times when he was the head coach at Delaware and posted a 7-5 record against the Terriers… The Irish will be looking for 41st straight home win.