FanPost

How Boston College Can Get Back To The Big Dance

USA TODAY Sports

[Ed. note -- Front page'd]

After two years, Steve Donahue now has his own players he recruited and will attempt to reach the 2014 NCAA Tournament when the season starts in November. This year for the Eagles had disappointing losses to teams like College of Charleston and Bryant, but also showed some bright spots in games like Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia Tech. There is no doubt that this team is much better than the previous year, but were not tournament caliber yet. In that regard, there is a long way to go.

BC's season came to an end after the loss vs Miami, a team BC nearly beat twice in a game we would not have been competitive in a season ago. The Eagles season in my estimate was a quality season for a young team. Although next year Donahue can't use the "We're still young" excuse any longer and will have to man up along with the rest of the team in order to be successful.

With the Tourney starting tonight, I get the sad realization that BC won't be participating for the 4th year in a row. I still remember that loss to USC in '09, but Its still a heck of a lot of fun watching 9 hours of basketball and then capping it off with your favorite team playing in the mecca of college basketball.

Expectations are high for next years team and they won't be fulfilled without some improvements in this team. The Eagles are certainly better than last years team, but lack a healthy big man, defense, student support, and much more holding them back from reaching their full potential. I'd like to give Coach Donahue and the rest of the Eagles my two cents on how to bring BC back to the NCAA Tournament.

  1. Recruit a Center/Power Forward- I'd prefer the former rather than the latter but find the best you can Donahue. We will never make the Tournament being 301st in the nation in rebounding, giving up 24 offensive rebounds to GT and 13 offensive rebounds to Bryant. We need a reliable big man to give the Eagles an inside presence. Please get Thomas Hamilton just to score some points and give Clifford a break or look overseas like Pitt did when they got Steven Adams the 7 footer from New Zealand. As for Caudill, he needs to hit the pavement and get to a shape where he can play at least 10 minutes a game. I had high hopes that he could be a quality low-post guy, but has come up as disappointing as JaMarcus Russell. The Don also has to start thinking about 2017 when all these sophomores graduate and we will be left with Rahon, possibly Hanlan, and Owens as our upperclassmen.
  2. FREE THROWS!- If you can't make free throws, you will have a hard time following step #3. It is such a simple part of the game yet the Eagles like so many other teams struggle to make them consistently. 71.2% is tied for 111th in the country which really has hurt us in close games such as the Miami and NCST losses at home. Donahue really needs to address this issue this off-season and make these guys shoot 1000 free throws a day.
  3. Finish the opponent off- Tied 55-55 with 3 minutes left vs Miami, loses 68-59. Up 61-56 on #4 Duke with 2 minutes left, loses 62-61. Just some of the more notable examples of BC not closing out games they are either tied or leading in during crunch time. Some of it is free throws, some of it is just not making shots. I don't think you can do much to make this team better in crunch time as it probably comes with experience, but it needs to be resolved.
  4. Student Section- or lack thereof. It's safe to say that Boston College isn't one of the toughest places to play which really hurts the program. Now I understand that attendance is tied to success but it really is a turn off for recruits who want to play in front of a full house rather than a bunch of empty seats. Along with that, better fans can only improve our play at home can it not?
  5. Hire an assistant that preaches defense- Not my idea (I can't remember who came up with this. Please mention it in the comments.) but it's a fantastic idea. Kenpom has us 180th in the country in defense which is 11th in the ACC. Any improvement on the defensive end, including at the end of games, could be very beneficial to this team.
  6. Better players- I know these guys will improve over the off season but I think the Eagles really need to get better individually. Odio needs to gain a few pounds to challenge some of the 4's in the ACC. Anderson can become a deadly player if he can improve his mid-range jumper. I'd love to see Lonnie Jackson become a better defender or a shot creator instead of jacking up 3s all the time. Make Hanlan and Rahon better distributors. Help Rubin become a contributor off the bench. Get Clifford to improve his offensive ability. Scoring 4 points in your last 8 ACC games including not a single point in his last 5 games isn't gonna get us anywhere. As for the group as a whole, more consistency is just what we need to get winning streaks like the one we had at the end of the year.

Looking ahead prematurely to next season. I think a lot of our success next season depends on how much Clifford will contribute next season. If he comes back and has a solid season then i think we'll be dancing. If not, Its gonna be tough to clinch out spot in March. I look back at what could have been a quality season had we finish some games and beat a few teams we should have beaten(*cough* Bryant *cough*), and I feel optimistic.

My Predictions:
21-11 11-7 ACC
NCAA Tournament Play-in Game

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