NCAA countdown: No. 63 Boston U
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: When coach Joe Jones is asked about expectations for his team, and its potential to win the Patriot League and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament, he can’t help but laugh. “We just got to the league, haven’t played a game yet, and everybody’s picking us to win the conference,” Jones said.
That’ll happen when a team returns virtually its entire roster following an upstart year before shifting conferences.
Boston U was ineligible for the America East tournament last season due to its pending move to the Patriot League, but still took second in league standings and played in the postseason (CIT). The Terriers enter the season as the Patriot favorites. They return all five starters from last year’s 17-win squad, the foundation of which is a heralded recruiting class that evolved during the course of last season. “We have our whole team coming back,” Jones said. “We created a great culture last year and took a really big step. We just want to keep improving that culture.”
2012-13 in review: 17-13 overall, 11-4 (America East). Lost in first round of College Insider Tournament.
Path to the Dance: Although they’ll be a premier mid-major, the Terriers will surely need to win the Patriot League to make the NCAA tournament. A year after Bucknell and Lehigh’s noted success (ahem, C.J. McCollum in 2012′s tournament), the Patriot is wide open — paving way for Boston U to establish conference supremacy early on. It won’t be a walk in the park. Lafayette is the most offensively sound team in the league (returning top scorer Seth Hinrichs), and Army and Holy Cross figure to be a top challengers along with stalwarts Bucknell, Lehigh and another newcomer in Loyola (Md.)
Coach’s Corner: “This is going to be a very competitive league, a well-coached league. You can’t just show up. You have to prepare for each team rigorously. Every year, our goal is to win the league and make the NCAA tournament. That doesn’t change.” — Jones on transitioning to the Patriot League.
Star Watch: Seniors D.J. Irving (14.2 ppg, 3.6 apg) and … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 63 Boston U, click here.]