Boston College vs. NC State preview: Defense will be optional

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

BC @ StatSheet
2014 Stats
2014 Roster
2014 Schedule

BC Offense 13-14
Four Factors Percent National Rank
eFG% 52.5 51
Turnover Rate 17.7 131
Off Reb Rate 27.4 289
FT Rate
44.4 75

Steve Donahue's rebuilding effort at Boston College was supposed to start coming together this season--he's been working with the same cast of characters for going on three years, and it stood to reason that they were finally ready to begin dishing out their share of lumps instead of remaining almost exclusively on the receiving end.

Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson were expected to lead the revival, and to be fair, they've been good players at the offensive end. Scoring has had little to do with Boston College's struggles, in general. This is the most efficient offense Donahue has had in Chestnut Hill since his first season, when he inherited Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani, and Corey Raji. The Eagles are 24th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency; in ACC play, they rank fourth in the league with an average of nearly 1.09 points per possession.

That level of production would be enough to carry a half-decent defensive team to the postseason, or at the very least have it in bubble territory. But Boston College has been so horrifyingly incompetent at the defensive end, it's not been anywhere close to achieving what many might have assumed before the year.

The offense makes this 8-22 team a special brand of scary. Especially for NC State, which tends to have its problems at the defensive end from time to time. (Or so I've heard.) The Eagles will be bombs away from three, as usual; if they're warm, we're liable to be in a spot of difficulty.

Starters

Olivier Hanlan (6-4, 184) -- This season, Hanlan rather quietly built on a strong freshman campaign, becoming more efficient despite a higher workload. His two-point accuracy is a career-high 53% and he's knocking down 81.5% of his freebies, also a career high. Hanlan's three-point shooting is down, but he's still shooting almost 35% from outside.

Joe Rahon (6-2, 195) -- Rahon's numbers have hardly changed from his freshman to sophomore seasons. It's like he arrived last year fully formed as a basketball player and announced to the world, as every child dreams, "behold, this is my true talent level!" His shot attempts are about even from two and three; he's making about 46-47% of his twos, 35-36% of his threes.

Lonnie Jackson (6-4, 182) -- Jackson is far more one-dimensional than the previous two guys, which is not so bad since he's been an excellent three-point specialist throughout his career. This year he's hitting 40.5% of his threes, and he's never shot worse than 38.2% from beyond the arc in a single season.

Patrick Heckmann (6-6, 208) -- If feels like all of these dudes have been around forever, and none of them are even seniors. Heckmann has been a middling-to-above-average outside shooter in his 2+ seasons, but he's never failed to hit less than half his twos in any given season. Recently he's seen a significant increase in playing time after a string of games in which he played nine minutes or fewer.

Ryan Anderson (6-9, 216) -- In his freshman season, he attempted 84 three-pointers (only made 23). Since then, he's attempted 29 threes. That's a great adjustment for BC considering that he's never so much as cracked 28% from three-point range in a given season. He is the Eagles' best rebounder at both ends by wide margins, while his team-best free throw rate ranks 57th nationally.

Bench

Eddie Odio (6-8, 209), Garland Owens (6-5, 203), K.C. Caudill (6-11, 269), Will Magarity (6-11, 225). Odio improved his outside shooting markedly this season, though that doesn't figure to be a significant factor one way or the other since he just doesn't shoot often. No other rotation member has a lower workload.

Owens and Magarity are also light-usage guys at the offensive end. Owens is shooting a smidge above 38% from three, while Magarity is more of an interior scorer (if he's gonna score at all, that is).

BC Defense 13-14
Four Factors Percent National Rank
eFG% 52.4 291
Turnover Rate 15.0 341
Off Reb Rate 35.0 314
FT Rate
40.9 179

This is how the 2013-14 Eagles crashed and died a sad, no-good, gave-up-95-to-Toledo type of death. It's a little confusing since the same principal parts remain in place--it's not that BC was good defensively last season, or the year before, but the Eagles were a lot better than this.

In league play, the Eagles are allowing close to 1.17 points per possession, which is ludicrous. They are dead last in 2FG% defense and 3FG% defense, 13th in turnover percentage, 12th in defensive rebounding percentage, and 14th in block percentage. They are disruptive in no sense whatsoever and generally don't discourage anybody from doing anything. They're very kind.

Under these circumstances, the effectiveness of BC's offense might as well be considered a form of torture. They've scored more than 1.1 points per possession in seven conference games. Their record in those games is 2-5. They're 1-2 in conference games when they score 1.2 points per trip or more, and that is elite-level offensive efficiency.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes State by nine.

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