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NC State heads to BC to face an extremely shorthanded Eagles team

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NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

NC State will be in Chestnut Hill for a rematch with Boston College, but this game figures to look a lot different, because the Eagles are going to be shorthanded. Really shorthanded. They were preparing to play Florida State on Tuesday despite having just four scholarship players available.

Jim Christian said earlier this week that BC might have a fifth scholarship player available by Saturday. The FSU game was eventually canceled because of COVID problems within the Seminoles’ program, but why BC’s athletics department was so keen to play that game, I have no clue.

Anyway, the four scholarship guys who were available for BC as of early this week: Jay Heath, Steffon Mitchell, CJ Felder, Kamari Williams. That’s three starters and a dude who has logged 47 minutes this season.

Heath scored 17 points in Raleigh and was 3-6 from beyond the arc. Steffon Mitchell, as usual, grabbed a zillion offensive rebounds against State. Dude kills us every time and it’s maddening. He scored 12 points in that game. Mitchell and Felder both are normally light-usage guys but obviously Boston College will need both to do a whole lot more offense. And stay out of foul trouble.

Heroic efforts from those guys could keep Boston College competitive for a while, but as Heath is the only ball-handler of the bunch, the Eagles are going to be at a substantial disadvantage in the backcourt. I’d expect NC State to apply a heavy dose of pressure any time the Eagles have their scout guys in at the guard spots.

BC turned the ball over on 24% of its possessions in the first meeting, and the Eagles have been only average at taking care of the ball this season—when the team is at full strength.

The Pomeroy Ratings see this game as a tossup, but that’s assuming a normal BC team, not one with maybe just a handful of scholarship players available. It is definitely not a tossup situation in the latter case.