BC – Columbia Preview
By Ben Neuwirth
The Boston College Eagles, fresh off a stunning and glorious upset over the formerly #1 Duke Blue Devils now host the lowly Columbia Lions Tuesday at 7. While their opponent isn’t in the same stratosphere as them, off such a program defining win the Eagles could be at risk for a trap game.
|Columbia||Stats courtesy Kenpom.com||Boston College|
|0-5||Last Five Games||3-2|
|Projected Starting Five|
|Mike Smith||PG||Ky Bowman|
|Nate Hickman||SG||Jerome Robinson|
|Quinton Adlesh||SF||Jordan Chatman|
|Lukas Meisner||PF||Steffon Mitchell|
|Patrick Tape||C||Nik Popovic|
Smother Columbia’s Shooters
The Lions are a dreadful offensive team, they rank in the 200th in the country or worse in all major offensive categories, from FG% to total rebounds to free throw attempts and percentage, except for 2, assists and three point shooting. The Lions sport 3 guys who have been absolutely stroking it this season, Mike Smith, 35% on 7 attempts a game, Quinton Adlesh, 41% on 5 attempts a game and Lukas Meisner, 46% on 4.5 attempts a game and a potential fourth in Nate Hickman, who has been cold this season but has shown marksmanship in the past. The base Ivy League offense is based on perimeter ball movement and constant cutting, BC can leverage their versatility with Mitchell at the 4 to switch many of these off-ball screens and always have a hand in the face of a Lion shooter.
Attack the Basket
Like most teams in their conference, Columbia is small, their rotation features no player over 6’10. Their shot blocking is mostly limited to freshman Jaron Faulds, who comes off the bench. Bowman and Robinson should have a much easier time lofting layups over the tame Lions than they did last Saturday and off their drives, other good stuff, like Popovic duck-ins and Chatman corner 3’s, can open up.
Unleash Jim Christian
Lost in the chaos of last Saturday’s blizzard of exhilaration and bliss was the job Coach Jim Christian did on the floor. While much of the praise was deservedly put on Bowman, Robinson and Chatman’s shoulders, the man sitting on the sidelines deserves a lot of credit too. BC’s signature alley-oop play in which Ky finds Jerome curling around a few screens has been pretty much unstoppable for 2 years now, an amazing feat in a business where every minute of game film is obsessively scrutinized. He also drew up a backdoor dunk for Ky that roared the crowd to it feat and an open look for Chatman in the 2nd half.
BC should take advantage of Christian’s play-drawing skills, he clearly has a knack for it and when the BC offense bogs down, this happens frequently when you rely on two players, a few tricks up his sleeve could shift momentum. Hopefully the Eagles don’t need him this game but in the future, Free Jim Christian.
BC 83 COL 76
Columbia played Villanova relatively tough in their opening game of the season but they are sliding, having lost 8 in a row, though only by an average of 6 points. BC has the athletes to chase the Lions’ shooters around the arc and the paint playmakers that can punish their lack of rim protection. It really just comes down to if BC shows up to play, or if Columbia gets ridiculously hot from 3. We’ve seen BC lose games to lesser teams before, Hartford, but this one should be a breeze against the backwater of the Ivy League. Hopefully the result is decided early and frosh Vin Baker Jr. Avery Wilson, and Luca Kraljevic can get some much needed developmental minutes. BC will need them in the season to come.