For those of you headed to Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill tonight to watch the Harvard men's basketball team challenge Boston College at 7:30 p.m., be forewarned.
Chestnut Hill has two main attractions, and on this third-to-last Saturday before Christmas, they will both be seeing a lot of action tonight.
Shopping malls--the suburb is famous for its shopping malls. The Chestnut Hill Mall and the Atrium Mall are located across from one another on Route 9, just minutes from B.C.'s main campus.
So be kind to the dazed shoppers who will mistake Conte Forum for just another mall. With the hundreds of cars and the bright lights, how can you blame them?
Who knows, the shoppers might even bring Harvard (1-4) a little bit of luck. The Crimson has not been able to buy a victory from the four Division I opponents it has faced this year.
Last year, B.C. was the worst team in the Big East. The Eagles won just one game in the conference all year. That didnot stop them from coming into Briggs Cage andblowing out Harvard, 114-66.
This year, B.C. is improved and the Crimson isstruggling.
"Boston College is playing well," Harvard CoachPeter Roby said. "They're more talented thanthey've been in a while. But they've handled uspretty easily in the last few years when theyweren't supposed to be that talented. There isevery reason to fear a blowout."
The Ivy League has taken steps towardrespectability recently--Princeton almost scoredmajor upsets in the last two NCAA tournaments, andYale almost upended defending Big East championUConn last week. If the Crimson is to further theleague's process, it will have to beat the Eaglesat their own game.
"Princeton goes in and Yale goes in, and theyplay some top-notch teams closely," HarvardCo-Captain Ron Mitchell said. "They'll play themclosely because they play a slow-tempo game. Thereis only so much the other team is going to beatthem by. We're not going to change our style ofplay to try to beat B.C."
Which means that the Conte Forum scoreboardoperator should be prepared for a workout.
The hot hand for the Crimson lately belongs toguard Tarik Campbell. Campbell poured in 15 pointsduring Monday's win over Brandeis and added 19more in a loss to Holy Cross Wednesday.
Ralph James returned against the Crusadersafter sitting out the Brandeis game and expects tobe in the lineup tonight despite experiencingsoreness in his shoulder following Wednesday'scontest.
The Eagles are returning to Conte for the firsttime in two weeks. B.C. dispensed with Marylandand former coach Gary Williams Monday at theRichmond Coliseum, 100-85. The win opened the doorfor a Big East domination of the Atlantic CoastConference in the best made-for-TV drama since TheThornbirds--the Big East/ACC Challenge.
B.C. sports the youngest starting lineup in theBig East, boasting three freshmen.
High School All-America Bill Curley, a 6'9",215-lb. forward, leads the youth movement. Despitemissing much of his senior season at Duxbury Highbecause of a foot injury, Curley's numbers as ajunior--27.2 points, 15.9 rebounds, 6.8 blocks and4.8 assists per game--helped make him one of themost sought-after recruits in the country.
In six games this season, Curley is averaging12 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Junior Corey Jackson (8 p.p.g., 4 r.p.g.) atforward and senior Corey Beasley (7 p.p.g., 12r.p.g.) at center join Curely in the startingfrontcourt. Jackson has the distinction ofconnecting on 11 of 28 foul shots.
Freshmen guards Howard Eisley and MalcolmHuckaby should establish themselves as thebackcourt of the future in the Big East duringthis second year of the post-Dana Barros era(which followed the post-John Bagley era).
Eisley is leading the team in scoring from hispoint guard position, averaging 13.7 points pointsper game. Shooting guard Huckaby has struggledfrom the field, hitting only 21 percent of hisshots on 8-for-38 shooting.
B.C. has considerable depth this year, withsenior forward Doug Able coming off the bench toaverage 12 points per game and freshman GerrodAbram adding nine points per game. Senior guardBobby Moran, who is noted for his defensivetenacity, and twenty-two year-old sophomore guardLior Arditi, a former captain of the IsraeliNational Team, round out Coach Jim O'Brien'sbench