Boston College vs. St. Louis: Preview And Predictions
Boston College wraps up the Gotham Classic facing off against the St. Louis Billiken's at Conte Forum on Wednesday. SLU (5-1) defeated Belmont the last time out, with their lone loss coming from #12 Seton Hall. The two schools have a history, playing four times the last time in 2011 when St. Louis beat the Eagles in the Anaheim 76 Classic.
Where: Conte Forum, Boston College
TV: ACC Network
Radio: WEEI 93.7
Opening Line: BC (-1.5)
Projected Starting Five: Nik Popovic, Steffon Mitchell, Derryck Thornton, Jared Hamilton, Jay Heath
Ken Pom Rankings: St. Louis (116) Boston College (110)
Key Matchup: Hasahn French vs. Steffon Mitchell
Boston College's rebounding issues came to a head week against DePaul and they are going to need to improve in this area if they want to get back in the win column. Steffon Mitchell is BC's leader on the boards and French is the Billiken's version of the BC forward. French is a big body at 6'7 and 250 pounds, and is averaging three blocks a game and 10.5 rebounds. He is going to be a matchup nightmare for the Eagles, and Mitchell is going to need to beat him on the boards.
St. Louis, coached by Travis Ford is fresh off a 23-13 record and a tournament appearance last year where they lost to Virginia Tech in the first round. The Billikens were predicted to be a middle of the pack A10 team by the media before the season started but have started off the year strong beating teams they need to beat.
The aformentioned Hasahn French is the defensive leader for Travis Ford's squad, and can provide a scoring pop as well averaging 15 points a game. Like St. Louis teams of the past, this is a team built on defense, with the 74th ranked defense, and the 37th ranked rebounding team in the NCAA
They are an average scoring team with Jordan Goodwin, a dynamic guard that can contribute as well on the boards, score points and dish the ball leading the offense. He's not much of a threat from three point range but as a facilitator he makes the players around him better.
Three Questions Heading Into This Game:
1. Can BC battle on the boards? BC got crushed on the boards against DePaul allowing them to get double digit offensive rebounds. They need to improve here.
2. Can Derryck Thornton turn it around? After a strong start to the season, the transfer guard has plummeted back to earth only shooting 33% against DePaul and 36% against EWU
3. Will Jarius Hamilton return? It was announced by Jon Rothstein that Hamilton was ready to play against DePaul, but we never saw him. Will he play a role on Wednesday?
AJ's Prediction: St. Louis 66 Boston College 64. This just seems like a matchup nightmare for the Eagles. A team that can bang on the boards could really pose problems for the Eagles, and I see St. Louis beating them up for the win.