A week ago this game had the makings of a snoozer.
My oh my how one night can change things!!
On Wednesday night both teams were in action and Miami knocked off Notre Dame with an exciting performance and new found confidence on offense, while all BC did was knock off #1 and unbeaten Syracuse the Carrier Dome.
Suddenly tomorrow's meeting high noon at the BUC has appeal!
We caught up with Brian Favat of SB Nation's Boston College blog BC Interruption and got the scoop on the Eagles and more.
BCI: I wouldn't say Syracuse overlooked BC. The surprising result was more the product of BC's sharpshooting and carving up the Syracuse zone in the second half. Syracuse was up by as many as 13 early in the second half, but Patrick Heckmann helped spark the Eagles to close to gap. All told, BC shot 52.2% from the floor in the second half, including 7-of-12 from three, while committing only five turnovers and allowing just two points off turnovers. BC was able to penetrate on the Cuse zone and then just kick it out for the three ball. The Eagles shot the ball well in one of, if not the most complete effort by this year's team.
BCI: DK meant everything to the athletics department but specifically the basketball team. No doubt there were some heavy hearts on the bench this week as the team and the school laid Kelley to rest in a memorial service earlier in the week. I'm sure playing for the memory of DK played a role in the Eagles' upset, but I don't think that was all of it. What is funny is at the beginning of the year, Steve Donahue mentioned that as this team is currently constructed, they wanted opponents to play zone against the Eagles. Donahue was also very familiar with Boeheim's zone during his time at Cornell. The game plan worked perfectly, with BC driving to the hoop and then kicking it out to the sharpshooters from range.
BCI: A bit of everything, really. Donahue set up a road/neutral heavy non-conference schedule and despite a bunch of close calls, BC lost a lot of those games early. Losing Dennis Clifford for the year is a factor, though how big of a factor is a hot topic of debate amongst Eagles fans. As the losses started to pile up, Donahue tried all sorts of rotations and starting lineups without much success. He ended up shortening the rotations and shortening the bench in the Syracuse game and that seems to be working a bit better. What's frustrating is that it took 25+ games to figure out the right rotation without Clifford.
BCI: To be honest, I'm not sure if Hanlan has progressed much year over year. He definitely sparked the Eagles in the win over Syracuse, but I'm hard-pressed to single out one player who has progressed this season. It's been that kind of year. Hanlan is arguably the only player on the roster that can single-handedly take over a game, and he just hasn't done that all that much this year. Patrick Heckmann had the game of the season against Syracuse, which was a pleasant surprise because for whatever reason, Donahue tried burying him on the bench earlier in the year. BC just can't afford to have guys like Heckmann or Lonnie Jackson not playing a significant amount of minutes if the Eagles are going to be successful the rest of the way.
BCI: I remember answering this question a few years back for Category 6. I can't recall what my answer was at the time, but none of the players from the last few seasons would crack the top 5. Let's say: Troy Bell and Dana Barros at the guard positions, Bill Curley, Craig Smith and Jared Dudley at forward. Tyrese Rice and Danya Abrams coming off the bench.
BCI: Right now, my first team would include Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis, North Carolina guard Marcus Paige, N.C. State forward T.J. Warren, Clemson forward K.J. McDaniel and Duke forward Jabari Parker. Pitt's Lamar Patterson just misses the cut.
BCI: This is a very interesting game from BC's perspective. Will the Eagles use Wednesday's win over #1 Syracuse to propel them to another strong finish to end the season, or was that game an aberration in an otherwise forgettable season? Miami is a tough team to figure out this year. Despite the complete roster turnover, the Canes have been in plenty of games and have a couple of decent conference Ws under their belts. Vegas likes Miami by 5.5. A big part of me thinks that BC's win over Syracuse was an aberration but I could also see the Eagles pulling the road upset here. Either way, I think it's going to be a game that goes down to the wire with one team hitting a shot to pull out the W. Given that I think it'll be a close game, I'll put on the maroon-colored glasses and call it BC 72, Miami 69, though I would not be surprised in the least if the Canes are on the winning end of this one.
Watch the game on these affiliates in Florida: Gainesville - TV 20, Jacksonville - FOX 30, Miami-Fort Lauderdale - MY 33, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne - My 65, Panama City - News 13, Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota) - CW 44, West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce - The CW West Palm.
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