Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about Boston College

first_img Published on January 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (10-7, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) preps for a matchup with Boston College (9-8, 2-2) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The game is a rematch of the Orange’s first ACC game of the season. Since that game, SU won twice and lost once.Here’s what you need to know about the Eagles.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 45-25Last time they played: Two games after a devastating 33-point loss to St. John’s, the Orange had another horrendous showing, a 96-81 loss to Boston College on New Year’s Day. SU’s defense was porous as the Eagles’ Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman combined for 52 points. BC went 16-of-26 from behind the arc, tying a record for a Syracuse opponent. Both Tyler Roberson and Tyler Lydon had double-doubles, but in a game in which the Orange’s guards were torched at the top of the 2-3 zone, SU’s glaring weakness was its defense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Boston College report: The Eagles are led by Robinson and Bowman. In the past eight games, the duo has combined for an average of 43 points. In conference play, their 42.8 combined points per game ranked first among major conferences as of Thursday, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Robinson ranks third in the ACC in scoring with 20.9 points per game. He and Bowman, two dynamic guards, are the Eagles’ engine. Forward A.J. Turner is BC’s third option, averaging 10.2 points per game, but perhaps his most impressive metric is his ACC-leading 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.After opening conference play with the 15-point win over SU, Boston College lost to Wake Forest, by 13, and to Duke, by 11, both on the road. But on Wednesday night, the Eagles bounced back by beating North Carolina State by 12 at home.How Syracuse beats Boston College: The Orange must contain Robinson and Bowman. The Eagles don’t have a ton of threats that can beat a team outside of those two. After SU lost to BC on Jan. 1, head coach Jim Boeheim said his team struggled rotating and covering shooters, something that has traditionally been a strength of the Orange. He went as far as saying that it looked like SU didn’t even practice defense. Covering Robinson and Bowman is of utmost importance because they’ve proven they can hit shots if they’re left open. Since that loss, Syracuse’s guards have improved on the defensive end, notably in the wins against Miami and Pittsburgh. If Syracuse can take BC’s top two guards out of the game, the Orange will have a good chance to win.Stat to know: 32.1 percent — Jerome Robinson’s percentage of shots taken, meaning he takes 32.1 percent of Boston College’s shots when he’s on the floor, according to Kenpom.com. This ranks 53rd in the country.Player to watch: Connar Tava, forward, No. 2While Tava is averaging 6.8 points per game, which ranks fourth on BC, he’s a key in the matchup against Syracuse. In the teams’ previous matchup, he had nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds. But where he was most dangerous was in the high post as he snuck into a soft spot in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense and distributed seven assists. Throughout the season, when the Orange has struggled defending the 3-pointer, it’s often coincided with struggling to shut off the high post, where many assists on 3-pointers come from. Not only did Tava nearly have a triple-double in the previous matchup, but afterward, BC head coach Jim Christian beamed about his defense against Lydon by preventing Lydon from catching passes in vulnerable spots on the floor. How Tava contributes on both ends will be key on Saturday. Commentslast_img

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