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Meet the Boston Terriers, NC State's latest three-point-heaving obstacle

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch or listen to the game

Tip time: 4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Dec. 3

TV: Fox Sports South

Online streamingESPN3

Radio: Wolfpack Sports Network (affiliates)

Boston U. vitals

Record: 4-3
Pomeroy ranking: 162
Best win***: 65-63 over Northeastern (No. 191 in Pomeroy Ratings)
Worst loss: 87-77 to Northeastern (No. 191 in Pomeroy Ratings; yes, these teams have played each other twice already.)

(***Based on opponent's Pomeroy Rating, not margin of victory.)

Adjusted tempo: 70.2 poss/40 minutes (ranks 136th)
Adjusted offensive efficiency: 103.2 (ranks 130th)
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 103.3 (ranks 186th)

Boston roster
Boston schedule
Boston stats 2016 2017

The Boston offense and starters

Boston Offense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2015-16 52.2 (61) 19.7 (276) 26.5 (277) 37.0 (165)
2016-17 52.1 (102) 20.4 (225) 32.2 (113) 29.5 (281)

*exhales a heavy sigh* Well, everybody, here we go again. With an opponent that likes to take a bunch of three-pointers, I mean. Boston University has been heavily perimeter oriented in all 5+ seasons under head coach Joe Jones--actually this program has been three-heavy for a decade, spanning three different head coaches.

So far this season, 41% of their field goal attempts are coming from beyond the arc, which is a proportion that ranks 76th nationally. Last season, more than 39% of their attempts were threes. The Terriers are hitting only 32.2% from deep through their first seven games of 2017, and while that provides some comfort, I don't think I need to remind anyone that in a single game, there is a vast spectrum of shit that can happen, good or bad.

Which is partly the point of playing a three-heavy scheme with an under-talented squad, of course--you're gonna stink it up sometimes and look bad, but you're gonna have streaky-good nights and give some better teams a bit of anxiety.

Not that this BU team is terrible--it isn't. At No. 165, it is at least a respectable mid-major, and one that is coming off a winning season in the Patriot League. The Terriers nearly won at UConn earlier this week. (Granted, UConn is clearly in the midst of a down season.)

The Terriers return several key contributors from the '16 squad, including leading scorer Kyle Foreman. BU did lose sharpshooter John Papale to graduation, however, and the full impact of his absence may not be known until well into January. Papale rarely hit the bench last season, and made 40% of his 229 three-point attempts. That's pretty good.

BU has a trio of guys who pretty much only shoot threes, and a couple of rotation players who will shoot from deep at a decent percentage, but they're more on the take-threes-to-keep-defenses-honest side of the ledger.

Jones' BU teams often shoot well from inside the arc in addition to being competent beyond it, but they usually aren't very good in other factors. The Terriers rely on shooting to trump iffy ball security and sub-par offensive rebounding, which is not ideal but can lead to some decent results consistently.


Kyle Foreman (6-1, 170) -- As a freshman, Foreman made 75% of his free throws and 50% of his twos but struggled from three, hitting only 32.6% of his 86 attempts. His outside shooting remains a work in progress. Good assist rate, but a crummy turnover rate to go with it.

Cheddi Mosely (6-3, 195) -- Expect the Cheddster here to assume the role of lead three-point shot attempterer. Cheddi (which is short for Cheddward, of course) heaved up 213 threes a season ago and has taken around 400 threes in 2+ seasons. While it was a down season for him last year (he only hit a third of his 3FGA), he's plenty capable of a big afternoon.

Eric Fanning (6-5, 215) -- Fanning has been a heavy-workload player for BU for going on three seasons. He is a solid three-point shooter but prefers to do most of his work off the bounce, which is smart since he draws fouls in bunches, makes free throws at a high rate, and is a career 54% scorer inside the arc. His aggression does get him into trouble however, as he's been turnover-prone throughout his career. But that's a risk you happily take in exchange for all the damage he can do.

Justin Alston (6-8, 230) -- Alston's long career at BU has been all over the place in terms of his role within the offense, his playing time, and his effectiveness. As a role player, he has been an efficient scorer in the paint, but whenever he's expanded his influence--which he's done this season--his shooting has dipped well below 50%. He's a pretty good offensive rebounder. No threat to shoot the three, though--the senior has yet to attempt one in college.

Nick Havener (6-8, 225) -- He can be a fantastic rebounder at both ends, and he's been known to alter a shot or three here and there. Usually not a significant factor in the scoring because he is prone to both turnovers and fouls (averaging 7.8 fouls committed per 40 minutes this year). Probably not gonna shoot threes, either.

The Boston bench and defense

Reserves: Cedric Hankerson (6-5, 225), Tyler Scanlon (6-7, 215), Destin Barnes (6-6, 210), Blaise Mbargorba (7-0, 225). If Hankerson doesn't start, he'll be the sixth man. He is off to a chilly start to 2017 but is a 37.8% three-point shooter for his career. He probably won't be too effective anywhere else.

Scanlon and Barnes, both freshmen, have given the Terriers' perimeter game an early boost. Twenty-three of Scanlon's 30 field goal attempts have been threes.

Boston Defense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2015-16 50.0 (179) 17.1 (240) 28.1 (95) 33.9 (107)
2016-17 49.7 (165) 18.0 (238) 28.9 (146) 45.8 (301)

I would expect some zone defense out of the Terriers. Opponents routinely take a lot of threes against them, and BU also consistently creates a lot of long possessions at this end. That's got ZONE written all over it. Though if they play zone a lot, they've certainly done a heck of a job on the defensive glass under those circumstances.

There are plenty of opportunities to be had here as long as NC State plays smart, since BU is fouling a lot this season and has not been particularly disruptive.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State 12. If you feel good about that, then my hat is off to you, person watching his first NC State game of this season.