On Saturday night, the Boston College men’s basketball team welcomes the Syracuse Orange to Chestnut Hill as the two teams jockey for positioning in the ACC standings.
When: Saturday, February 4th at 5 pm ET
Where: Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA
How to Watch: The game will be broadcasted live on ACC Network
Boston College comes into this game fresh off of a convincing 62-54 win over the #20 Clemson Tigers on Tuesday, notching their second ranked win of the season. BC looked lethargic for the first 10 minutes, before absolutely stifling the Tigers' potent offense for much of the contest. With stout team defense, the Eagles held Clemson to an abysmal 31% from the field, including a 13-minute stretch without a field goal. Prince Aligbe made his presence felt on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and getting BC out in transition for some easy buckets. Earl Grant’s squad seems to be buying in at the right time as Tuesday was their most complete game on defense all season. Although you could chalk it up to just a bad shooting night for the Tigers, this was a big boost for Boston College as the team looks to gain momentum heading into the ACC tournament.
On Saturday, the Eagles will look to avenge their late December 79-65 loss to the Orange. To be sure, the last meeting was more of a battle than the final score would indicate. When senior center Jesse Edwards checked out early in the second half with 4 fouls, the Orange led 40-33. With Edwards on the bench, the Eagles went on a 12-0 run to take a 48-46 lead with 12 minutes to play, before collapsing under Syracuse’s second-half three-point barrage. BC was able to hold their own for much of the contest and should feel confident in their ability to split the season series with a win at home. In order to get there, BC must key in on the Syracuse backcourt which torched them from inside and out last time. Eagles-killer Joe Girard hit 4 threes, scoring a game-high 24 points, while freshman point guard Judah Mintz’s got to the rack with ease, logging 18 points and 7 assists.
This time around, BC will have Quinten Post at full strength as he played just 16 minutes, scoring 8 points at the JMA Wireless Dome. Post has been absolutely dominant for the Eagles putting up nine straight double-digit scoring games. Elsewhere, Jaeden Zackery continues to gain some steam as he put up an impressive 13 points on 6-10 shooting this past Tuesday. Makai Ashton-Langford has also continued to step up, dropping 15 points and swiping 6 steals last time out. We are looking at a serious squad if these three continue to show up when it matters. Yet despite the many positives this team showed in their massive ACC win, the offense remained stagnant for stretches, something that has plagued the Eagles all year long.
Syracuse comes into this one desperately hoping that February brings new life. The Orange went 4-5 to begin 2023, dropping tough ones to Virginia (x2), Miami, and UNC. Their biggest issues have come at the defensive end and charity stripe. Every rotational player for Syracuse has a defensive rating above 100 in ACC play, and the Orange shot below 70% from the line in 5 of their 9 January games. Bad defense and missed free throws are not exactly a recipe for success. However, if BC allows Cuse to shoot 8-16 from beyond the arc again, they will be hard-pressed to keep up. Saturday is going to be absolutely frigid on the Heights (-10!!), and I see this one having an ice-thin margin.
Prediction: Syracuse 72 Boston College 70