BU's NCAA mantra: Why not us?

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BU's NCAA mantra: Why not us?

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Boston University coach Pat Chambers hasnt had nightmares of Bryan Doughers half-court heave in the final seconds of Saturdays America East championship game. Thats because the Stony Brook juniors shot hit the rim, helping the Terriers defeat the Seawolves, 56-54, and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

I didnt realize how close it was, said Chambers on CSNNE.coms streaming radio show, Im Just Sayin, on Tuesday. The angle that I had, I really didnt have a good look at it, but once I saw it on replay, I was like, wow.

Boston University stands as the only team from Boston in the Big Dance.

And Chambers made it clear on CSNNE.coms streaming radio show on Tuesday: they wouldnt be dancing if it wasnt for senior John Holland.

If we didnt have John Holland, I dont know if Id be talking to you right now, said Chambers.

Holland finished the America East title game with 27 points, 23 of which came in the second half. His two free throws, with 2.4 seconds left in the game, gave the Terriers their first lead of the game, and the win.

I think hes left his legacy, said Chambers of the America East player of the year. And thats not one of just scoring points and being an individual player, or just his own statistics. Hes left a legacy, that, you know, he can get it done. He carried us. His passion, his leadership, I call it the Kevin Garnett approach, to practice, to film, to walkthroughs, just to anything that were trying to accomplish with this young team. He really rose to the occasion the past month-and-a-half.

Im so proud of him, because he struggled a little bit in last years championship and I think that helped him. That experience helped him, and he really stepped it up in the second half against Stony Brook and led us to victory. Im really proud of him.

The Terriers (21-13, 12-4 America East) enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 16 seed. They travel to Tulsa to take on the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (32-2, 14-2 Big 12) in their first game on Friday night at 6:50 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on TBS.

And history isnt on their side.

No 16 seed has ever knocked off a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But even knowing that, the Terriers were happy to see their name on the bracket and celebrated their selection at Ts Pub on Commonwealth Avenue during Sundays selection special on TV.

But Chambers feels his team is better than the seed it was given.

I didnt really think we were going to be a 16 seed, because I felt we have a pretty good RPI, said the BU coach on Tuesday. Our RPI was like 129. But you cant read into this stuff. I thought the committee, looking into the whole bracket as a whole, they were kind of all over the board.

Again, were happy to be in. Were happy to be playing Kansas. Were just treating it like the next game on our schedule. We have such a young team, I still think we can get better. Weve got to make some shots, and you know, well see what happens.

In only his second season with Boston University, Chambers understands the mindset you need to have in the NCAA Tournament if you want to defeat some of the nations top teams.

As an important member of the Villanova coaching staff in the five years prior to taking the BU job in the spring of 2009, Chambers went to four Sweet 16s and made a Final Four berth in 2009.

In that 2009 run, his No. 3-seeded Villanova team defeated American (14 seed), UCLA (6), Duke (2), and Pittsburgh (1), only to lose to the eventual National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels in the semifinals.

As an up-tempo team that is dangerous at the free-throw line, Chambers said its too late to change their style, with only five days in between games.

We want to push the ball, said Chambers. We want to defend and rebound. We do want to shoot 3s, dont get me wrong. We want to shoot 3es, when theyre available. I tell our guys to mix it up. If you can drive it, drive it. If you can put it in the post, put it in the post. Really, just try to do some different things. And when we get to the foul line, were a really tough team to beat.

Weve got to keep it simple. Weve got to play hard. Most importantly, weve got to make shots. If we dont make shots, the games going to be over in the first couple of minutes. So weve got to defend, rebound, weve got to play BU basketball. We cant play with fear. Weve got to go have some fun. And you never know.

While hes currently in a much different position than he was in with his Villanova teams entering the NCAA Tournament, he still pointed out several schools in the past that have knocked off the favorites. Even though none of those favorites were a No. 1 seed, he still used it to build hope.

You know, why not us? Why cant it be us? asked Chambers. I keep telling our guys, stop thinking about the 16-seed-vs.-1-seed. Were not a 16 team. Were Boston University playing Kansas. We played Kentucky at Rupp. We played Villanova at Villanova. So lets see what we can do.

One thing Chambers has learned over the years is, you cant settle for seeing your schools name on TV. You have to play 40 minutes. And if you can do that, you just never know what can happen, history against you, or not.

On Saturday and Sunday, Chambers admitted his team was embracing their conference championship to the fullest. Because, after all, the school hadnt won the conference title since 2002.

But as of Monday, Chambers and his coaching staff made sure that mindset no longer existed.

We changed it to, Lets go. Why not us? Why cant we compete for 40 minutes? Why cant we play hard for 40 minutes? said Chambers.

Why not us? Why cant it be? But theyve got to believe it. Theyve got to have faith in it. Theyve got to have faith in what we do. Because if you just go in there, and youre just hoping and praying, then its going to be a long night.

So our job, right now, is to keep working hard, and make sure they believe that we have a chance.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright 'able to neutralize' top of Orioles lineup

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright 'able to neutralize' top of Orioles lineup

BALTIMORE -- Quotes, notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 7-2 win over the Orioles.

 

QUOTES

"He was able to neutralize their top half (of the lineup) and that was the biggest thing.'' - John Farrell on Steven Wright.

"He never broke stride, continued in a full-out gait around third base. It was a good heads-up play on his part.'' - Farrell on Mookie Betts scoring all the way from second on a swinging bunt.

"It kind of throws them off because then if I leave one up, I'm hoping the difference in the speed will get them out front.'' - Steven Wright on changing speeds on the knuckleball.

"Yeah, I do. Off the field. Not when I'm at the park, but off the field, I do.'' - Xander Bogaerts, acknowledging that he does think about his ongoing hitting streak.

"It was amazing. Hitting my first home run and putting us ahead three (more) runs, it's awesome.'' - Marco Hernandez on his first major league home run.

 

NOTES:

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 23 games with two doubles.

* Marco Hernandez's three-run homer in the eighth inning was his first major league homer.

* Mookie Betts has now reached in 13 straight games against the Orioles.

* Betts has scored 14 runs in his last 11 games.

* In his last seven games, David Ortiz is 14-for-28 in his last seven games.

* Ortiz has seven homers in his last 12 games at Camden Yards and 12 homers in his last 16 games here.

* Ortiz has homered in each of his last three games, the 18th time in his career that he's done that.

* Steven Wright tossed a career-high 122 pitches.

* Wright became the third Red Sox starter to toss three consecutive complete games on the road since Roger Clemens in 1991-92.

 

STARS:

1) Steven Wright

Wright's third complete game of the season was a gem, with just four hits allowed - just three them into the outfield. He's got a 1.79 ERA on the road this season.

2) Xander Bogaerts

In addition to extending his hitting streak to 23 games, Bogaerts had two doubles and knocked in two runs.

3) Marco Hernandez

Hernandez's first big league homer was a big one, extending what had been a two-run lead to a five-run cushion with a three-run blast in the eighth

 

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Orioles

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First impressions of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Orioles

BALTIMORE -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-2 win over the Orioles:

* Steven Wright had six 1-2-3 innings among the nine he pitched.

For a brief time in the second, after two were out, Wright battled command. Then, in the fifth, he yielded three straight hits and a sacrifice fly, accounting for the only two runs he allowed.

Otherwise? Wright carved through the Baltimore lineup, facing the minimum number of hitters in six of the nine other innings and one over the minimum in another.

He got a number of weak squibbers - including a couple he fielded himself and of the four hits he allowed, only three left the infield.

* Mookie Betts stole the first Red Sox run with some alert baserunning.

Betts was on second when Xander Bogaerts hit a tapped in front of the mound.

Catcher Caleb Joseph pounced on the ball about 15 feet from home plate, but then stood there after throwing out Bogaerts at first. With home plate unguarded, Betts got to third and alertly kept going, beating the throw home from first baseman Chris Davis.

Betts is the probably the Red Sox' fastest baserunner, but in instances like that one, he showed he's also one of their smartest.

* David Ortiz is a menace at Camden Yards.

There's a reason John Farrell waited to make out the lineup card, hoping that David Ortiz was available after missing Sunday's game with a sore foot. Ortiz usually makes his presence felt here and Monday was no different.

He homered to right to lead off the eighth, giving him seven homers in his last 10 games at Camden Yards and 12 homers in his last 28 games.

If Ortiz played for the Orioles, it's frightening to think what sort of power numbers he could put up playing half the time in a ballpark with an inviting right field porch.

* The Sox have gotten plenty of contributions from bench players.

Josh Rutledge (.830 OPS) has helped out in the infield, with Brock Holt relegated to LF, and more recently, the DL. On Monday, it was Marco Hernandez's turn. Hernandez supplied a three-run homer from the ninth spot in the eighth inning, turning a two-run lead into a five-run advantage.

Their contributions have allowed Farrell to make some moves around the infield, such as Monday's decision to give Hanley Ramirez a day off while shifting Travis Shaw to first.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter @Sean_McAdam.