In their first season without longtime head coach Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse Orange have held their own with a 5-4 record in ACC play and will look to build on that when they face the Boston College Eagles on the road on Tuesday.
Syracuse Orange vs. Boston College Eagles (-4, 149)
When these teams met earlier in January, Syracuse got a 69-59 win at home, with Boston College losing the turnover battle and committing 16 more turnovers (22 to 8) — an area that figures to be more even this time around.
On the season, Boston College ranks 19th in the nation in turnovers per possession committed and is turning the ball over on just 11.4% of possessions at home this season, good for the seventh-best in the nation.
The overall defensive edge does belong with the Orange, however, with the team ranking 82nd in the nation in points allowed on a per-possession basis. The Eagles, who rank 178th in this category, are a far better defensive team at home, allowing 9.9 points per 100 possessions fewer at home than when playing on the road.
Where Syracuse is most vulnerable is on the glass, entering Tuesday ranked 290th in defensive rebound rate, which drops to 335th when playing on the road.
Outside shooting struggles have also affected the Orange — shooting just 30.2% from 3-point range in road games, which ranks 277th in the nation.
While Boston College ranks just 278th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage, Syracuse shot just 28.6% from 3-point range in the first meeting and is unlikely to have the same free throw disparity this time around.
When these two last played on Jan. 10, Boston College went 3-of-4 and Syracuse went 17-of-23 from the free throw line. On the season, Boston College averages nearly 5.5 more free throws per 100 possessions at home than playing on the road. Syracuse averages 4.5 fewer free throws per 100 in road games.
Boston College’s success rate at taking care of the ball at home coupled with Syracuse’s rebounding issues makes for a great avenge scenario here for Boston College to pick up the win.
The Play: Boston College -4