Skip to main content

Points of Emphasis: Louisville vs. Boston College

Here are the more significant storylines to follow ahead of Louisville's men's basketball's matchup with Boston College:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After falling to Pitt for their third consecutive loss, the Louisville men’s basketball program is returning home in hopes of getting back on track, hosting Boston College at the KFC Yum! Center.

Here are a few of the more significant storylines to follow ahead of the Cardinals' matchup against the Eagles:

A New Era

After seven less than inspiring years as the head man, Boston College finally pulled the trigger and decided to part ways with Jim Christian last season. The Eagles wasted no time bring in their next head coach, hiring former College of Charleston's Earl Grant in mid-March.

As you can expect with any coaching change in collegiate athletics, there was a fair amount of roster turnover. Wynston Tabbs, Jay Heath and CJ Felder all transferred, and guys like Steffon Mitchell and Rich Kelly graduated. When the dust settled, BC returned just 30.3% of its scoring, 37.2% of its rebounding, and 39.1% of its assists from last season.

Boston College has certainly improved on their woeful 4-16 mark from last season, but there are still growing pains. The Eagles started the year at 6-3, but have since lost five of their last six heading into their matchup with Louisville. However, their last time out saw them come back from a 23-point hole to take down Clemson on the road.

No Pushover

Of course, with a new era underway at Boston College, the Eagles aren't exactly the most statistically appealing team. Their field goal percentage of 43.2 and defensive field goal percentage of 44.9 both rank outside the top 200 nationally, and their KenPom ranking of 132 is the second-lowest in the ACC ahead of only Pitt.

But that hasn't stopped the Eagles from pouring in every ounce of effort they can. Grant has his squad remaining extremely competitive night in and night out, and utilize and downhill attacking offense that Louisville has been susceptible to a few times this season.

They might be the second-worst team in the league, but they still do some things right. According to KenPom, they allow an offensive rebounding rate of just 23.0 percent, which ranks 18th in the nation. While their defensive field goal percentage is high, they only allow 65.8 points per game (97th in D1) due to their physical nature that extends opponent's possessions.

Starting Five? Only Five.

No matter who you decide to focus your defensive game plan on, the Eagles have a solid amount of scoring threats. In fact, three of their five regular starters are averaging double figures.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Guard Makai Ashton-Langford leads the scoring efforts at 12.3 points per game, and he's also BC's leading assist man at 3.5 per game. Demarr Langford and Jaeden Zackery have also poured in 11.0 and 10.4 points per game, respectively .

But beyond the starting five - which also includes T.J. Bickerstaff and James Karnik - the Eagles don't get a ton of production. Brevin Galloway has come on strong lately and has developed into their sixth man, and Quinten Post is the go-to backup big man.

After those seven, the total minutes played falls off a cliff. According to KenPom, the Eagles rank just 326th in D1 in bench minutes played. The caveat to this is that BC also doesn't foul a lot, averaging just 15.3 per game for 3rd in the ACC, so it will be hard for Louisville to get Boston College into foul trouble.

Searching for Consistency

An up and down season for Louisville is currently in the midst of a low point, as the Cardinals are currently on a three-game losing streak - all coming against unranked competition. Part of the problem, according to guard Jarrod West, has been the inability to carry their energy and effort from practice to the game, or even do it consistently.

"We would like to carry our performance, our energy, our communication from practice over to the game. But it's been hard sometimes, because we haven't been able to do that consistently, which has obviously been frustrating," he said. "I'm not sure everybody knows exactly why we can't transfer it over consistently, but that's something that we're working on."

After the loss to Pitt, head coach Chris Mack mentioned the struggles he had had when it came to finding ways to motivate the team. He also noted that whichever problems that members of the team have - whether that be players or coaches - has to start from within.

"You can't overcome when there's finger pointing," Mack said. "Until that ends, if that is a problem, then you won't solve your problems. The finger pointing has to go to the guy in the mirror, including me."

(Photo of Dre Davis: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)

You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Facebook - @LouisvilleOnSI
Twitter - @LouisvilleOnSI
Instagram - @louisville_report

You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter