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Men’s Basketball Preview: Boston College Takes on Syracuse

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The Eagles cap off the home slate against the Orange

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

What

It’s BC-Syracuse in what probably should have been the Eagles’ Senior Day but isn’t for some reason. So now it’s just the last home game and a chance for fans to say goodbye to Nik Popovic, Derryck Thornton, Jared Hamilton, and Matt DiLuccio.

Who

Boston College (13-6, 7-11 ACC)

vs

Syracuse Orange (16-13, 9-9)

When

Tuesday March 3, 2020

7 pm EST

Where

Silvio Conte Forum

Chestnut Hill, MA

How to Watch

You can watch this game on ESPN2, so please refer to your local listings or just get the stream here!

How to Listen

WEEI 850 AM

Orange Fact

The color “orange” is named after the fruit, and not vice versa.

Player to Watch

Am I allowed to say Buddy Boheim since he ripped us apart last time? That was embarrassing. I’ll just say him again.

BC’s Best Chance to Win

Well, last time BC got blown out 76-50 and shot a sad 32% from the floor and 20% from deep (they put up 13 points in the first half, if you’ll recall). To fare better this time, I recommend not doing whatever they did in that game. Literally just do the exact opposite, it could only be better.

Now, a little less sarcastically, they need to hit their open shots. Last time, after the game, Jim Christian said, “I think we’re 3 for our last 32 from 3 in our last two games (2 for 24), something crazy like that, going into halftime.” Hitting some shots early (which the Eagles have done in the past few games, sans Clemson) will force the Orange to respect the outside a little more and open up more space inside for Mitchell and Popovic to either score themselves or find the open man on a collapsing defense (I recommend kicking out, as the Orange block about 7.8% of shots against them, good for 40th in the country).

They’ve also got to maximize the fast break opportunities and points. This isn’t a great Syracuse defense by their standards (#127 in opposing EFG%), but the Eagles aren’t a good enough shooting team to make them pay for the zone.

Senior Moments

For the last home game of the season, I’m going to give each of my favorite moments for each graduating senior.

1) Nik Popovic

This one’s a ways back, but I will never forget Nik Popovic’s dominant 20-point, 72% from the field performance in the 2017-2018 ACC Tournament. In a year defined by Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson, he posted an offensive rating of 146 in that game (Ky Bowman also dominated that game, but this isn’t about him). That was Pop’s first time breaking the 20-point mark in his career, and in a lot of ways that tournament was his coming out party.

2) Derryck Thornton

Thornton has had an up-and-down tenure at BC (and it’s only been a year!), but for me his glorious moment was his first. In a year that looked dour from the very beginning, Derryck went out and immediately squashed any fear that we were in for a reboot of the 2015-2016 season. In the season (and conference) opening game against Wake Forest, Thornton put up 23 points and expelled that fear from our hearts. And I will always thank him for that.

3) Jared Hamilton

Cop out time because it’s more than one moment – I love every time Jared Hamilton takes an off-balance floater or wild step back jumper. His career at BC is defined by making those types of shots, often creating offense out of nothing late in the shot clock. The more unconventional it was, the more likely it was to go in.

4) Matt DiLuccio

Matt played in 8 games over his four years at BC, and my favorite moment is his starting against Clemson. I think sometimes we forget how hard D1 College Basketball is, especially in the ACC, (Zion Williamson could probably have dunked me if he really wanted), and DiLuccio can take that accomplishment to his grave.

Congrats to all four seniors .

Score Predictions

BC springs the upset, 73-68, because basketball usually doesn’t make sense.

Share your predictions, and favorite memories of the senior class, in the comments.