Intro: Boston University qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, when the Terriers rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to win the America East championship — their first since 2002 — and the auto-bid that comes with it. It was a season of fulfilled destiny for BU, which was tabbed as the conference’s favorite back in October. But it wasn’t an easy road. When conference play began, Boston U. was just 5-9, and when February began, the Terriers were 10-13 overall (5-4 in the league) following a loss to New Hampshire on Jan. 29. But that served as a turning point, because BU has not lost since, making it 11 straight wins with Saturday’s title win over Stony Brook. Pat Chambers, coaching in his second season at BU, focused on defense to lead his young team — there’s just one senior on the roster — to the America East crown: the Terriers were allowing 56 points per game during their win streak.
Record: 21-13, 12-4 America East
RPI: 132 (0.5179)
Key wins: Vermont, 66-64 (OT) (Feb. 27, Burlington, VT): This win completed the season sweep of Vermont (Boston U also won at home on Jan. 9, 75-65), giving the Terriers two wins against the America East conference’s regular season champs (23-8, 13-3).
Key losses: No. 6 Villanova, 82-66 (Nov. 17, Villanova, PA): Boston U. had four players score in double figures and matched Nova in the second half with 42 points, but the sixth-ranked Wildcats were just too powerful in Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. New Hampshire, 60-48 (Jan. 29, Durham, NH): The good news for BU is that this was its last loss of the season, but the bad news is that they lost to New Hampshire, a team with an RPI of 276. Bucknell, 52-49 (Dec. 4, Lewisburg, PA): The Terriers managed just 49 points and shot 0-for-10 from three but stayed close with the Bison, a team that went on to win the 2011 Patriot League title.
Players to watch: Senior John Holland (19 ppg, 5.7 rpg) was named the America East Player of the Year, and showed why in the conference championship, leading all scorers with 27 points (23 in the second half), including a pair of free throws that gave Boston U. its first lead of the game with 2.4 seconds left. Junior guard Darryl Partin (14.6 ppg), a member of the 2011 America East First Team, is the Terriers’ second-leading scorer and hits 37 percent of his threes.
For more NCAA Tournament coverage of the Boston University Terriers, please visit SB Nation Boston.