The Eagles will continue their non-conference slate with games against Colgate and Providence
In the third edition of EagleAction's preview of Boston College's non-conference schedule (Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE), the Eagles will play two games over the Thanksgiving holiday, home vs. Colgate, and on the road at Providence. We'll give a brief preview of the game and rate the difficulty of the opponents.
Colgate-Nov. 22 (Wednesday)-Conte Forum
16-17 Record: 10-22 (8-10 in Patriot League)
Postseason: Lost in 1st Round of Patriot League Tournament
Biggest Win: Defeated Navy (16-16) 55-52 on Feb. 4
Worst Loss: Lost to NJIT (11-20) 74-68 Nov. 19
Power Five Record: 0-3 (Notre Dame, Syracuse, Penn State)
Top Returning Scorer: Will Rayman, Soph., F, 14.6 ppg
Biggest Departure: Nathan Harries, G, 5.1 ppg (Graduated)
New Arrival: Jordan Burns, 6-0 PG, Kent School (CT), 2 Stars
Colgate hasn’t had a winning season since 2007-08, and Head Coach Matt Langel will enter his 7th season with a combined record of 71-117--so it’s safe to say that this program is struggling right now. Last season, Colgate played at one of the slowest paces in the NCAA, so expect this game to be a slog. A traditional mid-major squad, Colgate relies on three-point shooting and defense to stay in games. Unfortunately, they were one of the worst teams in the NCAA when it came to turnovers, averaging 14.7 per game. When you’re playing such a slow pace, giving your opponent extra possessions is a big no no, so the Eagles should look to capitalize on the Raiders’ mistakes.
In their three games against Power Five opponents last season, Colgate shot a combined 35% from the field, including a rough 18-64 outing against Syracuse. In ten games last season, the Raiders shot 40% from the field or worse. However, the Raiders did prove they could be dangerous from distance last season, hitting 10+ three-pointers in ten games last season--including 18 threes against Union.
Moreover, the Raiders will be returning all five starters and their top five leading scorers. The big star on Colgate is Sophomore forward Will Rayman. Rayman, with a long 6-8 frames, is one of the better stretch forwards in the country--averaging 14.6 points on 40% shooting from three. Last season, Rayman buried at least 4 threes in eight games, including a 5-8, 28 point performance at Penn State. If BC can’t sort out last year’s defensive issues, Rayman could be primed for a big performance.
BC should be able to win this game fairly easily, as Colgate doesn’t have enough serious weapons to match up physically with BC. That being said, if the Eagles underestimate Colgate, and the Raiders are able to get going early, they could threaten an upset.
Providence-Nov. 25 (Saturday)-Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Bob Blanchard, Basketball Hall of Fame
16-17 Record: 20-13 (10-8 in Big East)
Postseason: Lost in 1st Round of Big East Tournament. Round of 68 in NCAA Tournament
Biggest Win: Defeated Butler (25-9) 71-65 Feb 11
Worst Loss: Lost to DePaul (9-23) 64-63 Jan. 10
Power Five Record: 0-4 (Boston College, Virginia, Ohio State, USC)
Top Returning Scorer: Rodney Bullock, Sr., F, 15.7 ppg
Biggest Departure: Ryan Fazekas, G/F, 3.0 ppg (Transferred to Valparaiso)
New Arrival: Makai Ashton-Langford, 6-2 PG, Brewster Academy (MA), 4 Stars. 38th in ESPN100
To say 2016-17 was an up and down year for Providence would be an understatement. On the positive side, it was Ed Cooley’s fourth straight 20 win season at Providence, and considering the Friars had lost their two best players, Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, Cooley did a great job keeping the program at a high level of success. Unfortunately, Providence was all over the place last season game to game--and really failed to compete with the highest level of competition. After a 10-2 start to the season that included wins over Rhode Island and Memphis, Providence would lose 9 of their next 13 games, including ugly losses to Boston College, DePaul, St. John’s and Seton Hall. After seeing their record fall to just 14-11, Providence would close out its regular season with 6 straight wins, scoring victories over Butler, Xavier, and Creighton. Even after losing in the first round of the Big East tournament, Providence was received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, where they were defeated by USC in The First Four.
Obviously, Providence is an opponent Boston College knows all too well, and BC has actually gone 2-1 against them over the past few seasons--despite Providence being ranked as high as 8th in the nation in two years ago. Last season, defeating Providence was one of BC’s premier wins, and expect Providence to be ready for revenge. In a game where the Eagles were down 29-24 at halftime, BC exploded for 54 second half points, and Providence had no answer for Ky Bowman--who was a perfect 7-7 in the second half. Down 48-45 in the second half, the Eagles rattled off a 25-2 run, sparked by strong defensive play from Mo Jeffers, who finished the game with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. The Eagles played extremely well on both sides of the floor, holding Providence to just 26-64 shooting from the floor, and shot a ridiculous 71.4% in the second half, eventually winning 79-67.
Last season, the Friars were actually the 2nd best defense in the Big East, holding opponents to just 70.2 points per game, so it hard to say what happened against BC, but I seriously doubt Ed Cooley will allow his team to surrender 54 second half points again.
After losing their two best players after 2015-2016, the Friars are losing no essential pieces this season. Instead they will be adding one of the best prospects in the nation in Makai Ashton-Langford. A 4 star point-guard ranked 38th in the ESPN100, Ashton-Langford figures to be the next great point-guard in Friars’ history. Originally, the Worcester native was committed to UConn, but was granted a release after several key Assistant Coaches left the program.
Adding Ashton-Langford to a strong core of Emmitt Holt, Rodney Bullock, and Alpha Diallo, and Providence will probably continue to be the most dangerous team in New England. Bullock, who led the Friars in scoring at 15.7 ppg, is a versatile wing who scored 20+ points nine times last season, including 36 points early in the season against New Hampshire. A slasher who relentlessly attacks the basket and gets to the line, the Eagles could struggle with Bullocks athleticism--and foul trouble could befall whoever is guarding him.
Providence is a team that has a lethal combination of high level talent and great coaching. Boston College will be an underdog in this game--especially on the road--and it is more than likely the Eagles will lose this one. It’s certainly not an impossible upset, but BC is going to need to bring its A game if they want to keep this one competitive.