Heel Tough Blog: Boston College Preview
Carolina starts a slate of 19 straight ACC games tomorrow, as they travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. The Tar Heels were supposed to start their conference gauntlet this past Wednesday, but COVID issues within the Virginia Tech camp forced the game to be postponed. COVID even affected this game, as it was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, but the ACC opted to move it one day later. Carolina hasn’t played since the Tuesday before Christmas and will be looking to build off that 70-50 win over App State, that capped an 8-3 non-conference mark while being 9-3 overall before the holiday season. Those 9 wins were the most before Christmas since the 2017-18 season.
If you think Carolina is coming off a long layoff, Boston College hasn’t played since December 13th, when they lost at home to Albany. Their most recent two games against Wake Forest and Florida State were postponed due to their COVID issues. Boston College is just 6-5 in the first season under new head coach Early Grant, and in addition to that loss to Albany, they have also lost twice to Rhode Island, and once to Saint Louis. Even with those losses in non-conference play, Boston College does have an ACC win over Notre Dame. That same Notre Dame team that beat Kentucky, and we remember what Kentucky did to UNC before Christmas. The Eagles are led in scoring by DeMarr Langford who averages over 12 points per game. His younger brother, Makai Ashton-Langford is second on the team with 11.5 points. Despite their struggles, Boston College is among the better rebounding teams in college basketball, as they only allow 6.5 offensive rebounds per game (9th in NCAA), and only allow opponents to bring in 29 rebounds per contest (13 in NCAA)
This is the type of conference game that will feel like a non-conference game against a mid-major. The Tar Heels are the more talented, and deeper team, than Boston College, and are heavy favorites entering this game. These are the types of games in years past that Carolina has lost, and they left you scratching your head at the way they played. After almost 2 weeks off, you can imagine this team is ready to get back on the court. The non-conference is season is supposed to get you ready for conference play, we’re about to see how ready Carolina is for ACC play.
Energy, Effort, Toughness: This has been the one constant you’ve heard from Hubert Davis since the season started, saying that his team needs to be clothed with energy, effort, and toughness. In past years when Carolina has lost these types of games, it simply looked like Carolina was bored and had no interest in playing. With Hubert Davis having been an assistant for the past 9 years, and on the bench for some of those losses you can imagine he has been in his team’s ear about this. When Carolina has played with energy, effort, and toughness, you can see a team that is more than capable of competing for an ACC championship, when they haven’t well you know the results. A win tomorrow not only improves UNC to 2-0 in ACC play but 2-0 on the road in conference play.
Rebounding: As mentioned above Boston College, is among the better defensive rebounding teams in college basketball, and the ACC. Rebounding is a key in every game, but even more important in a game like this, where the only way Boston College can control the tempo, is by winning the battle of the boards. Carolina isn’t among the top rebounding teams in college basketball like they were when Roy Williams was the head coach, but they have proven to dominate the glass when necessary. Hubert Davis has even moved either Dawson Garcia or Brady Manek onto the block to help rebound the ball better. This is a game though, where Leaky Black needs to make his presence felt on the glass, as well as Caleb Love and R.J. Davis. If Carolina wins the rebounding margin, they most likely win this game.
Play Inside-Out: Carolina is still among the better three-point shooting teams in college basketball (16th), but another in-season change we’ve seen from Hubert Davis is playing inside out. while he still wants to space the floor, Carolina runs it offense the best, when the ball goes into the painted area. Boston College only plays three players that are 6-9 or taller, so the game plan should be to pound the ball inside, get Boston College into foul trouble, and let their perimeter offense be an extension of the interior offense.
R.J Davis & Kerwin Walton: In that win over App State, Davis scored 15 points on 7-10 shooting, and Kerwin Walton added 6 points, as he made two three-pointers. This is the time of the year that Carolina needs both R.J. and Kerwin to be consistent contributors in the scoring column.
Series History: This will be the 25th all-time meeting between these two schools, with UNC holding an 18-6 record. Since Boston College joined the ACC, Carolina is 15-6 against BC, including going 8-1 in Conte Forum, having won the last six games.
UNC - 35th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 112.6 (18th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.5 (84th)
Boston College - 128th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 103.2 (129th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 99.5 (136th)
UNC - 46th
Boston College - 142nd
TV Info: Tomorrow’s game will start at 1 PM, on ESPN2.
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