Twenty-four games down, just six regular season games to go. I thought it would be interesting to review my Boston College preseason basketball predictions at the three-fourths point in the season. Overall, I had the Eagles at 14-10 through 24 games, and BC has bested what most thought was a very optimistic prediction at the beginning of the season.
Sure, I've watched rec YMCA squads play better defense than this team, but before you get disappointed with how this season has gone ... and depressed thinking about BC's dwindling NCAA Tournament hopes, remind yourself that BC has overachieved to this point in the season? I mean, did you really think BC would win 15 of 24 after losing two significant contributors to transfers, losing its entire recruiting class and breaking in a new head coach with a totally different offensive philosophy?
Glass half-full, people. Glass half-full.
Let's check out how my predictions are holding up through BC's first 24 games:
St. Francis NY - Win
Yale - Win
Holy Cross - Win
I don't see the Eagles getting off to a slow start, taking care of St. Francis, Yale and Holy Cross -- all at home -- to push their record to 3-0.
Updated thoughts: OK, if you predicted that BC would lose to Yale at the beginning of the season, you need to immediately quit your day job, move to Las Vegas and become a bookmaker / professional sports gambler. Seriously.
vs. Texas A&M - Loss
vs. Manhattan - Win
vs. California - Win
The Eagles lose a closely contested battle against the Aggies in the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, but go on to beat both Manhattan and California in the losers bracket to finish a respectable 2-1 in the tournament.
Updated thoughts: I had the Eagles going 2-1 in the Old Spice Classic, which they did, but I didn't think this team could get past the Aggies. That win over Texas A&M is a solid resume builder, and there's certainly no shame in falling to Wisconsin by 10.
Indiana - Win
vs. Massachusetts - Win
Providence - Win
BC rides their hot streak from their second and third games of the Old Spice Classic, rattling off three more wins in non-conference play. The Eagles defend their undefeated record in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge when they host the Hoosiers, and follow that up with wins over UMass (in the Boston Tip-Off Classic) and at home against Providence. Through December 8, the Eagles should stand at 8-1.
Updated thoughts: Got all three of these games right, though the UMass and Providence games were a little too close for comfort. Remaining undefeated in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is a bit like BC's seven game bowl winning streak, given the quality of opponents BC has faced in the Challenge.
at Maryland - Loss
Donahue's Eagles put up a valiant effort in his first ACC game, but fall to the Terrapins at the Comcast Center.
Updated thoughts: More than happy to be wrong about this prediction. The Donahue gave us all a pleasant surprise, going 1-0 in his first ACC game.
Bryant - Win
Bucknell - Win
at Rhode Island - Loss
BC returns home to take care of Bryant and Bucknell, but loses on the road to the Rams of Rhode Island. Rhody defeated the Eagles at Conte Forum last year 80-69, a decisive loss that started the "Al Skinner Hot Seat" debate. URI should again be a tough out and the Eagles fall playing on the road.
Updated thoughts: Wish I wasn't right about the Rhody prediction.
at South Carolina - Loss
Harvard - Win
Next, the Eagles travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks on New Years' Day. While the Eagles were able to take care of South Carolina last year, I think they fall on the road in a close game. Then the Eagles return home to wrap up their non-conference schedule against the Crimson and avenge the last two years' losses (care of Jeremy Lin).
Updated thoughts: This is the one stretch of the season that I totally whiffed on. BC mopped up against the Gamecocks, then proceeded to lay another Crimson-colored egg against Harvard. GDF would be best served not putting Harvard back on the schedule any time soon.
Georgia Tech - Win
N.C. State - Win
at Miami - Loss
Virginia - Win
The Eagles continue ACC play with a two-game home stand against Georgia Tech and N.C. State. I think the Eagles will hold serve at home, beating both the Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack. However, a road trip to Miami has proved problematic for the Eagles in recent years, and this year is no exception. BC then returns home and takes care of a mediocre Cavaliers squad to move to 3-2 in the ACC.
Updated thoughts: BC probably should have won at Miami. The difference in that game was a last second Adrian Thompson three from long range at the end of the first half (put a hand in his face?). Nailed the prediction for all four of these games, and the Eagles were actually ahead of schedule at 4-1 after the first five games in conference.
at Florida State - Loss
at Duke - Loss
North Carolina - Loss
Virginia Tech - Loss
at Clemson - Loss
The Eagles then go on the road to kick off a brutal five-game stretch against the projected five best teams in the ACC this year. The Eagles lose to both the Seminoles and Blue Devils on the road, but return home to put a scare into both North Carolina and Virginia Tech. BC then travels to Littlejohn and falls to the Tigers. It wouldn't surprise me if BC pulls out one of these two wins at home, but I think the Eagles finish this stretch a winless 0-5.
Updated thoughts: We knew going into the season that this five-game stretch would be the toughest of the season for the Eagles. As I said, I wasn't surprised that BC won one of those two home games, and while a UNC win would have been nice, I'm almost more glad that it came against equally bubblicious Virginia Tech.
The rest of the way. For BC's final six games, I have them going 4-2 with wins over Maryland, Miami, at Virginia and Wake Forest. I'll stick to those preseason predictions. If BC can get to 19 wins in the regular season and win its first round game in the ACC Tournament, I think the Eagles' will get to sweat it out a bit come Selection Sunday. BC still has very good resume numbers (42 RPI, 20 SOS) and the bubble is very, very weak this year.