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NC State Starts ACC Season with a Road Game at Boston College

The ‘Four Road Games in Nine Days’ Scheduling Experiment Comes to a Close

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday Dec 2, 4:00 PM ET

Where: Chestnut Hill MA

Opponent: Boston College Eagles (ACC)

TV: ACC Network

Preseason Conference Prediction: 12th in the ACC

Pomeroy Prediction: Boston College 77-76

Wolfpack Snapshot: 4-2, KP #75

Wolfpack Season So Far: Unfortunately, the Pack has not taken advantage of their opportunities to bolster their post season resume so far. The four key OOC games were Vanderbilt (W, fortunately their leading scorer was out due to injury), BYU (L), Ole Miss (L), and with 10-point favorite, top 10 Tennessee yet to be played on the 16th.

The best we’ve seen the Pack play was the first half in the BYU game. That team looked like they could have a good season. They need to regain that poise and energy quickly, there are still six games to be played before the Christmas break and the ACC starts now.

Wolfpack Injury Report: Mo Diarra suffered an ankle injury in the Charleston Southern game. He was only able to go 25 total minutes in the last three games. DPJ is not yet ready to start at forward, Ben is going to be needed at center - especially at BC, and Ross seems to be MIA. So hopefully Mo comes back to his early season form fast. He has become much more important than we initially expected.

Opponent Overview

Coach Earl Grant has energized the Eagles basketball program after replacing the struggling Jim Christian two seasons ago, and they expect his 3rd season to be the best yet. Last season they went 16-17 / 9-11 including an admirable win over (the evil) Clemson. The 9 ACC wins were their most since 2011. But last year injuries hit hard, the team’s best player, Quentin Post, missed half the season, shooting guard Madsen played most of the season in pain due to a recently diagnosed autoimmune disorder, key reserve 4-star freshman Donald Hand Jr missed the entire season, they had as many as four key players out at a time. With 9 returning players and everyone healthy, they are expecting to improve significantly on last season’s record. Coach Grant thinks they are underrated at #12 in the preseason ACC rankings. To help prepare for what they hope is their best season in a while, they took the team’s ‘once every four years’ trip to Italy this past summer.

The Season So Far

This season Boston College (KP # 95) is 5-2, having beaten Fairfield (KP #298) 89-70, The Citadel (KP #287) 75-71, Richmond (KP #81) 68-61, and Harvard (KP #131) 73-64. They then lost two to Colorado State (KP #28) 74-86, and Loyola Chicago (KP #129). Their most recent game was against shared SEC opponent, Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt Review

It’s not unusual that we’d share an OOC common opponent with an ACC school, but we did it twice with BC this season and very close to one another. The Citadel was bested by the Pack (72-59) and four days later BC (75-71). We topped Vanderbilt (84-78) six days before BC steamrolled them (80-62) in the ACC/SEC Challenge.

In Vanderbilt’s favor they were back to full strength and playing at home. But other than that, it was all Boston College. The Eagles took the lead at the beginning and never let up. They led by 21 at the half. They shot 51.8% from the field, and 50% (10-20) from 3PT. Post and Harris accounted for 46 of their points, both were 4-6 from 3PT. They held the Commodores to 36.4% / 30% shooting. Even in a game as lopsided as this, the BC bench didn’t contribute much. They only scored 2 points outside of their 8-man regular rotation.

Team Statistical Comparison

Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
NCS 77.5 43.80% 30.9% 7 37 14.2 9.5 8.2 2.7
BC 75.3 45.30% 34% 7 36.9 13 10.6 6.9 4.7

Player Notes

  • 4 of 5 players in the starting lineup started at least 10 games for the Eagles last season.
  • Their second leading scorer from last season, senior guard Ashton-Langford (12.4 Ppg), graduated. They replaced Ashton-Langford with Claudell (“MJ”) Harris Jr, a transfer from Charleston Southern. Turns out he is exactly what they needed, he too is their second leading scorer at an even better 13.4 Ppg. (well done, coach)
  • The starting lineup averages 220 lbs., so this game is likely to be very physical. Harris (190) is the only starter under 200 lbs., but he just arrived and has two years of eligibility, he’ll catch up. (chowdah!)
  • Like most teams we’ll play, the Eagles regularly go 8 deep.

BC Probable Starters

Player Class Pos Height lbs PTS 3PT% 3PTApg REB ASST BLK STL
Player Class Pos Height lbs PTS 3PT% 3PTApg REB ASST BLK STL
Post GR C 7'0" 235 21.3 51.7% 4.1 8.9 2.4 2 0.4
Harris JR G 6'3" 190 13.4 36.8% 5.4 3 1 0 1.1
Zackery JR G 6'2" 220 11.4 21.4% 2 3 4.9 0 2.1
McGlockton SO F 6'7" 230 8.3 20.0% 0.7 5.1 0.9 1 0.6
Aligbe SO W 6'7" 225 7.6 11.1% 1.3 5 0.3 0 0.9

Keys To The Game

The Eagles are a good team, better than their preseason rank leads you to expect. Their PG Zackery is an excellent passer (having ‘Post in the post’ helps that a lot) and does not turn the ball over. Harris was an excellent addition at shooting guard, and they feature one of the best centers in the country. Forwards McGlockton and Aligbe are a well-matched pair, both sophomores, the same size, score 7-8 points apiece and rebound about 5 per game. McGlockton pairs with Post as a formidable shot blocking tandem. The common element in their two losses is both teams outrebounded the Eagles, and both had a significant advantage in assists.

  • Guarding the Post – Preseason All-ACC center Quinton Post is one of the best players in the country, and sure to be a high NBA draft pick next spring. If you look at their team’s individual game highs, he leads in 8 of 12 categories (including turnovers – 6 in one game) and is also tied for the lead in two more. He does everything well. He scored 31 points in a game, hit 5 3PT in a game, shoots 51.7% from 3PT, had 19 rebounds in a game, had 5 assists in a game, and 5 blocked shots. And to ice the cake, he is shooting 91.7% from the free throw line. Although 5” shorter, he will be a much bigger challenge for our centers than Ole Miss’s Sharpe was on Tuesday.
  • Watch out for MJ - “MJ” Harris Jr has not lost a step in the transition from Charleston Southern, in fact his shooting averages are better. He is a scorer. He’s already scored double digits in every game but one. Last season he went off for 30+ twice.
  • Guard the ball – Junior PG Jaeden Zackery has picked up right where he left off last season. He leads the team in minutes per game, assists, steals, and is the third leading scorer. He’s not much of a 3PT threat but shoots 88.5% from the free throw line.
  • Another Shot Blocking Team – Like Ole Miss, this is a team with size that blocks a lot of shots (4.7 Bpg, 8 in one game).

For the Wolfpack to Win - We have to go back to passing and rebounding well at every position. Offensively, we cannot expect to do well off drives against their set half-court offense. We’re going to have to get the 3PT shot falling. We’re going to have to hit some mid-range jumpers. And we’re going to have to force turnovers and turn them into fast break points. Defensively, Post is going to get his points. The trick is to get ours as well while slowing him down, without fouling out. DJB and Ben will have their hands full.