clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

First Look at Maryland-Boston College

Remember: the ACC is a league of parity, and anything can happen on any given day.

Without keeping that transcendental maxim in mind, it would be easy to write off Boston College as a team that lost Tyrese Rice, easily their best player, and subsequently lost games to St. Joseph's, Harvard, and Maine (Maine!). It would be all too easy to ignore that they upset Miami in a game they weren't supposed to win, beat my beloved Darrin Horn's South Carolina squad, and lost most of their embarrassing games without their best player.

UCLA they are not, but don't write them off.

Many of the disappointing early performances (sans Maine) came without starting forward Rakim Sanders, who was suspended during the early part of the season. Arguably their best player along with Joe Trapani, Sanders' absence would be the equivalent to this Maryland team being without Sean Mosley next year.

Sanders is now back in the fold, and with the exception of one game, BC has improved because of it. They're a well-rounded team with some bad losses but two surprising wins. It's enough to remind you that they can pull it off if Maryland doesn't show up.

Unfortunately, that's entirely possible. This is Maryland's second consecutive road game, the first being a highly emotional OT loss, a game that's difficult to rebound from. Never know what'll happen in that situation.

BC doesn't do a lot well, but one of the only things they can do just so happens to be one of Maryland's biggest weaknesses: offensive rebounding. Maryland didn't exactly lock down Wake Forest two nights ago on the offensive boards, giving up multiple second chances, and BC is just as good, if not better than, Wake in that aspect. They aren't a great shooting team, but any ACC team that gets two or three chances will be able to hit the shots eventually.

One of the other moderately imposing things about Boston College is their balance and depth. They have four legitimate, 10+ point scoring threats, much like Maryland does - Trapani, Sanders, Corey Raji, and Reggie Jackson. Raji - who has hurt the Terps in the past - and Biko Paris, whom you should remember from two years ago, when he dropped 12 as a freshman and ruined Maryland's NCAA hopes, are both still on the roster, so they have two proven Terp-killers.

That said, if BC wins, they'll have to play above expectations and Maryland will have to play above them. There's no way around it: this team simply isn't that good. They can be good - see the Miami win - but it's not usual. This game would be the outlier on the season.

Then again, you may remember BC was in a similar position this time last year, and then turned on the jets and ended up beating Maryland. It's entirely possible, though unlikely, that they'd do it again this year.

If I didn't mention something above, it's probable that it's a weakness for BC. They don't have a lot of height - Josh Southern is their biggest player at 6-10, and he's a role player not better than Jordan Williams. They don't have a go-to guy despite having a multitude of perimeter scorers. They rarely force turnovers. They don't shoot particularly well.

As long as Maryland can box out properly and grab enough rebounds so that BC doesn't run away with second chances, it shouldn't be all that close. Guys like Rice used to give Vasquez fits, but he's gone and there isn't a clear replacement for him. They have a lot of middle height - guys in the 6'3"-6'7" range - but none of them are particularly good defenders, so Maryland shouldn't have too rough of a time there, either.

To be completely forward, if Maryland plays up to what you'd expect and BC plays to what you'd expect, Maryland should win. The problem will be getting them to do that.

Final prediction: Terps 73, BC 65.