Louisville vs. Boston College preview with BCBulletin's A.J. Black


Louisville men’s basketball plays its first of two straight conference road games, facing Boston College in Chestnut Hill Jan. 29. The Cardinals (17-3 overall, 8-1 in the ACC) sit atop the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with a six-game winning streak.

Boston College (10-10 overall, 4-5 in the ACC) ended a four-game losing streak with a win over Virginia Tech last Saturday. BCBulletin’s A.J. Black answered questions about the game that tips off at 9 p.m.

After losing four straight games, does the victory against Virginia Tech change anything for Boston College?

Not really. Boston College is still solidly in the middle to bottom of the ACC, and that didn't change with the win. BC is always good for a few upset wins every year and they have two of those already with Virginia and Virginia Tech. While the win was nice, and Conte was about as loud as I've heard it this year, they probably still won't get out of the first round of the ACC Tournament.

Why does Boston College struggle with the 3-point shot?

BC has been atrocious from beyond the arc, because they lack a true shooter this year. In year's past they have relied on shooters like Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman, and this year the big scoring threat is their center Nik Popovic. On top of that BC had no interior game when Popovic was out so they were forced to chuck up bad 3-point shots late in the shot clock. But now that Pop is back they have improved. Jarius Hamilton has shown flashes of being a threat from outside, which is big because if BC wants to continue to grow they are going to need a go to three point shooter.

What does Derryck Thornton do help Boston College's defense?

The transfer guard on his third team (USC, Duke) is tenacious on defense. While his offense leaves a lot to be desired, he is only third on the team in steals but provides good man to man defense against some of the better guards in the ACC. He is an energy guy, and one that plays tough on every play. He has been banged up though lately which needs to be watched.

Who can have an impact against Louisville?

A name that I would watch for is Steffon Mitchell. He is a glue player, and one that can do everything for the Eagles. The true leader on defense, he leads the team in steals, blocks and rebounds. If BC is going to shut down Jordan Nwora or at least contain him, it's going to be on the back of Mitchell.

How does Boston College beat Louisville?

There has been one major Achilles heel for the Eagles this year and it is the scoring drought. Without fail every game they've lost, and many they've won have included long scoring droughts. These stretches can last up to four or five minutes, and allow average teams to catch up and good teams to leave BC in the rear view mirror. If the Eagles want to win this game they need to hit buckets consistently and not allow Louisville to go on a huge run.