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Clifford on Great Run

Dennis Clifford’s performance over the last three games has been nothing short of All-ACC level play

Dawson Powers-USA TODAY Sports

By Eric Hoffses

Dennis Clifford’s performance over the last three games has been nothing short of All-ACC level play. Over that span the center is averaging 15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2 assists per game while logging an average of 35 minutes per game. The strong performances haven’t come against the bottom feeders of the ACC either, as the three teams are some of the strongest in the country on the defensive end of the floor.  According to, North Carolina is ranked 35th in defensive efficiency, Syracuse is 50th and Clemson is 61st.

Clifford has attributed his strong play to feeling in rhythm finally. Whatever it is, Clifford is giving BC as good an effort down low as they could get from any player in the conference. While you have to feel really happy for Clifford because of all he has been through you have to feel frustrated for him as well. He is showing to be the type of offensive threat that Steve Donahue thought he was getting four years ago.

It almost makes me wonder if a healthy Clifford matched with Olivier Hanlan’s All-ACC level, and of course Ryan Anderson, would have equaled a NCAA Tournament berth two years ago. Ultimately the brutal non-conference schedule might have done BC in still that year, but it’s enough to make you wonder. It isn’t crazy to think that with a healthy Clifford the Eagles beat Providence (instead of losing in OT), beat Toledo (instead of losing by three) and beat UConn (instead of losing by two). Maybe the season goes a different way if BC starts off 6-1 instead of 3-4. I guess we will never know.

Speaking of that brutal schedule two years ago don’t expect Jim Christian to schedule an out of conference schedule like that. He has said on the record that it just doesn’t make sense to play that many tough non-conference games since the ACC is so difficult. I think Christian’s point has been proven with the schedule BC faced to start the ACC season.

Room to Breathe

As Bill Parcels used to say, “You are what your record says you are,” and 0-13 is 0-13. There really isn’t any silver lining in that record. However, it is worth pointing out that last night’s game against Clemson marked the first time that the Eagles have faced an ACC opponent not projected to make the NCAA’s (Louisville would certainly be projected in the NCAA Tournament if not facing a self imposed postseason ban). If that’s not hard enough, Clemson is currently in Joe Lunardi ’s “First Four Out” of the tournament, so it’s not like they were an easy opponent. Does knowing how tough BC’s schedule has been make things feel much better? Not a lot, but it should give people a little hope that the Eagles may manage to break through the win column in the ACC coming soon.

Turner Back Soon

Freshman forward A.J. Turner is still sidelined with a high ankle sprain that he suffered last week. A member of the BC staff told me that he is “still out but recovering” from the injury. The Eagles obviously miss his ability to guard skilled wing players right now.