There is no way BC should lose to Pacific. The Tigers have a giant-killer rep, but this year’s version is not as strong as their past teams. Not to say that I don’t take them seriously. Here are my thoughts…
BC’s offensive advantage
Their [Pacific] defensive numbers are not good. Yes, they are better than BC’s numbers but we were playing Duke, North Carolina and NC State. Pacific had trouble slowing down the likes of Long Beach St. and Fullerton and Davis (all passed the 70 point mark). They haven’t faced an offense as efficient as ours all season. And they haven’t played a team running the Flex all year. The counter argument is that they have played a physical brand of basketball and the Pitt game last year showed they won’t be pushed around. I argue that calling this BC team physical undermines how talented they are. Sure Dudley and Smith bang with the best, but both are great passers from the low post and will work the ball to find the best shot. As soon as last year’s Pacific team faced a squad that scored as well as BC (Washington) they were run out of the building.
Inside they don’t really have a matchup for Smith or Dudley. And based on the way Hinnant played in the ACC Tournament, I would say we also have the advantage at point guard.
BC’s defensive advantage
Pacific should play into BC’s defensive strengths as they are a more methodic, slower paced team. They are very efficient, however, they are not a bombs away squad that has killed BC in the past. They work the ball and convert a high percentage of shots.
Maraker scares me. He is the well rounded, good passing, mobile big man that has given BC so much trouble in the past. Earlier this year opposing big men were killing BC. Paul Davis, Cedric Simmons and Ibekwe all had huge games against the Eagles. As the season progressed and Sean Williams earned more time in the lineup, we did a better job defending low post players (McLain, Dudley, Smith and even Oates also improved their low post defense). Their guards are good, but not beat you off the dribble types.
So we are facing a sound, but relatively untested team in Pacific. They play a low risk style similar to BC and are not afraid to get physical. They don’t rely on the 3-point shot. They don’t apply a lot of pressure. Their interior defense is below average. There is no reason BC should not control this game. Slow Maraker, control the tempo and rebound well and this game is BC’s. Hopefully it will be the first step towards Indianapolis.