Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Boston College finding stride in ACC

With 11 new players on the roster, including nine freshmen, Boston College knew it was in for a transition season.

But since a 5-9 start in nonconference play, and a 23-point loss at North Carolina, the Eagles have won two straight ACC games.

That means Boston College heads into Thursday night’s game at N.C. State with the same conference record as the Wolfpack (2-1).

“They’re a much different team now than they were early,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said.

Gottfried suggested “throwing out” BC’s early games as a barometer for where the team is now. Second-year Eagles coach Steve Donahue also would probably like to scrap the 2-7 start, which included a pair of losses to the lesser in-state programs of Holy Cross and Boston University.

The Eagles (7-10) have won five of eight since the slow start, though, with home league wins over Clemson and Virginia Tech.

With an 0-3 record against the Atlantic 10 and a 2-1 mark against the Atlantic Coast, the Eagles are No. 216 in this week’s Rating Percentage Index. That hasn’t helped the league’s RPI but doesn’t diminish Donahue’s reputation among his peers.

“He does a spectacular job,” Gottfried said. “They’re a young team but extremely dangerous because they have bought into everything that Steve is doing.”

Donahue won three Ivy League titles at Cornell and made the round of 16 in the 2010 NCAA tournamen before taking over for Al Skinner at BC in April 2010.

Donahue led last year’s group, carried by All-ACC guard Reggie Jackson, to nine league wins. However, he has paid the price for the program’s attrition this season. Skinner’s final two recruiting classes netted zero players currently on the roster.

In an offense dependent on the 3-point shot, Donahue has turned to a combination of freshmen wing scorers (Lonnie Jackson, Ryan Anderson and Jordan Daniels), an Oregon transfer (Ryan Humphrey) and a developing big man (Dennis Clifford).

Clifford, a 7-footer from Bridgewater, Mass., had 15 points and seven rebounds in BC’s 59-57 win over Clemson on Jan. 12 and 15 points in a 61-59 win over Virginia Tech on Jan. 14.

While improved, and on a winning streak, the young Eagles still have issues. They rank No. 318, out of 338 Division I teams, in rebounding margin (minus-5.8) and No. 303 in turnover margin (minus-2.8).

They haven’t exactly been scoring at a record clip either. Their 61.5 points-per-game average is last in the ACC, 296th nationally.

Still, their 7.4 3-pointers per game ranks third in the ACC, and guarding the 3 has been a problem for N.C. State’s defense.

-- J.P. Giglio


Anonymous said...

BC 68 NCSU 61.....State is a joke again....ha! ha!!

Anonymous said...

I guess we will see tomorrow night. The only joke I have seen in the ACC is Roy screaming at his players, kicking out fans and leaving games early. As for BC, who really cares? No one below VA does. Ha!

Anonymous said...

Ironically, BC has been getting it done recently with strong defense. I find that surprising as freshmen are usually more advanced offensively.

I'll say this, the rest of the ACC better look out for this team in coming years. Clifford, Anderson, and Jackson all look like serious talents.

cost per head said...

now that you talk about Boston College, my brother in law is currently studying in Boston College, and he told me they have a very competitive football team