1. The only tough team you played [Pitt] beat UMass pretty soundly. Does the soft schedule have this team prepared for BC?
MA: Well Pittsburgh is a really good team and while in the end it didn't look too pretty at the beginning of the game, probably the first 15 minutes or so the Minutemen stayed right with Pitt. I think having a lack of bench help really hurt UMass against Pitt and it made the final score look a lot more lopsided than the game actually was. However, I do think that the weak early season schedule, including the preseason tour of the Bahamas doesn't give a very good gauge of where this team is right now.
The one thing I will say is that this team in the past few seasons has lost to those weaker teams and this year they're blowing them out - so while I don't think the 6 wins this season have per se prepared UMass for the type of talent BC has, these games have given the team enough confidence where they should at least believe they can play with BC. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.
2. It seems like Freeman will get the Dudley assignment. What is his defensive game like?
MA: I'd actually be shocked if Rashaun got the Dudley assignment - if he did Jared would probably kill Ray on the offensive end because Dudley is just to quick and can shoot from outside. I'm thinking that it'll be Gary Forbes the transfer student from UVA who was onced called the "best defender in the ACC" after having completely shut down John Gilchrist in a game against Maryland. I have no idea what to expect out of Forbes because he hasn't really played anyone with Dudley'soffensive game but the hype for Gary coming into the season was that he was great man on man defender and if that is true he might make Saturday night miserable for Jared.
On the other hand I'd more expect to see Ray in the post against Oates which should be a pretty interesting battle. Ray dominates smaller and weaker guys - Charlie Villenueva can attest to that. However Oates is bigger than Ray and won't be intimidated by him - I will say that Rashaun had a tough time with Craig Smith, but if you saw Smith play than you've seen Freeman play because they have a very similar style. Also just like with the Eagles you can't have a talk about the interior defense without Stephane Lasme who has been an absolute monster in the middle this season.
3. What is your take on Saturday and how do you see the season playing out for the Minute Men?
I was pretty confident about Saturday had we had this conversation on Tuesday - but after seeing Dudley go off for 30 points I'm a little more apprehensive. I really think that UMass matches up well with BC and if this game was at Boston College I'd say BC no problem. I'm just not sure how this BC team plays on the road. The Mullins Center will be sold out - the last time that happened the UConn Huskies who were undefeated lost to UMass, and this Minutemen team is much better than the team that beat UConn.
It will come down to guard play - if UMass can limit turnovers, and if James Life can continue shooting 60% from three point land I think UMass will have enough to win this game. I'm worried that this game is getting so much hype though since this team hasn't played a huge home game like this before - but I'm going with the homer pick and saying UMass in a close one.
I think the program is definately headed in the right direction right now - they've got a very charismatic head coach who has been able to bring in transfer recruits from some major programs. He's building something very good at UMass and this season should really be something special. They were picked 2nd in the A-10 preseason and that's where I see them finishing it out - possibly winning the A-10 tournament and going to the NCAA. But then again with UMass you never know - they might win 10 games.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Guest Blogger: Minutemen Athletics
BC Basketball is looking up but needs another strong showing this weekend against UMass. To get a better idea of what to expect, I've asked Minutemen Athletics to guest blog before Saturday's game.