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Boston College Basketball: Previewing the Upcoming Season: Part the Second

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It is Basketball Season Eve! The Eagles open their season tomorrow afternoon against St. Francis of Brooklyn. For now, check out Part II of our preview!

4. Is Eli Carter's 33 points vs. Bentley an indicator of things to come?

AB: He's not going to drop 33 every game if that's what you're asking. (ed. note: I was. Isn't referring yourself in the second person fun?) I do think that he's a prolific scorer with some pretty good range and he's going to be a huge addition to the team. Primarily, he's going to buy time for the younger players to grow.

JG: If he stays healthy, by all accounts he's a legitimate player who should be able to contribute at this level. Tyler Murphy is not a bad cross-sport analogy here, as a fellow former Gator. He may have never put it together at Florida but he clearly had some high-end talent if he was recruited to play for Florida in the first place. Particularly against some of these early season weak nonconference teams, Carter should be able to score big.

NG: Yes and no. This is a guy who had a chance to play at Georgetown or UNLV, which are known basketball schools, and chose Boston College over them. There's definitely talent there, and he comes in with the reputation of being an absolute beast of a shooter through his recruitment.

But any time you have guys who endured injuries, he's going to struggle at some point. I don't know that he's going to be a 20-30 point guy per night, but I think the threat of that is enough to open up other options for BC.

JF: Well not to the tune of 33 points, but I think it clearly indicated that Carter will be this team's leading scorer and go to option, there simply aren't a lot of other solid options to fill that role right now on the team.

5. What will be BC's biggest challenge this year?

AB: I think getting the younger players ready for ACC play is going to be crucial, and it isn't going to be easy. If the younger players are ready for ACC play on Jan. 3, the team will be competitive in ACC play. If they aren't ready for that game against Duke, it is going to be a long season.

JG: Just the grind of the schedule. Even if BC is playing well, the ACC is a meat  grinder. As we've seen with this team in recent years, the losses start to pile on top of one another and it shatters confidence in late-game situations.

NG: The biggest challenge for Christian is going to be keeping the ship steady. BC is going to struggle pretty badly this year. They have an easy enough non-conference schedule where their record should be similar to last year. The hope is that they go out and cherry pick a couple of upsets along the way in conference games. But the ACC is ridiculously deep as a conference, especially this year, so even if BC plays well, they're going to lose a lot of games. As a result, the biggest challenge is going to be against impatience. There's not going to be a huge improvement in wins this.

JF: Inexperience.  Like the football team, it's an education under fire and those growing pains will show.

6. What is the Best Case/Worst Case Scenario? What is the most likely end result?

AB: Best case: The freshmen are battle ready for the Duke game on Jan. 3 and the team plays a lot like the team from last year, giving good teams close games. A middle of the conference finish is not out of the question.

Worst Case: The freshmen sputter, and the team gets destroyed against Duke. The season is all down hill from there as the team never quite gets its footing, and the team has a single digit win season.

Most Likely: I think the Eagles will split the difference. The Duke game will be rough, but I think the Eagles will get their stride around the Miami game on Jan. 20.

JG: Best case scenario, if Eli Carter becomes a legit top player and the freshmen mature quickly, would be a .500 season.

Worst case is the whole thing collapses and you're looking at single digit wins.

I'm mildly bullish on this team given what I've read about the recruits Christian has brought in, which seem to be a real cut above what BC had been recruiting before. My official prediction is that BC improves on last year's win totals of 13 overall and 4 in the ACC... call it 5 or 6 ACC wins and maybe 14 or 15 wins overall.

NG: The best case is that Carter is the next BC shooter, and some of the younger guys come as advertised. Over the course of the year, BC transitions into a young man's team, and they play above the rim with some tenacity and ferocity. Somewhere along the line, they pick off a bunch of upsets and actually challenge for the middle of the ACC standings.

The worst case is the Carter gets hurt, the young guys are lost, and Jim Christian loses control of the season. If they lose a couple of non-conference games to teams like UMass-Lowell and Delaware. Then BC gets absolutely blown out in conference play, resulting in a regression back under 10 wins. BC finishes dead last in the 15-team ACC.

More likely is a record similar to last year. The non-conference schedule has a bunch of really beatable or outright bad teams on it, so losing some of those games shouldn't be an option. But the ACC is downright filthy this year, and meaning even modest improvements have this team finishing 10th or lower. I don't think this is going to be a season we can judge solely by wins or losses but instead need to judge based on the eye test and how competitive they look against teams clearly in better spots than them.

JF: I don't think there is much difference in the scenarios and that really isn't a big problem.  We know where the program is and where it needs to get to and with everything emptying out last year, including one of the better guards ever to play in the program, not much direction to look but up.

Anywhere but the cellar is the goal.  Give them 8-9 wins and 1 or 2 in the ACC and a first round exit in the tournament and get to 2016-17.