Boston College vs. Syracuse Preview

A struggling Orange (10-7, 0-4) welcome sub .500 (7-8, 0-2) Boston College to the Dome. Both teams desperate for an ACC win.

GAME 18: Boston College (7-8 overall, 0-2 ACC) vs. Syracuse (10-7 overall, 0-4 ACC)

ALL-TIME SERIES: Syracuse, 43-24 (Last Meeting 2015 – Syracuse: W, 70-56)

*The Orange won both meetings last season in ACC play.

DATE: Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

GAME TIME: 7:00 PM EST

LOCATION: Carrier Dome

TV: Regional Sports Network/ACC Network: This is not a local channel however it will be available on Time Warner Cable via the following channel MSG Plus: Channels 69 or 319 (Syracuse Area), Channels 67 or 319 (Utica Area), (sports package required for 300 level numbers).

Direct TV, Dish Network and Verizon Fios customers will need to check their guides, because these are local networks picking up a specific feed.  Check your guides and channels for spontaneous changes.

Those outside the CNY area will have to check local guides as well. 

ESPN 3: this can be accessed on a variety of platforms if you have a Watch ESPN log in (free account).  Watch ESPN provides access to ESPN 3 content via an account and apps on the Internet, Tablets and Smart Phones. 

ORANGE RECAP: Depending on what faith you practice, or maybe no faith at all, you still know that miracles are extremely hard to come by.  That being said, to expect Head Coach Jim Boeheim to produce a miracle in his return against North Carolina was even more unlikely.  After all the players are the ones on the court and the coaches rarely leave the confines of the sidelines.  However, no one can fault the effort of the team or the coaching staff in their recent loss 84-73 to the new #5 in both major polls, the Tar Heels.  In classic Syracuse fashion playing to the level of their opponents, the Orange teased the Carrier Dome and most of the nation watching, into thinking this upset was possible.  In many ways it was, as both teams were tied up at the half 33-33.  But, Isaiah Hicks’ 21 points and eight rebounds, including keep plays down the stretch overwhelmed the ‘Cuse.  Trevor Cooney did everything he could to pace the Orange throughout the game, scoring 27 points and 5-12 shooting from beyond the three-point line.  Malachi Richardson continues to be his assertive self offensively, as he added 16 points.  Other superlatives included: a “plugged in” Tyler Roberson, who had 13 points and seven rebounds; DaJuan Coleman played 27 minutes (a rarity with Boeheim calling the shots), and he had seven rebounds contributing to the Orange winning the battle of the boards 35-33.  So, there are definitely some positives to take away from last Saturday night, but the result was still the same, a loss.  Syracuse is in danger of their worst start in school history (if they were to lose to Boston College), at 0-5 as a member of any conference throughout the duration of their program.  BC seems ripe for the taking as one of the weaker teams in the ACC, however the Orange sit last in the league with more overall and conference losses than anyone.  Really no team can be overlooked or taken for granted on the remainder of the schedule.

BOSTON COLLEGE: This is not your father’s Eagles.  BC has been lackluster in recent years, as they have not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2009.  There hasn’t even been a league championship since winning the Big East Conference in 2005 (they were the first part of the exodus from the Big East to the ACC in 2005, which saw Miami and Virginia Tech leave in 2004).  You won’t find some of the Eagle’s greats on this team:  Michael Adams ’85, Dana Barros ’89, Bill Curley ’94, Troy Bell ’03 or Jared Dudley ’07.  You’ll have to get used to some different names such as: Eli Carter (G, #3), Jerome Robinson (G, #1), Dennis Clifford (C, #24) and A.J. Turner (F, #11).  The most recognizable figure on the sidelines could be assistant coach, Stan Heath, who had previously been a head coach at Kent State, Arkansas and South Florida (2001-2014).  It just doesn’t have the same old Big East feel to it, when these teams would meet year in and year out.  In order to find story lines for this season’s Eagles you are going to have to dig deeper.  Based on scheduling, Boston College has only played two conference games to Syracuse’s four.  These games included losses to #9/6 Duke (81-64) and Notre Dame (82-54), so it’s safe to say that each team is salivating for a win in the ACC.  BC does not have a marquee win on their schedule, unless you count Boston neighbor Harvard (69-56), who has been successful in the Ivy League the past handful of seasons.  Most wins have come against mid or low major programs, with additional losses to #4/4 Michigan State Big10 (99-68), Penn State Big10 (67-58) as well as for Big East and New England regional rival #12/12 Providence (66-51).  The Orange will have to contain Eli Carter, who is averaging 17 ppg. and 4.3 assists per game.  His supporting cast includes Jerome Robinson at 12.3 ppg., and Dennis Clifford with seven rebounds per game.  Expect a somewhat methodical game on offense, as both teams score between 65 and 70 points per game.  One significant run on offense could seal the victory, as well as which team wins the rebounding battle in a game that is essentially a toss-up considering the way both are currently playing.  A game, in which both are trending downward, means that one will be trending upward after the final buzzer sounds.

Syracuse will meet Boston College again on the road, Sunday February 14th in Chestnut Hill, MA.

WATCH TO WATCH FOR:

A win.  Syracuse needs one desperately, and so does Boston College, so again it comes down to who wants it more.  If Syracuse is to have any post season aspirations, which now seem to project to be only the NIT or CBI (College Basketball Invitational), any win is beyond necessary at this point in the season.  Coach Boeheim is correcting in stating, “There are 14 games left and a lot can happen.”  But, it needs to start happening as soon as possible.

Carrier Dome crowd.  With heavy snows on the rise, will a sizeable crowd make it out for tomorrow night’s game?  It will be interesting to see if Syracuse can get more than 20,000 fans in the “Loud House” if the season continues to spiral down.  North Carolina was unique, because it was the Boeheim return and the most formidable home opponent on the schedule.  But, with only three more Saturday afternoon home games left (Georgia Tech – 1/30, Pittsburgh – 2/20 and NC State – 2/27), how long will the patience last for Orange Nation?  Will they still come out strong during the busy work week?  The Orange needs the crowd behind them to pull through this rut and turn the season around.

Play on the court.  Syracuse needs more balanced scoring, and they are starting to get there.  Malachi Richardson has scored 20, 21 and 16 in his last three games and seems to be taking that initiative both shooting threes and driving to the hoop.  Tyler Roberson is displaying strong play in the paint both rebounding and scoring, but Tyler Lydon really needs to shoot more.  They need his help.  Blocks and passing are great in team play, but sometimes a player needs to stop deferring to his colleagues and just go after it.  It is time for Lydon to take that role and help out a productive, but much beleaguered Gbinije/Cooney combo.  No matter the opponent, SU needs a complete team performance to win.


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