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Previews and Predictions: Boston College at Hartford

Can BC right the ship against Hartford?

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College (5-3, 0-0 ACC) probably isn’t where they’d like to be so far this season. The Eagles have dropped two in a row to Providence and Nebraska, undone in both games by scoring droughts and poor three-point defense. To add insult to injury, Jim Christian lost his leading rebounder and third leading scorer, Deontae Hawkins, and the team has been silent quiet about his status. Silence speaks volumes though, and there’s no indication Hawkins will play.

Nonetheless, Jim Christian and his team hope to get back to winning when they take on Hartford (3-5, 0-0 Am. East) in the ‘Insurance Capital of the World.’ The Hawks have been part of a number of close games this year, with half of their games being decided by five points or less. The team is led in scoring by the junior duo of John Carroll (forward) and Jason Dunne (guard), each averaging 17 points so far. The good news for the Eagles? The Hawks are shooting just 31% from deep this year, something BC has seriously struggled to defend this year.

Keys to Beating the Hawks

By all measures, BC should win this game. But it’s hard to know exactly how far “should” will go without Hawkins, or considering BC’s defense the last few games. When this team is on they can hang with virtually anyone. But when the offense stalls and they screw up their rotations, they can lose to anyone as well. Regardless, the Eagles should dispatch Hartford pretty easily and avenge last year’s horrifying 65-63 loss.

They key will be replacing Hawkins control of the defensive glass. Nik Popovic and Johncarlos Reyes have a significant size advantage over Carroll, Hartford’s leading rebounder. Hassan Attia could provide a greater physical challenge, given his massive 6-10 270lb frame. The truth is the Eagles have been very effective on the boards this year. They pulled down nine more total rebounds, six of them offensive, than Nebraska. They average 42 per game. The issue is that

Turnovers have continued to plague the Eagles this year. They committed 15 against Nebraska and average 13 on the year. But against inferior teams they have been able to overcome those mistakes. The current trend the Eagles need to buck is the stretches of scorelessness that have plagued them in competitive games. Turnovers are certainly a factor in such a phenomenon, but other times it has been bad shots early in the shot clock that contribute. BC needs to consciously try and change this by running their offense even when spooked.



Katie: BC 71 - Hartford 63

Matt: BC 78 - Hartford 56

Patrick: BC 81 - Hartford 72

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Matt O’Neil