Boston College vs. Notre Dame: Preview and Prediction
Boston College (7-7, 1-2 ACC) opens 2023 when it hosts the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-6, 0-3 ACC) at Conte Forum on Tuesday night. For the Eagles, they are looking to bounce back from a loss to Syracuse in the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday. BC battled back and forth with the Orange, but BC was put away midway through the second half as the Orange controlled for the win. For the Fighting Irish, they are still trying to turn things around, losing four of their last five, including a 76-65 loss to Miami on Dec. 30.
The Eagles are about as full strength as they have been all season, with center Quinten Post returning against Syracuse. The 7-0 center played sixteen minutes off the bench, chipping in with eight points in the loss. “I’m glad to have him back,” Grant explained after the game. “I thought it would be difficult for him, because he hasn’t played a game all year.” Throwing off the rust and getting on the field seemed to be positive for Post. “I thought he did a good job, and felt good.”
Where: Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA
TV: ACC Network (Malcolm Huckaby and Drew Carter in conversation)
Radio: WEEI 850
Current line: Notre Dame (-3)
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Boston College has a 50.8% chance to win this game.
Ken Pom Ratings: Boston College (170) Notre Dame (109)
Projected state’s: DeMarr Langford, Makai Ashton-Langford TJ Bickerstaff, Jaeden ZackeryPrince Aligbe
Series history: Today’s game marks the 41st meeting between the two schools. Boston College is 13-27 all-time vs. Notre Dame. The two teams have split their series for the past three seasons. Last year, BC won, 73-57, in the first meeting at the Conte Forum while ND escaped with a 99-95 overtime victory at the Joyce Center.
Damage Updates: DJ Hand (knee) is out for the season
Player to watch: Nate Laszewski -Forward. The senior 6-10 forward had a big game against Boston College in their second game in South Bend dropping 16 points and 6 rebounds. This season he continues to be consistent, with four twenty point games this season. Having Post back to go with Devin McGlockton will be key to guarding this explosive forward.
Keys to the game:
Improved guard play: Boston College needs to have better play from its guards. Jaeden Zackery and Mason Madsen combined to shoot 2/13 for five points. The former specifically needs to be a catalyst for this offense, and if he can muster just one bucket, Boston College is in deep trouble. DeMarr Langford and Makai Ashton Langford also need to have better games. The younger brother had six points but four turnovers, and MAL matched him in the turnover department.
Avoid costly mistakes: The last thing the Eagles need to do is bench players like Makai Ashton Langford and Zackery due to foul trouble. Notre Dame is one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country, hitting close to 80% of their shots. If BC is going to hack and foul, the Irish will want to step up to the line and put the game away.
Find a rotation and stick to it: It seems like Boston College has had trouble all season getting into any sort of offensive rhythm, and some of that could be due to bench depth. After the Syracuse game, Earl Grant says he might consider shortening the bench to help his team find a flow. There have been certain players that have really struggled lately, if they continue to struggle, limit their minutes, it can help their teammates as well.
AJ’s prediction: Boston College has defeated Notre Dame both times in the opener over the past two seasons (once at home, once on the road). Notre Dame has struggled and the Eagles seem dangerously close to getting something going if they can get some shots to fall as the open shots have been there. With Post back, and as he continues to see his minutes continue to climb, the team can only improve. Think this will be close, but give me the Eagles in a nail biter. Boston College 73 Notre Dame 71