For the 5 people left on the BC basketball bandwagon, we turn our attention to BC's home game this Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins. To preview this weekend's game, we welcome D1scourse's Patrick Stevens to the blog for Five Good Minutes.
D1scourse is an excellent college sports blog covering the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region.
BC Interruption: The similarities between BC and Maryland basketball in recent years seem to be endless. Both programs run a version of the Flex offense. Both coaches at times seem to care not for a little thing called recruiting. Both coaches did time up in Chestnut Hill. Set aside these two programs' similarities for a moment. What makes these two programs different this year?
D1scourse: For this year, it is strangely enough experienced guards and new blood --- both for Maryland. The Terps have two guys who have been starting off and on in their backcourt (Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes), but they've also added a big man in Jordan Williams who has made them much more imposing in the paint. After the seemingly never-ending Tyrese Rice era, BC's backcourt doesn't have that recognizable name that you know is just going to go off for 25 (though Reggie Jackson sure has the makings of being that guy). The new blood is also interesting, since Williams (and to a lesser extent, fellow freshman James Padgett) has allowed Maryland to play a more physical, inside-out style. That's the preference of Maryland coach Gary Williams, but more importantly it's helped the Terps outrebound both Florida State and Wake Forest. That stat ranks as the most surprising part of Maryland's first two league games.
BCI: Both teams are coming off losses. Sure, Maryland’s loss probably stings a little more losing in overtime to Wake Forest, but do you think that one team will be more motivated to get the W in Saturday’s game?
D1scourse: Let's call this one a push. Maryland clearly has a lot to play for, since it follows this trip up with home games against Longwood, N.C. State and Miami. Those aren't three sure victories (well, Longwood probably is), but a victory in Chestnut Hill could give the Terps a solid 6-1 run with an overtime loss at Wake sprinkled in to cover nearly the entire month of January.
Boston College, meanwhile, is probably already in "Beat All Unranked Teams at Home" mode after some of its nonconference stumbles. The Eagles probably need it slightly more, but don't discount the fact Maryland's out-of-league resume is flimsier than Lane Kiffin's contract with Tennessee.
BCI: Averaging 18.5 points per game, Grievis Vasquez is a big reason why Maryland has already won 10 games. BC fans are more than familiar with Vasquez. Tell us who else we should be concerned with on Saturday?
D1scourse: Let's start with Landon Milbourne, an undersized plugger at the four who can run hot and cold but is probably the Terps' steadiest effort guy. Guard Sean Mosley just had the quintessential Sean Mosley game, grabbing 13 rebounds against a much larger lineup. Eric Hayes, fresh off his 1,000th career point, will connect on open 3s if given the opportunity.
But a guy who could have an interesting game is Jordan Williams, who might thrive if things turn into the typically rugged affairs Boston College gets itself into. Granted, that's if he avoids foul trouble. But it's also as close to a homecoming game as he'll get this year (he's a Torrington, Conn., product), and he's proven himself to be better than expected this season.
BCI: Al Skinner and BC have had a lot of success against Maryland since joining the ACC. BC holds a 5-2 edge over Maryland in ACC play, including bouncing Maryland twice from the ACC Tournament. Does this get under the Terrapin faithful’s skin? In other words, nice little rivalry forming between BC and Maryland on the hardwood? Or is this just another ACC opponent not named Duke or North Carolina?
D1scourse: I think one of the things that hurt BC in terms of formation of rivalries in the ACC was that Jared Dudley only played two seasons in the conference rather than four. If he'd had his entire career to aggravate foes and opposing fans --- and let's face it, Dudley's the sort of guy fans adore if he's on their side and despise if he's on the other side --- then I think the attitude toward BC would be a little bit different.
(Before I get any hate mail, let me say that I loved watching Dudley play and how he approached the game. Maybe not as much as his contemporary TGAT --- The Great Al Thornton --- but close).
That said, Maryland fans are much, much, much more concerned with beating Duke and North Carolina and fretting over the latest malady to impact their program (Malady of the Moment: The lingering effects of Terrence Ross decommitting and possibly landing at Duke) than pretty much anything else. In fact, I'd argue that because of Virginia Tech's proximity and the Terps' completely inexplicable inability to win at Miami, BC probably draws less venom from fans than any of the three schools that were part of expansion.
BCI: Last one, prediction for this game. What are you expecting on Saturday? Who ya got? What’s the final score?
D1scourse: Physical. Choppy. Ugly. A foul-fest. Probably not the best-attended game (though I'd love to see a hockey game at Conte Forum at some point). I figured in some way or another, the Terps would split their two games this week, and really did think they'd poach Wake Forest. Almost happened. I'll go ahead and take Maryland in a 66-64 affair. I'll be curious to see how the game is officiated. Plenty of whistles probably helps the Terps to an extent, but it's tough to say. I wouldn't be surprised if Boston College won. I would be surprised if either team won by double digits.
BCI: Thanks for joining us Patrick.