This is what is means to be a Boston College Eagles fan. This program builds up your hopes, you get all excited about putting on your Dancing shoes, and BC comes out flat in arguably the biggest game of the season. And "flat" might be generous.
BC needed the first 6 minutes and 49 seconds of the first half to sink its first field goal of the game, letting the Tigers score the first 11 points of the game. The Eagles looked tired / disinterested in playing in the first half, yet still found themselves down just eight points at halftime.
It appeared as if BC would close the lead to three early in the second half within the first two minutes of the second half. Unfortunately, on that Eagles' possession, Raji missed a three point jumper, and Demontez Stitt converted a three-point play on the other end of the floor for a six point swing. The Tigers never looked back.
Trapani was the lone bright spot on the day, finishing with 20 points and 5 boards. Jackson (11 points), Paris (9 points) and Corey Raji (2 points) ... not so much. Clemson's Demontez Stitt really locked down on Jackson, and had the much better day of the two, finishing with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists.
And so, it will be an uncomfortable 48+ hours for the Eagles as we await our NCAA Tournament fate on Selection Sunday. Heading into this game, I maintained that BC could still lose to Clemson and find themselves in the Tournament on Sunday. But now, I'm not so sure ...
This game was on national TV, and with how lopsided today's result was, I'm not holding my breathe waiting for an NCAA Tournament berth. Things could still go BC's way -- Florida State beats Virginia Tech tonight, and the rest of the conference tournaments keep their bid thievery down to a minimum -- but it's tough to see BC heading anywhere but the NIT (as a worst case) or Dayton for one of the NCAA Tournament's First Four matchups (as a best case).
It's easy to be disappointed in today's game, and the season as a whole, but let's also keep things in perspective a bit. We knew going into this game that Clemson was a terrible matchup for the Eagles. The Tigers are deeper, taller and more athletic than an Eagles' squad that has a walk-on in its starting five.
Donahue and this team were playing with house money at this point in the season, having won more games than last year's team, against a tougher schedule, with a less talented roster.
Whatever happens on Selection Sunday, we can hardly consider this season a failure. Anything but. I'm pretty excited about the future of BC basketball under Donahue, even though next year might be a bit of a struggle, and think the program is headed in the right direction.
That said, a 23-point loss in the ACC Quarterfinals is a tough pill to swallow for fans of a program that appeared on the verge of going to the Dance for the sixth time in the last 10 seasons not 24 hours earlier. And so, we wait.