After some scheduling changes, the Eagles will look to bounce back tonight after a failed comeback attempt in their previous outing against the St. John’s Red Storm. Their next opponent ranks 30th in the KenPom rankings and is coming off a comeback win of their own against Army - the Florida Gators.
In their game against the Black Knights, the Gators found themselves in a hole early on by going down by double-digits and they were trailing Army at the half-way point. Throughout the entirety of the game, the Gators struggled in hitting from beyond the arc and finished shooting just 26% on threes. It was the opposite for the Black Knights, who were able to stay in the contest by nailing 41.7% of their threes. However, Florida was able to come out in the second with a new type of energy and dominate the Black Knights in the paint, which is where the Gators were able to find most of their points in the second half to outscore Army 45-30 in the half.
Tre Mann was the player of the game for the Gators putting up a solid 19 PTS | 6 RBS | 4 ASTS in just 22 minutes on the floor. In the game this evening, I would expect for Mann to be another shinning point in this team’s offense against the Eagles, but I also anticipate seeing more of a breakout performance from sophomore Scottie Lewis. Lewis is a former McDonald’s All-American and had a breakout rookie season last year. While he lagged a bit in the season opener, I would expect for him to have a much better offensive outing against an Eagle’s defense that has struggled recently. Furthermore, similar to the Eagles, the Gators appear to have a pretty deep rotation. Against Army, Mike White deployed 10 different players, with 8 of them playing at least 15 minutes. It will be interesting to see what, if any, adjustments Coach Christian makes in response to whatever rotation Coach White sends out onto the court. Lastly, keep an eye on Colin Castleton. He was Florida’s key interior defender against the Black Knights and came one point and two rebounds away from notching his first double-double of the season.
For the Eagles, this will prove again to be another test. The Gators are certainly a scary team if they can get their offense going. Not to mention that BC let up 97 points to St. John’s a few days ago. We have seen Coach Christian playing around with a zone-defense as well as man-to-man. For anyone who has been watching the games, I think we can all concur that the zone-defense has proven most effective. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what type of defense Christian sets up and sticks with throughout the match. On the offensive side, I anticipate more strong guard play from Tabbs and Heath. CJ Felder also appears to be getting more of a serious role down-low which I think he rightfully deserves. He will continue to be a great presence for the Eagles in the paint.
In order for BC to come out victorious against Florida, the guards will have to set the pace and tempo, limit turnovers and win in transition. Furthermore, the shot selection at the tail end of the St. John’s game was horrendous. Langford and Heath have to adjust the pace, give some time for the rest of the team to set themselves up, and then execute some sort of play design. There cannot be too much hero ball against these high caliber opponents. With that said, as much as I want to call the St. John’s game a fluke, I think that this defense, more specifically BC’s transition defense, will once again prove to be their Achilles heel in this matchup. I do not expect a high scoring affair but I predict that Florida will come away victorious this evening.
Prediction: Florida 88 - Boston College 79