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Michigan State Basketball: Boston College Preview

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Previewing MSU's first opponent in the Wooden Legacy, Boston College

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Opponent: Boston College

Location: Anaheim, CA

Time: 6:30 PM EST

Channel: ESPN22

KenPom Line: MSU -11

I did a Q&A over at our sister site BC Interruption.

Some thoughts on Boston College's playing style.

  • First off it's a little hard to tell how good BC is because their SOS thus far is in the bottom 10 in the country. The best team they've played is Harvard at #177 in KenPom (for comparison, Eastern Michigan is at #162). From last year they lost 3 seniors and Olivier Hanlan who was their star last year. They brought in a grad transfer in Eli Carter and a few freshman to fill in for them.
  • Eli Carter is their go-to guy using 36.5% (!) of their possessions when he's on the floor, but he's not particularly efficient. His true shooting percentage of 47.5% is low but that's somewhat to be expected when you're using so many possessions.
  • Dennis Clifford is a 7 foot center who has been drawing a lot of fouls (158.3 FT Rate) and has a great 31.6% Def Reb%.
  • Jerome Robinson has been an interesting freshman for the Eagles as he's been scoring efficiently and leads the team in assists with a better than 2-1 A/TO ratio. He also appears to be solid defensively with a good DReb% for a guard at 14.4% and he's averaging 2.3 steals/game.
  • Their team as a whole has been great from outside the arc shooting 41.8% from 3. Much of that has to do with three freshmen in Sammy Barnes-Thompkins, Ervins Meznieks, and Matt Milon who have combined to make 17 of 30 from 3 and have all made at least half their 3PA's.
  • AJ Turner is a guy that was on MSU's radar due to his hometown of Warren, MI but he ultimately ended up at Boston College. At 6'7" he's been their power forward and has been solid at everything except shooting 3's where he's shot just 1-10 so far.

Four Factors

MSU on Offense

[Boston College has been solid all-around defensively but it's been against pretty bad competition]

MSU on Defense

[MSU's been one of the best rebounding teams and Boston College has just an average offensive rebounding % despite the bad competition. Also, MSU doesn't turn its opponents over]

Things to watch for

  • Eron Harris has been solid the last couple games and can he keep it going? His ability to create with quickness and still be able to shoot from outside is rare on this MSU roster and he could end up being a big key going forward.
  • Can Javon Bess be MSU's second option behind Valentine? Bess scored a career high 16 the other night against Arkansas Pine-Bluff and then followed that up with a second best 13 points against Eastern Michigan. At the moment he's the team's third leader scorer behind Valentine and Forbes. Can he keep scoring even when the competition gets tougher and his quickness advantage over other 4's isn't as striking?
  • How will they incorporate Marvin Clark back into the lineup? Bess has been playing well at the 4 and if they want to ultimately have Davis also at the 4 with Costello and Schilling (when he returns) at the 5, how do they find enough minutes for Bess, Clark, and Davis? You can make the argument that Bess and Davis have been two of the top seven guys so it'll be interesting how many minutes Clark can steal at the moment. Wollenman and Goins have combined for almost 15 minutes per game so those averages are likely to drop when MSU gets more healthy.

Bottom Line

Although Boston College is MSU's second toughest opponent after Kansas, MSU should be able to handle them. There's no player that particularly concerning on the offensive end and despite BC's overall side advantage (they're top 50 in average and effective height), MSU has been a good rebounding team on both ends so far. MSU will likely advance to play the winner of Boise St./UC-Irvine.

MSU 78 - BC 65