Previewing Men’s Basketball 2017-18: ACC Tournament Quarterfinal vs. Clemson

Still alive at the Barclays Center, Boston College men’s basketball takes on Clemson in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals. The twelfth-seeded Eagles have already made history by becoming the first team in the conference to advance to the round of eight after beginning the tournament in the preliminary stages since the format of the tournament was restructured back in the 2010-11 season.

At the same time, the No. 19 Tigers (22-8, 11-7 Atlantic Coast)—who lay claim to the lowest of the bracket’s top four seeds—have been patiently waiting for Thursday afternoon, as their two byes have allowed them to sit back and watch their potential competition fight it out. From its scouting position on the sidelines the past two days, Clemson has been able to determine at least one thing—BC is no joke. After handling the Yellow Jackets, the Eagles (19-14, 7-11) upset fifth-seeded North Carolina State—a team that found itself on the March Madness bubble heading into the ACC Tournament.

Still, the Tigers enter the game as five and-a-half point favorites, according to ESPN. If the Eagles want to continue their mini-cinderella story, they’ll have to find a way to outlast the well-rested Tigers.         

Who is BC playing?

Clemson

When is BC playing?

Thursday, March 8, 2 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Barclays Center, Brooklyn N.Y.

How to Watch:

The game can be seen on ESPN2 or the ACC Network, and can be heard on BC IMG Sports Network (WEEI 850 AM).

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Nik Popovic has scored double-digit points in four of the team’s last five games, including a career-high of 20 against GT.

2) BC is the only Power Five team in the country to have three players with at least 75 made 3-pointers.

3) Ky Bowman is the tournament’s only player ranking among the conference’s top 10 in both scoring and assists while cracking the top 15 in rebounding.

Clemson:

1) Guard Marcquise Reed ranks second in the ACC with 1.8 steals per game.

2) The Tigers have lost four of their last six games, most recently falling to Syracuse by just three last Saturday.

3) Gabe DeVoe has become the team’s X-factor. Ever since Donte Grantham went down with a season-ending knee injury, DeVoe has scored 18.3 points per game in the Tigers wins, and just 7.4 in losses.

Last Meeting:  

After beating Duke and nearly upsetting Virginia, BC hung with Clemson down to the wire at Conte Forum, ultimately losing, 74-70. Ky Bowman tied the game at 68 with just a minute left in the contest, but while the Tigers shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line down the stretch, the Eagles went just 1-for-5 from the field. Jerome Robinson and Bowman combined for 47 points for the Eagles in the loss, and Grantham led the way for the Tigers with 23 points and 14 rebounds. With the Tiger’s’ then-second leading scorer now sidelined, though, there’s no telling if the tournament’s outcome will be the same.

BC wins if…

Its own X-Factors can keep their groove. Just as DeVoe has done for the Tigers, two of BC’s lesser known starters—Popovic and Jordan Chatman—have found their rhythm as of late. The BC duo has combined for 60 points over two tournament games, and has been one of the biggest reasons BC has gotten as far as it has in the first place. Popovic is currently playing the best basketball of his career, while Chatman is finding the scoring groove he had during the middle of the season at the perfect time—the junior transfer has scored at least 11 points in six-straight games. Bowman and Robinson will be counted on to run the Eagles’ offense, but the combination of Popovic’s inside presence and Chatman’s outside shooting will be the difference between winning and losing.

BC loses if…

It can’t keep a handle on the basketball. Throughout the tournament, Bowman has been seen misreading fast breaks, making multiple errant passes, en route to 11 turnovers in just two games. Robinson hasn’t been much better. In fact, the junior has coughed up the rock 15 times in the past three games. For Clemson, Reed has a nose for the ball—, he forced two of BC’s 14 turnovers the last time these two teams played. With Grantham out, the battle on the glass could go either way, thanks to the improved play of Steffon Mitchell, so turnovers could be the difference between BC continuing its inspiring run or coming up short against the Tigers.

Featured Image Julianna Glafkides / Heights Staff