Louisville basketball vs. Boston College gameday primer

Head coach Chris Mack and assistant coach Mike Pegues of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Head coach Chris Mack and assistant coach Mike Pegues of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball is set to take on Boston College to kick off 2021 ACC play.

The Louisville basketball program went in to the New Year with a good taste in their mouths after beating rival Kentucky the day after Christmas. Now, the ever-so competitive ACC is about to begin full-fledged conference play.

The Cardinals draw the Boston College Eagles on Saturday in a series that has been dominated by Louisville in recent years. Louisville has won eight of the last nine meetings between the two programs including an 86-69 victory for the Cardinals most recently in January of 2020.

Now, the two teams are set to face off for the sixth season in a row.

The Eagles most recently dropped a close contest to NC State while Louisville defeated Kentucky in a nail-biter.

This is the ACC where anyone can defeat anybody on any given night. That holds true especially so this year when the highest ranked team in the conference in the most recent AP poll is ranked 18th.

One of these two teams will have the opportunity to step up in what feels like a log jam conference this season with no clear and obvious favorites.

Let’s get in to the first matchup of 2021 between Louisville and Boston College.

Who: Louisville Cardinals (6-1) at Boston College Eagles (2-6)

Where: Silvio O. Conte Forum; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

When: Saturday, Jan. 2, at noon eastern time

Spread: Louisville -5.5

TV: RSN (Fox Sports South in Louisville)

Projected starting lineups

Louisville Cardinals (6-1, 1-0)

F 10 Samuell Williamson 6-7 210 So. Rockwall, Texas

F 14 Dre Davis 6-5 220 Fr. Indianapolis, Ind.

C 24 Jae’Lyn Withers 6-8 215 R-Fr.  Charlotte, N.C.

G 1 Carlik Jones 6-2 185 Gr. Cincinnati, Ohio

G 13 David Johnson 6-5 210 So. Louisville, Ky.

Boston College Eagles (2-6. 0-2)

F 1 C.J. Felder 6-7 230 So. Sumter, S.C.

F 10 Wynston Tabbs 6-2 190 R-So. Suitland, Md.

F 42 Steffon Mitchell 6-8 220 Sr. Shakopee, Minn.

G 4 Makai Ashton-Langford 6-3 185 Jr. Worcester, Mass.

G 5 Jay Heath 6-3 200 So. Washington, D.C.

Important links

Players to watch for Louisville

Samuell Williamson – He has had a very up-and-down last couple of games and most recently was a complete non-factor against Kentucky. Williamson needs to be more assertive on offense like he was to start the early season. Boston College struggles on defense so a big game from him would not be surprising.

David Johnson – I would expect a huge performance from him today. Johnson has been a very efficient scorer of the basketball recently while filling up the stat sheet across the board. The next step for him is taking better care of the basketball and mitigating unnecessary risks.

Jae’Lyn Withers – Withers has not had the opportunity to play against guys his own size this year very often at just 6’8″. But he could get that chance on Saturday. Boston College lacks size and it may give him the chance to play comfortable and within himself as opposed to playing consistently against players with more length than him.

Final thoughts

Boston College does not have any one specific player that should strike fear in the eyes of Louisville in this game. If the Cardinals play within themselves and take care of the basketball, easy baskets will come.

The Eagles have one of the worst field goal percentages against them in the country which means that teams have been getting high percentage looks pretty consistently over the course of their first eight games. That should not change today as Carlik Jones and David Johnson are fantastic at getting good looks for not only themselves but their teammates as well.

So far this season, Louisville has fared very well on the glass against bigger, longer teams. Boston College is a very similar size matchup to the Cardinals and I could see a situation where Louisville dominates on the glass if they attack the boards as a team like they have all season.

Score prediction

Louisville 85, Boston College 70

If Louisville scores less than 70 points in this game, it means something likely went terribly wrong over the course of the afternoon. If the Eagles hope to keep pace, they will have to catch up by making a high percentage of threes. That is a possible – but not likely – scenario.

Despite some struggles, the Cardinals do have quite a bit of firepower to unleash on Boston College in this game. If you like offense, you should love this matchup. I would expect Louisville to win quite comfortable despite a long road trip up to Boston.

It just feels like Chris Mack’s team needs a massive blowout win to get the wheels turning once again. They have not felt the same since their Covid break, but one huge game could flip a switch.