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Syracuse vs. Boston College Basketball Preview: Q&A With BC Interruption

"Oh, these guys..."

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Things appeared to be going well for the Orange early on in ACC play. Until Saturday's debacle, and now suddenly everything is terrible once again. That's how this season's going to work, though. So might as well get used to it.

Below, CoachJF from SB Nation's excellent BC Interruption (which you should be following already), stops by to chat all about Boston College basketball. Join us below, and swing over there too if you'd like to see our answers.

Dennis Clifford's a solid option on the inside, but his rebounding numbers are fairly low. Is that a product of him being the team's only viable option on the boards? Or something else?

I think it's something else and the something else is that he just isn't a great rebounder or great scorer for that matter. The curse of being 7'1 is that you are expected to be able to dominate or at least rebound at a high level, but beyond being hurt for the past two seasons, Clifford is not an elite athlete, certainly not one that will own the backboard and not one that will get rebounds outside of the ones that are outside of his body frame. Remember, he only plays about 24 minutes a game and so I think the 5.9 rebound per game number you see now is about right for his talent level. I would be happy if he just finished layups!

Olivier Hanlan is the team's primary scorer, yet goes fairly unaddressed by the national media. What needs to happen for him to get some well-deserved notice by season's end?

The most obvious answer here is that the team needs to win. Playing for a .500 or more than likely soon to be sub .500 team, particularly in the Boston media market, is a sure way not to get attention. Also, despite having some great moments, I don't think he's had an off the charts, great season. He's 26% from three, only 68% from the line and hasn't played great defense. A lot of that has to do with the minutes he has to play with no other viable option at the point.

How's Jim Christian treating BC thus far this season? Are Eagles fans sold the program is about to turn around?

I think the jury is still out. Skepticism when he was hired that he was just another guy and then early on in the year there was noticeable improvement particularly on the defensive end and good wins over New Mexico and Providence. Other than the Duke game they've been competitive in every game played and remember, this is a team that only won only 8 games in total a year ago. He's trying to rebuild relationships with area coaches and that's important, but this is still a roster devoid of the athletes it needs to compete at the highest levels of the ACC.

End-of-season: Where do Eagles fans see this team finishing in the ACC?

That's something that has changed as the year has gone on. Early in the season, particularly with how they played in the Puerto Rico tournament, there was a thought that this team could possibly get to the middle of the pack in the ACC. Starting 0-4 in conference has tempered that a lot and to the point where some have suggested that they won't win another game this year. There are some wins out there to be had and Christian definitely hasn't lost the team, but it will be hard to do much better than four or five conference wins this year.

What does Boston College need to do well in order to win -- against anyone, sure, but specifically against Syracuse?

This one is ridiculously easy and any BC fan would give the same answer and that's attack the zone. It is both BC and Syracuse specific. Why any team would not press BC (to tire Hanlan) and go back and play 2-3 zone is beyond me. The Eagles have shown no ability at all to generate anything against the zone outside of trying to fast break against it before it sets up and without anyone inside to play through and collapse the zone, has relied on threes to the tune of 29% on the year, good for #307 in America.

Is this "rivalry" back? Seems like both schools have played their parts pretty well to bring things back quickly (in several sports).

I do hope so. BC and Syracuse were never really "big" rivals even in the hey day of the old Big East. On the hoop front, SU was far more concerned with Georgetown, Villanova and St John's although there were some great games between the Eagles and Orange(men!). One of the things BC struggles with most is lack of a true rival outside of Boston University for hockey..would be really great to have a rival that felt like a rival.

Prediction time: What happens on Tuesday night? We're prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.

Realizing what happened last year is one thing, but the reality of this is that BC is just not designed and hasn't had any success against the zone all year long and that's against teams that can't play it to Syracuse's level. The Orange get enough done offensively and hurt BC on the offensive glass. Syracuse 64 BC 56


Thanks again for taking the time out for these, CoachJF! Again, be sure to follow BC Interruption on Twitter, and head over there to see what our rivals are up to lately.