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2014 Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Final Thoughts & Predictions

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Previewing this week's Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles head down to Puerto Rico to take on the New Mexico Lobos in the first of three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Game Facts

Game 3 vs. New Mexico Lobos

Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:00 PM
TV: ESPN2 / Watch ESPN
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com

Preseason Opponent Preview: New Mexico Lobos

Series History: 1-0, New Mexico

Only Ever Meeting: New Mexico 75, Boston College 57 in Anaheim, Calif. (November 27, 2011 at 76 Classic)

Game 4 vs. George Mason Patriots / West Virginia Mountaineers

Friday, November 21, 2014, TBA
TV: TBA

Series History:

-- 8-8, West Virginia
-- Would be first ever meeting between BC and George Mason

Game 5 vs. College of Charleston Cougars / Connecticut Huskies / Dayton Flyers / Texas A&M Aggies

Sunday, November 23, 2014, TBA
TV: TBA

Series History:

-- 55-35, Connecticut
-- 1-0, College of Charleston
-- 1-0, Dayton
-- 0-1, Texas A&M

Roster Notes

Doesn't look like there are any updates this week. Not expecting Lonnie Jackson (calf), K.C. Caudill (knee), Idy Diallo (knee) or Darryl Hicks (ACL) to go this weekend. That leaves BC rolling with just nine scholarship players; particularly thin in the front court.

Projected Starters

G Olivier Hanlan, junior
G Aaron Brown, graduate
G Patrick Heckmann, senior
F Eddie Odio, senior
C Dennis Clifford, junior

Three-Point Preview

1. Bigs Stay Outta Foul Trouble. The whole complexion of the game against UMass changed when Dennis Clifford picked up his second personal on a questionable call. With both Diallo and Caudill not dressing, imperative that Clifford stay on the floor and eat up a bunch of minutes at the 5.

2. Brown and Hanlan Both Get Hot. Brown was the star of the UNH game, netting a game-high 21 points, but he went 0-for-7 from three in that game. Against UMass, Brown hit two three-point shots but went 1-for-5 from the floor within the arc. If Lonnie Jackson can't go, both Brown and Hanlan are gonna have to find the scoring touch if BC hopes to put together a few wins in this tournament.

3. Find A Rhythm on Offense. After watching the first two games, it's like watching bizarro Boston College basketball under Steve Donahue. The defensive effort and intensity is there, but they look pretty lost of the other end of the floor. Magarity and Clifford look pretty good down low, and I like what I've seen from both of them, but I'm not sure this team has figured out its identity on offense. I also don't think this is because of all the injuries.

Steve Addazio* Previews New Mexico

Obviously we're coming off a very emotional, very draining game against our in-state rivals last Sunday afternoon. I liked the defensive effort in the first half, but we simply let that game slip away in the second. I thought our guys played extremely hard, but too many mental lapses and missed opportunities in the second half will cost you down the stretch. That happens. That's on Jim Christian and the new staff to learn from their mistakes and move forward. I have faith that the team will do just that.

Make no mistake though. That's a very fundamentally sound team, a physically tough team with a strong front court presence that bangs you down low. You saw what they did to Manhattan earlier in the week; another NCAA Tournament team from a year to go. We think the world of UMass's men's basketball program. That's what we're trying to get back to as a program...playing on that level. But you tip your cap to the Minutemen, a good program in a strong conference, and move on.

We're taking on the New Mexico Lobos this week in Puerto Rico. New Mexico has a great tradition...has won three straight Mountain West Conference tournament titles. Tremendous coach in Craig Neal, who I have all the respect in the world for. Neal took the Lobos back to the NCAA Tournament in year 1. Hasn't missed a beat taking over for Steve Alford. Our guys, we're going to have to match the Lobos with the same energy level and passion that it takes to win week in and week out.

This week, we set the tone early in practice. We're going down to Puerto Rico to take care of business. Had a few really good practices to set the tone and message that we're out here to get better and go. That's what it's all about.

New Mexico will be missing a key player in Jordan Goodman. The junior college transfer is expected to slot in as the Lobos starting power forward, but he's still recovering from offseason knee surgery and won't be able to go this week. He's an athletic presence and presents a physical mismatch. Devon Williams will start in his place, but there's no doubt that that's a significant blow to the Lobos front court. We wish him well in his recovery.

The Lobos do boast an impressive backcourt —Hugh Greenwood, Cullen Neal, and Deshawn Delaney. All high quality guys. Proven scorers. Protect the ball well and move the offense with precision. New Mexico lost a bunch of production from last year's tournament team but these guys have stepped in right away and are off to a fast 2-0 start. Wins over Idaho State and Cal State-Fullerton. They have our undivided attention this week.

Overall, we're excited to face New Mexico as well as two more games down here in Puerto Rico. Should be a fabulous tournament. We're excited to learn...excited to compete...excited to string together a few wins down here and carry that momentum back to the Heights. From here, we'll take a bit of a break for the holidays, regroup and prepare to face an improved Marist team. These are the challenges that faces this young Eagles team; one that I know Jim Christian and the Eagles will embrace.

Scoreboard Watching / Out of Town Notes

Syracuse-Cal is at 9 p.m. tonight (ESPN2) as part of the 2K Sports Classic at the Garden. Interested to see what the Orange are all about this year. On Friday, Virginia hosts a very good George Washington team at 7 p.m. Saturday features two barometer-type games for BC, with Notre Dame facing UMass and Florida State facing Providence at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Connecticut. On Sunday, those two ACC teams swap opponents, with Notre Dame facing Providence and Florida State-UMass.

Gametime Song of the Week

Death From Above 1979 - Trainwreck 1979. Like our favorite Canadian point guard, Death From Above 1979 is a Canadian punk rock duo from Toronto. They had just one studio album released in 2004 before breaking it up in 2006. They later announced a reunion in 2011. This track is off their second studio album, The Physical World, released back in September. Just a really fun song to get amped to. If BC is gonna make some noise this week down in San Juan, guys like Hanlan, Brown and Heckmann are gonna have to dish out their own "death from above."

'Cause I want it all, I can't get enough...

Random Factoid

Boston College has faced four of the seven other teams in the tournament field just once in program history. Every one of those games has come in one of these exempt holiday tournaments. BC faced Dayton and Charleston in the 2012 Charleston Classic, New Mexico in the 2011 76 Classic and Texas A&M in the 2010 Old Spice Classic.

Dot Dot Dot

BC's last trip to Puerto Rico came during the 1999-00 season. The Eagles lost to Tulsa, 80-66, before knocking off Illinois-Chicago (67-62) and Massachusetts (83-59) in what was called the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic.

BCI Predictions

Since we won't know BC's other two tournament opponents, this week's predictions include picking the four first-round matchup winners as well as the overall tournament champ. Congrats to A.J, Coach, NG, Kwani and hoya on their 2-0 starts.

BC-UNM UD-TAMU C of C-UCONN GMU-WVU Champion Pts.
A.J Black 2
John Fidler 2
Dan Rubin 2
Kwani Lunis 2
hoyaeagle 2
Brian Favat 1
Jeff Martyn 1
Dan Doolan 1
Joe Gravellese 1
CSOM_97 1
Grant Salzano 0

Brian Favat:

Boston College 75, New Mexico 71. Before the season began, I predicted a 80-66 New Mexico victory. Without the services of Jordan Goodman, I'm flipping and picking the Eagles.

Jeff Martyn:

Boston College 68, New Mexico 60. Clifford zero points, 10 boards. Hanlan 20+.

A.J Black:

New Mexico 63, Boston College 55

Dan Doolan:

Boston College 65, New Mexico 60. Hanlan finally gets going but UNM keeps it close thanks to Cullen Neal.

Joe Gravellese:

Boston College 68, New Mexico 66

Grant Salzano:

New Mexico 71, Boston College 55

hoyaeagle:

New Mexico 70, Boston College 61

Kwani Lunis:

Boston College 75, New Mexico 70

CSOM_97:

Boston College 70, New Mexico 63. I'll have to believe it to see it. That's how it works, right?

John Fidler:

New Mexico 64, Boston College 60. BC could be in a position to pull a mild upset, but scoring droughts (I may repeat this line frequently during the year) ultimately cost the Eagles the W.

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Leave your thoughts / predictions on the weekend's Puerto Rico Tip-Off below. Go Eagles!

* Steve Addazio actually didn't say these things