`The Boston College Eagles have been plagued by poor defense and poor rebounding during an 0-3 start, and those weaknesses should allow Florida Atlantic to hang around Sunday.

There could be a much closer game than the inflated point spread suggests on national TV Sunday night when the Florida Atlantic Owls (1-2, 0-1 away) pay a visit to the Boston College Eagles (0-3, 0-1 home) in the 2K Sports Classic from the Silvio O. Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA at 8:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Florida Atlantic as a large underdog for this contest with the current line at +16½ with odds of -113.

Boston College EaglesBoston College has improves steadily under Coach Steve Donahue and it was widely believed before the season that the Eagles would make a push for an NCAA Tournament bid this season. While that prediction may or may not happen by year’s end, the Eagles have not looked like a tournament team so far during an 0-3 start that has been categorized by second-half defensive collapses.

Florida Atlantic has also been improving under Coach Mike Jarvis, who is certainly familiar with this New England area as the Cambridge native formerly coached at Boston University. But back to matters on the court, the Owls were still just 14-18 last year, although that was still a bump from their 11 wins two years ago. At 1-2 this year, it is the Owls who own the only win by either of these two schools, albeit vs. a Division II opponent.

The Eagles have played all three games in the New England area, but that has not yet helped earn a victory. They opened up on the road vs. the Providence Friars and allowed 55 points after halftime in an 82-78 OT loss. They then faced the Massachusetts Minutemen on a neutral floor in Boston and were torched for 54 points in the second half of an 86-73 defeat. Finally they faced Toledo in their home opener and again allowed 55 second-half points in a 95-92 loss.

Due to those meltdowns, Boston College is ranked 209th in the early going in defensive efficiency and 252nd in effective field goal percentage allowed, allowing a high 52.4 percent shooting on two-point attempts and 37.5 percent in three-pointers. Another reason the Eagles have been outscored so badly has been a large discrepancy in the rebounding department, as BC ranks a poor 317th in offensive rebounding percentage and 330th in defensive rebounding!

Although the Owls are facing their second straight ACC opponent, they are still taking a noticeable drop in class following a 97-64 loss at Duke on Friday, especially since the Blue Devils were in an ornery mood following a loss to Kansas. FAU had close to zero chance of winning that game, but it does figure to be much more competitive here in Coach Jarvis’s homecoming.

Granted the Owls are not world-beaters by any means, but they are a much better rebounding team than they were last year, especially on the defensive glass where they rank a very respectable 67th in the early going, so combining that with the rebounding difficulties of Boston College, do not expect much from the Eagles here in the form of second chance points.

When you than add in the atrocious Boston College defense thus far, Florida Atlantic looks like a very attractive underdog catching this boatload of points on Sunday.



NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida Atlantic +16½ (-113)