Round one of ACC Tournament features a battle between longshots Louisville and Boston College. The Golden Eagles enter as 6-point favorites with the over/under at 135.5 points. That’s the kind of season it’s been for Louisville, which is still sitting on four wins. Let’s make predictions for this ACC first round matchup and break down why the Cardinals will struggle to hang with BC.
Louisville vs. Boston College Prediction
Boston College beat Louisville by 10 at home when these two faced off in the regular season. Both teams have taken moderate steps forward since then, with the Golden Eagles picking up a couple surprising wins and Louisville playing some teams closer than expected.
Boston College is 7-5 in its last 12 games and thrived in this setting a year ago. Earl Grant’s team won back-to-back games to open the ACC Tournament in 2022 before narrowly falling to Elite Eight-bound Miami in the quarterfinals. This team looks better, and Louisville is worse than anything they faced a year ago.
With the Golden Eagles seemingly getting better on the defensive end and the offense going up against such a weak Louisville interior defense, there aren’t many matchup concerns for BC.
The Cardinals did start to play more competitively down the stretch, until they lost by 17, 16, 17, and 15 in their last four games (two against non-tournament teams). At this point, Louisville is what it is. A comfortable loss to Boston College would be a fitting ending to a historically bad season on Tuesday.
Louisville vs. Boston College Prediction: Boston College -6
Louisville vs. Boston College Odds
Boston College enters as a 6-point favorite in Greensboro, sitting at -260 on the moneyline. The over/under is 135.5 points.
It’s pretty shocking to see the Golden Eagles enter as such a solid favorite against a name brand like Louisville, but the Cardinals have been a disaster under Kenny Payne this year. Do some closer games down the stretch mean Louisville has a chance to hang with Boston College?
Louisville vs. Boston College Key Matchups
Here are some key matchups that could decide Louisville vs. Boston College.
Quinten Post vs. Louisville Interior Defense
Louisville has almost no interior presence, one of the key factors in my Louisville vs. Boston College prediction. The Cardinals allow teams to shoot 55% on two-point attempts, one of the worst defensive marks in the nation, and they sit 303rd in rebounds per game.
They’re not completely lacking in size, with 6-8 Jae’lyn Withers and 6-10 Brandon Huntley-Hatfield the team’s top rebounders, but the talent just hasn’t been strong enough to slow teams down close to the basket. Is that something Boston College can take advantage of?
The Golden Eagles don’t shoot many threes, so they’re used to attacking the paint and shooting mid-range shots. The biggest advantage they have is leading scorer Quinten Post. Post has the upper hand in the size department at 7-foot. While he’s not the rebounder a 7-footer should be, Post averages 15.2 points per game and does most of his work inside the three-point line. He also shoots 44% from beyond the arc.
Louisville’s defense (allowing 75.6 points per game) might not be up to the task. The Cardinals overall defense is also 350th in steals, so don’t expect many turnovers from Boston College.
Louisville vs. Boston College Three-Point Defense
The Cardinals shoot 33% from three-point range, which ranks 254th in the nation but actually feels like it could be worse considering the state of the roster. It’s a better mark than Boston College, at least.
A win is going to take some uncharacteristic shooting from Payne’s team. Boston College has really struggled to defend the three this year, sitting 339th with an opponent three-point percentage of 36.8%. Louisville shot 50% from three (9/18) when it faced the Golden Eagles back in January. That the Cardinals still lost that game handily tells you all you need to know about this team, but another efficient performance from deep should at least be enough to hang with Boston College.
El Ellis is Louisville’s leader in three-point attempts (and the team’s leading scorer). He’s been mostly inefficient from deep and will need to step up against this soft defense. Withers shoots efficiently from beyond the arc, while Michael James shoots 35.4% from three.
That trio is pretty much all Boston College needs to worry about from deep, which would tell you why Louisville has lost so many games this season, but this is March – a career day for any of these three against a weak defense can change a game.