The Eagles welcome local rivals Providence to Conte Forum tonight at 7:00 p.m. Let's take a closer look at the matchup.
Game 7 vs. Providence Friars
Monday, December 1, 2014, 7:00 PM
Radio: WEEI 93.7 FM, BCEagles.com
Preseason Opponent Preview: Providence Friars
Series History: 59-49, Providence
First Meeting: Providence 64, Boston College 37 (February 16, 1942)
Last Meeting: Providence 82, Boston College 78 (OT) (November 8, 2013)
Last Meeting at Conte Forum: Boston College 71, Providence 68 (December 22, 2012)
All's quiet on the Boston College injury front. Eric Hoffses mentioned on this week's BCI Radio show that the staff is expecting Idy Diallo (knee) to return in the next few weeks...possibly for conference play. Mum's the word on Lonnie Jackson (calf) and K.C. Caudill (knee). Darryl Hicks (ACL) is likely out for the year.
Providence isn't quite at full strength either. The Friars thought they'd lose both starting point guard Kris Dunn and small forward Jalen Lindsey to ankle injuries for the Yale and Kentucky games, but both returned to action in PC's last game against Kentucky. Dunn was noticed limping on the court and finished just 1-of-7 from the floor.
G Olivier Hanlan, junior
G Aaron Brown, graduate
G Dimitri Batten, graduate
G Patrick Heckmann, senior
C Dennis Clifford, junior
1. Pressure Dunn.
This will be BC's first go against sophomore point guard Kris Dunn. Dunn didn't dress for last year's BC-PC season opener after injuring his right shoulder in an exhibition game against Rhode Island College. He's still not 100%, seen limping around in the loss to Kentucky. He committed 10 turnovers vs. UK and finished just 1-of-7 shooting. When healthy, the former McDonald's All-American is one of the better PGs in the nation. He just hasn't been able to put it all together quite yet in a short career marred by injury.
2. Protect the basketball. Last season's BC-PC game was a comedy of turnovers and foul calls. The two teams combined for 33 turnovers (17 BC, 16 PC) and 55 fouls (28 PC, 27 BC). The Eagles committed a season-low 9 turnovers in the victory over Marist but are averaging 15 a game through six games. Holding onto the basketball is going to be increasingly important as the season goes on as teams look at the success West Virginia had in pressing BC for a majority of the game.
3. The emergence of Dimitri Batten. Jim Christian still seems to be rolling the dice on the rotations in an attempt to find what works the best. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a confident Dimitri Batten make the most of his first start for the maroon and gold. Hoping he can build on the performance vs. Marist and develop into a legitimate scoring threat to compliment Hanlan and Brown. Certainly going to need him the longer BC goes without the services of Lonnie Jackson.
Steve Addazio* Previews Providence
We all know that we have a big game ahead of us: a rivalry game against Providence College. The 109th meeting between the two programs. Jim Christian and the Eagles coaching staff put in a lot of hours reviewing the tape and getting the stage set for this game. It's a really important game for us and I know the staff and the players are looking forward to getting back on the court and putting together the first winning streak of the season tonight.
Boston College is facing a really, really good Providence team. They play hard. Do things the right way. Obviously off to a fast start this season. Took a step back against #1 Kentucky, but 6-1 with victories over fellow conference members Florida State and Notre Dame. They certainly have our attention.
As far as Providence goes, Ed Cooley is a great coach. Teaches the game the right way. He's recruiting at a very high level and bringing a ton of talent to Providence. Defending Big East Tournament champions and all that. The Friars are led by LeDontae Henton, a tremendous talent. 21.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Just an incredibly talented guy. We're familiar with big man Carson Desrosiers from his time down at Wake Forest. Seven-footer, huge defensive presence. Averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Then it all starts with Kris Dunn, a McDonald's All-American that can run point with the best of them. Had an off-game against Kentucky and is battling an ankle injury but we're expecting to get Dunn's best shot after missing facing him in last year's season opener.
You play these games, and to me, you throw the records out. We've got two good teams here. These games are always too close for comfort, with the game swinging on 1-2 baskets here or there. It's going to be a real New England, old Big East, physical, knock-down contest. I have all the confidence that Christian and the players will stay focused, prepared and ready to notch a win over their rivals on the hardwood.
Scoreboard Watching / Out of Town Notes
From a pure curiousity standpoint, interested to see how VCU will fare against Virginia. BC ran into Shaka Smart and the Rams in their recruitment of Markis McDuffie, and interested to see how the program responds after dropping two games early in the year (Villanova and Old Dominion). Also on Saturday, N.C. State and Wake Forest kick off the ACC conference schedule (7:30 p.m., ESPNU). It's an intriguing matchup between a rebuilding Wake Forest team and what appears to be an underwhelming N.C. State team, at least early on. On Sunday, Arkansas travels to a reeling Clemson team that stands at just 4-3 on the year. Godspeed, Tigers.
Gametime Song of the Week
Cage The Elephant - Take It Or Leave It. With the way the schedule shapes up this season, this is Boston College's last real shot at a quality non-conference win heading into the New Year. The Eagles let the West Virginia game slip away in the end, but this would be a solid victory that would help improve BC's resume for a possible postseason tournament berth (not thinking NCAA but have to think NIT, CBI, CIT could be in play...and BC should definitely accept this time). Moving forward, there really isn't a non-conference opponent left on the schedule that BC can't beat. That includes home games against USC and Harvard. Taking this game would go a long way to finishing at or around .500 and qualifying for a postseason tournament.
Anyone else catch Providence coach Ed Cooley's shoutout to Al Skinner following the Friars' win over Creighton in the Big East Tournament final? "The one man on my mind right now is Al Skinner. The last time we won a Big East championship, he was the head coach and I learned so much from him."
Regardless of your personal feelings about Cooley, PC or even Skinner, just thought that was an incredibly classy gesture.
Dot Dot Dot #WearWhite
The program is calling for a white out for tonight's game vs. PC. The first 1,000 students to arrive will receive a limited edition "Beat Providence" white SuperFan shirt. The BC Bookstore will also have a limited quantity of white SuperFan shirts for sale at the game and there will be a 20 percent discount on all white t-shirts at the Hillside Shop and at the Conte Forum souvenir shops all day on Friday.
If going, I'd encourage you to wear white and support the team. It's a decent idea, but I just don't know how effective this color-out will be. The basketball team staged a very successful gold-out during the 2006-07 season for a home game against Carolina. ESPN College GameDay was on campus earlier in the day. Several key differences:
1) BC was really good
2) They handed out t-shirts to everyone in attendance (if memory serves). I still have a pair of the t-shirts that were handed out for that game
3) Gold is not a school color of North Carolina
4) The North Carolina campus isn't located 50 miles from BC (there figures to be a large pro-PC contingent in the house)
Errbody successfully picked a Boston College victory over Marist. Go us!
Leave your thoughts / predictions on Boston College-Providence below. Go Eagles!
* Steve Addazio actually didn't say these things