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Previewing Boston College

Although there probably isn't anyone with a legitimate shot at edging Duke for the regular season title, this is a must win game for two teams that want to entertain the thought.

The Boston College offense:
(These are the Four Factors. Know them well.)

Boston College Offense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%56.79Turnover Rate19.136Off Reb Rate37.752FTM/FGA25.6137
You couldn't tell based off of the GT game, but the Eagles have one of the ten best offenses in the country. And it's pretty clear why: they shoot well, don't turn the ball over, and do a pretty good job grabbing the rebounds when they do miss.

The main reason why they're so stingy with the ball is because the guys who carry the offense--Dudley, Smith, Marshall--all have impressively low turnover rates. Creating turnovers has not been a strength of the Wolfpack's defense, so this is definitely a problem.

The Starters:
(Some definitions/info on the numbers featured below. Also of interest: Why use these statistics?)

Louis Hinnant (6-4, 190) -- Hinnant wasn't much of a factor in BC's offense last season, and little has changed this year. His usage (the percentage of possessions he uses while on the court) is just 14.8%. Hinnant's job is to get the ball to Dudley, Smith and Marshall, though he has done a decent job shooting the ball when he gets the chance (.542 eFG%, 1.12 PPWS).

Sean Marshall (6-6, 212) -- To date, Marshall has the highest usage among BC regulars, and he's handling it well. He has been the team's best three-point shooter (23-51, .451) and has a low turnover rate (15.4%). The Eagles are a little more inclined to shoot the three this season, and Marshall is definitely a guy with whom we need to be careful.

Jared Dudley (6-7, 225) -- Dudley is averaging 18.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per 40 minutes and has a better Offensive Rating than Craig Smith. No Eagle starter is better than Dudley at drawing contact and getting to the line. He won't turn the ball over much. Dudley's problems have come from behind the arc, where he's 6-28 (21.4%).

Craig Smith (6-7, 250) -- Smith's workload has been reduced a bit this season and it has made him a more efficient player:

2005

FGA/40 min: 16.0
Pts/40 min: 20.8
PPWS: 1.09

2006

FGA/40 min: 13.3
Pts/40 min: 20.7
PPWS: 1.23

He's improved his eFG% by nearly 10 percent, which has made all the difference. His FT% is actually down this year.

John Oates (6-10, 255) -- Not much of a shooter, and the very definition of a nonfactor at the offensive end (%Poss = 10.9%). Oates has started all 14 games, but he is only playing a little over 20 min/g. Will shoot the three (not well).

Bench:

Tyrese Rice (6-0, 183) is Boston College's most important reserve. Rice, a freshman, averages 19.5 pts/40, which is second only to Craig Smith. Rice leads the Eagles in both three-point attempts and makes (28-67, .418). He averages a rather high 4 turnovers/40 min, but this is somewhat misleading because of the high number of possessions Rice uses while on the court.

Akida McLain (6-8, 220) has been efficient in a limited role. He and Williams will steal Oates's minutes.

Sean Williams (6-10, 230) is back from suspension and it seems clear that his shot blocking skills haven't missed a beat. I'm very interested to see how much Williams plays. If he's effective at the defensive end, we could see a lot more of him than we'd like.

Marquez Haynes (6-3, 185) is the only reserve other than Rice who has played in all 14 Boston College games. Averaging about 14 min/g but only saw 3 minutes at Georgia Tech yesterday.

At the defensive end...

Boston College Defense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%46.572Turnover Rate21.1203Off Reb Rate37.7292FTA/FGA26.222
Case in point that good rebounding at one end (in this instance, the offensive end) does not necessarily correspond to good rebounding at the other. Defensive rebounding has been a big issue for Boston College's struggling defense, which ranks 11th in the ACC (90th in the nation) in defensive efficiency. They're dead last (in the conference) by a mile in opponent offensive rebound rate (4.9% difference between BC and the 11th place team), 9th in turnover rate, and 9th in eFG%.

So if you are concerned about how the Pack will fare against the Eagles defense, you prolly shouldn't be. For us, it's the other end of the court that's important--especially after Saturday's lackluster effort.