Auburn vs. Boston College basketball preview: Tigers try to build momentum against Eagles

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

After a much needed win at home against Clemson, are the Tigers still hungry for Boston College?

The Auburn Tigers (5-3) host the Boston College Eagles (4-7) Sunday to complete the home-and-home against ACC foes. In the Nov. 21, 2012, meeting, the Eagles came out on top, 50-49. Auburn is riding high after breaking a two-game road losing streak (Iowa State and Illinois at Atlanta) by beating Clemson at home on Thursday evening. BC ending a three-game losing streak (Purdue, USC, Maryland) with a win at home against Philadelphia University last Sunday.

Team Numbers at a Glance
Auburn Boston College
Scoring Average 74.6 75.9
Scoring Defense 75.4 78.5
Scoring Margin -0.7 -2.5
Field Goal % .440 .460
Field Goal % Defense .463 .470
3-Point % .257 .328
3-Point % Defense .410 .369
Free Throw % .715 .800
Rebounding Average 36.9 30.9
Rebounding Margin +2.6 -2.8
Turnover Average 11.4 11.7
Turnover Margin +0.3 -2.1

Expected Starters

The starting lineup for the Tigers should include guards Tahj Shamsid-Deen (5'10, 163 pounds), Chris Denson (6'2, 181) and K.T. Harrell (6'4, 216), forward Allen Payne (6'6, 225), and center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum (7'0, 226). Expect to see Malcolm Canada (6'3, 224) come off the bench for TSD. Back in big ways in the game against Clemson were forward Chris Griffin (6'7, 229) and center Matthew Atewe (6'9, 250). Forwards Dion Wade (6'5, 170) and Jordon Granger (6'8, 200), and center Benas Griciunas (7'0, 225) also made appearances.

Look for the Eagles to start Joe Rahon (6'2, 192), Olivier Hanlan (6'4, 181), Ryan Anderson (6'8, 219), Alex Dragicevich (6'7, 207) and K.C. Caudill (6'11, 277). The Eagles have a solid bench that includes Lonnie Jackson (6'4, 182), Garland Owens (6'5, 203), Will Magarity (6'11, 225) Patrick Heckmann (6'6, 208), and Eddie Odio (6'8, 209). In the short span of a year, Boston College has gone from one of the most inexperienced teams, to one of the most experienced squads. The Eagles return basically their entire roster from last year and picked up two solid true freshmen in Owens and Magarity.

Boston College is third in the country with their 80 percent free throw shooting (208-of-260), which has accounted for 25 percent of their points scored this season. Hanlan ranks eighth in the ACC, hitting 85.7 percent of his foul shots (72-of-84).

Hanlan, Anderson and Rahon are averaging double-digits in points (19.4, 16.9, and 10.6, respectively). The three lead the team in rebound average, as well (4.3, 7.2, 3.7, respectively), with a significant percentage of rebounds occurring on defense. Odio is the leading shot blocker, with eight on the season.

Dreaming and Scheming

First of all, I was completely caught off guard with the win against Clemson. I was anxious going into that game. I wasn't sure Auburn would be able to limit KJ McDaniels. Um, have I mentioned he is from Birmingham? Did anyone from Auburn even look at him? That is probably a post for another day. Moving on, it was fantastic to see the Tigers execute at both ends of the court. It was downright moving to see them fight when they could have easily folded in the final minutes. After the game, all I could do was say "wow" over and over. I sounded like Verne Lundquist after a successful AJ McCarron pass.

As for this game, I have a few concerns that won't allow me to Barn out the way I normally do. Is Auburn prepared to play Boston College after a win like that over Clemson? Will the things that generally haunt the Tigers emerge in this game, such as the offensive lulls, which were even present in the win over the Other ACC Tigers. Remember the first 6 minutes of the second half? Remember the game against Illinois?!?

The Eagles are a much better team than their record shows. Only two losses have been by double-digits, and one of those was to a good UMass team. Like Auburn, Boston College may still be in the midst of finding out who it is. Even after eight games, I still have more questions than answers on who our Tigers are. BC has a deep bench, and most of their players have a size advantage in this contest.

Kenpom.com currently has Auburn ranked at 208, Boston College at 116, and gives Auburn a 48 percent chance of winning the game.

Game information

Tipoff: 1 p.m. CT, Auburn Arena

TV: CSS

Radio: Sirius 111/XM 200, Auburn affiliates

Online: ESPN3

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