Canes Warning had the opportunity to chat with Soaring to Glory and gained some good insight as far as what to expect in Thursday’s No.1 Miami vs. No. 8 Boston College match-up.
Canes Warning: The Eagles’ lost both games to Miami during the regular season. What are some things that Boston College must do in order to beat the Hurricanes on March 15?
- Soaring to Glory: Aside from making free throws at the end of the game, BC cannot afford to get off to their trademark slow start. Annihilating a mediocre Georgia Tech team is one thing, but Miami is going to be a high-ranked team in the NCAA Tournament. The Canes’ might not be so willing to let the Eagles’ back off of the mat if they stumble early on, so Boston College must be able to match Miami blow for blow and put together a 40-minute effort. It sounds simplistic but when the Eagles’ do that, they’re a difficult team to beat.
CW: The Eagles’ play mostly freshmen and sophomores – how have they managed to win down the stretch with such youngsters?
- STG: I think the team has just figured out its chemistry and how to succeed with what it has. Give credit to coach Steve Donahue as well as he has stuck with these kids and let some of them improve over time on the court. The freshmen BC has this year are more polished than the ones we had last year, and some of the sophomores have learned to contribute. It also helps that they’re not making nearly as many stupid mistakes as they did last season. Next year, I think BC will be even better with some of the other freshmen we have coming.
CW: We know that Olivier Hanlan was named ACC Freshman of the Year, but he scored 41-points against Georgia Tech – where did that come from!?
- STG: Well, I guess someone on BC had to propel the team on Thursday. Before the season started, the word out of BC’s camp was that Hanlan and fellow freshman Joe Rahon were “ready.” As it turns out, they’re a big part of the reason BC has gone from 9-22 to 16-16. Hanlan’s performance on Thursday was the best we’ve seen from an Eagle since Tyrese Rice lit up UNC back when I was still going to Boston College. I think we all knew he was good, but after that opening round game, I saw some flashes of Tyrese Rice in there. He could be the next Rice or Reggie Jackson around here if he keeps it up.
CW: What must Miami do tomorrow to beat Boston College, in particular Hanlan?
- STG: Miami is going to have to do whatever they can to shut him down, but the problem is that if you close up one avenue (layups), you open another (three pointers). I doubt Hanlan will make eight threes on Friday but the fact that he can score from anywhere on the floor is going to be an issue for Miami. The Hurricanes are going to have to rebound – Georgia Tech was doing it and got off to a big lead before Hanlan stopped the madness and took BC on his shoulders. The general M.O. for BC has been start very slow and then get hot to claw back into the game – if BC starts out slowly, Miami would do well to make sure the Eagles are stifled for 40 minutes. Another way of putting that is “if BC makes mistakes, make them pay for them,” because BC isn’t the best but they don’t quit.
CW: It’s going to be exciting to watch Shane Larkin match up against Olivier Hanlan – who wins the match-up?
- STG: Very tough to say; I might favor Larkin as he is slightly a more experienced player, but clearly Olivier Hanlan isn’t a pushover. Both are major scoring threats so I think this one is too close to call right now.
CW: Are the Eagles now a serious contender in the ACC Tournament? Can they continue to ride the momentum?
- STG: I wouldn’t say we’re a serious contender yet – only if BC is playing on Saturday afternoon will I entertain the idea. They can definitely continue the momentum and, if nothing else, give Miami a good solid scare before riding into the sunset of the offseason.