The 2015-16 Boston College Men's Basketball team will leave a legacy that unfortunately few will ever wish to revisit. While by all accounts this group conducted itself with dignity and class and represented BC as we all hope our sons would given the chance, college athletics has become a bottom line business and the bottom line is that these Eagles will go down as the single worst team in ACC history.
0-18 in the conference in the regular season with the exclamation point added on Tuesday afternoon in the season ending loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament, it is one that will live as the butt of jokes and the answer to far too many trivia questions.
As we begin the autopsy of this team(is there really any other way to put it?), let's start by looking at the guidance provided by the coaching staff, led by Head Coach Jim Christian. The role of any coaching staff in a given season is to walk away believing that they maximized the talent provided them. While it is very easy and incredibly snarky to say WTF..are you kidding, when it comes to asking that question of this team, deeper and honest inspection is required.
Coming into the season, the expectations of this team on the board was significantly better than the vast majority of the so-called experts believed. Universally, the basketball pre-season magazines and various pundits picked the Eagles to finish at the bottom of the ACC barrel.
Essentially emptying out the program, starting from scratch and then subtract of one of the great players in Eagle history in point guard, Olivier Hanlan, BC was fighting an uphill battle from the start.
I for one, saw this coming, at least to a certain extent:
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.
Of course, I really didn't think they would go winless in conference, although late in the year we posed the question in another thread and at that point, I wasn't uncomfortable saying it could happen.
Why did I think this way?
- Outside of a questionable (for many reasons) Dennis Clifford, a role player in Garland Owens and a walk-on point guard in Steve Perpiglia, the Eagles were turning over their entire roster. Whether they had been good or bad in 2014-15 it didn't really matter, this was going to be an issue.
- All those freshmen. The class was touted as strong, but none of them were 4 or 5 star recruits, so this wasn't like Duke, BC was building for the future with four year players. Growing pains were inevitable.
- The loss of Olivier Hanlan and the lack of an established point guard, even a backup to step into that role. BC was either going to ride Perpiglia or would need to find someone with no experience at the point to be that player.
- The lack of depth in the front court. Clifford and Diallo were both question marks entering the season and only Johncarlos Reyes was there to offer any backup. BC had no legitimate four man, someone along the lines of Ben Bentil at Providence, so it was going to leave them with a group of centers (five men) and only one could play at a time.
- The insane depth of the ACC. While this isn't a vintage year by the standard of great teams in college basketball, the depth of good teams, particularly in the ACC, was a tough thing to overcome. The top may not have been as strong, but the bottom of the league was so far superior to where BC was, any wins were going to be difficult and the league office did the Eagles no favors with their schedule which didn't let up even slightly, until mid February.
- Depth in general was going to mean injuries were something BC had no room to tolerate and we know what happened there. While Clifford stayed healthy, pretty much every other Eagle suffered an injury that took him out of action for varying periods of time.
- What went well?
- What didn't go so well?
- What did we learn?
- What still puzzles us?