So the question before me is how to write an interesting preview of the Maryland women's basketball team's last ACC road game at Boston College Thursday night. I expect the game Will Likely be slow, dull, and one-sided. I can't write that this is a potential trap game as I did in anticipating the Terps' loss at Virginia because Maryland's next game is against Virginia Tech not Notre Dame. I guess I could write that the game will be BC's senior night. But does anyone believe that will really make a difference? I didn't think so. And I certainly can't gin up a rivalry angle because, well, it's Boston College.
I guess I have to start with why I think the game Will Likely be slow, dull, and one-sided. The brief answer is that this is how the Eagles play. Boston College has attempted 1,559 shots in 28 games. By contrast, Maryland has attempted 1,734 shots in 27 games. That accounts for the slow part. The Eagles are more effective slowing the game at home where opposing teams average sixty-three points per game than they are on the road where they yield seventy-four. They typically play games in the sixties - particularly at home. That accounts for the dull part. Regarding the one-sided part, only Stanford and Notre Dame have scored more than 80 points in Contee Forum this season and ND won by twenty-one. Boston College has lost nine of their last ten games by an average of over ten points and that includes close losses to the likes of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and Clemson - teams that are a combined 10-33 in ACC play including their wins over BC.
The game does hold some significance for the Terrapins, though. Maryland currently sits tied for third in the ACC - a position that secures them a double bye in the ACC Tournament. They would currently be seeded fourth because they are tied with NC State which holds the tiebreaker by virtue of their win over Maryland in Raleigh.
Now, it's mathematically possible for the Terps to fall to fifth but that scenario is quite unlikely. It would entail Maryland losing to both BC and Virginia Tech while North Carolina wins on the road at Notre Dame and at home against Duke. What is possible, and even likely is that Maryland could move up to sole possession of third. That requires two Terrapin wins and one NC State loss. While the Wolfpack should win at Pitt Thursday night, they host Notre Dame to close the season. Two Maryland wins puts the Terps at 12-4 and a Wolfpack split puts NC State at 11-5.
What you (sorta) need to know about the Eagles
The Eagles don't score much - averaging 66 points per game - but what scoring they do get comes fairly evenly from their top six players. They're led by senior guard Kristen Doherty at 12.8 points per game. However, three other players also average in double figures and their top six all average at least seven per contest. These six players account for ninety percent of BC's scoring and shot attempts. This indicates not only balance but also that they don't go very deep. In fact, these six also account for 85 percent of the total minutes played and Doherty missed four games due to injury.
As one might expect from a squad that's 12-16 overall and 3-11 in conference play, Boston College is near the bottom of the league in nearly every statistical category. The Eagles don't defend well. They are twelfth in the conference in scoring defense and fourteenth in field goal percentage defense. The Eagles don't rebound well. Their 35 rebounds per game is only better than Clemson's thirty-four. They are last in the league in turnover margin. I could go on but you get the picture.
The Eagles do one thing reasonably well. Shoot. They're eighth in overall field goal percentage and fourth in three point percentage. BC is also an excellent free throw shooting team sitting second behind the Terps. However, they have fewer free throw attempts than any team in the league - getting to the line barely fifteen times per game.
Perhaps the Terps will be challenged by having to create their own energy in a sparsely attended game. Though not the worst in the league, Boston College averages fewer than 900 per game. (Maybe I should have included this in the dull section, eh?). Audio coverage of the game is available online through the oddly named "Terps TV" package. And, based on this preview, I know those of you who haven't done so are reaching for your credit cards now to buy your subscriptions.