The Teams: Boston College Eagles (9-8, 1-3 ACC) vs Maryland Terrapins (14-4, 2-3 ACC)
The Time: 9 p.m. ET
The Location: Comcast Center. College Park, Maryland
TV, Radio: ESPNU, 105.7 FM
The Backstory: The Maryland Terrapins head home looking for a rebound victory after getting embarrassed in Chapel Hill last week, 62-52. Thanks to a slew of first half turnovers (15, to be exact) the Terrapins dug themselves a big 20-point hole before actually showing up to the game and almost making it close. Reggie Bullock and James-Michael McAdoo were the only players in double figures, scoring 24 and 19 points respectively for the Tar Heels. Maryland, meanwhile, went with the “Dez Wells or Bust” strategy, to no avail.
They are getting a Boston College team that teetered all season with success, in spite of their one game over -.500 record. Five of their losses have come by four points or fewer, including their most recent one against Miami (a 60-59 nail biter). They are led by big man Ryan Anderson, who has scored in double figures in nine of his last ten games, including an impressive 22 points and 13 rebounds against N.C. State that almost resulted in an upset. He is a gunner in every sense of the word, but he is the kind of gunner who helps and doesn’t hinder his team. As Anderson goes, so go the Eagles.
Alongside him the Eagles feature a couple players capable of doing some scoring for them, but none is more important than freshman guard Olivier Hanlan. Hanlan is averaging 13 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and has been one of the more impressive ACC rookies this year. He has scored 17, 18, and 17 points during his last three outings, and appears to be turning into an elite scorer in the league. If he is dangerous, the Eagles are dangerous.
Keys to the game
1.) For Pete’s sake, don’t turn that ball over
There is one way that the Terrapins will most assuredly lose this game: turn the ball over more than 14 times. This is one of those close games that may end up being decided by a few possessions, and those few possessions cannot be turnovers for the Terrapins. Their ability to value the ball this game will decide whether or not they are even in this one. Boston College is capable of scoring, believe it or not, against about anyone and if the Terrapins can’t keep pace with them this won’t end well.
Pe’Shon Howard and Dez Wells need to be on their best behavior this game, as they are the two biggest culprits. With Wells potentially being guarded by Hanlan, he might want to be extra careful as the Eagles guard is a capable thief on the court.
2.) Contain Ryan Anderson or Hanlan
The Terrapins don’t necessarily have to shut down both Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan to win; they just have to stop one or the other. If both of these players are scoring in the way that they’re capable of doing, this game may end up being very similar to North Carolina. Stopping either one of these players will likely mean the Eagles don’t have enough points on their roster to win a game. The difficulty in stopping Anderson is that he is a relatively versatile forward, who may present a matchup problem for the Terrapins like C.J. Leslie did. He’s not as athletic, but he does have an array of moves in the post.
Then there’s Hanlan, who is a pretty quick, athletic guard in his own right. Stopping him from getting into the paint and doing his damage is big tonight, and in order to do that the Terrapins back court has to force him into Len or Padgett (or any other big, really). Altered shots are good shots for this defense, and I expect the Terps to take Hanlan out of his game straight away.