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Boston College Men’s Basketball Weekly Thoughts

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 11 Boston College at Miami Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This past week saw Boston College drop two bad losses: one to a ranked Miami squad on 1/11 and one to a strong Wake Forest team on 1/14. After the positives of the Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and close Duke games, this week was a pretty major step back for the BC squad.

Let’s take a closer look. I mentioned last week how BC is, at its core, a defensive team. If BC cannot defend a team, the chances they win a shootout are very, very slim. Unfortunately for the Eagles this week, the defense was simply overrun by the Hurricanes and Wake.

Against Miami – a team that shoots 33.4% from behind the arc – BC’s perimeter defense struggled mightily and allowed Miami to hit 12-18 threes, or 66.7%. That is not a formula for success. The Langford brothers and Jaeden Zackery got torched, with Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller combining for 41 points. I mentioned this in my Wake postgame recap, but Grant has taken to initiating a full-court press with 1-2 of the guards on the floor. It has worked for stretches, and when BC is chasing big deficits it can be necessary. But the issue is that, when faced with excellent opponent backcourts (such as Ty Appleby or Isaiah Wong), the press is far too easily beaten – which leads to easy buckets in the paint or open looks from three. In addition, Boston College has a bad habit of biting too hard on pump fakes. The end result is that defensively, it seems like BC is always a step behind the offense.

The other defensive issue that needs to be addressed is Quinten Post’s shortcomings. He is BC’s best offensive player, but he 1. is not much of a rim deterrent and 2. is often taken advantage of in the pick n’ roll. He is not a complete disaster, but he has definitely been somewhat of a defensive liability, and Grant needs to figure out a way to better utilize him defensively.

There are not many positives this week, unfortunately. BC’s offense has continued to sputter, but for the sake of needing something good I’ll highlight DeMarr Langford’s 20-point night against Miami. He was my preseason pick for team MVP after his strong ACC Tournament, but he has not looked like himself at all recently. Admittedly, he has spent more time as a facilitator this season, and no doubt this has limited his scoring looks. Even with this in mind, however, he’s averaging a full four points (and almost two boards) less than last season. The Miami game was a reminder of his athleticism (showcased via two ferocious dunks) and scoring ability, especially in the midrange and around the basket. BC needs offense from wherever they can get it, and with Zackery continuing to struggle it was good to see a good performance from Langford.

I think Devin McGlockton needs more minutes, and specifically I think Grant needs to play him alongside Post more often. Now, McGlockton struggles with fouls as an often overzealous defender, but the offense just looks so much smoother with him on the court. He’s generally a good finisher around the rim, and he is good in the pick and roll. He’s a good rebounder, and then BC still has Bickerstaff to rotate in as well. Bickerstaff offers more defensively and is probably a little bigger than McGlockton, so I like him rather than McGlockton playing the non-Post minutes at the 5.

Lastly, Prince Aligbe. He’s very raw, there’s no question. But he shows flashes. Against Wake, I remember clearly he hit a very nice turnaround, fade-away free throw line jumper. If he can add that to his bag consistently, that is a pretty repeatable and effective shot. What I really like about him is his confidence to even take that shot. He has been very inefficient so far in college, but honestly I can understand that as he is still a freshman. He takes some (very) dumb threes, but he keeps shooting. DeMarr and Zackery are very clearly lacking in confidence right now, especially the latter, and the offense is suffering as a result. I am hopeful that Prince can eventually trim down the poor shots, make some more of the smart shots, and before you know it he could be a star. (It will not be that easy, I know. But I can hope).

As always, roll eags.