Monday, March 11, 2002

Terriers may be underdogs but they'll be dogged




By Michael Perry mperry@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dennis Wolff has been in this position before. Kind of. In 1997, his Boston University team was a No. 12 seed and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to fifth-seeded Tulsa 81-52.

        This year, the Terriers are the 16th seed facing a date with No. 1 seed Cincinnati on Friday in Pittsburgh. A 16th seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

ABOUT BOSTON U.
  • About the school: Location — Boston, Mass., Nickname — Terriers, Colors — Scarlet and white
  • Record: 22-9 overall, 13-3 American East
  • Bid: Won American East Conference tournament.
  • Coach: Dennis Wolff (129-106, eighth year; 159-124, 10th overall)
  • Key players: Chaz Carr, 5-10, Fr., G (team-high 13.9 ppg, quick, .388 3-point pct.); Billy Collins, 6-7, Jr., F (11.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, team-high .481 from 3-point range).
  • Notable: Wolff was an assistant for four seasons (1985-89) at Wake Forest under former Xavier coach Bob Staak.
        “I didn't think we handled the whole week right (in '97),” Wolff said Sunday night. “We had that deer-in-the-headlight look that you see some teams go in with. I never want to see that look again.

        “I'm not saying we're going to accomplish it, but we're going to try to eliminate any of the distractions so that we can try to play the best basketball game we can play on Friday.”

        Boston University (22-9) won the American East Conference tournament championship to earn the sixth NCAA bid in school history.

        Its series with Cincinnati is tied 1-1. The Bearcats won 102-82 in Cincinnati on Jan. 12, 1981. Boston won 52-50 in overtime Feb. 6, 1982.

        Wolff was an assistant at Virginia when the Bearcats beat the Cavaliers 71-54 in the Sweet 16 of the 1993 NCAA Tournament.

        “I know first-hand how good a coach Bob Huggins is, what kind of players he has and I know we've got an unbelievably difficult task in front of us,” Wolff said. “I don't know how we match up. I know we don't have the same type of athletic bodies that they have.

        “Obviously I know that they're very, very good, and they play a style in regard to how aggressive they are defensively, that if you're careless with the ball and you're not tough mentally, you have a chance of getting embarrassed.”

        The Terriers, who have won nine straight games, are young. The starting lineup consists of two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior.

        They also don't have a lot of size inside. The only player taller than 6-foot-8 is Ignacio Rodriguez, a 6-9, 225-pound senior reserve who averages just more than 12 minutes a game.

        Like UC, Boston University prides itself on defense. It is No. 5 in the country in field goal percentage defense.

        It led the American East in fewest turnovers a game (13.1) and 3-point field goal percentage (.365).

        Every one of the starters has the green light to shoot 3s. Even 6-8, 240-pound center Ryan Butt has attempted 39.

        “We've shot the ball pretty well and defended well all year,” Wolff said. “We've worked hard on the defensive end, but we haven't played any team of the caliber of Cincinnati. We've played Providence, we've played (George Washington), we've played Iowa, but they're not Cincinnati.”

       



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