Previewing 2018-19 Men’s Basketball: ACC/B1G Challenge vs. Minnesota

boston college men's basketball

Fans will be in for a treat on Monday as Boston College men’s basketball participates in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, hosting Minnesota (5-0) in a late-night matchup. The Eagles (4-1) have started their season off strong, shaking off a loss to IUPUI with a pair of wins in Florida—the second being a victory in the Fort Myers Tip-Off championship game. Led by Jordan Chatman, who scored 20 points, BC downed Loyola Chicago, the Cinderella story of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, by a score of 78-66. The Eagles are back home now, but a formidable Big Ten opponent in the Gophers await. Minnesota, fresh off of a successful Vancouver Showcase, will look to stay unbeaten and continue its hot start.

Who is BC playing?
Minnesota

When is BC playing?
Monday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to watch:
This game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Ky Bowman, named the Fort Myers Tip-Off Tournament MVP after a 38-point outburst against Wyoming, paces the BC offense in scoring thus far. Through five games, Bowman is averaging 21.8 points per game and shooting 50 percent from the field.

2) Steffon Mitchell has come up huge for the Eagles in the rebounding category. The sophomore leads the team with 8.8 rebounds per game, including an impressive 12 offensive rebounds through five games.

3) BC has left room for improvement shooting-wise, hitting just 66.4 percent of its free throws and 32.7 percent of its 3-pointers thus far. Those numbers are good for 233rd and 218th in the country, respectively.

Minnesota:

1) On the flip side, the Gophers have shot the 3-pointer very well as a team. Minnesota is 42nd nationally, shooting 39.8 percent from deep. The player to watch is Gabe Kalscheur, a freshman sharpshooter who has connected on 18 of his 31 attempts for a 58.1 percent mark.

2) Minnesota has been one of the sloppier teams handling the basketball, turning the ball over an average of 14.6 times per game. The Gophers’ 20.4 percent turnover rate is 229th in the country and a far cry from last season, when they ranked 20th (15.1 percent).

3) An elite scoring threat has yet to emerge for Minnesota, a team that spreads the wealth on offense. Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Kalscheur are all averaging double-digit points per game, with Coffey’s 14.4 leading the way.

Last Meeting:

This will be the first-ever meeting between these teams. BC is a perfectly even 19-19 historically against Big Ten opponents, but has dropped its last three games in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Last season, the Eagles fell to Nebraska, 71-62, in a game defined by the loss of Teddy Hawkins to a season-ending knee injury.

Outlook:

This will be a great measuring stick game for BC. Minnesota is an excellent team, currently checking in at 45th in KenPom’s rankings, that will be playing with NCAA Tournament aspirations this season. A win over a tournament hopeful Gophers team would be a major statement for head coach Jim Christian and the Eagles, especially after beating a Ramblers squad that was in the Final Four last season.

Obviously, BC will need its key offensive cogs in Bowman and Chatman to show up in order to keep pace with the Gopher offense. The Eagles’ defense will have a prime opportunity to force turnovers and run the break. As said previously, Minnesota has done a mediocre job taking care of the basketball, and opponents have generated almost 16 points per game off of their turnovers. If the Eagles can capitalize on Minnesota mistakes and control the momentum of the game, they will have a solid chance to take down a strong Gophers team and start the season 5-1 for the second-straight year.

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor