NC State Vs. Boston College Preview: Bombs Away

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE
BC Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.1 201
Turnover Rate 22.4 285
Off Reb Rate 22.3 343
FTA/FGA 33.7 244

BC Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.7 97
Turnover Rate 18.7 77
Off Reb Rate 29.9 231
FTA/FGA 38.2 104

BC @ StatSheet
2012 Stats (pdf)
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2013 Roster
2013 Schedule

It's year three for Steve Donahue at Boston College and the hurting hasn't stopped, but Donahue has--hang on, let me just double check this here a quick sec--yes, he has managed to create something that appears to be in the neighborhood of a Division I-caliber offense. That's a significant step after last year's whatever that was.

The Eagles are still taking a ton of threes and they're hitting them at about the same clip as last year, but they've managed to cut down on some of the turnovers and improve both inside the arc and at the free throw line. Whether the newfound ball security and success inside the arc will hold up in conference play remains to be seen. But it's clear that last year's trial by fire helped this team, which is now led by a group of experienced sophomores. I'm told they're nearly over the night terrors from their 29-point loss at Wake last season. And they've found an emerging all-conference player in Ryan Anderson.

The thing that's always terrifying about teams like this is simply the frequency with which they take three-pointers--anybody can have a hot night, and when 40% of your attempts are threes, a good performance gets magnified. And it's not just that NC State's perimeter defense is below average, it's that no team really has much control over how well its opponent shoots from three.

Starters

Joe Rahon (6-2, 195) -- So far so good for Rahon, who is playing nearly 36 minutes per game as a freshman. He isn't going to take a ton of shots, but he's been effective with the ones he does take, inside and out. He's also done a nice job distributing the ball without turning it over too much.

Lonnie Jackson (6-3, 180) --Jackson made almost 40% of his shots from beyond the arc as a three-point specialist last season, and while he's still leaning heavily on threes, his shooting percentage is down to 33.3% this year. He's been absolutely terrible inside the arc in 1+ seasons with BC, so a point of emphasis for State in this particular case should be going over the top of screens and forcing him to put the ball on the floor.

Olivier Hanlan (6-4, 188) -- Hanlan is the second-leading scorer on the team, and for now, its No. 2 option behind Anderson. He's been hurt by a 16-50 effort from three, and he could stand to cut down on turnovers, but he's also been solid inside the three-point line and he's done a good job of getting himself to the free throw line.

Patrick Heckmann (6-5, 205) -- Heckmann's involvement in the offense is down, which has paid dividends for his shooting accuracy, but turnovers remain a serious issue. Still, the fact that he's shooting 41.2% on a not-insignifcant number of three-point attempts this year is reason enough for concern.

Ryan Anderson (6-8, 220) -- Anderson's workload is up--he's taking 28.2% of the shots--and so is his efficiency this season. The non-conference schedule may have something to do with that, but it also looks like he's benefitted from narrowing his range a bit. Last year, about 29% of his shots came from three, where he was a 27.4% shooter. This ultimately was a negative for BC, because his 49.8% shooting inside the arc was quite good by team standards, while his outside shooting was subpar. This year, only 10 of his 141 field goal attempts have been threes (he's 2-10), and he's made 53.4% of his twos. He's rebounding well at both ends of the floor, getting to the line, and also bothering his fair share of shots.

Bench

Dennis Clifford (7-0, 250), Eddie Odio (6-7, 205), Andrew Van Nest (6-10, 247). Odio was the only bench player to play more than eight minutes in Boston College's last game, a 21-point win over Dartmouth. But it seems likely that the Eagles will need a forward beyond Odio and Anderson to play significant minutes against NC State, and Clifford, who has made seven starts this year, is the most likely guy to fill that role. Van Nest has missed the last three games because of a concussion, and I'm not sure if he'll be able to play or not.

Odio will shoot rarely--NC State's biggest concern is his strong offensive rebounding ability, which could give him some easy buckets here and there. Keep him off the glass and he probably won't have much of an impact on the scoreboard.

Clifford is an effective scorer in the paint and aside from Anderson, he's the best overall rebounder the Eagles have. Van Nest, who played sparingly at Harvard for two seasons, is a graduate transfer who subscribes to the ol' "if you can't lose to them, join them" line of thinking--at least I think that's how that goes. He would be well served not to shoot from outside nearly as often as he has throughout his career.

BC Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.5 196
Turnover Rate 18.1 285
Off Reb Rate 32.8 205
FTA/FGA 28.4 23

BC Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.0 204
Turnover Rate 17.3 308
Off Reb Rate 27.6 40
FTA/FGA 29.1 67

Boston College's struggles at this end of the floor are still clear enough--this is, by tempo-free standards, the worst defense Donahue has had in Chestnut Hill. It's not a disruptive group by any means, and while their turnover rate illustrates that, it's worth noting that the Eagles rank below 200 in both the steal and block rate categories. So it is imperative for these guys to continue rebounding well defensively, because beyond their inability to force turnovers, their 2FG% defense is just average.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by eight.

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