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Game Preview: UNC at Boston College

Boston College may be the most schizophrenic team in the ACC this season. They're currently one of the gaggle of teams sitting at 4-3 in the conference; those three losses are three of the Eagles four ACC road games to date. Boston College has been invincible at home, unless of course, theyre playing a member of the Ivy League. You see, BC can walk into College Park and get a win, but can't stop Harvard and Yale from beating them in their own house.

There's no explanation for that, but here's the problem for the Eagles in black and white. They're very good on offense. And they're very, very bad on defense. Which is basically the style new coach Steve Donahue had at his previous gig at Cornell. Except as bad as Donahue's defenses were in the grand scheme of things, they were always pretty decent for the Ivy League. This year's model is worse than anything he had up in Ithaca.

But about that offense. Boston College does to things very well. They shoot the ball incredibly, and they don't turn it over. The majority of the shots come from the senior big man Joe Trapani, who has a pretty decent range, and point guard Reggie Jackson. Jackson you'll remember as the Eagles' biggest scorer in last season's 71-67 loss in Chestnut Hill. He's hit a bit of a slump lately, shooting only 11 of 36 for his last three games.

In his shooting absence, Corey Raji has had to pick up the slack. A small forward and arguably the best player on the team, Raji has developed a knack for three-point shooting in the off-season. Last year, he only took three shots from behind the arc, and missed them all. This season he's taken 65, and is hitting a respectable 38.5% of them. This improvement has limited his offensive rebounding opportunities, which is a shame for BC, as he was the only one pulling down board for them; now, the Eagles barely rebound at all.

Most teams have focused on going inside against Boston College, where their weak defense is the weakest. Trapani is joined inside by Josh Southern, a 6'10" senior whose rebounding has never exceeded adequate and who his rather foul-prone. Obviously this is a big opportunity for Zeller and Henson, especially since BC doesn't generate many turnovers. Getting the ball inside to the UNC big men shouldn't be much of a problem. The Eagles will fight back with a barrage of threes; in addition to the guards already mentioned, Biko Paris and freshman Danny Rubin are shooting three-pointers with above 40% accuracy. Carolina has done a better job of late defending the three, but a repeat of the Georgia Tech performance is still possible, especially as the Heels are on the road. A good start, strong play underneath, and no second chances for the Eagles on the boards are required to get UNC through this game. BC will try to slow the game down, but fast teams have generally been able to ben the tempo to their will this season. Carolina should walk away with the win, but it's been a rough season for road games; nothing is guaranteed.