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Syracuse vs. Boston College Q&A with BC Interruption

Syracuse looks to maintain possession of the Orange Eagle Trophy.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange are back at it in the Carrier Dome today to take on the Boston College Eagles for the second time this season. Jim Boeheim’s club was able to handle Ky Bowman and Co. by two possessions on the road just a few weeks back. The game will tip today at 2 p.m. ET from Syracuse.

We reached back out to our friend Patrick Tobbin of BC Interruption for a second Q&A this season. Check that below.

TNIAAM: How would you assess the first meeting between Syracuse and Boston College last Wednesday?

Patrick Tobbin: It was disappointing, because all the stars aligned (pre game) to take one from Syracuse – Tabbs and Mitchell both back, home against Alumni, big win against FSU the game prior – and they couldn’t do it.

What happened in the game? You saw it as well as we did. Offensively, the zone neutralized Nik Popovic about as well as Syracuse could have hoped. And then only two players on BC shot well from outside (Bowman and Chatman). Defensively, BC gave up 7 first half threes (something I’ve now come to expect from this team) and just couldn’t stop the Orange offense. Hell, Buddy Boeheim had 13 damn points.

The Eagles didn’t play horribly, but they never really looked like they could close the gap.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

TNIAAM: Since then BC took on losses to Notre Dame and Duke. What happened in those games?

PT: Notre Dame was about as bad a loss as we could imagine for the time being. The Irish are thin once again and you need a win badly but don’t get it. They shot well from three (noticing a theme?) and frustrated BC with another zone defense.

I think Duke doesn’t’ even need to be explained. BC actually had a lead at halftime before the Blue Devils remembered their size advantage across the board.

TNIAAM: Does Jim Christian maybe switch the approach this time around on how to guard Tyus Battle?

PT: I really don’t know. On one hand, the results speak for themselves: Battle had 31 points. On the other hand, the Eagles were kind of effective against Battle’s drives in the first half of that game, holding him to just 10 points. Now part of that had to do with hot shooting from three, so Battle could drive and kick to rack up assists instead of points.

TNIAAM: Ky Bowman struggled at Duke and only scored 11 points points. No shame in that, but do you think there will be any hangover effect against Syracuse?

PT: I doubt it. Bowman actually played a pretty solid game against Duke when it came to getting his teammates involved, they just couldn’t convert their chances. And then when it comes to 11 points, I’m not sure what else could be expected when everyone knows where the ball is going.

Bowman’s a competitor, an athlete, and the leader on this team. I doubt he’s going to bring anything less than his absolute best to this game.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

TNIAAM: Jordan Chatman tied his second-highest point total of the season against Syracuse the first time around (21). Do you think he’ll be similarly effective in this game?

PT: As always, it depends if he’s feeling his shot. If it’s on, some drive and kick action with Bowman will lead to points against the Orange’s zone. But he hasn’t shot great in the last few games and the Syracuse length might pose a problem. I’d love to see Jim Christian run some more flare-screen action against the zone to get Chatman open, which he hasn’t done much of.

Chatman also didn’t have a great game against Cuse. The zone seemed to frustrate the Eagles and a lot of last second shots ended up in his hands. He had 21 points, certainly, but 4-12 from deep and 6-15 from the field isn’t the efficiency that BC needs to win this game.

TNIAAM: What’s the latest news on Wynston Tabbs’ injury?

PT: No official word, but I saw him walking around campus on Tuesday in crutches so I would say it doesn’t look optimistic.

TNIAAM: Who wins, what’s the final score and why?

PT: Heart says: 73-68 BC, with Popovic feasting in the middle.

Brain says this will be a replay of the last game, where the Eagles keep it close but never really threaten. There’s not the secondary passer to break down the Orange defense consistently with Tabbs out, and I think that’s the difference between a win and a loss. 77-68 Cuse.