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Boston College Basketball vs. Louisville/Clemson: Final Thoughts & Predictions

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The Eagles welcome ACC newcomers Louisville to the Heights on Wednesday, then hit the road to take on the Clemson Tigers in South Carolina on Saturday.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Eagles welcome Louisville to the Heights for the first time as conference opponents, then hit the road for a game at Littlejohn Coliseum vs. the Clemson Tigers.

Game Facts

Game 19 vs. Louisville Cardinals

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 9:00 PM Eastern
TV: ACC Network
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com

Series History: 3-2, Boston College

First Meeting: Boston College 96, Louisville 90 (3OT) (March 13, 1966)
Last Meeting: Louisville 89, Boston College 85 (2OT) (December 29, 1996)
Last Meeting at Conte Forum: Boston College 81, Louisville 67 (November 30, 1995)

Game 20 vs. Clemson Tigers

Saturday, January 31, 2015, Noon Eastern
TV: RSN/NESN
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com

Series History: 11-7, Clemson

Last Meeting: Clemson 62, Boston College 60 (January 4, 2014)
Last Meeting at Littlejohn: Boston College 68, Clemson 61 (March 5, 2013)

Roster Notes

No changes from last week.

Projected Starters

G Olivier Hanlan, junior
G Aaron Brown, graduate
G Dimitri Batten, graduate
G Patrick Heckmann, senior
C Dennis Clifford, junior

CoachJF's Three-Point Previews

Louisville:

1) How will the Eagles deal with the Louisville defense? I know that sounds like a pretty broad statement, but Louisville is a pressure, back to zone defense team. On the surface, this is a worst case scenario for BC who simply has not executed against and who is not built to play against that approach. Will this be the game where Olivier Hanlan gets worn down and BC needs to look elsewhere for point guard play.

2) How will BC control Louisville on the Cardinals' offensive backboard? This is another category where BC has struggled mightily during the year. Louisville averages getting offensive rebounds on 36% of their missed shots. BC is #173 in the country in defensive rebound percentage, allowing 29% of opponent shots to wind up in the wrong hands, but over the past few games have given up north of 40%.

3) How well will BC take care of the ball? The Eagles have a penchant for sloppy turnovers and have not faced a team that looks to pressure and force them the way UL does. The Cardinals are number five in the country in steals per game. Steals turn into easy baskets, something BC simply cannot give up to remain competitive.

Clemson:

1) Who will show up for a 12 noon game? In this day and age, there are teams who are notorious for not being ready to play for early tips. This will be BC's first noon time game and it's on the road.

2) Who executes better offensively? Both teams are pretty good defensively. Clemson holds teams to 39% from the field, but the Tigers and Eagles have both had trouble scoring and Clemson is one of the worst teams in America forcing turnovers. Call it the anti-Louisville.

3) Rod Hall vs Olivier Hanlan. Hall is a physical defender who will assuredly draw Hanlan as his assignment. How will Hall do keeping Hanlan out of the lane and turning him into a jump shooter? How will Hanlan do, should he draw Hall fare at the other end with a player looking to attack the basket as well?

Steve Addazio* Previews Louisville and Clemson

Despite the inclement weather, we're excited to be playing Wednesday night against a great Louisville team. It's good to be home. We're playing a Louisville team whose offense is averaging over 73 points a game—good for 66th nationally—and has got all kinds of playmakers all over the court, starting with Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell and Chris Jones, and they have a bunch of skill players and are very, very dynamic.

On defense, statistically one of the top defenses in the country—an AdjD that's 4th in the nation heading into this game—with just some great players. Just a very, very good team, very physical on defense, very explosive on offense, probably one of the top talented teams in our conference. A great challenge for us. We're looking forward to it, and it will be an exciting game.

Then we hit the road again for a tough matchup with the Clemson Tigers. We match up a little better with Clemson, but this will still be a very tough, very physical matchup. Clemson already has some quality wins in ACC play. A win over Pittsburgh and Syracuse...a close win over Wake Forest. A young, but extremely talented team. Top two scorers are a sophomore and a true freshman. Jarod Blossomgame (13.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Donte Grantham (10.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg), both just tremendous talents. Obviously it's very difficult to grab wins on the road in the ultra-competitive ACC, but I have the faith that Jim Christian will have the boys ready to go this Saturday down in South Carolina.

Scoreboard Watching / Out of Town Notes

All eyes are in South Bend tonight as #4 Duke travels to South Bend to take on #8 Notre Dame (7:30 p.m., ESPN2). Then, on Saturday, a pair of ACC games featuring top ranked teams. #13 North Carolina at #10 Louisville gets things started (4:00 p.m., ESPN), followed by #4 Duke at #2 Virginia at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Gametime Song of the Week

Joywave - Somebody New. Sup, Louisville.

Random Factoids

BC and Louisville played in a triple overtime game in the 1966 NIT. The Eagles won, 96-90. It's the only triple overtime game in program history for BC.

Dot Dot Dot

How different would things be if Connecticut, not Louisville, was added to the conference as a replacement for Maryland? There's obviously the short term benefit to BC—an extra win in football certainly would have been nice as 8-5 seems SO much better than 7-6—but also the longer term ramifications as well. Would BC's two permanent home-and-home basketball partners still be Notre Dame and Syracuse, or would Connecticut replace Notre Dame on BC's sched? UConn vs....Virginia as a permanent football cross-over "rival"? Also can't help but think this would only exacerbate UConn's fall from National Champion to just another run-of-the-mill ACC program.

Right now, the Huskies very much benefit from being the big fish in a relatively small pond—though, at 11-7 overall, UConn doesn't seem to be making the most of things this season. Whether that's a temporary blip or the new normal under Kevin Ollie in the American Athletic remains to be seen, though I tend to doubt it. I imagine UConn will jump back up in no time. I think we know how the football program would fare, but how would the basketball program fare in a extremely top-heavy men's basketball conference?

All that said, Louisville has been an otherwise exemplary addition to the ACC. Even though they got the best of BC in football this year, and will likely do the same in basketball (and baseball, for that matter), the addition of the Cardinals has been nothing but a net gain for the conference; especially considering the school they replace. That's great news for the ACC as a whole, and bad news for the rest of us. Particularly those in the ACC Atlantic Division for football.

BCI Predictions

BC-LOU Score BC-CU Score Pts. Record Picking BC
Brian Favat 80-66 61-60 16 12-4
hoyaeagle 73-54
Clemson
66-63 16 13-3
Jeff Martyn 74-58 60-54 16 13-3
CSOM_97 66-58 63-59 15 12-4
A.J Black 80-63 56-55 14 11-5
CoachJF 80-58
Clemson
67-61 14 11-5
Kwani Lunis 12 11-3
Dan Rubin 85-67
Clemson
69-59 11 11-4
Joe Gravellese 129-45
Clemson
67-66 10 9-7
Grant Salzano 38-19
Clemson
17-13 8 6-10

Leave your thoughts / predictions on Boston College-Louisville and Boston College-Clemson below. Go Eagles!

* Steve Addazio actually didn't say these things