BOSTON -- Playing in the conference tournament for the right to represent your league in the NCAA tournament is motivation enough for most, but the Boston University Terriers had a little something extra in the Patriot League quarterfinal on Wednesday.
“I think the guys really felt like ...” BU coach Joe Jones said, starting to explain, then he paused for one, two, three, four, five, six seconds. “I’m not going to go there.”
But while the coach wouldn’t go there, his players had no problem.
“Me and D.J. [Irving] talked about how we felt like we were disrespected with the all-conference teams and how we felt like we didn’t get the credit we deserve,” Terriers point guard Maurice Watson Jr. said, “being the best team this season and not having a lot of people on the all-conference team.”
On Monday, Watson was named to the All-Patriot League first team, Irving was named to the second team and freshman Cedric Hankerson was named to the All-Rookie team. But for a team that finished 22-9 overall and 14-3 in the conference, practically going wire-to-wire in first place in its first season in the league, three spots felt like too few.
Potentially adding fuel to the fire? American, the team BU battled and bettered for the top spot in the Patriot this season, landed four players on the all-conference squads.
“I wanted to come out and show that I’m one of the top players,” Watson said after dropping a game-high 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals in the Terriers’ 91-54 lousing of the Lafayette Leopards. “I told D.J. he had to show he’s one of the top players.
“And I told my teammates to make sure that we come out and show that we’re the best team in this league and send a message for the rest of the season.”
After setting school and Patriot League tournament records for shooting percentage (66.1) against Lafayette, chances are that message has been received.
“I think they’re just feeling good right now,” Jones said of his Terriers. “You want to be playing your best basketball now. ... They’re ball players. We’ve got ball players. They’re used to winning. They come from good programs. They come from great families. ... And they’re going after it.”
The Terriers aren’t done yet. Next up is Army, which will come to Agganis Arena for a semifinal matchup on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET).
And if they don’t know beforehand, the Black Knights will certainly find out just how the Terriers feel about this perceived slight.
“We just felt like to only put two players from our team on there, it’s just total disrespect,” Irving said of the all-conference teams. “I feel like that’s what we came out to show and what we’re going to continue to show throughout these playoffs.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.