North Carolina (18-2, 7-0 ACC) vs. Boston College (7-13, 0-7 ACC)
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Dean E. Smith Center
Saturday, 4 p.m.
ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien, Cory Alexander, Allison Williams)
“There’s lots of pieces we have to still add here in order to have a chance. This is like the first wave of that. You’re not going to get that many pieces all in one class.” – Boston College head coach Jim Christian on playing five freshmen in his rotation
Season to Date: Boston College enters Saturday’s contest with a 7-13 (0-7) record. After a 3-0 start to the season, the Eagles have lost 13 of their last 17 games. All seven ACC losses have been by double digits, including four by 22 points or more. The schedule only gets tougher. After Saturday’s tilt at UNC, the Eagles stay on the road for matchups next week with No. 12 Virginia and No. 14 Louisville.
No Offense, But… The Eagles are the 12th worst team offensively out of 351 teams in the country, according to kenpom.com. Boston College averages 91.1 points per 100 possessions and 63 points per game. The Eagles are dead last in the ACC in field goal percentage, shooting at a clip of 41.5 percent. They’re slightly better from beyond the arc, hitting 33.4 percent of their 3-pointers. For comparison purposes, UNC is last in the ACC with a 30.6 3-point field goal percentage. The numbers are even worse in ACC games as Boston College is shooting 38.1 percent from the floor.
Carter Carrying Load: Fifth-year senior and Florida transfer guard Eli Carter has been the lone bright spot of this Boston College offensively. Carter averages a team-high 17.2 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting. He’s 14th nationally in shot percentage (34.0), according to kenpom.com. Carter is a high volume shooter who isn’t afraid to unload from anywhere on the court. While UNC’s perimeter defense will tempt Carter to launch from beyond the arc, he plays his best ball when he’s driving closer to the basket.
Youth Abounds: Christian is currently in the second year of a major rebuilding effort, as evidenced by five freshmen playing quality minutes in ACC play. More recruiting work is needed, although Christian landed three-star point guard Ty Graves in December over Virginia, Clemson and Virginia Tech, which is a good start.
Injury Toll: Two Eagles will miss Saturday’s game, according to EagleAction.com’s Zack Spears. Freshman wing Jerome Robinson, who is Boston College’s second-leading scorer, is reported to be out 3-6 weeks with a fractured right wrist. Sophomore guard Daryl Hicks suffered a concussion against Florida State earlier this week and is also out.
Rebounding Mismatch: Saturday’s game will pair the ACC’s best rebounding team (UNC with 41.6 per game) with the conference’s worst team on the boards (Boston College with 32.2 per game). Boston College especially struggles on the offensive boards, getting just 7.5 per game. By comparison, the Tar Heels nearly double that number with 14.1 per game. In ACC play, UNC leads the league in rebounding margin (plus-7.3) while Boston College ranks 15th (minus-10.6). The Eagles’ leading rebounder is 7-foot senior Dennis Clifford, who averages 6.8 boards per contest.
Defensively Competent: Boston College struggles offensively, but the Eagles play competently on the defensive end. BC is currently ranked 73rd in the nation in defensive efficiency by kenpom.com, allowing 98.1 points per 100 possessions. Combine that with the Eagles’ preferred slow tempo, and the uglier, the better, for a team looking to spring arguably the biggest upset of the 2015-16 season.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Eagles, 79-68, at Conte Forum on Feb. 7, 2015. Isaiah Hicks capitalized on his second career start with a career-high 21 points and Brice Johnson added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Paige scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series, 13-5. The Tar Heels have won seven in a row and 11 of the last 13 meetings.
22 Matt Milon (6-4, 200, Fr.) – 4.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg
3 Eli Carter (6-2, 200, Gr.) - 17.2 ppg, 4.3 apg
5 Garland Owens (6-5, 225, Jr.) - 3.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg
11 A.J. Turner (6-7, 190, Fr.) - 6.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
24 Dennis Clifford (7-0, 262, Sr.) - 8.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg
4 Idy Diallo (6-11, 253, Fr.) – 2.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
10 Ervins Meznieks (6-7, 218, Fr.) – 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg