The Return of King Husky: The Northeastern Preview
There's so much to say about the BU-Northeastern battle coming up tonight. I'm not sure I can do it justice.
This is a game I didn't realize I would miss twice a year when they left the conference. Our most natural rival - most schools don't have a rival whose games you can walk to from campus.
Both teams are on the upswing. BU of course brings their stacked backcourt and reinforced frontcourt across the fens, where NU's big inside presence will be waiting for them. NU is led by Matt Janning, a 7-year-old who escaped from kindergarten and easily surpassed Northeastern's lax admissions standards with no help from his mommy. Luckily for NU, he can actually shoot the basketball.
Two years ago, both teams hit rock bottom. BU had just lost Hassan, Gaffney and others to transfer and started 5 freshman. NU's coach Ron Everhart had just skipped town to Duquesne, bringing with him their best player Shawn James, all their blue-chip recruits and a couple suitcases full of cash. As a show of sportsmanship, we had a guest appearance before that game in 2006 from the #1 NU Huskies fan, known only as King Husky, to give his thoughts on the rivalry and the game.
Now that things for both schools are better, I invited King Husky back this year to talk about tonight's game and some old-school trash talk. I can only hope that BU students head over to the dirty side of Boston tonight to give it right back.
BU Hoops Blog: Two years ago, you described 2006 BU-NU as the weakest the rivals have been in years. We know the Terriers are a lot better now -- from the NU perspective, how much better are this year's Huskies compared to back then?
King Husky: Two years ago, NU fans thought we were like the Cleveland Indians team in the first “Major League” movie. We looked down the roster and said “who the heck are these guys?”. We were a team without an identity whose stars were bit players and leftovers from the Ron Everhart Era.
Our most highly touted recruit was a kid that didn’t look old enough to be my paper boy (Janning), and we had recruits that you couldn’t find on any recruiting service. Heck, not even legendary America East posting board poster “Ginzo” could complain about how tall really Manny Adako was.
We were asked for patience by Bill Coen, and since we had nothing else to do, we gave it to him. After being lied to and betrayed by Our Former Head Coach (we don’t call him by his given name – we refer to him as OFHC) we were the proverbial parched man in the desert, we needed something resembling hope. We knew we’d be young, but no one knew how good Matt Janning would be. I mean he’d get carded at a PG-13 movie, but he’s been a godsend.
Under OFHC, we were a collection of talents that never really jelled. Under Bill Coen, we’re a team. We may not run and gun or press like crazy, or have 9 star recruits but we are a better team.
Last year we had a bunch of “almost” against the Beagles from the Heights, Uconn, Illinois, and Maryland – and finished .500 in the CAA. This year, we stunk up the joint against Michigan on national TV, but we bounced back and ruined Keno Davis’ first game against PC, and beat a pesky Holy Cross team. We’re 3-1 and are feeling pretty good about the way this season is playing out. We seem to be beating teams with good defense and real good shooting.
We’re a veteran team with only one senior that gets any significant playing time – which is an interesting statement.
I still think we are a flawed team as we don’t shoot well from the outside, we don’t rebound well, and I’m not sure how deep we are, but I may be overanalyzing things.
BU Hoops Blog: Corey Lowe/John Holland vs. Chaisson Allen/Matt Janning - thoughts?
King Husky: Only internet dorks that read blogs like this and Diehard Dogs realize how much fun it’s going to be tonight watching these guys go at it. Janning has been fantastic against PC and HC and Chase Allen’s been a bit of a disappointment early on – his numbers haven’t been what we thought we’d see in Year #2.
I really like John Holland, and I’m surprised Corey Lowe hasn’t transferred yet. When I’m bored and NU is on the road I go to Case and watch you guys play and Holland’s the one guy who I’m really p-issed that NU doesn’t have on its team. He can really light it up and is incredibly athletic.
If you like wings (and I’m not talking about the buffalo kind), this battle could be fun as the “game within the game”.
BU Hoops Blog: Way back when, my favorite BU crowd prank was waving diapers with "#5" on them every time Jose Juan Barea acted like a crybaby. Does the NU crowd have anything original in store tonight, or will they just be going with traditional Matt Wolff chants? Got any suggestions for them?
King Husky: I was thinking of having the NU fans do a “roll call” like the Bleacher Creatures do at Yankee Stadium. Instead of chanting the names of the starting lineup for NU we were going to chant the names of all of the guys who have left the Terriers in the past 4 seasons – but that would take too long. I was also thinking of having the students chant “we want Gaffney” or “where is Creekmore” something like that.
Since this is Matt Wolff’s last trip to the Arena in this rivalry, and to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t beaten NU in his career, I’m sure we’ll be getting on him a little bit – for old time’s sake.
I don’t think either team has a kid you can really “hate” – back in the day JJB was an easy target, and Rashad Bell was also someone you could get on. The two teams now have some sickening mutual respect for each other which isn’t good for guys like you and I who thrive on controversy in this series.
By the way, Barea and his $5 million NBA contract send their love.
BU Hoops Blog: BU drew 600 to last Saturday's game against St. Peter's - can NU beat that tonight?
King Husky: Wow, you are setting attendance records left and right on Comm. Ave again this year – was there a big debate against the Sorbonne that your students attended instead of the basketball game?
Who took the time to draw 600 fans? You guys must have used a couple boxes of Crayola 64’s to draw that many people.
We are planning on renting the fake “fans” that movie directors use to make sports scenes look like a stadium is full, so if you count that, yes – we’ll have more than 600.
BU Hoops Blog: Which historically bad Atlantic-10 team will Bill Coen be taking Matt Janning and Chaisson Allen to after fleeing Northeastern next offseason? Fordham? St. Bonaventure? LaSalle?
King Husky: Boston University.
Oh, that’s right, you guys are still in the America Least. How’s that perpetual move to the A-10 coming?
I think he’s going to replace OFHC at Duquesne. The Boston-Pittsburgh pipeline worked out pretty well the last time, didn’t it?
BU Hoops Blog: NU has taken the past few games of this series, including a blowout last time we interviewed you. I can tell you we think things will be a little better for the Terriers this year - what's your prediction for the game? (Of course, blatant homerism is expected and encouraged.)
King Husky: This game has me worried, REAL worried. I think Silber State’s back court is real good. Perhaps the second best in the city. I’m not convinced that Jake O’Brien is anything more than a real good America East player – which is good for you after January , but he could present some problems for us. I really like Scott Brittain as well.
NU’s looked SOOO good that last 2 games, we’re bound to have a letdown at some point, and I hope it’s not against the Rat Dogs. The prediction..
Silber State 64
This one will go down in Husky-Rat Dog lore as one of the classics.