Jeff: Not sure there's not much you can take away from a BC loss where absolutely nothing was directly at stake for either team. Both N.C. State and Boston College had their ACC Tournament seed locked in before the game yesterday. You would still imagine all competitors on the floor still wanted to win the game, but there likely wasn’t the same intensity from all players and coaches involved as we'll see this week in Greensboro. What did you see from the loss yesterday? Your thoughts?
Brian: Like you said, this game meant little to both teams. That aside, I was still very disappointed with the Eagles’ performance. Maybe even more disappointed than BC’s losses to Maine, Harvard, Saint Joseph’s and Rhode Island. A win over N.C. State yesterday would have boosted BC's postseason resume tremendously. Now, the Eagles will likely be left trying to string together ACC Tournament wins to get a shot at making the NIT or CBI field.
It was a fitting end to the regular season as we let another mediocre team run away with the game late in the second half. After getting stitched up, N.C. State senior Dennis Horner scored 11 points down the stretch as the Wolfpack used a 20-5 run down the stretch to sink the Eagles 66-54 (in a game that was much closer, yet much uglier than the final score would indicate).
There aren’t many positives to take away from this game. I guess you can point to the fact that the Eagles only shot 3-of-16 from 3 and only lost by 12 as a positive. Similarly, Reggie Jackson was limited in the first half after sitting with two – in my opinion very questionable – offensive fouls called against him.
On to the negatives. The N.C. State forwards thoroughly dominated the Eagles all afternoon. The Wolfpack’s Tracy Smith led the way with 19 points, 7 rebounds, while C.J. Williams and Dennis Horner each chipped in 14 points. Contrast that with Josh Southern’s final stat line: 16 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 4 personal fouls. Every time Southern went up with the ball in the post it was an embarrassing effort in futility.
The Eagles managed only 2 offensive rebounds in the game, with both rebounds picked up by Tyler Roche. I’m fairly sure one of those offensive rebounds was Tyler Roche collecting his own rebound off a long 3 point attempt. You aren’t going to win many games when you don’t get second chance opportunities.
Like I said, I was very disappointed with the Eagles performance and am unsure whether BC will bother to show up in their ACC Tournament first-round game against Virginia.
Jeff: Looking forward to the ACC Tournament, what can we expect from BC this week? Here's what we know:
BC went 4-1 against the four teams seeded below them this season. In ACC play, for the most part they won the games they should have. BC also had a tough schedule in conference. BC played four of the top five seeds twice this season. BC played all of the top 7 seeds on the road except Maryland. BC was 0-6 on the road against those top 7 seeds and 2-2 at home.
Does BC really have a chance to make a run in the ACC Tournament?
Brian: If you would have asked me before yesterday’s game, I would have told you BC has a puncher’s chance at pulling off the improbable and winning 4 games in 4 days. Now, after the loss to N.C. State, I’m not even sure I’ll give them that. A lot of BC’s hopes rest on Corey Raji’s sore shoulder. While not BC’s #1 scoring threat, Raji has quietly averaged his fair share of points over the last few games, and we’ll need Roche to step in and contribute if Raji can’t go on Thursday.
I know that Sylven Landesberg won’t be playing for Virginia but I am concerned about the Eagles’ chances if Raji is not able to go. We've already seen one lineup change very late in the season (something Skinner is usually reticent to do), and I'm unsure what effect another lineup change will have on the Eagles going into the ACC Tournament.
Jeff: Are these neutral site games going to be more like home games or away games? I think that will be the key to BC's success. Typically, every non-Duke fan cheers against them which will give BC the advantage of the crowd on Friday. Will that be enough? Even if it is, on Saturday BC will be playing the early game against Virginia Tech or Florida State which will not be a matchup to get the casual fan to show up in time for tipoff. Will the crowd be a factor early and will BC be the underdog that everyone cheers for? I doubt BC will really be considered a lovable underdog amongst ACC fans when they're not playing against North Carolina or Duke. So can BC beat a Florida State or Virginia Tech team without the crowd on its side?
Brian: Neutral site games will feel like away games, for sure. That’s bad news for BC, as we haven’t exactly set the world on fire on the road this season. BC finishes the ACC schedule with an ugly 1-7 record on the road. In addition, they went 1-2 in their only appearances on a neutral court (the USVI Island Jam). Nothing from this past season’s results leads me to believe that the Eagles will be any good on a neutral court.
Will the Greensboro crowd be a factor? It will be enough of a factor for the game between BC and Duke, if the Eagles manage to get past Virginia. This is only the second ACC Tournament in Greensboro since the ACC added us as the twelfth team (and first in 4 years), and with Durham a short two hour drive away, the early session should be packed with Blue Devils fans. I’m expecting the BC fan contingent to be light as best, given that we’ll be playing at Friday at noon. This team hasn’t exactly inspired the Eagles faithful to show up for this game, and the BC contingent will likely be little more than those alumni living in the Carolinas and Atlanta. Finally, since it is the first game on Friday, BC can’t exactly count on the other school’s fans to show up and root against Duke.