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Boston College Men’s Basketball at Clemson: Preview and Predictions

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NCAA Basketball: Boston College at N.C. State Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College Eagles (13-12, 4-9 ACC) are finishing off their two-game road stretch with a noon tip at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Clemson Tigers (15-11, 5-8 ACC) are losers of their last three (Louisville, FSU, Miami) and are hoping to get back in the win column against a BC team that has lost six of seven ACC road games this year. The Tigers sit just ahead of BC at ninth in the ACC standings with five games to go.

Clemson’s Strengths

Kenpom ranks the Tiger defense 15th in the nation with a 91.8 efficiency. They have held opponents to 64 points per game this season and forced 13.5 turnovers per game. The Tigers are very strong on the offensive glass, with senior forward Elijah Thomas leading the way (7.8 rebounds per game). This is not a team that takes a lot of threes or makes them at a high rate, but Marcquise Reed (38% 3FG) and Shelton Mitchell (35% 3FG) are the two Tigers to watch from deep.

Keys to the Game

Turnovers. While the Tigers defense has forced a high rate of turnovers from their opponents this season, they have also turned the ball over on offense at the same clip (13 per game). BC has struggled with turnovers for stretches as well this season (think first half of Miami game). The team who can take care of the ball will have a big advantage in this one.

Guard contribution is another big key for the Eagles. Ky Bowman is always going to be the focus of opposing defenses and Jordan Chatman has been dealing with a cut reopening in his hand the past few games. The Eagles could really use a strong contribution from Jared Hamilton and/or Chris Herren Jr.

Finally, who wants it? BC is coming off a crushing OT loss at NC State and looking to right the ship and possibly fight their way up to 9th place and a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. Clemson is just hanging on to NCAA tournament aspirations but absolutely needs this win to stay on the bubble. Jim Christian could be fighting for his coaching life. So who wants it most?

Player To Watch

The Clemson offense runs through senior guard Marquise Reed, who is scoring 17.5 points per game on 41% shooting. I think the player to watch for this game, however, is #14 Elijah Thomas. The 6’9” forward will be a tough matchup inside, and Nik Popvic and Steffon Mitchell will have to contain both his scoring and rebounding for the Eagles to win this one.

Predictions

Matt: BC squeaks out a road win and might just burst Clemson’s bubble. 75-68

Toppin: After falling short in Raleigh, the Eagles don’t need OT 76-67 BC

Katie: 69-64 Clemson

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