Empire Classic: Boston College vs. URI. Preview & Prediction

A look at the consolation game tonight in the Empire Classic in Mohegan Sun.
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Two schools in need of a win will battle tonight as the Boston College Eagles and University of Rhode Island Rams face off in the consolation game of the Empire Classic. Last night, Boston College failed to hold on to a lead against #3 Villanova losing 76-67, while URI also took Arizona State to the brink losing 94-88. 

Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Connecticut
TV: ESPN
Radio: WEEI 850
Current Line: Pick 'em
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Boston College has a 53% chance of winning this game. 

Projected Starters: CJ Felder, Makai Ashton Langford, Jay Heath, Wynston Tabbs, Steffon Mitchell

Injuries: Andre Adams (out for the season with a lower leg injury)

Other missing players: No update as of now on James Karnik's waiver. 

Ken Pom Rating: URI (4), Boston College (86)

Player To Watch: Fatts Russell

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Rhode Island guard Daron "Fatts" Russell is a name Boston College fans will be familiar with. A Naismith Player of the Year watchlist candidate, Russell was All A10 last year, and was selected preseason All A10 as well. Per Bill Koch of the Providence Journal

"Russell averaged 18.8 points and collected 86 steals, the second-most in a single season in program history, last season. Offseason work resulted in improved shooting from Russell across the board, including a 13-point jump to 35.7% from 3-point range."

Against Arizona State on Wednesday, Russell got in foul trouble early, but still was able to put in 12 points along with six assists. 

 Three Major Questions Heading Into This Game

1. How will BC look in back to back games? BC has gone from not playing a live game in eight months, to playing in back to back nights. Last night was a big game as well, full of emotion and exertion. How will the Eagles respond? Also how will Wynston Tabbs react to playing two games in a row?

2. Can the Eagles finish a game? BC looked great for all but about six minutes of the game last night, but that six minutes was what killed them. BC has to learn to close out games, in a game with an evenly matched opponent, they will have to do be able to do that if they get a lead. 

3. Will three point shooting improve? Once Villanova locked down on BC inside, the Eagles poor three point shooting was exposed. Was this just a one game anomaly or is poor perimeter shooting going to be par for the course for the Eagles.

AJ's Fearless Prediction: Do not sleep on URI, as they have been a well coached, talented team that has been the class of the A-10 the past decade. However, BC looked hungry last night, and I think that energy is going to translate to this game. It should be an excellent well matched game, but I'll go with the Eagles in a close one. Boston College 78 URI 76

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