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Previewing Boston College Men’s Basketball vs. USF Bulls

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Back to the Grind!

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tip Off Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College Men’s basketball team jumps right back into action after the Thanksgiving break to face off against a 3-2 USF Bulls team, who may prove more difficult an opponent than at first glance.

Before breaking down the Bulls, let’s quickly hit the rewind button the Eagles and recap where things currently stand for them in non-conference play.

BC presently stands at 4-3, with two of their losses coming against a strong URI team - one loss being on the road and the other in the second round of the Sunshine Slam. Fortunately for the Eagles, they were able to rebound from their struggles down in Daytona Beach and pick up a 73-60 win against Columbia before going into the Turkey break.

There have been some inconsistencies on the offensive side of the ball as it is hard to tell who is going to show up and be the playmaker for the Eagles week in and week out. Nonetheless, Jaeden Zackery appears to be the breakout offensive star for the Eagles early on as he seems to be the most consistent in his offensive performance.

That’s not to say the likes of Demarr, Makai and TJ have not been beneficial to the Eagles’ success, but Zackery has definitely turned heads with his ability to shoot from all areas of the floor and with some solid efficiency. He currently leads the team in FG% at 53.6% and 3PT% at 52.4%. It will be interesting to see if he is able to keep these types of numbers once the Eagles delve into conference play.

Now, looking to tonight’s opponent against the Bulls, I must say that this has the feelings of a tough game for the Eagles coming out of the break.

USF’s defense has been outstanding in the early goings of the season. Currently they rank 7th in the nation allowing just 54.2 PPG. Now I know the common rebuttal to that argument is that they are playing low tier opponents and that the number is inflated. Well, that is partially true in this case. While three of their wins came against lowly opponents in Bethune-Cookman, NC A&T and Hampton they also gave #21 Auburn a run for their money; the Tigers had to go on a 15-0 stretch to start the second half to climb their way back into the contest and eke out a win.

After seeing BC’s poor shooting performance happen not once, but twice, against a stalwart defense in URI, the defensive consistency of USF scares me a bit. Junior Russel Tchewa, who stands at 7’ 280, is an imposing force down low and can easily capitalize on second chance opportunities.

Offensively, the Bulls do struggle in getting the ball through the cup. While their defense holds down the fort, their offensive has had its shooting woes, shooting just 37% from the field and 26% from 3-point range. Caleb Murphy has been their best offensive weapon averaging 12 PPG.

As of this writing, BC is a -6.5 favorite in Vegas with the O/U at 119.5. My prediction is that this is going to be an extremely slow paced game with turnovers happening left and right. The Bulls are also a turnover prone team averaging 11.6 per game. I anticipate the Eagles having a tough time attacking the paint, but a few clutch threes will carry them over the finish line. Expect a close finish with the Eagles escaping with a nail-biting win in a low-scoring affair.

Final Prediction: Boston College 56 vs. USF 52 | USF +6.5 | Under 119.5