Syracuse Basketball Rings In New Year With Battle Against BC

Now the real action begins for the Syracuse basketball team. The New Year brings new hopes heading into conference play for the Orange.

The Syracuse basketball squad kicks off the conference portion of its schedule on today, Jan. 1, when it visits Boston College in an afternoon ACC match-up.

It’s a new year and, hopefully, a fresh start for the Orange. SU (8-5) is coming off the worst non-conference record in head coach Jim Boeheim’s 41 years at his alma mater.

Although the ‘Cuse won its last time out, a 24-point domination of Central New York neighbor Cornell on Dec. 27, uneasiness remains. Syracuse hasn’t consistently performed well, on the offensive or defensive sides of the floor.

The players know it. Boeheim hasn’t proven shy in acknowledging it. The Orange exited its out-of-conference frame with no signature triumphs. SU’s “best” victory to date, based on RPI, is over Monmouth (No. 41) at the Carrier Dome in mid-November.

In fact, Syracuse has exactly one win over teams in the RPI top 100. That is horrendous. The ‘Cuse, plain and simple, must pull off some shocking upsets of ACC heavyweights if the Orange is to even get considered for an at-large berth in the Big Dance.

This assumes SU is not going to claim the conference tournament title. I think that’s a fairly safe bet. Not acting pessimistically; just realistically.

While nothing’s a sure thing for this Syracuse roster, having Boston College as its initial ACC tilt may serve as a blessing. The Eagles (7-6) aren’t all that impressive either, and if the Orange can steal one on the road, perhaps it will fuel a momentum resurgence.

Let’s not overlook BC, however. Most recently, on Dec. 23, the Eagles scored a 12-point conquest of Providence, which is No. 48 in the RPI. Boston College has two other RPI top 100 successes, versus Auburn (No. 53) and Towson (No. 97).

Similar to SU, BC has endured a bumpy roller-coaster ride. The aforementioned wins are solid. But the Eagles have also suffered setbacks to Richmond (No. 199) and Hartford (No. 300). That’s about on par with the drubbing that the ‘Cuse took at the hands of St. John’s (No. 228).

To summarize, Boston College and Syracuse are pretty bad teams. So far, at least. Interestingly

enough, they’re almost identical in several key metrics.

The Orange scores 77 points a game; the Eagles, 73. They each shoot about 45 percent from the field, 65 percent from the charity stripe, and 39 percent from downtown.

The ‘Cuse possesses a stingier defense, giving up 8 fewer points per contest, while holding slight advantages in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.

Sophomore Jerome Robinson paces BC, averaging roughly 21 points and 5 boards each night out. At this juncture, he is second-highest scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jim Christian is in his third season as the Boston College head coach. In the 2015-16 campaign, the Eagles lost all 18 of their conference clashes.

Did I mention that my birthday is on New Year’s Day? Well, as a present, here’s hoping that our beloved Orange don’t represent BC’s first ACC achievement in quite a long time.

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