Event: Boston College Eagles (2-6) vs. Providence Friars (7-2).
Date/Time: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 7:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Dunkin' Donuts Center (Capacity: 12,400), Providence, Rhode Island.
Broadcast Info: Thursday night's game between the Eagles and Friars will be broadcast worldwide on ESPN3.com, with Eric Frede providing play-by-play and Ron Perry providing color analysis. The game can also be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM/850 AM), with Jon Meterparel on play-by-play and Malcolm Huckaby providing analysis. In Providence, the game can be heard on WEEI Providence (103.7 FM), with John Rooke providing play-by-play and Joe Hassett on color duty.
Odds: Providence is a 13 1/2-point favorite according to 5Dimes.com.
Series History: Providence leads the all-time series with Boston College, 57-48, but the Eagles have won the last three meetings against the Friars. Last season, BC edged Providence, 88-86, at Conte Forum. The last Friars' win against the Eagles came on December 1, 2007, when Providence posted a 98-89 overtime win at TD Garden. BC and Providence have played annually since the 1953-54 season, with the first ever meeting coming in 1942.
Last Time Out: Boston College was defeated by rival Boston University, 75-61, on Saturday afternoon at Conte Forum. Lonnie Jackson led the Eagles with 11 points. BC shot 44.4 percent from the field, making 24-of-54 field goals.
Statistical Leaders: Vincent Council leads the team in scoring with 18.1 points and also leads the team with 6.3 assists. Council is ninth in the Big East in scoring and is tied for third in assists. Henton averages a team-high 8.2 rebounds and Cotton is tied for the team lead in steals with 1.4 swipes per game.
Patrick Heckmann is the Eagles' leading scorer, averaging 11.1 points. Matt Humphrey is a close second in scoring, averaging 11.0 points. Heckmann also leads the team in assists per contest with 2.1. Ryan Anderson leads the club in rebounding (5.4) while Dennis Clifford is second in rebounding with 5.3 boards per game.
Storyline: The story continues to be the growth, albeit slow, for the Boston College men's basketball team. The Eagles boast a roster of nine freshman and they have been slowly adjusting to the different speed and style of play at the college level. Steve Donahue, the Eagles' second-year head coach, continues to toy with his roster to find the best combinations. Alas, it's been a very slow start for BC, which has dropped three games in a row and six out of seven.
Providence, on the other hand, is also relatively young with three freshmen and seven sophomores, but has been receiving steady play from four players in particular - Council, Coleman, Henton and Cotton. The Friars have won three in a row by an average score of 79-64. Council and Coleman have handled the scoring load while Henton and Cotton have provided secondary third and fourth options.
Players To Watch: Patrick Heckmann and Matt Humphrey are the key players to watch for Boston College, as the two have been the Eagles' most consistent scoring options through eight games. Ryan Anderson has shown flashes of strong play, especially on the boards. Dennis Clifford and Jordan Daniels have also had their shining moments early in the season.
Vincent Council is the go-to player for Providence, leading the team in scoring and assists. Council has shown that he is just as comfortable scoring the rock as he is distributing it. Gerard Coleman is also a consistent option for the Friars, as he is second on the team in scoring. Expect Council and Coleman to do the brunt of the scoring load for Providence.
Prediction: Boston College still has a lot of work to do before it can be considered a legitimate contender in any league, not just it's own (the Atlantic Coast Conference). The Eagles have lacked consistent scoring and have played shoddy defense, all while turning the ball over far to often. Providence may not be the best team in the country, far from it, but the Friars do have enough of a balanced attack to easily win a game like this. Final Score: Providence 76, BC 59.