Boston's strengths, weaknesses and players to watch
All statistics courtesy of KenPom.com and are current as of March 15. For a breakdown of potential KU opponents UNLV and Illinois, check back to KUsports.com Thursday or pick up a copy of the NCAA Preview section in Thursday's Journal-World.
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 169
Boston looks to be a team that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.
The Terriers aren’t turnover-prone, as they give it away on just 19.0 percent of their possessions (NCAA average is 20.2 percent). They also don’t foul much defensively, allowing just 16.7 free throws per game (Kansas allows 19.4 free throws per game).
Though BU’s schedule wasn’t the greatest, ranking 281st in KenPom’s rankings, the Terriers were able to hold their opponents to low shooting percentages. Teams shot just 32.1 percent from three-point range against BU (52nd-best nationally) and 44.1 percent from two-point range (34th nationally) this season.
The Terriers’ style of play might also help them as a heavy underdog, as they rank 295th in tempo out of 345 NCAA teams. A game with fewer possessions gives BU a better chance at an upset. The Terriers also are a good free-throw shooting team (73.1 percent).
Boston has one huge, glaring, can’t-be-missed weakness: It has almost no size.
The Terriers’ tallest player eligible this season is 6-foot-8. And because of that, they struggle in many areas that you’d expect.
Though BU is a decent offensive rebounding team, it has major issues keeping opponents off the offensive glass. Opposing teams are grabbing their own misses 33.5 percent of the time, which ranks BU as 235th nationally in that statistic.
The Terriers also struggle from inside the arc offensively, as they’ve made just 43.5 percent of their twos this season (313th nationally). Exactly one-ninth of their two-pointers taken are blocked (299th nationally).
Because of their struggles inside, the Terriers are happy to fire away from three, as 39.8 percent of their shots taken are three-pointers (the 38th-highest split in the nation). BU also gets 34.6 percent of its scoring from three-pointers (27th-highest split nationally).
Players to Watch
Six-foot-5 guard/forward John Holland won America East Player of the Year this season, and deservedly so.
The senior averages 19.2 points per game while taking on a huge offensive load for the Terriers. He puts up 34.1 percent of the team’s shots while he’s on the court, which ranks 14th nationally. Though he’s not a big assist guy (1.6 per game), he hardly ever turns it over, averaging one turnover every 15.5 minutes.
Six-foot-6 guard Darryl Partin and 6-8 forward Jake O’Brien (done for season, foot injury) score most of their points from long range. Partin has made 62 of 171 threes (36.3 percent), while O’Brien had put in 26 of 66 treys (39.4 percent).
Six-foot-6 Marquette transfer Patrick Hazel is BU’s best defender, blocking 8.9 percent of the opposing team’s two-pointers (41st nationally) while also tying for the team-high with 5.9 rebounds per game.
Though the Terriers come in with an 11-game winning streak and appear to be one of the best 16 seeds in the tournament, they shouldn’t be able to stay close with Kansas on Friday. BU lost to Kentucky by 34 earlier in the season and doesn’t appear to have many ways to slow down KU’s powerful forwards. The big key to watch will be BU on the defensive glass. If the Terriers can limit the offensive rebounds from Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Thomas Robinson, they might be able to keep the pace slow, hit a few threes and hang around a while. If KU gets a lot of second-chance points, though, this one has the potential to get ugly in a hurry.