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Syracuse Basketball: Boston College is Bad, But Not an Automatic Win

I'm not TRYING to be a buzzkill, I swear.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow, the Syracuse Orange (17-8, 7-5) travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. to take on the lowly Boston College Eagles (7-17, 0-11). Riding a four-game winning streak, there's obviously an air of confidence around SU right now, aided by the team's 22-point shellacking of BC a month ago. Being 10.5-point favorites as of this afternoon gives Orange fans some additional confidence too.

This is just a reminder -- not a warning -- that we can't take anything for granted in college basketball. Yes, Boston College is historically bad. And yes, they're possibly embarking on the rare 0-for-ACC-play in both football and basketball in the same year. We'd of course LOVE to help them with such an achievement. But we've been in a similar situation with a bad BC team recently, and...

(Nope, not even going to link to it)

Just like that unfortunate day in 2014, I once again believe Syracuse beats Boston College. However, there's nothing wrong with at least considering a couple reasons why the unexpected could happen.

Permanent rivals... on the schedule

For better or for worse, BC and Syracuse play twice a year, every year. That can breed contempt, but it can also breed familiarity. The Eagles have seen us already, and several members of the team have seen us at least three times in the last 12 months or so. While it doesn't flip the script on the Orange, experience against the zone is (at the very least) not a disadvantage for opponents, and does aid Boston College.

ACC teams have struggled MIGHTILY on the road

ACC teams have not done well on the road against any opponents this season. In fact, the league's 15 squads are just 43-67 in true road environments. Duke (4-2), Miami (4-3) and Notre Dame (4-3) are the only teams in the conference with a winning record on the road. Syracuse is among the worst conference road teams at 2-5. Obviously the gym isn't the only determination of wins and losses, but the conference-wide and Syraucse-specific figures at least underline a larger point: Winning league games away from home is tough. No ACC team has lost to BC at Conte Forum yet this season. That doesn't mean it can't happen.

Could Dennis Clifford finally break out against Syracuse?

Clifford, the senior center for Boston College, would seem to have an advantage against Syracuse of late, as SU has lacked for bodies in the middle. Yet, that hasn't been the case. He missed 2013-14's matcups, but in the other three since, Clifford's had a TOTAL of just seven points and 12 rebounds. He's no breakout player, but those per-game figures of 2.3 and 4.0, respectively, are still far cries from his typical averages of 8.5 and 7.0 this year. Past returns aren't indicative of future results, however, so... maybe this is the game?

No one on BC can hit threes, so of course, someone will

There's almost always "that guy" vs. Syracuse, even in wins. No one sticks out on the BC roster, especially if the only viable candidate, Jerome Robinson, stays injured and fails to suit up tomorrow. That scares me more, because then we can't even prepare for "that guy," in theory, whether he truly exists or not. So rather than a scouting report, I'd advise you (and Jim Boeheim) to watch out for the most awkward, scrawny kid on the BC roster in warm-ups. He's your guy.


Again, not trying to paint a picture of why Syracuse will lose. Just pointing out some factors that might be buried amidst the obvious win-;loss disparity and talent deficit between the two squads. At the end of the day, Boston College still hasn't won in 11 games, is missing one of its better scoring options and oh, they're one of the worst offenses in the country.(61.7 points per game, which is 344th overall). They're also terrible on the boards (333rd in the country), which spells good things for the Orange if you listen to SU's Twitter feed.

Syracuse could win, and should win. But that falls short of "WILL" win. That's not a bad thing until the game clock reads zeros tomorrow afternoon.