The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team had a rough go of it on Saturday, getting run off the Dome floor by North Carolina. Now, they’ll try to close out the regular season on a positive note (and hopefully not yet another 2-4 finish), starting with the Boston College Eagles.
BC’s had another rough season, for the most part, at 13-16 overall (and 7-11 in the ACC). The Eagles have looked average at random intervals, but have also lost three in a row. They’ve survived well enough up until now to be just two games behind Syracuse in the conference standings, and could close that gap to one if they pull off a win over the Orange here.
Before the game tips off on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET — on ESPN2, somehow — we asked the TNIAAM staff to predict the outcome.
Syracuse 74, Boston College 68
I don’t have the confidence that this will be a blowout like the first game. It’s certainly possible, as Boston College is one of the most offensively challenged teams we’ll face all year, but something is holding me back. Perhaps it’s the presence of Nik Popovic this time around. Popovic didn’t play in the first meeting, but at 6-foot-11, he has the size to give the Orange problems on the interior. I still don’t think it will be enough for the Eagles to pull out the upset, but it will be closer than the first matchup. Look for the Orange to warm up a bit from the outside against a Boston College team that is 233rd in three-point field goal defense.
Syracuse 77, Boston College 55
Expect this game to go similarly to the first time these teams played this season, in which the Orange beat the Eagles 76-50. Boston College, the worst team in the ACC on KenPom, averages the fewest rebounds per game in the conference and is shooting 30% from 3-point range on the season. That works very much in favor of the Orange, who lost to UNC last week by getting out-rebounded and lit up from deep. I think SU establishes a comfortable lead early in this game through efficiency on both ends of the court, and then SU’s reserves get valuable playing time in the second half.
Syracuse 77, Boston College 73
The Orange put the first meeting away in the final ten minutes of the first half but I think this one will be much closer throughout. With Nik Popovic available for this game the Eagles are primed to do a better job on the boards but the recent emergence of Bourama Sidibe as an offensive threat could help the Syracuse perimeter players find some open space. BC doesn’t shoot the ball well so look for them to try and slow the pace and make the Orange work their halfcourt offense. It might be a struggle but Syracuse has the talent advantage to prevail.
Syracuse 81, Boston College 71
Believe it or not, Boston College has been a tough out on its home floor, beating Virginia and NC State while giving Duke a game. Still, I think Syracuse takes care of business on the road. BC isn’t a great defensive team so look for Buddy Boeheim to build off of his most recent performance against North Carolina. Elijah Hughes should be able to score the ball at will and if the rest of the Syracuse front-court can provide a lift in the scoring department and on the boards (without fouling), Syracuse shouldn’t have too much trouble in Chestnut Hill.
Syracuse 68, Boston College 65
BC ebbs and flows between passable major conference team and ACC cellar-dweller, and I’m not sure which one we see tonight. Without a ton in the way of three-point shooting ability (30.1%), they’re going to opt to play inside the arc against the Orange — something that could obviously put SU’s bigs into foul trouble, especially if Steffon Mitchell (the team’s top rebounder) gets rolling. The Orange can out-shoot the Eagles, and I expect them to, barely. SU gets the win, though not by nearly as much as last time.
Syracuse 77, Boston College 69
If Syracuse has shown anything this year, they’re capable of separating themselves from the lower-rung ACC talent. Include the Eagles among them, despite their role in the wacky conference with big wins over NC State, North Carolina and Virginia. Bourama Sidibe’s recent emergence and the typical scoring the Orange receive on the wings should be enough to deflect any test that BC can press on SU’s defense. BC only scores 64.7 points per game.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Boston College?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and Keeley better find that trophy
BC, and why is everything bad?