The Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team was able to escape with a buzzer beater layup by newcomer Prince Aligbe to secure a win against Cornell earlier in the week. The Eagles now have their eyes focused on the Detroit Mercy Titans who are coming off of a 93-65 throttling of a team called the Rochester College Warriors (?).
This will be the first time in program history that these two to meet on the hardwood. The Titans hail from the Horizon conference where they compete with the likes of other NCAA tournament teams that we have seen in years past such as IUPUI and Milwaukee. Of course, while getting bids to the big dance, these teams didn’t often stack up well against other conferences and were usually early round exits.
According to ESPN’s Bracketology, analysts have Detroit Mercy projected to finish in the middle of the Horizon League table at 6th, which is respectable. Over the past two seasons, the Titans have finished exactly 26-26 and they are striving to make this year their breakout year. It does appear they have the team to make some noise.
Eight of the fifteen players on their roster are seniors. That is a lot of experience and chemistry to bring into the final season. Out of all of those seniors, however, one very special player that has shown himself to have NBA talent potential: Antoine Davis. Given the fact that the Horizon League is often overlooked, Davis’ name is not circulating around all that much in the media. But after a quick look at this guy, I think he is the real deal and is definitely the player the Eagles have to focus on the most.
Antoine is currently on his way to becoming a top-five scorer in D1 history. He currently is 22nd all time with 2,734 points and if he continues to hit his average of 24 PPG for this season, he would end up sitting comfortably behind Pistol Pete Maravich at the #2 spot with a projected 3,550 points. That isn’t bad company to get behind. In the first game of the season against Rochester, Davis was able to finish with 28 points from the field and 8 assists in 39 minutes of action. He certainly is on a bucket-mission that the Eagles will have to keep in check.
As for the Eagles, Earl Grant were certainly playing around with all of his chess pieces on Monday night against Cornell. While it was great to get a glimpse of a bunch of new additions to the roster, I think this methodology was something that could have come back to haunt Grant should the Eagles have lost that contest. In my opinion, a more defined rotation will need to be set prior to tip-off against Detroit. As of this writing, both Post and Demarr Langford Jr. are questionable game-time decisions which could once again lead to Grant wanting to feel out different types of rotations.
While an upset almost did occur on Monday night, a few things did shine bright that the Eagles will have to carry into Friday night. A continued defensive prescience and intensity will need to be on full-display. Bickerstaff needs to continue to make himself known down low and be the interior defender that nobody wants to drive on.
Prince Aligbe has already cemented himself as a natural talent and potential shoe-in starter going forward. He was a little bit rusty from the floor early on taking some questionable shots. Obviously he was able to find his rhythm and deliver us with the game-winning layup in the closing seconds. I am fully backing him and encouraging him to continue his confidence on the offensive end. Just don’t be afraid to share the rock a bit more.
Lastly, perimiter shooting was an absolute non-factor last time out for the Eagles - they finished just 4-17. We need to have some type of deep weapon because right now I am not seeing one. I am hoping that Grant draws up some more plays to get guys open in the corner to massage out who is the best candidate for that role.
I think this will end up being another win for the Eagles, but I anticipate it being a lot closer than others may first assume, especially if Post and Langford sit for a second straight game.
Final Prediction: Boston College 78 - Detroit 70