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Mens Basketball Thoughts and Predictions: Boston College Hosts Miami

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NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College Eagles (12-11, 3-8 ACC) are looking to make it back-to-back wins at home against an underwhelming Miami Hurricane team (11-13, 3-9). The Hurricanes have been playing well recently though, beating a solid Clemson team last week and taking UNC to overtime in Chapel Hill. All of their conference wins have come at home in Coral Gables, however, which bodes well for the Eagles on a cold afternoon in Conte.

Keys to the Game

This is a really evenly matched game, at least statistically. These teams each score roughly 72 ppg (and give up the same), shoot about the same from the field, and turn the ball over about the same. At least on paper this should come down the final few possessions.

This game, I think, is going to be won on the boards. BC as a unit should out-rebound the Canes despite the athleticism mismatch. If Nik Popovic is not back (still no word on him, which doesn’t bode well), I’d expect to see a healthy dose of the Hamilton brothers and Luka Kraljevic so JC can really try to win the rebound battle.

Miami’s Strengths

They look a lot like BC on paper, and on the court they look hyper athletic with some solid team passing. The team is led by Chris Lykes, a 5-7 guard who scored 27 points in the OT loss to UNC and is averaging 17 ppg on the season. He’s a superb driver and finisher with enough of a shot that you can’t sag too far off of him.

Elsewhere Ebuka Izundu is the true big boy on the team, averaging well over a block per game and nearly a double-double (10ppg, 8.5 rebounds). He was a solid role player last year who has really stepped into the starting role with ease.

Anthony Lawrence is a 6-7 guard who is going to be a matchup problem for days. He’s not quite as talented as BC nemesis and also really tall guard Tyus Battle, but his size advantage over Ky Bowman and Jordan Chatman is going to require the bigs to rotate at the basket. All that is going to open up the floor for the best shooter on the team Dejan Vasiljevic, who’s taken on a pretty good scoring streak in the past few games.

Hurricane Player To Watch

Chris Lykes is a baller. He might be 5-7 but he’s fearless and is going to take it to rim every single time. He’s also prone to the occasional night where he can’t get a thing going, such as when he went 0-12 against FSU (though a lot of that had to do with FSU’s size at the rim). If he’s on, BC will in for a long night. If he’s off, it makes a win a whole lot easier.

Predictions

Matt: 82-68 BC

Toppin: 73-70 BC

Katie: BC 78-75

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