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NC State vs. Boston College: Significantly improved Eagles now a serious threat

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There isn’t as much margin for error against the Eagles as there used to be.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Let me say at the start, first and foremost, I’m proud of you, Boston College. Sure, 2016 was a struggle. You didn’t win a single game against a fellow ACC team, which was no doubt painful in many ways for you. But as soon as the calendar flipped—BOOM—new year, new Boston College.

You beat Syracuse by 15 to end the losing skid. (I also thank you for making Syracuse ‘That Guy’ and, y’know, not NC State.) Ya done good, dudes.

Boston College is substantially better than it was a year ago, as that win over Syracuse implies, though the Eagles are still probably the worst team in the ACC. They are No. 163 in the Pomeroy Ratings, a significant leap forward from their finish at No. 226 last season. For reference, this puts BC on par with Fairfield (No. 164), which State beat by 21 in December.

I would not expect another blowout win, though. Pomeroy has NC State by five and even that feels optimistic after Sunday. Let’s hope the players aren’t thinking the way I am.

BC’s defense is actually worse this season and its offense is still bad in a lot of ways (turnovers, offensive rebounding) but the difference for the Eagles this season is that they’re actually making shots at a competent rate. They’re hitting 50% inside the arc and 37.7% from three.

The Eagles are led by a trio of underclassmen, which bodes well for the next couple of seasons, though they will lose several veteran rotation members after this year.

The leader of the offense is 6-5 wing Jerome Robinson, who is maintaining an incredibly high workload. He doesn’t sit much, and he shoots a whole lot. He’s an outstanding three-point shooter and he’s been pretty good inside the arc as well, hitting 49.4% of his twos. Good player, albeit turnover-prone.

NC State needs to not only keep track of Robinson but also attack Boston College’s defense the right way. The Eagles are prone to fouls and opponents are hitting 51% of their twos. The Pack needs to probe the paint consistently, whether that’s for kick-out jumpers or scoring attempts in close. Either way, that’s likely to pay dividends. They can’t just start settling for bad shots and then have their heads fall off and then have an equipment manager accidentally kick them into the vicinity of an active volcano and then have an elk accidentally elk them closer to the precipice of the volcano and then have jerk sightseer Jerry accidentally kick them into the volcano where they melt and become forgotten for all eternity—which is what happened on Sunday. (Dammit, Jerry.)

As long as State avoids that, it should be fine.