In Steve Donahue's first season with the Boston College Eagles, he came dangerously close to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Some would say that BC got snubbed when they missed out on Selection Sunday, despite ending the year with an RPI of 61.
Last season, the Eagles obviously weren't close. The team full of freshmen had no shot at dancing in March. As it stands now, Boston College hasn't made the tournament since 2009.
What year do you expect the Eagles to be in the NCAA Tournament discussion again?
Jeff: Next season in the talk make the tourney in 2015
Brian: Possibly 2013-14, definitely by 2014-15. If not by 2014-15, Dr. Bates will have to ask some really hard questions about the direction of the men's basketball program under Donahue.
AJ: 2013-14. Not going to happen this year, but one more year and a good recruiting class should do it.
Grant: It won't be this year. It probably won't be next year. Depending on how the chips fall, I think the 2014-2015 team will finally start to come to life. Like I said, I have a lot of faith in the Don and if he could win at an Ivy League school, he can win here.
My take: Most of us seem to have a similar idea with this one. It's probably much too early to be thinking about March Madness this season, but after this season, it's fair game. Unless these guys have all taken enormous strides forward, it's going to be very very difficult for them to even get consideration in 2012-13. The non-conference schedule is far too easy and they probably won't be very successful in the gauntlet of the ACC schedule. In 2013-14, however, last year's freshmen will be juniors and ought to be very competitive. At that point, anything less than making the tournament will be a disappointment. Similarly, the ACC expects the Syracuse Orange and the Pittsburgh Panthers to join the conference in the 2013-14 season. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are still working out buy-out deals with the Big East, but they will be joining eventually as well. While the addition of these teams make BC's schedule more difficult, I also think it may become reminiscent of the Big East over the past couple of years. That is to say, the perceived overall strength of the conference allows for 7 or 8 teams to make the NCAA Tournament. As Brian says, if they don't make it by 2014-15, then there is an issue. That means most of this class will have graduated and the team will be slated to have a bunch of scholarships. Would Brad Bates allow Steve Donahue to have another run at rebuilding the program again if he doesn't make the tournament with this round of recruits? I doubt it.
What do you think? When should the Eagles be back in the March Madness conversation? When will they make the tournament?
Tomorrow's question: Is there any reasonable situation you could foresee that ends in Steve Donahue's firing this season?