Brian: The storylines coming out of BC’s 71-67 win over North Carolina on Saturday focused not on what the Eagles’ did but rather what the Tar Heels didn’t do.
Take a look at the first sentence of each of the following game write-ups:
"BC sends UNC to ninth loss in last 11 games …" (ESPN)
"If UNC can't beat Boston College, even on the road, they can't win another game on their schedule." (Carolina March)
"This is not the same North Carolina team from last season that won a national championship. Not even close." (WEEI)
"North Carolina coach Roy Williams scanned his team's schedule Friday night and saw a potential path to the NCAA tournament." (ESPN College Basketball Nation)
North Carolina missed 10 layups, a majority of them coming from the hands of Tyler Zeller, who missed the past month with a foot injury. He shot only 2-of-9 from the floor. The Heels shot a mere 39% from the floor (25-of-64) including 1-for-8 from 3 point range.
So my question is did BC win this game, or did North Carolina lose it?
Jeff: North Carolina is not a great team this year. They are capable of beating very talented teams as evidenced by their non-conference wins against Michigan State and Ohio State. However, they are not beating good teams consistently this year partly due to some injuries and partly due to being young and recruits not quite living up to expectations. Forget the name on the jersey thing which puts North Carolina in the spotlight most of the time. This year they are also defending National Champions which is plenty of reason for the national media to spin the game and storylines. This year's BC team is not good enough to beat a defending national champion team in typical seasons but UNC had a unique set of circumstances where they lost all their playmakers and this years team does not reflect last year's team at all.
Brian: Reggie Jackson responded well to being placed in the starting lineup for the first time this season. He finished with 17 points with 13 of those coming in the second half. Jackson added 7 rebounds, 7 assists and most importantly, only 1 turnover in the win. Do you think Skinner has finally found his starting lineup 26 games into the season? Will it make a difference down the stretch?
Jeff: I think the key is that 13 of Jackson's 17 points came in the second half. Jackson didn't play any more minutes then he normally would have but he just started on the floor instead of on the bench. I don't think he looked great in the first half but he was OK and that may have been due to his change to a starter. What I like about Jackson starting is that Paris is then playing less and coming off the bench which is a role he is certainly better suited for. Given the minutes both played before, this is as much of a non-story as changing a lineup can be at this point in the season but I like the move nonetheless. This is not nearly the move that the US Women's curling team made last night before their match against Sweden by switching Debbie McCormick and Allison Pottinger so that Pottinger would be throwing the last rock for the first time ever in competition. It's not always about who starts but it's who finishes that really matters.