Wednesday, November 26, 2008

GameNight Preview, Nov. 26

Preseason NIT Semifinals: No. 10 Purdue vs. Boston College

Typically one of the best preseason tournaments in college basketball, the Preseason NIT has entered its semifinals stage, with an excellent stage set for Madison Square Garden over the next couple of days. One of the nation’s most consistent programs – last year notwithstanding – in Boston College (3-1) takes on a team looking to return to its powerhouse days, Purdue (4-0). BC is projected to finish towards the bottom of the ACC again this season, but the Eagles started the season with three wins, including one over St. John’s. They did fall in their most recent game, by three at Saint Louis. Purdue is a Big Ten favorite and a top-10 team in many circles, and the Boilermakers have done nothing to disprove that so far, winning their first four games by more than 28 points per game.

Boston College is led by All-American candidate Tyrese Rice, one of the most explosive guards in the country. His scoring numbers are down slightly from last year, as the team has more options and his shooting percentage has dipped somewhat. The trio of Rakim Sanders, Vermont transfer Joe Trapani and Corey Raji create match-up problems for defenders with their ability to score in a variety of ways and play inside and out. Each of the three averages in double-figures, and all put up at least five rebounds per contest. On the other side, Purdue is a young and balanced team that has plenty of options and can beat you in different ways. Robbie Hummel is one of the most versatile players in the country, while E’Twaun Moore can do a variety of things on the court. Guards Marcus Green and Keaton Grant are solid, and Namanja Calasan and JaJuan Johnson anchor the interior. Chris Kramer is the ultimate glue guy.

Despite Boston College’s successes in recent years and Purdue’s abundance of youth, this game won’t be that close. The Boilermakers have the advantage at nearly every position on the court, and their overall talent level and versatility make them very difficult to play against. Purdue is going to be a team to reckoned with this season, in the Big Ten and nationally, while Boston College will be lucky to reach the NIT. That will be evident tonight in NYC.

Purdue MARGIN: 10-12

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