MAINE women vs. NEW HAMPSHIRE
Time, site: Sunday, noon; Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 13-3 (8-1 America East); UNH 7-10 (4-5)
Series: Maine leads 26-12
Key players: Maine – 5-9 G Cindy Blodgett (27.5 ppg, 5.3 apg, 4.5 rpg), 6-4 C Jamie Cassidy (19.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg), 6-1 F Klara Danes (9.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg), 5-9 G/F Sandi Carver (7.5 ppg), 5-7 G Amy Vachon (6.0 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 spg); New Hampshire – 6-2 C Orsi Farkas (15.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg), 6-0 F Kim Kassik (11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg), 6-0 F Allison Godfrey (11.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg), 4-11 G Kelly Karl (8.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.5 spg), 5-6 G Steph Schubert (4.9 ppg, 3.2 apg)
Outlook: Maine must guard against a letdown after knocking off No. 15 Western Kentucky. The Bears beat UNH 75-61 at Durham, N.H., two weeks ago without Blodgett. The Wildcats have been idle since beating Drexel on Jan. 24, two days after the Dragons had shocked Maine. Cassidy dominated in the first meeting with UNH, scoring 29 points. The Wildcats have a strong inside presence in lefthander Farkas, a 60 percent shooter, while Kassik and Karl provide spark from the perimeter. Maine ranks first in America East in most categories, including scoring (78.4 ppg), FG percentage (.499), 3-point FG percentage (.331), and FG percentage defense (.391).
MAINE men vs. NEW HAMPSHIRE
Time, site: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Whittemore Center, Durham, N.H.
Records: Maine 5-12 (2-7 America East), UNH 7-10 (3-6)
Series: Maine leads 92-58
Key players: Maine – 6-1 G Marcus Wills (21.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg), 6-6 F Allen Ledbetter (15.1 ppg, 11.5 rpg), 6-7 F Colin Haynes (6.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg), 5-11 G Dade Faison (4.4 ppg, 5.6 apg), 6-1 G Corey Thibodeau (3.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg); New Hampshire – 6-8 F Matt Acres (13.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg), 6-6 G/F Andy Cavo (10.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg), 6-2 G Carlos Bradbury (9.2ppg, 3.1 rpg), 6-11 C Ken Rassi (8.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg), 6-4 G Carmen Maciariello (7.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
Outlook: The Black Bears topped the Wildcats by three at Alfond Arena on Jan. 18, but will have to adapt to the loss of their second-leading scorer, Fred Meeks. Meeks will miss as many as three games with a concussion. Without Meeks, 28 percent of the offense vanishes. Still, this is a game that the Black Bears need. UNH sits just above the Bears in eighth place in the 10-team America East. Ledbetter will have to produce on offense, but he’ll be challenged by the biggest frontcourt in the league. Rassi, a John Bapst grad, anchors a mammoth front line that can go 6-10, 6-11, 6-9.
MAINE men vs. TOWSON
Time, site: Sunday, 1 p.m.; Lundholm Gym, Durham, N.H.
Records: Maine 5-12 (2-7 America East), Towson (4-13, 2-8)
Series: Maine leads 5-3
Key players: Towson – 6-6 F Ralph Biggs (16.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg), 6-8 F Ryan Lexer (10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg), 6-4 F Derick Newton (8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), 5-11 G Marlin Wise (7.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.8 apg), 5-11 G Damon Cason (5.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Outlook: The Black Bears and Tigers will face off in what is the second game in two days for each team. Maine has a quicker turnaround than Towson due to Saturday’s hockey-induced 7:30 p.m. start, and that won’t help. This game is a train wreck for the Bears from the start. Even though it’s against the league’s doormat, this is a home contest that isn’t at home – and the neutral-gym crowd will likely rival the “no-fans” contest against Delaware at the gate. Meeks is out. Fatigue is a factor. The Bears will need all kinds of depth – the kind they won’t have until October. Maine’s subs will have to take part of the burden off Wills and Ledbetter against the defensive-minded Tigers.