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Men’s Basketball Preview: Boston College @ Saint Louis

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Can the Eagles’ 3-game winning streak continue?

Syndication: The Providence Journal Kris Craig / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Boston College Eagles (6-3) play the Saint Louis Billikens (7-3) tomorrow, Saturday December 11th, at 5pm in St. Louis. The home team Saint Louis enters the game on a 2-game losing streak at home against Alabama-Birmingham and Belmont. This comes after starting the season an impressive 7-1 with their only loss coming to #11 ranked Memphis. Boston College has been hot and cold to start the season, winning 3 straight, losing 3 straight, and then winning 3 straight again to end up at 6-3 entering this game. Notably, they won their first ACC contest of the year last weekend with a dominant win over a struggling Notre Dame.

Saint Louis is a solid basketball program and a decent team, ranked 90th in the KenPom ratings hanging around teams like VCU, Georgia Tech, Penn State, and undefeated Minnesota. For reference, Boston College is ranked 112th. Saint Louis’s offense has been particularly impressive so far, scoring at a high volume and getting to the line at a very high clip. The Billikens have made an average of 18.8 free throws per game so far this season, good for 4th best in the nation. While the BC defense has been pretty impressive to start the season, only allowing 70+ points once so far, they will have to have a particular focus on keeping their hands up and not letting Saint Louis get to the line too often. So far they’ve done a decent job at this, ranking 81st in least personal fouls per game, 6th in the ACC.

This is also a chance for the Boston College offense to finally get a groove going. Saint Louis’s defense is notably worse than their offense and they play at a fast pace, so BC will have to adjust their typically slower offense to keep up. Against a similar team they’ve played twice this season, Rhode Island (also in the A-10, ranked 83rd in KenPom), BC only mustered 49 and 65 points in each contest, losing both. And it will be crucial for the Langford brothers to have good games, as their offensive success typically indicates team success.

Prediction

Earl Grant’s coaching has already been showing through at BC with the defensive intensity the Eagles have on the court in a way that was missing in previous seasons. But the offensive execution has been shaky and they’ve lost all 3 of their road games this year. I’ll take Saint Louis in a close-ish one that will be decided by some crucial free throws.

Final Score: Saint Louis 72 Boston College 64