Back off an eight day hiatus, it’s finally Syracuse basketball game day! The Syracuse Orange will get things started at 7pm tonight from the Carrier Dome against
Big East ACC foe, Boston College. The Orange are 13-6 overall and 2-4 in the conference while Boston College is 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the conference.
With Boston College in the fold, we brought in Eric Hoffses over at BC Interruption for some Q&A ahead of tonight’s contest. Let’s dive in.
TNIAAM: First things first. BC had one of the more incredible upsets of the season against Duke. How did the fan base react to that win?
Eric Hoffses: Obviously everyone was incredibly excited about the victory. I think in the bigger picture though it took some heat off of coach Jim Christian. Heading into the year there were a good chunk of fans that were ready to move on from Christian. That population of fans only got louder after 5th year transfer Teddy Hawkins was injured in a November 29th game against Nebraska and was done for the year. However, the Duke win showed people that this program is heading in the right direction and that feeling has only grown stronger after getting a few more ACC wins and securing a commitment from consensus top 100 recruit Jairus Hamilton.
TNIAAM: Since that early conference game against Duke, you guys are now 2-4 in ACC play. What’s the outlook the rest of the way?
EH: (BC is 3-4) Honestly fans are pretty happy to be 3-4 because this is a program that hasn’t reached 3 conference wins before February since 2011. It’s not like the wins came against bad teams either. BC has that big win over Duke and another upset win over FSU. On top of that, this team was a missed shot away from beating Virginia on the road. KenPom picks BC to go 5-6 in the ACC the rest of the way which would finish BC at 18-13, 8-10, and set the team up nicely for a NIT berth. My belief is that BC fans would be happy with that finish and would be willing to give Christian more time to finish this thing through.
TNIAAM: BC has some of the better guards (and frankly underrated) in the conference. What do Jerome Robinson, Ky Bowman and Jordan Chatman bring to the table?
EH: Robinson and Bowman are both studs and are what makes the BC offense run. The duo averages 34.6 points per game which is almost half of the team’s 75.9 ppg average. Bowman is the point guard and had a Russ Westbrook-type of style to him. He is a former football player and uses his strength to get to the rim and put up shots. Robinson is just a pure scorer. He is excellent from three (45.1%) but can also score from mid-range or at the rim.
Chatman is not on the level of Robinson and Bowman but is a nice third option. Chatman does a lot of damage from deep.
TNIAAM: What are the Eagles missing with graduate transfer Deontae Hawkins going down with a season ending injury?
EH: Hawkins was a solid player. He was tough and could defend and grab boards down low and was also a legitimate third scoring option behind Robinson and Chatman. BC is scary thin in the frontcourt without Hawkins and has almost no depth behind Steffon Mitchell and Nik Popovic.
TNIAAM: Syracuse has failed to defend the three at times and you guys shoot it well from distance. Is that a recipe for success (or disaster depending on your disposition) in the Dome on Wednesday?
EH: It absolutely is a key to success because it is how BC pulled off the upset over Duke. The Eagles shot 11-for-16 from deep in the first half and 15-of-26 overall in the game. If you play lazy defense against BC and don’t defend the three you will get burned.
TNIAAM: What can Syracuse do to have success against BC?
EH: Cuse has to bring some energy in this game. As I mentioned, if the Orange doesn’t bring it on the defensive end then BC will slice them up from deep. The same is true on offense for ‘Cuse. If they don’t hit the boards hard and take advantage of BC’s thin front line then it would be another long shooting night for the home team.
TNIAAM: Lastly, what’s the final score, who wins and why?
EH: BC is 2-6 away from home with the only wins coming over Hartford and LaSalle, so I can’t pick them to win here. I think the ‘Cuse coaching staff realizes this is a must win game to avoid going 2-5 in conference and the team will be ready to play. I like ‘Cuse by 4-6 points.
Thanks, Eric! Be sure to head on over to bcinterruption.com for our Q&A as well.
How do you feel about tonight’s contest? Happy to have Syracuse basketball back? Anxious about a ‘must win’? Leave your thoughts below.