As quickly as it flickered to life, talk of Boston College men’s basketball (16-11, 6-8 Atlantic Coast) working its way onto the NCAA Tournament bubble was stamped away, thanks to 10 Matt Farrell 3-pointers this past Saturday. Behind a whopping 37 points and seven assists from the one-time Boston College commit, Notre Dame (16-12, 6-9) handed BC a deflating 84-67 defeat at Conte Forum.
The loss—BC’s worst home game of the season—sends the Eagles off to a difficult two-game road trip on a sour note. Tuesday night, BC will play the first of those games, heading down to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State (18-9, 8-6).
Who is BC playing?
North Carolina State
When is BC playing?
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
How to Watch:
The game will be broadcast locally on RSN/NESN. Nationally, the game can be found on ACC Network and will be livestreamed on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) Jerome Robinson—who recently declared his intentions to test this year’s NBA pre-draft process—is now averaging a conference-leading 25.9 points per game in ACC play. In conference games, he somehow ranks second among ACC players in both 2-point percentage (64.7) and 3-point percentage (49.4). The Eagles’ star guard has been even better over his last four games, where he has knocked down 78.6 percent of his shots inside the arc. Robinson gets a ton of credit for his incredible long-range shooting, but his efficiency inside—typically only exhibited by big men who are spoon-fed layups and dunks—is arguably more impressive.
2) On the other hand, the rest of Robinson’s teammates have struggled to generate reliable offense inside the arc, contributing to BC’s offensive volatility and overreliance on the 3-point shot. Non-Robinson Eagles have shot 45.4 percent on 2-pointers in conference play, a mark that would rank 318th out of 351 Division I teams. While he has rediscovered his 3-point shot during ACC play, Ky Bowman has really struggled in the paint, shooting 40.4 percent on 2-pointers—tied for the worst mark among players who have attempted at least 100 shots inside the arc in those games. This inability to consistently generate clean looks at the rim is a large part of why BC has been so prone to falling behind by double digits early in games, forcing the Eagles to put together massive comebacks to win.
3.) One area the Eagles have excelled at during conference play is free throw shooting. BC’s 78.7 percent success rate at the charity stripe paces the conference. With the exception of Steffon Mitchell (59.5 percent), every BC player who has attempted at least 10 free throws during ACC play is shooting at least 79.5 percent.
1) The Wolfpack defense has been worse than every other ACC team in league play, allowing opponents to shoot 49.9 percent from the floor. That figure balloons to 57 percent on 2-point shots. While sophomore 7-footer Omer Yurtseven is blocking 2.1 shots per game in ACC games, N.C. State struggles to stop perimeter penetration and often fails to rotate in time to protect the rim when its defense has been scrambled. Frequently playing the 6-foot-6 Torin Dorn out of position at power forward also weakens the Wolfpack’s interior defense, often leaving the team at a size disadvantage.
2) Since being reinstated into the starting lineup three games ago, Allerik Freeman has averaged 19.3 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting. The mercurial graduate transfer from Baylor—who is shooting an unsightly 36 percent from the field this season—helped power N.C. State to back-to-back road wins over Syracuse and Wake Forest with his unusual efficiency. Freeman’s gunner mentality means he’ll never say no to a shot attempt, so his performance from night to night will be naturally inconsistent, but head coach Kevin Keatts has to hope his guard’s recent success is a harbinger of continued efficiency.
3) After averaging just 5.9 points per game during his freshman season, Yurtseven is averaging 15.5 points per game in ACC play this year. The skilled Turkish sophomore can step out and shoot from downtown and has a bevy of tricks in the post. He’s become more comfortable creating his own offense on the block and will certainly challenge a BC defense that lacks interior bulk.
BC topped N.C. State, 74-66, last January at Conte, as Bowman scored 19 points to outduel the Wolfpack and highly touted freshman Dennis Smith Jr. The win gave the Eagles their second conference victory of the season, moving them to 2-2 overall in ACC play. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that would be their last conference until they upset Duke this December.
BC wins if…
The Eagles take advantage of N.C. State’s porous interior defense and finally establishes a credible offense in the paint. While 3-point heavy units are fun to watch, in a hostile road environment, those teams tend to struggle mightily. A BC win means that Bowman and Jordan Chatman efficiently supplemented Robinson’s offense in the paint.
BC loses if…
The Wolfpack manage to shore up some of the holes in its defense and beat up the Eagles inside with Yurtseven. If Freeman manages to complement the Turkish center without jacking up too many shots, N.C. State should have an excellent chance to win on its home court.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff