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2015 Big Ten/ACC Challenge: Penn State at Boston College Preview

If the Nittany Lions are gonna beat a power-conference team on the road, this might be their best shot to do it all season.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Boston College Eagles (3-3)
When: Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. ET
Where: Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA
TV: ESPNU
KenPom Rank: 193
Vegas Line: BC -2
Enemy Blog: BC Interruption

For the third time in five years and to the excitement of no one, Penn State and Boston College will meet in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday night. The Conte Forum will play host to two of the worst teams in high-major basketball and that's not an exaggeration: BC is the second-worst power conference team ahead of Rutgers according to KenPom.com, and only Missouri sits between the Eagles and the Nittany Lions in the rankings among that group. Hope y'all are ready for some comedy.

Scouting The Opposition

Much like Penn State, BC's early season struggles have not come as a surprise. Expectations are justifiably low in Chestnut Hill, as Jim Christian's rebuild is in full swing. A staggering seven freshmen make up the core of this roster, with seniors Eli Carter and the 7'0", 260lb Dennis Clifford serving as two of the three experienced Eagles who see the floor.

Carter, a Florida transfer, shoulders a lot of the offensive load for BC. He's averaging 18 points per game early on an inefficient 40% shooting from the floor. Let's see, what else do we have here...

mattmilon

Oh no.

mattmilon2

No. It can't be.

mattmilon3

Well, Penn State is doomed.

(via ESPN.com)

What To Watch For

On this week's BSD Basketbro Show!, we lamented Pat Chambers' preference to play such a slow, plodding, half-court style of basketball this season without a strong backcourt on which to rely. One positive development that's come from that decision is that it has severely diminished Penn State's turnover numbers early on. The Nittany Lions are 18th in the nation in offensive turnover percentage, coughing it up on just 14.9% of possessions. That alone hasn't led to offensive success, as the shots that end 84.1% of possessions haven't been falling at a high rate. But as we've seen, it's taken two outstanding shooting performances to beat the Nittany Lions. Against a young team like BC, that patience on the ball could pay off.

Prediction

The road has hardly been kind to Pat Chambers during his tenure, but if there's any power-conference team they're capable of beating on the road, it's probably this Boston College team. If Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner can keep the Eagles honest in defending the three and if the Lions can contain Carter's teammates, Penn State has a good shot here. Which is why I'll turn heel and go with Boston College 70, Penn State 65. Milon hits eight threes.