Red Menace BBall Preview: Boston College

In 2013-14, the Boston College Eagles finished with a disappointing 8-24 record, including 4-14 (14th place) in the Atlantic Coast Conference. All things being equal--and things are rarely equal in the world of college hoops--BC played the 5th toughest schedule in the country last year (Ken Pom), and consistently ran the gauntlet against the likes of Duke, UNC and Syracuse in brutal ACC play.

Despite having a talented core of Olivier Hanlan, Ryan Anderson and Joe Rahon, Boston College started 2013 by losing four of its first five games, and the program fell into a tailspin that eventually cost head coach Steve Donahue his job. The lone highlight was an overtime win on the road against Syracuse.
This season, BC is off to a more promising start, beating New Hampshire 58-50 and leading UMASS by 8 at the break, before 6 Eagle turnovers led to a 21-5 run by UMASS. BC never recovered and lost 71-62.
Not surprisingly, BC have solid talent across the roster. Below is the Scout rating for key players out of high school. Quite daunting when considering that one of the Lobos’ best class in recent memory (2015) consists of three players with 3 star rankings.

Olivier Hanlan 3 stars
Aaron Brown 3stars
Garland Owens 3stars
Lonnie Jackson 3stars
Dimitri Batten (Transfer from Old Dominion, avg. 11 points/4 rebounds) 2 stars
Eddie Odio 2 stars
Dennis Clifford 2 stars
Patrick Heckmann (Germany)
Will Magarity (Sweden)

With Joe Rahon and Ryan Anderson transferring from BC after the hire of new head coach Jim Christian (former TCU coach as Lobo fans will recall), the foundation of the team will likely center on Olivier Hanlan and Lonnie Jackson.
Hanlan was a top scorer in the ACC during his freshman and sophomore years and will be relied upon to lead BC. He averaged 18.5 points per game last season as a sophomore and is expected to match or surpass last year’s impressive performance. Jackson has been a role player during his BC tenure but will also need to become a more consistent scorer and playmaker for the Eagles.
Wild card: Aaron Brown. Brown will exhaust his eligibility at BC after previous stops at Temple and Southern Miss. The fifth-year senior graduate transfer will give the Eagles another scoring option at the guard position, averaging over nine points and four rebounds last season while shooting a most respectable 39-percent from three-point range for Southern Miss.

Wizard’s keys to the game:
1. Rebounding. The Eagles were outrebounded 19 times last season, losing 18 of the 19.  In addition to 7-1 Clifford, BCU boasts six players 6-8 or taller, including three 6-11 post players. BC outrebounded UMASS 43-34 in a losing effort last week. The Lobos need all hands on deck amongst the trees, especially the rebound savvy guards/wings, crashing the boards.
2. Grab an early lead. BC managed to rally from a halftime deficit just three times in 2013-2014, going 3-17 when down at the break. The Lobos could definitely benefit by finding an early rhythm.
3. Field goal percentage. Last year the Eagles allowed opponents to shoot 50 percent or greater 11 times, losing all 11.  The Lobos strength is certainly not outside shooting. Thus, to improve field goal percentage, UNM must progress upon the early season by doing a better job finishing at the rim.

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