Boston College expects a down year for the basketball program, and for good reason. Nearly every important player from last year left and Steve Donahue will be working with a completely revamped roster. As a result, the Eagles will be facing very little resistance outside of their normal ACC schedule. Last year as BC posted a very respectable record of 20-12, the lack of quality wins ultimately kept them out of the Big Dance.
I do not think many people expect the Eagles to be making a run at the NCAA tournament this year, but the apparent weakness of their schedule could pose a problem if they turn out to be better than expected. Let's take a look.
|Date||Opponent / Event||Location||Time|
|11/14/2011||vs. New Hampshire Wildcats||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|11/18/2011||at Holy Cross Crusaders||Worcester, Mass.||7:30 p.m. ET|
|11/21/2011||vs. UMass Minutemen||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|11/24/2011||vs. Saint Louis Billikens||Anaheim, Calif.||2:00 p.m. ET|
|11/25/2011||Villanova Wildcats / UC Riverside Highlanders||Anaheim, Calif.||TBA|
|11/30/2011||vs. Penn St. Nittany Lions||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||7:15 p.m. ET|
|12/3/2011||vs. Boston University Terriers||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||2:00 p.m. ET|
|12/8/2011||at Providence Friars||Providence, R.I.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|12/11/2011||vs. Stony Brook Seawolves||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||5:00 p.m. ET|
|12/18/2011||vs. Bryant Bulldogs||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||1:00 p.m. ET|
|12/21/2011||vs. Sacred Heart Pioneers||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|12/29/2011||vs. Harvard Crimson||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|1/2/2012||vs. Rhode Island Rams||Chestnut Hill, Mass.||1:00 p.m. ET|
The toughest games on the schedule would appear to be against Harvard (December 29), a team that has beaten BC roughly 742 times in the past 3 years, and the 76 Classic in Anaheim (November 24-27). Harvard is always a challenge for Boston College and usually finishes near the top of the Ivy League. The 76 Classic has BC opening against St. Louis with the potential of playing a team such as Villanova later on. Other than these encounters, BC has it pretty easy. The Eagles will host UMass, Boston University, and Rhode Island while traveling to Holy Cross and Providence. These games against local schools will probably have a positive affect on the attendance at Conte Forum, but will do little for our RPI.
Compare the toughest non-conference games this year to the ones that Donahue and Co. faced last year. Texas A&M, Wisconsin and California present a pretty steep drop off when you replace them with Penn St., Harvard, and St. Louis. Furthermore, how does BC's schedule compare to other teams in the ACC?
The perennial powerhouses, of course, have impressive non-ACC opponents lined up to boost their RPI and their chances at gaining an NCAA tournament berth. The only two schedules that appear as soft as BC's are those of Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. WF's campaign is highlighted by a home game against Richmond and the Old Spice Classic. The Demon Deacons will open with Dayton at the Old Spice Classic but could draw any number of teams for their other games. Georgia Tech will take part in the Charlestown Classic (where they start with St. Joseph's and either VCU or Seton Hall) as well as playing Northwestern and Alabama. These schedules should come as no surprise as both GT and WF were thoroughly miserable last season. Despite this, they still might edge out BC's list of cupcakes. Depending on how the tournament draws pan out, BC could very easily end up with the weakest non-conference schedule in the ACC. I can't say that I blame them due to all of the talent that Donahue lost in the offseason, but it still looks pretty bad.
Keep in mind that the Eagles still have their normal slate of ACC games which presents plenty of opportunities for quality wins if by some chance this team has March Madness aspirations. As it stands now though, does BC have the weakest non-conference schedule in the ACC?