It was a rough go around for the Boston College Men’s basketball team on Wednesday night as they dropped their first game of the season to a URI team that looked absolutely outstanding on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles were consistently stuffed in the front court as they were held to only 49 points in the contest with the Rhody’s also recording 13 blocks. With their fantastical dreams of a perfect season having now eroded, the Eagles now press on to compete in the Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach with their first contest going up against the Utah Utes.
Utah has been off to a pretty steady start to the season as they go into the tournament a solid 3-0 after dismantling a bunch of lower tiered opponents. Those opponents being the lies of Abilene Christian, Sacramento State and Bethune-Cookman. As weird as it might seem to say, Boston College will most likely be the first formidable opponent that the Utes go against. Overall, Utah is stuck in the Pac-12 where the conference is absolutely dominated by UCLA who is looking to make another deep March Madness run. With this being the case, Utah is bottoming out in the conference and is projected to finish tenth as they have gone through quite some roster turnover and depletion going into this season.
In years past, the Utes in my mind have always been a team that somehow finds their way to sneak into the Big Dance but that have certainly plateaued over the past few seasons and have not had a bid since 2016. This paved the way for the hiring of Head Coach Craig Smith who came over from Utah State where his defense ranked 8th in the nation according to KenPom last season. Alongside with Smith, the Utes have some talent around them especially in 7 foot center Branden Carlson who has already exhibited his dribbling and finesse abilities for a big man. He currently leads the team in PPG with 16.3 and should definitely prove a challenge for Post and is overall a player the Eagles need to try their best to take out of the game early.
Depending on the outcome of this game, the Eagles will then go on to either play URI once again (which would be a real doozy) or a Tulsa team that has already dropped one of their games to Air Force. In terms of the first game in question, I give the slight edge to BC. It should be a good contest, but I think that after a wake up call game against URI the Eagles bounce back. If we were to see URI in the next round, I anticipate a very similar outcome to the one a few nights ago as our offense could simply just not buy a bucket. Lets just hope that does not become a common thread throughout the season...