Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday, December 11th Preview

Prediction Record: 91-50

Boston College at Maryland (8:00, FSN)- This is the first game of the ACC season for both of these teams, and it could be a classic. Boston College won the first six games of their season, until losing to Michigan State in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Their best win of the season was against Oklahoma State in Las Vegas. None of their other wins were overly impressive. They are averaging 79 points per game, while allowing about 67 per game. Those are typical BC numbers, as they seem to always let teams hang around and then the Eagles pull it out in the end. They are led by one of the best frontcourt duos in the country, Craig Smith and Jared Dudley. Dudley is one of the most underrated players in the country, mostly as a result of him being overshadowed by Smith. He is a solid inside-outside forward who is also an excellent rebounder and defender. Smith has not been his usual dominant self so far this season, even with his 15 points and 8 rebounds per game numbers. He is a beast inside who is very difficult to stop once he gets the ball. John Oates has earned a few starts at the center position, and provides decent scoring and rebounding. On the perimeter, the wing combo of Sean Marshall and Tyrese Rice are the main scorers. Marshall has become a consistent point producer this season, putting up almost 15 a game. Rice is one of the best freshman in the country, giving the Eagles a scoring guard that can shoot and drive to the basket. Louis Hinnant is a big point guard at 6-4. He is an excellent distributor, but not much of a scorer. Marquez Haynes provides depth in the backcourt. On the other hand, Maryland has been challenged in their non-league portion than the Eagles have been. They have had losses to Top 15 teams Gonzaga and George Washington, both away from home. The Terps also have decent wins over Minnesota and Arkansas, though. The high-scoring group puts up almost 85 points per game, gives up just over 70 per game. Maryland is an athletic team that likes to put pressure on the other team defensively, and gets up and down the floor quickly. In the backcourt, DJ Strawberry, Chris McCray, and Mike Jones are one of the better trios that you will find. The 6-5 Strawberry is a very good defender, and combined with the 6-5 McCray, give the Terps one of the best defensive backcourts in the country. Strawberry is 5-7 on three-pointers this season, and is a good scorer in transition, while also distributing well. He is one of five double-figure scorers on the team. McCray is the leading scorer for Maryland. He is a good passer and defender as well. Jones is automatic offense off the bench. He averages 9 points in 20 minutes per game, and shoots 52 percent from deep. Up front, the quartet of Nik Caner-Medley, James Gist, Travis Garrison, and Ekene Ibekwe is very good. They are basically four starters, as Gist, Garrison, and Ibekwe all average about 20 minutes per game. Caner-Medley is a versatile scorer, but is inconsistent. Gist is extremely athletic who has slowed down somewhat since beginning the season with four straight double-figure games. Garrison is the best rebounder on the team, and can also score well. He had 23 and 14 against Western Carolina last game, giving him three straight double-figure rebounding games. Ibekwe is a good shot blocker and a good leaper who has not become a very good rebounder yet. Both teams are going to be contenders in the ACC this season, both also likely finishing in the Top 3 behind Duke. The difference in this game is going to be Maryland's balance and athleticism. Seven guys average at least 9 points and 20 minutes per game for the Terps. Even if Craig Smith has a huge game down low, as he should, Maryland's pressure is going to create a lot of turnovers by Louis Hinnant, leading to easy baskets for the athletic Terrapins. Mike Jones off the bench could be the difference. Plus, Maryland is at home. Prediction: Maryland by 3

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