Boston College vs. Pittsburgh: Preview and Predictions
Boston College faces off with Pittsburgh tonight at the Petersen Center. The Eagles (9-9), are in the midst of a three game losing streak, while Pitt has dropped two of their last three. Pitt currently holds a 35-19 historical edge in the series, but Boston College has won two of the previous three.
Time: 9:00 pm
Where: Petersen Center, Pittsburgh
Radio: WEEI 850
Current Line: Pittsburgh (-11.0)
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Pittsburgh has an 86.7% chance of winning this game
Projected Staters: CJ Felder, Derryck Thornton, Jay Heath, Jared Hamilton, Steffon Mitchell
Injuries: Mitchell (illness)- should be available, Jarius Hamilton- questionable with an ankle injury
Ken Pom Rating: Pittsburgh (67) Boston College (179)
Key Matchup: Xavier Johnson vs. Derryck Thornton
Boston College's offense has gone completely off the rails over the past two weeks, averaging a paltry 54.6 points per game. The Eagles need to find scoring from someone, as the entire team has been unable to consistently score. Thornton appeared at one point to be the leader of this team, if there is anyone who can help snap the cold streak it needs to be him. He has shown flashes of being a scorer, but it hasn't been often or recent.
On top of that he needs to shut down Johnson, a multi-dimensional player who can score and facilitate. If he gets open and can distribute, Boston College could fall behind quickly.
Three Questions that need to be answered:
1. Who is going to score? Above I mentioned that Thornton needs to score, but if he doesn't who will? Jay Heath goes through long cold stretches, and no one else on the team can seem to create a shot.
2. Can this team get the ball off the perimeter? It's maddening watch this team settle for bad three point shots especially since the past two games they have shot under 25% from beyond the arc. It's the same script almost every drive. Pass the ball around perimeter, look for interior passes, fail to find them and shoot low percentage threes. If they settle for threes, and can't get good looks inside the Eagles will get blown out.
3. Is this it for the Eagles? You just get the feeling that the wheels are going to come off soon, if they haven't already. BC needs a win badly, with two games against VT, one against Duke and Louisville all coming up. If BC can't win this game, the losing streak could really grow.
AJ's Fearless Prediction: Pittsburgh 69 BC 50. This has the makings of an ugly game for the Eagles. Pitt is 12th in the country in team defense, and Boston College's offense has been atrocious. Add in this is a road game, and this could be another blowout loss for the Eagles.