BC Basketball fans have been waiting for a LONG time for a win like that. To put things in perspective, the last victory of that magnitude on a national level came at #1 Syracuse in February of 2014. That game was a great win and a huge upset but it came under much different circumstances than the win yesterday over Duke. The victory came in Donahue’s last season at BC when the team was already 2-10 in ACC play and everyone knew that the victory was fool’s gold. BC went on to win 1-of-6 down the stretch after that upset win and Donahue was fired shortly after the season.
The upset over Duke on Saturday feels a lot different in the bigger picture because all of a sudden there is a feeling like we might have something here. I’d argue that the win over Duke is much more comparable to BC’s upset over UNC in Chapel Hill in January of 2009. That BC team featured a veteran Tyrese Rice playing with a core of players in the same class like Rakim Sanders, Corey Raji and Joe Trapani along with a budding superstar in Reggie Jackson. The Eagles entered that game with a 12-2 record, but none of the wins came over ranked teams and there was a bit of skepticism in the air after the Eagles went 14-17 the season before. All BC did was upset the eventual champs UNC in a win that catapulted the program to a return to March Madness.
I’m not ready to punch a ticket for this team into March Madness---even though I did predict a return before Teddy Hawkins’ injury--- but I’m taking two things away from this win.
First is the obvious point that this team proved that it can compete in the ACC without the services of Hawkins helping out down low (by the way if you haven’t read Zach Spears story on Hawkins it’s a must read). In no particular order some things that amazed me out of the performance:
-BC outrebounded Duke 35-34 without Hawkins
-BC show 50.8% from the field, 57.7% from three and 80% from the free throw line
-Ky Bowman outperformed anyone from Duke including Marvin Bagley III
-Jim Christian coached the pants off of Coach K between plays called out of a timeout and K inexcusably not getting Bagley the ball in the post in the 2nd half
-BC punching Duke right back in the face after the Blue Devils stole the lead from BC twice in the final ten minutes.
The second takeaway is that BC has launched itself into the NCAA Tournament bubble discussion. I know some people will think I’m crazy for mentioning this but I swear I’m not trying to give you a hot take. I’m a firm believer in judging a team from year to year and not just going by lazy narratives that stick with teams. The fact of the matter is this BC team is 7-3 with a high quality win over Duke, “good” losses against Texas Tech and Providence, and a to-be-determined loss against an average Nebraska team. With wins over Columbia, CCSU and Richmond this team will be 10-3 heading into ACC play. Things could get very interesting this year folks.