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Boston College Basketball vs. Syracuse/Miami: Final Thoughts & Predictions

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The Eagles welcome a pair of former Big East foes to Conte Forum.

The Eagles return home to Chestnut Hill to take on the Syracuse on Wednesday and Miami on Sunday.

Game Facts

Game 23 vs. Syracuse Orange

Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 7:00 PM Eastern
TV: ESPN2
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com

Series History: 42-24, Syracuse

First Meeting: Syracuse 78, Boston College 71 (January 30, 1959)
Last Meeting: Syracuse 69, Boston College 61 (January 20, 2015)
Last Meeting at Conte Forum: Syracuse 69, Boston College 59 (January 13, 2014)

Game 24 vs. Miami-Florida Hurricanes

Sunday, February 15, 2015, 6:30 p.m. Eastern
TV: ESPNU
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com

Series History: 24-20, Boston College

First Meeting: Miami 72, Boston College 69 (December 4, 1962)
Last Meeting: Miami 60, Boston College 56 (January 10, 2015)
Last Meeting at Conte Forum: Miami 60, Boston College 59 (January 16, 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

Three-Point Preview

1. Don't settle for shots from the perimeter. About the worst thing that happened to BC in #OrangeEagle round 1 was making four of five three-pointers to start the game. Obviously that's not a sustainable average, yet the Eagles continued to chuck them from deep—29 in all, making just 10 of them for a 34 3-point shooting percentage. Certainly not terrible, but when you consider that BC's 29 attempts were more than 50 percent of the total shots in the game (57% to be exact), that's a recipe for disaster. The Eagles are going to have to work the ball inside and drive to the hoop, not settle for threes, if it hopes to knock off either team this week.

2. Solve Christmas and Jekiri. BC has little to no inside game. We know this. Still, the Eagles are gonna have to find ways to stop or slow both bigs. Christmas absolutely throttled BC the first time around, and, if not for getting himself in foul trouble (and then incessantly whining about it), BC-Syracuse round 1 might have really gotten out of hand. Jekiri, for his part, dominated the Eagles on the glass, coming down with 15 rebounds including BC's potential game-tying shot with four seconds left in the game. BC is gonna need a solid game from both Clifford and Magarity—at least on the defensive end—to spring the upset.

3. Free throws. Might as well continue to beat this dead horse. This has gotten progressively worse as the season's progressed. In the Notre Dame game, BC attempted just SIX free throws...and missed three of them. The Eagles did a much better job of getting to the line against North Carolina, but still ended up missing six of 19. BC ranked 180th nationally and 7th in the ACC in free throw percentage (68.8%) but it feels far worse than that, particularly during this four-game skid.

Steve Addazio* Previews Syracuse and Miami

We are hanging in there. We're battling. I thought after watching the tape that Jim Christian's guys played really, really hard. It's clear that nothing short of a 40-minute effort from these guys is going to cut it, but the effort and intensity continues to be there for this team. That's a testament to Jim Christian. This team isn't giving up and is poised to break through here.

Our kids continue to play with great energy and great passion. Notre Dame and North Carolina? That's two really good basketball teams. You walk away from that game, and despite the outcome, you're happy about how your guys responded and how they played.

We are on to Syracuse and Miami. We have a lot of respect for both programs, their history. Syracuse has been a powerhouse in the old Big East Conference and in the Northeast more generally; they're a power. They're big, physical. They've traditionally done well against BC. Despite all the off-court issues surrounding the program right now, I think they have a great deal of confidence—having knocked off BC earlier in the year—and will come in here really well coached and really well prepared to play our basketball team.

Miami is a program not too far removed from an ACC championship. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the job that Jim Larranaga has done down in south Florida. The program lost a lot of talent, but they quickly reloaded and are one of the top teams in the ACC again this season. That's a testament to the job Coach Larranaga has done in a few short years at Miami. Total dude.

We've got a lot of respect and I hope that the players are mature enough to understand that if you don't bring your A-game, if you're not emotionally, mentally and physically prepared every week, you take two strong programs in Syracuse and Miami and they'll come to your place and put it right on you. We have our work cut out for us.

Scoreboard Watching / Out of Town Notes

Interested in seeing how Miami fares on Wednesday on the road at Wake Forest (7:00 p.m., ESPN3) ahead of the Canes game at BC. Pickings are slim all week, though N.C. State at Louisville on Saturday (4:00 p.m., ESPN) has some minor intrigue. The Pack has really been on the downslide these past few weeks and I'm interested in seeing how they hold up against a very talented Louisville squad.

Gametime Song of the Week

Bastille - Bad Blood.

Random Factoids

ESPN play-by-play announcer and Boston College alum Bob Wischusen is on the call tonight. Bill has been beating the BC @ESPNBob curse drum for some time now.

While there may be something to the @ESPNBob curse in football, I'm not sure it carries across different sports. Wischusen called last year's monumental upset of then #1 and unbeaten Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

Football is, of course, a different story. There are probably others, but based on a crude BCI search, I've got Wischusen's record while calling BC football games at 1-5, with losses to Penn State in the Pinstripe Bowl, Louisville 2014, Clemson 2013, Clemson 2012, and Miami 2012. The lone win was the 2013 victory over Virginia Tech.

Dot Dot Dot

Olivier Hanlan has really turned up his play over the past few games. He currently ranks second in the ACC in 3-point percentage (.420), third in scoring (19.9), fourth in 3-pointers made (2.70), eighth in assists (4.60) and ninth in free throw percentage (.778) during conference play. He also recently moved into 16th place on the school's all-time leading scorers list, passing Terry Driscoll, and will almost certainly jump Sean Marshall for 15th after the Syracuse game.

BC asks a lot of this guy, mainly out of necessity, and the junior guard has responded in a big way, scoring 25, 11, 15, 28 and 30 over his last five games. The Eagles are gonna need a few more strong performances out of Hanlan the rest of the way if BC hopes to make some noise down the stretch against what's shaping up to be a much more manageable slate of games.

BCI Predictions

Everyone went 2-0 last week predicting Notre Dame/North Carolina victories. Everyone except Grant, that is (#grantsucks). This week, the predictions have a bit more variety to them.

BC-SU Score BC-UM Score Pts. Record Picking BC
hoyaeagle 62-55 66-60 20 17-3
Brian Favat 57-54 75-71 19 16-4
Jeff Martyn 63-61 65-59 19 16-4
CSOM_97 68-64 65-61 18 15-5
CoachJF 62-56 64-60 18 15-5
A.J Black 74-65 62-50 17 14-6
Dan Rubin 75-60 68-63 15 15-4
Kwani Lunis 65-60 79-55 14 13-4
Joe Gravellese 77-71 71-65 14 13-7
Grant Salzano 143-24 74-65 11 9-11

Leave your thoughts / predictions on Boston College-Syracuse and Boston College-Miami below. Go Eagles!

* Steve Addazio actually didn't say these things