NCAAs: UConn, BU in; BC, Harvard out


NCAAs: UConn, BU in; BC, Harvard out

Connecticut and Boston University are in, and Boston College and Harvard are out -- of the NCAAs, at least -- as the NCAA Tournament begins this week with a bare minimum of New England represenatives.

Fresh off its Big East Tournament championship, UConn will look to continue its winning ways as the third seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies will take on No. 14 Bucknell in Washington D.C., and play for the right to take on the winner of No. 6 Cincinnati and No. 11 Missouri in the round of 32.

Boston University is New England's other local representative in the Big Dance. As the champions of the America East Tournament, the Terriers were guaranteed a spot in the field of 68. Their reward for winning their conference tournament? A No. 16 seed in the Southwest Region and a matchup with No. 1 Kansas in Tulsa, Okla. If the Terriers are able to upset the Jayhawks, they would be the first-ever 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed.

Boston College and Harvard were on the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament, but they were left out of the field. Instead, both teams will be playing in the NIT.

BC will be a No. 1 seed in the 32-team tourney and will take on No. 8 McNeese State in the first round on Tuesday at McNeese State. No. 6 Harvard will play at No. 3 Oklahoma State in their first-round matchup Tuesday.

In the 16-team College Basketball Invitational (CBI), Rhode Island will host a first-round game on Wednesday against Miami (Ohio).

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.