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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A diehard Husky speaks

Tonight, we play our rivals from the dirty side of the city, the Huskies of Northeastern, for the first time since they bolted the America East for the green pastures of the CAA. Of course, this meeting comes the year after the Huskies lost their two best players and their coach and the Terriers lost, oh, about 90% of their scoring from last year. For this special occasion, I've invited one of NU basketball's most devoted fans, known to us as King Husky, to tell their side of the story and talk about tonight's match-up.

BU Hoops: This past off-season brought massive changes to both the Huskies and the Terriers, none of which were "planned." Which team do you think was hurt more by the defections, and which will be better off in the long run?

King Husky: Northeastern's changes were more "planned" than the Terriers', and the perception is that Everhart left for "bigger and better" things - if one wants to call Duquesne bigger and better. It's no secret Everhart had one foot out the door the past couple of seasons (he almost took two major conference top assistants jobs in previous off seasons). You can always plan for a coaching change - and for practical reasons, Shawn James wasn't staying at NU past this season anyway. What hurt NU the most, and in a manner similar to BU is that Everhart took many of his recruits who verballed to NU with him to DU (Robert Mitchell and Stuard Baldonado to name two). However, replacing a coach is almost commonplace these days.

BU's defections are more a reflection of Wolffie - 8 kids in 2 seasons? Come on, Junior Colleges have less turnover the past two years than BU.

BU Hoops: Some have suggested that the upward mobility over on Huntington Ave (moving up to the Colonial) has caused a bit of conference-envy here on Commonwealth Ave. What's the best thing that's come because of your conference move, and can you see any downsides that have resulted?

King Husky: The best thing that came from the conference move is visibility. Because of the success of GMU, ODU and Hofstra in the off season it's given NU street cred. We can say "we beat ODU and Hofstra last year, and ODU was in the NIT Final Four" and "we blew a game to GMU we led with a minute to go when JJB missed 2 free throws". It's helped with recruiting. We can tell kids we play a great out of conference schedule, and our in conference schedule is great. It's not UMBC and Binghamton, that's for sure.

It's the association with the Colonial that's the biggest benefit. Also, the CAA is a much better run organization than the AE. The AE is highly reactive, and insular and has suffered from a lack of vision for years. That's why Delaware, Drexel, Towson and Hofstra left. While Pat Nero will do a better job than Chris Monasch, that's like saying Wolffie did a better job than Bob Brown at BU - when the bar is ridiculously low, it's not hard to show improvement.

The CAA will have over 100 games on TV this season - men's and women's. That just can't be done with the AE because of the TV markets.

The downside - the travel is tough - I did a road trip with NU last year where we played Georgia State on a Thursday and had to fly to Raleigh on Friday, bus to Wilmington and play UNCW on Saturday. There are a bunch of weird road trips like that. And, travel ain't cheap.

BU Hoops: Why should this year's Northeastern Huskies scare Dennis Wolff when preparing for tonight's game?

King Husky: Fear the unknown. I don't know if either team could scare anyone but UMass-Boston this season, to be honest. This could be the weakest game in the NU-BU rivalry since the early 1990s. Generally both teams have been good, or one team has been clearly better. This year it's not the case.

And NU's fans have been known to be incredibly hostile towards the Wolff man. If we can't beat y'all on the court, we'll at least have fun taunting Wolffie and Matt. Remember, Wolffie ducked Northeastern last year when NU had its best team in years and BU was down - NU fans have NOT forgotten that BU dropped Northeastern from the schedule last year. He better bring his earplugs.

BU Hoops: In five years, which will be the better team, Northeastern or BU?

King Husky: I guarantee the following - in five years NU will have a better football and baseball team, and BU will have won at least 6 Beanpots in those five years - but I assume you're talking hoops.

I'm putting on the homer hat here and say that NU will be the better team - BU may go to an NCAA in that time, but that's a function of the poor excuse for a conference you play in than anything. Bill Coen's an up and coming coach who is a great recruiter. Dennis Wolff's approaching the "tenured faculty" stage of his career where he's milking that crazy deal he suckered Strickler into.

BU Hoops: If Dennis Wolff and Bill Coen fought in a cage match, who would win?

King Husky: Here's how I see it playing out.

For nostalgia purposes, Wolffie's corner man would be Mike Jarvis, and Coen's would be Karl Fogel - in case you don't know or remember, Jarvis and Fogel duked it out at an NU-BU game about 20 years ago - the video of that is a classic. Wolffie would start kicking the snot out of Coen at first - Bill's an analytical guy and would try to think things through first. Then, in a scene reminiscent of only the WWE, Jarvis and Fogel start going at it on the side of the ring, and when things get real ugly and Jarvis is getting his head bashed into the turnbuckle by Fogel, out of the lockerroom comes Jim Calhoun and Rick Pitino, accompanied by Billy Collins and Marcus Barnes - pretty soon it's an 8 man Battle Royale in the center of the ring at Agganis.

The judge (Mark Blaudschun) declares it a rout for Wolffie, after all Blaudschun is the Wolff Man's love child.

BU Hoops: Of course, we need a prediction for the game tonight (homer predictions encouraged).

King Husky: BU 43 NU 39

BU wins the war, NU wins the battle of the words.


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