Brian: Boston College basketball coach Steve Donahue should have a fruit basket sent to A.D. Brad Bates on Monday morning. That's because Sunday's news overshadowed a mind numbingly bad home loss to Bryant earlier in the afternoon.
This wasn't your run-of-the-mill WTF loss for the Eagles hoops team. This was one of the worst losses in recent program history.
Bryant was a Division II program just a few years ago. This same roster of players handled Bryant fairly easily just last season, winning by 20 points. Sure, Lonnie Jackson hit seven 3-pointers last year to sink Bryant, but the roster of guys has largely remained unchanged year over year. The team lost Matt Humphrey, Gabe Moton and Jordan Daniels from last year's squad, but Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon have proven capable replacements.
Fans of the program are left scratching their heads after this latest set back. How could a program that beat Bryant by 20 points a season ago drop a game the following year with more or less the same core group of players? If that's not regression, I'm not sure what is.
Obviously the Donahue rebuilding effort will take time and no one is calling for him to be fired now. But I'm not sure you can chalk this loss up to growing pains. An early season loss to Bryant doesn't seem much different than the early season losses to Rhode Island or Holy Cross a year ago. We are less than 48 hours removed from Bates firing Spaz. How much heat should Donahue take for the loss to Bryant?
Jeff: In the end, Donahue should take just as much heat as if the Spaz firing had not been announced, but that announcement certainly did deflect a lot of attention away from his squad's atrocious loss Sunday. This loss will cost at least hundreds and probably a few thousand tickets sold this season. It also almost guarantees that Conte will only have full crowds for North Carolina and Duke.
The first two games of this season the team looked like they might score some points this year and upset a few teams in the ACC. But now sitting at 2-4 on the season without having played a difficult schedule, it's a tough sell to get people in the seats which certainly won't help recruiting.
The Eagles started out 0-10 from three against Bryant. That is exactly the type of stat you would expect to hear when an ACC team gets knocked off by a team like Bryant who is unlikely to win double digit games this year and they play in the NEC. Ryan Anderson played yesterday but is clearly not 100 percent yet with his injured ankle but the Eagles still should have had no problem beating Bryant in the end.
The Eagles took the lead several times in the second half despite a poor shooting effort in the first half but then they continued to pass the ball around the perimeter, miss shots and let Bryant get wide open looks on the other end which they nailed. The ESPN3 announcers made you even more frustrated if you watched the game because they harped on the fact that BC had a huge size advantage and would not get the ball inside on every possession. Had they worked the ball inside more, multiple Bryant players would have fouled out instead of just one. If that happened, BC would most likely be talking about how they beat Bryant on Sunday instead of picking up their fourth loss of the early season.
I think Spaz's loss at Army this season was the worst of his career. This better end up being Donahue's worst. It certainly will be this season, as Bryant figures to be the lowest rated RPI team we will face all year. The closest Bryant had come to beating an ACC team in the past was a 16 point loss. Wherever Bryant is located, I bet there were some celebrations when the team got back on Sunday night.