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Gophers host Boston College in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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Minnesota faces first major conference test

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Boston College David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers survived another mini-scare against North Dakota on Friday as the Hawks kept is disturbingly close for three quarters of the game. Against an opponent that was coming off a loss to Dixie State you wouldn’t be out of line assuming Minnesota would take care of business pretty handily. Alas, they ran into trouble for the second game in a row after nearly blowing it against Loyola Marymount Part II.

Marcus Carr was once again magnificent, while Both Gach had a stellar game and Brandon Johnson finally had a coming out party. Still, the Gophers were lost on defense, Gabe Kalscheur still couldn’t find his shot and Liam Robbins looked like he was still finding his footing. In all, it wasn’t anything close to a rousing, reassuring win.

Now Minnesota gets its first major conference test, facing the Boston College Eagles in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the second time in three years. It’s a step up from the competition they’ve faced thus far, so we can see if they can truly shake off the rust. Still, for a team that is 4-0 I’m wishing I was more confident in the team heading into what is an extremely winnable game.

Essentials:

Opponent:

Boston College Eagles (1-3)

Date and Time:

Tuesday, Dec. 8 @ 6 p.m. CT

Location:

Williams Arena

TV:

ESPNU

Radio:

KFAN 100.3-FM


Tell me more about the opponent.

The Eagles were picked to finish near the bottom of the ACC along with Wake Forest and so far it’s not looking like they are doing much to shake that prediction. The Eagles are 1-3 on the season, with losses to Villanova (who they played pretty close), St. John’s, and Florida. Their lone win was over Rhode Island in the second game of the season.

BC is led by Wynston Tabbs, who is averaging 15.5 ppg. Tabbs was a freshman standout two years ago but missed all of last season with a knee injury. Jay Heath is also someone to keep an eye on. The sophomore shooter is averaging 11.3 ppg and has already hit multiple threes in multiple games.

The Gophers lost their only other meeting with BC in the 2018-19 season as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Predictions

Have the Gophers just gotten bored with lower-level competition? They’ve sleepwalked through two straight games, though have snuck away with both. Boston College isn’t a great team, but if Minnesota comes to the table with the energy level they exhibited on Friday they will have a tough time winning.

Vegas has the Gophers favored by 7.5 points while KenPom has this as an 8-point game. I think there will be a bit of shell shock out of the gate for the Gophers but I think they pull this one out by six points, 76-70.