After a pair of home games last week, Boston College hits the road for two at Syracuse and Georgia Tech. Let's get to it.
Game 17 vs. Syracuse Orange
Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 7:00 PM Eastern
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com
Series History: 41-24, Syracuse
First Meeting: Syracuse 78, Boston College 71 (January 30, 1959)
Last Meeting at Carrier Dome: Boston College 62, Syracuse 59 (OT) (February 19, 2014)
Game 18 vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Sunday, January 25, 2015, 1:00 PM Eastern
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com
Series History: 12-8, Georgia Tech
First Meeting: Georgia Tech 54, Boston College 50 (December 31, 1946)
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech 73, Boston College 70 (OT) (March 12, 2014)
Last Meeting at McCamish Pavilion: Georgia Tech 74, Boston College 71 (February 13, 2014)
No changes for BC. Syracuse forward Chris McCullough will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear. He joins DaJuan Coleman as SU players out for the year. No major injuries for Georgia Tech.
G Olivier Hanlan, junior
G Aaron Brown, graduate
G Dimitri Batten, graduate
G Patrick Heckmann, senior
C Dennis Clifford, junior
Steve Addazio* Previews Syracuse and Georgia Tech
We all know that we have a big week ahead of us: Rival week against Syracuse...the Orange Eagle. It's a really important game for us. We're attacking a really good Syracuse team. They play hard; they play tough; they've got really good players. You play these games, and to me, you throw the records out. We've got two good teams here. It will be a real Northeast, #hardnosed, physical, knock-down contest. We have a few days to prepare for it and stay focused, but it's a short week with a lot of distractions with the holiday. It's a little bit out of the normal routine, but Jim Christian will do a good job managing it.
They play hard, 43rd in adjusted defensive efficiency. Play a tough zone defense that we've had trouble trying to crack this season. They took a hit offensively a little bit; they had a couple things go on there. Jim Boeheim is a great coach. He's trying to manage what they're doing in terms of where their offense is headed. I think he has done a really good job with them. Rakeem Christmas is leading them in points and rebounds. Averaging nearly a double-double a game, he's a really active player. Michael Gbinije is leading them in assists; he's a really active player. We are very familiar with Trevor Cooney. Another really talented player.
Then on Sunday, we travel to Atlanta to take on a very talented Georgia Tech team. Don't let their record fool you. There's nothing #softnosed about the Yellow Jackets. That's a team the guys are very familiar with, having played them three times last year. We're really going to have to execute against this kind of team. We have to eliminate the mental mistakes, play smart, disciplined basketball. They won 16 games last year. Marcus Georges-Hunt, he's an experienced, talented guy. Scored a career-high 25 points in a win over a good Charlotte team.
We got great games out of Olivier [Hanlan] and Patrick [Heckmann] last game. Really need to see some other guys step up and contribute. First game away from home in over a week. Gotta jump back into things and get ready to face two really tough teams. We've got our work cut out for us.
Scoreboard Watching / Out of Town Notes
Not a ton of great games in the ACC this week. I guess you have to wait until Sunday to catch the best of them—Louisville at Pittsburgh (4:00 p.m., CBS) and Notre Dame at N.C. State (6:30 p.m., ESPNU). Other than that, a whole bunch of pretty blah matchups. Curious to see whether BC can catch Louisville napping a bit with the BC game sandwiched between a road game at Pitt (1/25) and a home game vs. North Carolina (1/31). The Rick Pitino-returns-to-Boston narrative will be skrong for that one.
Gametime Song of the Week
Arctic Monkeys - One for the Road. Preferably two, but I'll gladly take a split this week. If that just so happens to result in 6 Orange Eagle points for the good guys, all the better.
Last year's victory over then-#1-ranked Syracuse was the program's third ever win over the top-ranked team in the nation. BC has achieved the feat twice as a member of the ACC, defeating #1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2009 and #1 Syracuse in Syracuse last season.
Only two times in the history of the AP Poll had the AP #1 lost a game vs. an opponent with a win percentage under .400 in February or later. BC entered last year's game in Syracuse with a .240 winning percentage (6-19).
Dot Dot Dot
Love him or hate him, Boeheim has had an incredible run as head coach of the Orange. In 39 years at Syracuse, Boeheim has guided the Orange to postseason berths, either in the NCAA or NIT tournaments, in every year in which the Orange have been eligible. Only twice has the Orange failed to reach the 20-win mark under Boeheim's watch—in 1981-82 (16-13) and 1996-97 (19-13). Will 2014-15 be the third year SU finishes with a sub 20-win record?
With the ACC Tournament and a postseason tournament berth...doubtful. At the same time, of the 13 regular season games remaining, six are on the road. Six are also against teams ranked in this week's top 15: @ #15 North Carolina, #5 Duke, #10 Louisville, @ #8 Notre Dame, @ #5 Duke and #2 Virginia. Games against Pitt (home-and-home), Miami and N.C. State won't be easy outs either.
This isn't meant to throw shade at Boeheim and SU. Just openly wondering how far this year's Syracuse team can go. The Orange did race out to a 4-0 record in conference play, but I think even SU fans would be willing to admit that those wins were compiled against the conference's soft underbelly.
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Leave your thoughts / predictions on Boston College-Syracuse and Boston College-Georgia Tech below. Go Eagles!
* Steve Addazio actually didn't say these things