Previewing 2017-18 Men’s Basketball: Syracuse

Boston College men’s basketball

Boston College men’s basketball, fresh off a mistake-filled road loss to Louisville, looks to get back on track against Syracuse, a team that historically has had BC’s number in the Carrier Dome. The Eagles (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) have lost five of their last six road games against the Orange (13-6, 2-4), but enter looking to even this season’s conference record.

It’s as close to a must-win game in January as you can get, with BC looking to bolster its resume against a team many have pegged to be on the bubble of the upcoming NCAA tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Orange as one of the “last four in,” and a road win against them would look awfully good for the Eagles come March.

Who is BC playing?

When is BC playing?
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.

How to Watch:
The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU and livestreamed on WatchESPN. It can also be heard on WEEI.

By the Numbers:


1) Jerome Robinson has put the ACC on notice this season—after seven conference games, he’s second in scoring (22.7 points per game) and ranks first in 3-point percentage (48.8 percent), averaging three makes per game.

2) The Eagles rank 14th in the country in limiting opponent free throws, so it’ll be strength against strength, as Syracuse enters with 23.3 percent of its points coming from the charity stripe—a mark that is within the top 20.

3) BC has lost its last three meetings with Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, the last win coming in February of 2014—the historic 62-59 overtime victory to knock off the then-No. 1 Orange.


1) Like BC, the Orange rely heavily on their starters. The trio of Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett have all played over 90 percent of their teams minutes—leading to Syracuse ranking 349th of 351 teams in the percentage of bench minutes.

2) In conference play, Syracuse has effectively limited teams from scoring within 18 feet of the basket. The Orange lead the ACC in opponent two-point field goal percentage (40.1 percent) and block percentage (16.6 percent).

3) Syracuse boasts the country’s tallest average height (79.8 inches), but has lost the rebound battle in three of its last five games, a troubling trend after winning it in each of its first 12 games. The Orange are 13-3 when they out-rebound their opponents, a stark contrast to their 0-3 record when they’re bested down low.

Last Meeting:
After losing by 15 to the Eagles on New Year’s Day, Syracuse avenged its loss two weeks later with a convincing 23-point win. The Orange responded by forcing 20 turnovers and limiting a 3-point-happy BC team. Ky Bowman led the way with 30 in the first meeting, but was held to just three points on 1-of-9 shooting in the rematch. Battle posted a then-career-high 21 points for Syracuse to go along with three steals in the win.

BC wins if…
It uses its prolific trio of 3-point shooters to crack Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim’s fabled 2-3 zone. The Eagles won the first meeting last year behind 52 combined points from Bowman and Robinson,  shooting almost 60 percent from the field as a team. They finished off the win shooting 10-of-14 from beyond the arc in the second half, so if BC can take advantage of open looks and lean on its guards, it has the offense to win a high-scoring affair.

BC loses if…
Turnovers and forced shots let Syracuse take control. The Orange boast one of the top defenses in the country, and BC is coming off a particularly forgettable performance, piling up 16 turnovers in an eight-point loss to Louisville. Syracuse is a very well-rounded team that could give the Eagles fits in a variety of ways. Battle is second in the ACC in scoring (19.8 points per game), Brissett is a force on the glass (9.4 rebounds per game), and Howard is an impressive facilitator (5.4 assists per game). If all three are on their game, and BC struggles to break the zone, Wednesday’s night game could slip away from the Eagles in the opening half.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 428 Articles
Bradley is the sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, you can't outrun a bear, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.