Boston College men’s basketball (7-12, 0-6 Atlantic Coast) faces off against conference foe Florida State (12-7, 2-5) at Conte Forum on Tuesday night. With both teams dwelling near the bottom of the ACC and trying to end their respective losing streaks, expect a hard-fought game from the Eagles and Seminoles as they look to get off the snide and beat up on each other in a conference where wins are very hard to come by.
BC is coming off of a six-game losing streak and is looking to pick up its first conference win of the season. With a roster composed of eight freshmen, head coach Jim Christian’s team has the deck stacked against it when playing in the ACC, a conference that contains perennial powerhouses like North Carolina and Virginia. Those are teams that never seem to have to rebuild, only reload.
That is what makes this game important—it presents the Eagles with a unique opportunity to flex their young muscles in the toughest conference in all of college basketball. Paired with the lack of predictability in the ACC this year—after all, Duke is no longer in the Top 25—perhaps this can be the game that helps BC find the answers to their conference woes.
FSU, on the other hand, is trying to get back into the middle of the pack of the ACC with another conference win. Coming off of losses to Pitt and Louisville, expect Florida State to regroup and look to its young scorers to keep it competitive, while its experienced players work the Eagles physically. In a year that is about development for the Eagles, FSU will look to capitalize.
Last time they played: These two teams last met on Feb. 18, 2015, when FSU came out on top 69-60 in Tallahassee, Fla. Last season, BC used its experience to make the game interesting, leading after the first half, 32-27. With Olivier Hanlan and his 32 points at the helm, BC put up a strong fight, but with the rest of the team shooting 39 percent from the field, the game was an uphill battle. But with a second-half surge that featured FSU shooting 83 percent from the 3-point line toward the end of the game, and BC entering a shooting funk, the win simply slipped out of reach for the Eagles as FSU extended its lead to 11—the largest it had been for the night—with a mere 22 seconds left on the clock.
Three Keys to the Game:
- Home Court: The Eagles have played better at home than on the road this season. Especially when compared to their winless 0-4 record on the road, their 6-5 record at Conte Forum indicates that the Eagles like playing in Chestnut Hill. Perhaps the Eagles can conjure up some home court magic to get the job done against a good Seminole squad that has played some very good basketball as of late, including a win over UVA and close loss to Pitt, but is only 2-4 on the road this season.
- Eli Carter: Can the veteran transfer student help lead these young Eagles to victory? This season could be a stepping stone for Christian’s team toward developing and becoming a competitive ACC team. Carter should use his knowledge and skill set to both teach and show the younger guys on the roster about how they should play. The New Jersey native has been streaky lately, with his best recent performance coming against Pitt a week ago in a loss that featured a .545 shooting percentage from the field and a .455 mark from the 3-point line, ultimately resulting in 31 points for Carter. He has cooled down some since then, and in games against Syracuse and Notre Dame, he managed only 13 points in each. Carter is still the Eagles’ leading scorer, and they will need him to play well if they hope to beat a balanced FSU team.
- Defense: The BC defense will have to play well Tuesday if it hopes to win. While the offense will certainly need to score for the game to stay competitive, the Eagle defense cannot give up too many offensive rebounds or second-chance scoring opportunities to the Seminoles, especially given the height and skill of their freshman guards, Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon, and center Boris Bojanovsky, at 7-foot-3. Should the Eagles’ defense prevail in these matchups, they will have a real chance to keep the score low and, more importantly, a win within reach.
Featured Image by Mark Wallheiser / AP Photo