Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BC at Rhode Island: A little more challenging

Believe me, I recognize that the Bucknell Bison gave BC everything that they could handle, but the Rhode Island Rams out of the A-10 are more than capable of giving a good performance.  Those Rams will be BC's opponent tonight, as the Eagles take their three-point shooting contest down I-95 to Kingston for a 7pm tip.

First, a look at Rhody.  To this point, the schedule they've played hasn't been particularly competitive overall.  Their first game was against Pittsburgh, and since then, their only two decent opponents were College of Charleston (win by 9) and Providence (lose by 13).  Without the Pitt game, however, their #51 strength of schedule would be a hefty chunk lower.  What has this schedule gotten them?  8-4, with two consecutive wins heading into this game over squishy opposition.

They appear to be a little less of a shooting team than the Eagles, as they've taken more shots but made fewer, though they're about as good at the three as BC.  Also like the Eagles, they've been outrebounded by opponents this season and are on the plus side of the turnover margin.  On that subject, however, the Eagles have actually done a very good job of protecting the basketball so far this year, as BC averages fewer than 10 turnovers per game, whereas Rhode Island is over 13.

The man to watch on the Rams will most certainly be Delroy James, who averages 20 points per game (with the next closest guy on the team just under 11). He's also the team's leading rebounder and is second in blocks. He, then, will be BC's public enemy #1 on the basketball court tonight. Others to watch out for, particularly on the perimeter, will be two young men by the names of Nikola Malesevic and Akeem Richmond. Malesevic has only shot 37 three pointers this year, but has made 57% of them. Richmond has made the most threes on the team, but only because he shoots a ton of them -- 21 more than Delroy James, who has the 2nd-most three attempts.  Just like we saw against Bucknell or any other team this year, leaving three-point shooters unguarded will make BC's work very difficult, and Rhody is the kind of team that can hit this shot about as well as BC can, and they appear to defend it fairly well (although that may be more of a function of the teams they've played).

For Boston College, who take a 7-game win streak into this game, we know who the key players are and what they must do.  Reggie Jackson must continue to be the leader of this team, Biko Paris must continue his hot shooting, and Josh Southern must continue his renaissance under Donahue and be a force inside.  Speaking of, from what I've gathered through scouting reports and the good old box score, Rhody's inside presence isn't the scariest BC will face all year, so hopefully that bodes well for another strong game for Southern. 

Rhode Island beat Boston College last year at Conte Forum -- practically ran them out of the arena, in fact, in a game that wasn't as close as the score -- but the Eagles were a worse team then, and I'd think the Rams were a better one then also.  I go into this game expecting a narrow Eagles win, though this is on the road, and you never know what you're going to get.  Rhode Island is a decent team, but I do not at this point believe they are a better team.  We will learn tonight.

Twitter coverage picks up at 7; see you folks there.

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