Boston University beat Vermont 66-64 in overtime on Sunday. The Terriers played without likely America East Player of the Year, John Holland. The Catamounts were without Brandon Bald, and senior leading-scorer Evan Fjeld left 10 minutes into the game with an apparent injury. Having missed the radio call of the game due to work, I cannot tell you anything about these two injuries. The UVM Athletics website somehow did not address Fjeld's injury whatsoever, and merely mentioned that Bald is banged up. It also did not address that Holland was out for the game. All of this I find very confusing.
In the postgame news conference, both Coach Lonergan and Joey Accaoui allude to not being at full strength, but they do not say what injuries Fjeld and Bald actually have. I am completely frustrated trying to figure out if Fjeld and Bald will be ready for the tournament. Without those two, every potential game in the America East tournament becomes a lot scarier. With those two, Vermont has to like their chances of advancing to the championship game in Burlington.
Which brings us back to the game yesterday. About the only bright spots for Vermont were Sandro Carissimo, who had a career high 17 points, and Brian Voelkel generally did his thing -- he had 12 points, 6 rebound, and 5 assists. Two freshmen led the way on senior day. The Cats were out-rebounded, out-hustled, and out-scored, and that is the bottom line.
This game may not be a preview of the America East championship at all. The two teams who seemed most likely to advance to that championship game, BU and UVM, are banged up. They will have to get healthy to have the mental and physical edge in the quarterfinals and semifinals. (On a side note, if I am a Maine fan, I'm liking my chances right now). I'm not discounting the fact that the Terriers beat the Catamounts twice this season, but I have a feeling if they play for a third time in Burlington, it will be a much different game. It's possible that it could be a tougher game, considering that Holland would probably be back in the lineup.
But Vermont has a lot of work to do before they get that far. They have lost two games in a row for the first time all season. They have not resembled the team that won 10 straight conference games from January 20-February 16. They are not playing lock down defense, and they are not rebounding the way they are capable of. Is this a team that peaked too soon? Have we already seen the best of the 2011 Catamounts? The conference tournament will shed light on those questions.
Vermont plays the winner of Binghamton and UMBC on Saturday afternoon, around 2:15. It's do-or-die time: here is to doing.