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Men’s Basketball Preview: Boston College @ Syracuse

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Can the Eagles avenge December’s embarassment?

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College Eagles (3-12) will visit the Syracuse Orange (11-6) at the Carrier Dome today for a 2pm tip-off. BC has lost 3 games straight, gone 1-8 against the ACC, and still has a few key players that are questionable to play in today’s contest. After going on a 3-week hiatus, the Eagles have had a couple abysmal performances in which their lack of depth has been a huge factor. The Orange, on the other hand, have won 4 of their last 6. They also already have a victory over the Eagles this season, when they embarrassed all of the cardboard cutouts in Conte Forum for a 101-63 victory.

It hurts to look back at that game, but let’s see what pointers the Eagles can take away from it.

First off, they need to crack Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. Coach Christian has been playing against Boeheim for years now, so it was bewildering to watch BC get smothered on the same plays over and over against the same coverage. It didn’t help that BC was awful from beyond the arc, but that’s to be expected for this squad in most games. In order to improve, Coach Christian needs to diversify the gameplan to attack the zone from more angles and the Eagles need to shoot better from 3.

The Eagles’ other major flaw in that game was a lack of energy, both on defense and in loose-ball situations. That is another problem that will hardly sound new to BC fans, but this squad has proved that they are able to turn the energy up a notch on occasion. They just need to do it a lot more and with much more consistency. If the Eagles come out today looking flat right out of the gate, expect a rough game. But if we see the return of key players on some fresh legs, we could see a competitive game with higher energy.

Prediction

I’m not expecting much. This is a talented, well-coached Syracuse team going against a BC squad that is tired from losing and could still be short-handed. CJ Felder and Jay Heath have looked mostly good as they have been playing more minutes in a depleted roster, but them and any combination of returning players will not be enough to beat the Orange.

Final Score: Syracuse 83 Boston College 67