Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MBB Game 7: Boston College at Michigan

The Eagles' fourth game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge may be their toughest yet.  Boston College hasn't lost one of these games since they joined the ACC (defeated Michigan State, Michigan, and Iowa in that order), but this isn't the same Michigan team as the one they saw in 2007.  The Wolverines (7.5 point favorites in this game) had a 10-22 season then (while BC was a disappointing 14-17).  Now, both teams have come off of 2009 NCAA Tournament bids, though Michigan was ranked as recently as last week.  Manny Harris is one name I keep hearing over and over again as a star player for the Wolverines, and he is one that BC will have to watch tomorrow night.

Coach John Beilein, in his third year in Ann Arbor, has the Wolverines (3-2) back to a position of relevance (though they have lost consecutive games to Marquette and Alabama).  Boston College, on the other hand, have been bouncing up and down a little bit, but won their most recent game in Providence to improve to 4-2.  This is a key early-season test for both teams, and undoubtedly both teams have talent.

If BC wins: 5-2, and a quality road win to add to their resume
If BC loses: 4-3, their first ever Challenge loss, and more questions about the team sans Rakim.

Some additional notes of interest:
* BC has defeated Michigan three of the four times they've played them all-time, and haven't lost yet at the Crisler Arena.
* BC has led at halftime in all 6 games they've played this year, but have only won four.
* The Wolverines are 4th in the Big Ten in scoring offense (77.6), but 9th in defense (65.6) as only Michigan State and Indiana have allowed more opposing points.
* Michigan's rebounding margin is -2.4, second-to-last in their conference, while BC's is much better at +11 (3rd-best in the ACC).

I expect a close contest, as these teams are probably more similar than some in the media believe.  I have seen BC described as a "walking disaster" (which is an extreme evaluation for a 4-2 team temporarily missing its best player) by some while others seem to prattle on about guys no longer on the team.  I will have none of this crap.  Nobody else seems to be picking BC, so if they don't want to, then I will.

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