The Boston College Eagles (8-11) host the Pittsburgh Panthers (8-12) on Saturday January 29th for an afternoon contest that is slated to be played in the middle of a historic New England snowstorm (so keep your eyes peeled for a delay). Boston College is coming off of a couple of bad losses against Wake Forest and UNC that saw them shoot a terrible combined 29% from the field, and an even worse combined 17% from beyond the arc. Pitt hasn’t fared much better in the ACC this season, matching BC’s 3-6 conference record. But at least the Panthers have won 3 of their last 6, including an earlier victory over the Eagles on January 8th.
The last time these two teams faced off, it was a good game. Boston College came out to an early lead thanks in large part to the scoring of the Langford brothers, but down the stretch BC could not stop Pitt’s John Hugley as he popped off for a massive 32 points in a close 69-67 Pitt win.
Hugley is Pitt’s leading scorer this season and a big presence inside the paint, somewhere BC struggles defensively, so expect him to get fed the ball a lot. If James Karnik and Quinten Post can step up more than they did earlier this month in Pittsburgh, then the Eagles will stand a much better chance of winning. They also need to do a better job of keeping their hands up and not fouling Hugley like they did in the previous contest. Giving him a whopping 20 attempts at the free throw line (he made 15) is not a sustainable clip.
Offensively, there’s not much to say other than... they need to figure it out. BC has shown in spurts that they’re capable of good offense, but those moments have come sparingly and pretty much have been non-existent in their last 2 games. After those very poor shooting performances, I suppose there’s nowhere to go but up. Feeding Karnik to get him in rhythm seems to be a feature of the Eagles offense when its working and allows them to do a lot more playmaking around the court, so look for him to be an indicator early if BC is going to have a good game.
Unfortunately I don’t think it’s in the cards for Boston College to get out of their slump. I expect improved offense, mostly because almost anything would be considered improvement, but getting bullied by Hugley and the rest of Pitt’s offense will prove too much to handle.
Final: Pitt 70 Boston College 60