[Ed. note -- Front page'd]
As the Boston College basketball season comes to a close, let uss review Steve Donahue's first season at The Heights.
Boston College started off with an easy win vs St. Francis (NY) then Yale comes to town. Entering the game, BC had lost two of its last three to Ivy League schools. After shooting 3-19 from downtown, the Eagles lost 75-67at home and made it three out of four losses vs. Ivy schools.
Almost everyone including myself thought we were in for a bad year, but Steve Donahue turned it around. After beating Holy Cross, Boston College went down to Orlando to play Texas A&M. Led by Reggie Jackson's 21 points, the Eagles beat the Aggies 67-65 in a game where BC never trailed.
Our next test was Wisconsin. The Badgers were a very tough test for BC and they played fairly well ... for a half. Steve Donahue's side led 29-26 at the half then Wisconsin used a 26-2 run to send the Eagles to the third place game versus California. Boston College played an all-around great game vs. the Bears and were rewarded with a third place finish in the Old Spice Classic.
After a win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge vs. Indiana and wins over UMass and Providence, the Eagles played their first ACC game under Donahue. Donahue's first game was on the road vs. Maryland led by All-ACC first team forward Jordan Williams. The Eagles and Terrapins played a great game that had both teams struggling to pull away from each other. Fortunately the Eagles led by Biko Paris' 22 points won the game 79-75 earning Steve Donahue's first ACC win.
The Eagles would win their next two games to jump to 10-2 on the year. Boston College were playing like an NCAA tourney team. Many bracketologists had BC in the field of 68 and every Eagles fan was excited about ACC play, but the Eagles still had to finish non-conference play. The Eagles had a heartbreaking loss to Rhode Island without Biko Paris. Then after beating South Carolina on New Year's Day, BC played Harvard trying to get revenge for the last two losses to the Crimson. The Eagles shot 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from three but it wasn't enough (again) as the Eagles fell to Harvard (again) 78-69.
As ACC play began, BC started 4-1 heading into a very difficult eight game stretch that included Duke, North Carolina, Clemson and Florida State. The Eagles played awful in their first three games losing by double digits in all of them. BC fell to 4-4 in ACC play and it wasn't over yet. The Steve Donahue-led Eagles won a tough game over Virgina Tech and then dropping 2 of their last 3 including a 48-46 heartbreaking loss in Chapel Hill.
BC needed to win at least 3 of its last 4 regular season games to consider going dancing. The Eagles lost to Miami at home making it a sweep for the Hurricanes over the Eagles. Then Boston College took a two game road trip playing both ACC teams located in Virginia. BC played great defense vs the Cavaliers in a 62-46 victory then spoiled Senior night for Malcom Delaney and co. beating Viginia Tech 76-61.
The Eagles prevailed on Senior Night over the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest and then won their first game of the ACC tournament over ... Wake Forest. BC had 24 hours to prepare for their most important game of the year vs Clemson. Clemson won its only game in the regular season against Boston College and destroyed them in Greensboro using a 17-3 run in the beginning of the game to send the Eagles NCAA hopes packing.
On Selection Sunday, Steve Donahue found out that his team would be a 1 seed in the NIT and would play its first game at McNeese State. BC won an easy game in Louisiana then played what would be their final game of the year vs Northwestern. The Eagles shot 50 percent in the game but played awful defense constantly being killed by backdoor cuts and NBA range 3s and fell 85-67 ending year one of the Donahue era.
Overall it was a great year for Steve Donahue. Getting every player to buy into his offensive system and finding the 3 point ability in almost every player. To tell you the truth I enjoyed BC basketball this year even though we were the most inconsistent team in the nation. I will miss all eight seniors and the trademark of BC basketball, a Josh Southern travel. I cant wait for the new season so I'll preview it for you guys.
Boston College will bring back 5 players (lets just say Reggie comes back) and bring in 6 freshman and a junior transfer from Oregon. The freshman are F Ryan Anderson, G Lonnie Jackson, C Kyle Caudill, G Jordan Daniels, F-C Dennis Clifford, and G-F Eddie Odio. Out of the 6 the best player is probably Ryan Anderson who won the Gatorade player of the year award from the state of California. The transfer is guard Matt Humphrey who averaged 5.4 points a game.
Projected Starting Lineup
G - Reggie Jackson - 6'3", 208 lbs. - No brainer here. If he comes back he will lead this team and could win ACC POY.
G - Gabe Moton - 6'2", 170 lbs. - The best defensive player we have. If he could shoot like Biko we'd have a great player.
G - Matt Humphrey - 6'5", 185 lbs. - Hopefully he will avoid injury and find a nice form this year
F - Ryan Anderson - 6'8", 215 lbs. - A guy who can knock down shots. Hopefully he can play D too.
C - Kyle Caudill - 6'11", 265 lbs. - Very good offensive player who gives the Eagles a boost inside
With this lineup we will have a little more size inside than this year. I hate living and dying by the three, but if Anderson, Caudill, and Clifford can grab boards and score inside we can be a threat inside and out. The opponents we played this year had to focus on stopping the 3 and Trapani thats it. With more talent inside teams have to worry about both threes and layups.
I would be happy with an above .500 record this year. I don't expect us to be a top four team in the ACC, but I can see a 6 seed in the ACC Tournament. If this team can be consistent on both ends of the floor we may have a crack at the NCAAs but I highly doubt it.
Prediction: 18-13, 8-8 ACC
Bold Prediction: BC 76, Harvard 70