Saturday, December 5, 2009

MBB Game 8: Miami at Boston College

The Miami Hurricanes will make the trip up to a far colder climate on Sunday afternoon to play the Boston College Eagles in the first ACC intra-conference matchup of the season.  Both teams won their Big Ten-ACC Challenge games on Wednesday (BC beat Michigan on the road, while Miami beat Minnesota at home).  Miami is 8-0 coming into this game, but six of those games were cupcakes (NC Central, Nova Southeastern [D2], Tulane, NC-Wilmington, FL Gulf Coast, and USC Upstate).  Their victories over South Carolina and Minnesota were legitimate.  As far as BC goes, their wins over Michigan and Providence may look better as the season goes on. 

This will be a difficult game for the Eagles to win, but by no means should the home team be taken lightly.  In the same way that the Harvard game affected this team's perception, the poor showing at the Paradise Jam fuels BC's critics (though neither loss was as bad as the Harvard loss last year).  I'm sure Michigan and Providence would argue that BC isn't terrible, but I digress.  One thing I've noticed on the flip side is the 'Canes very weak OOC schedule (which means nothing, except that it's contributed to why you see an 8-0 record). 

If BC wins: 6-2 (1-0); their streak of winning the ACC openers will continue, another nice win for the resume, but the haters will still hate
If BC loses: 5-3 (0-1); not a terrible loss, but the haters will still hate

The big question here is: will Rakim Sanders play?  I would assume no, but I have not read anything online that would give me any indication as to his progress one way or another.  BC has proven that they can win without him, however, so while it would be nice to have him back, I would not write this game off as a loss either.

Miami is 5th and BC is 6th in scoring offense so far this year, while the 'Canes are far ahead on defense (Miami allows 56.5 points per game, while BC allows almost 66).  Then again, playing that schedule will do that for your stats.  Of note, however, is the fact that Miami is right now the worst free-throw shooting team in the ACC (61.9%; BC is 4th believe it or not), and that these are the two best teams in the conference in rebounding (BC 1st, Miami 2nd).  BC has out-rebounded their opponents in all 7 games this season, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against a team that also does well on the boards.

I'm not going to pick this one.  I will, however, offer you this:
*BC can win this game, but it will take a solid 40 minutes.  In the last few games, they've played 30 minutes of so of solid ball and it was good enough, but in conference play, you need to close out strong.
*Miami is also quite capable of winning this game, and I would expect nobody to be shocked if they did.
*For reasons I've already stated, I wouldn't read too much into Miami being 8-0, nor would I read too much into BC losing to two meh OOC teams at this point.

I am going to miss this game, but I will record it and supply thoughts late tomorrow night.

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