Boston's strengths, weaknesses and players to watch


All statistics courtesy of and are current as of March 15. For a breakdown of potential KU opponents UNLV and Illinois, check back to Thursday or pick up a copy of the NCAA Preview section in Thursday's Journal-World.

Team: Boston
Record: 21-13
Seed: 16
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.

Bottom Line

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.


KJD 10 years, 8 months ago

Great breakdown Jesse. You write an excellent web based, analytic style column.

With BU's overall size, I would include Mario Little in that category of 'bigs' who might find some room inside to score second chance points. I also like the way our guards are rebounding this year too. Sounds like the area where we will dominate.

HawkInAL 10 years, 8 months ago

We're lucky to have Jesse as a complement to Keegan's wacky style (which I also like).

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 8 months ago

Home grown Jesse Newell. Like Tina Turner says in her song---"Simply the Best! I don't what I would do if I didn't get my daily analysis from Jesse Newell. A fish out of water?

ParisHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Would be great to see Robinson and Mario have good games.

Jonathan Allison 10 years, 8 months ago

Coach Self always says, "It's not who starts the game that matters, it's who finishes the game"

Teri Jester 10 years, 8 months ago

awesome breakdown. i wish you had the breakdown on all the teams. it would have helped me fill out my backet!

Joe Satterwhite 10 years, 8 months ago

anybody know which jerseys we'll be wearing?

HawkBBall 10 years, 8 months ago

should be home whites to go with the seeding.

Steve Kubler 10 years, 8 months ago

Probably white, we are the home team until we run into Ohio State, assuming they make it that far.

hawksince51 10 years, 8 months ago

Good analysis, Jesse. I watched some of BC's games this year and found them tedious. I was very surprised to read in your article that they won their last 11 games. Except for Holland, who is a very good guard, they don't have the players to match up with us. I can see Brady on Holland with some help from Releford off the bench. Don't think we have anyone else who can defend him. Our bigs will need to help out when he drives. He'll probably get his 20+ but other than him, I expect them to rely heavily on the 3. The Twins and T-Rob should score a lot of points inside and we should own the boards.
rock chalk

hawksince51 10 years, 8 months ago

BU not BC--too early in the morning and the time change...

Michael Auchard 10 years, 8 months ago

I posit that Boston doesn't foul much because they've never faced interior dominance like KU brings to the table. They've never had to double/triple the paint like they're going to have to against us. Look for them to commit a ton more fouls than usual to offset our incredible advantage in athleticism inside. And, if TT and the guard crew are cutting and dishing, that will only make it worse.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Good article...I've been looking for a breakdown of Boston U since the brackets got announced. Sounds like the Morrii and TRob should have huge games.

tjg1 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm visioning a globetrotter like game where we just dunk it on them all day.

Dan Harris 10 years, 8 months ago

It's time to go to work boys! RCJH! Bring home #6!

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