Jeff: For most BC fans, the basketball season hasn't really started because we have not started conference play or had a single nationally televised game. Tonight that changes when the Eagles travel to Michigan to face a previously ranked team that has also racked up two early season losses. BC will still be without Rakim Sanders so do you give them a chance to win on the road tonight? Will you be in attendance? Do you consider this the start of basketball season?
Brian: I won't be at the game as it is Finals week here at school. But to answer your question, no, this isn't the start of the basketball season. Have you been living under a rock the past few weeks? The Eagles first 6 non-conference games were just as - if not more - important to BC's postseason hopes than the remaining nine games. We've already discussed how the losses down in the Virgin Islands were bad ones given that the Eagles didn't get to play a ranked Purdue or Tennessee squad.
Jeff: I absolutely consider tonight the start of basketball season. Tonight will be the first time a lot of the nation sees BC play this season and it is a legitimate road test. Equally important, BC played their last regular season football game on Saturday so there is just not enough time in the average fan's day to focus on both football and basketball. I think tonight is the start of BC's basketball season for most fans. With a win tonight, I think it will have a very positive effect on student and also general attendance at BC basketball games between now and a few games into conference play. An ugly loss could result in seeing a lot of empty maroon seats when we play teams not named Duke or North Carolina.
Brian: Is the game tonight with Michigan a pivotal one for fan interest this year? Absolutely. But by no means is this the start of the basketball season. If it is, the Eagles are in a heap of trouble because the schedule doesn't get much easier from here on out with our first league game coming up Sunday against Miami (Fla.).
The ACC-Big Ten challenge is knotted at 3 with the final 5 games on tap tonight. Do you like the ACC's chances to push their win streak to 11 in this made-for-ESPN event?
Jeff: I think the ACC has a great chance of winning the ACC-Big Ten Challenge once again. I think Duke and Miami will win tonight and then the ACC only needs one more win between BC, Clemson and Florida State tonight. Clemson, Miami and Duke are favored tonight. However, Illinois always proves to be a tough team to beat so I am not convinced that the Tigers will come away with a victory. As far as BC, I feel pretty good about the game. I was happy with the victory against Providence especially since they trailed late on the road and still got the win. Tonight I won't predict a victory but I'd be very surprised if BC doesn't at least keep it close til the end.
Brian: I won't go so far as to predict a win for the Eagles, especially with Joe Trapani being a game-time decision (flu). I doubt Trapani won't play as Skinner said he played the Providence game sick but he might not be at 100 percent. Tyler Roche is questionable with a lower back injury and Sanders is still out. The Eagles don't have a lot of depth on the bench to begin with so if either Roche or Trapani can't go, it might get ugly quick for the Eagles. The only positive for the Eagles going into this game is that Michigan only had a day to prepare for BC. The Wolverines only had Tuesday to practice given their travel schedule returning from the Old Spice Classic.
The ACC will hopefully find three wins tonight and win the Big Ten-ACC Challenge again this season.