It’s officially 2024, and the Boston College men’s basketball is about to dive head-first into ACC conference play. We checked in with our MBB beat writers to see how they’re feeling about the team heading into the new year.
The Eagles are 9-3 heading into conference play. How do you feel about their performance so far?
Kieran: I think everything has gone relatively well thus far because they’ve won most of the games that they were expected to. They don’t have a marquee win, but beating St. John’s looks to be a good one. A few players have stepped up to helped out Quinten Post and guys have stayed mostly healthy. With conference play starting, we’ll get to see what this team is really made of.
Brian: I feel very good about their performance. The Eagles have avoided any bad losses, and the win against St John’s looks to be very quality. Claudell Harris Jr. has looked very comfortable and is fitting nicely into the offense alongside Quinten Post. I’m excited to watch the Eagles heading into ACC play.
Curran: Better than expected. Yes, pulling out the win against NC State in OT would’ve been nice, but as far as non-conference play goes the only real clunker was against Loyola-Chicago. Beating St. John’s told me that this team is steely and has the talent to make some noise in the ACC.
Curtis: It wasn’t a perfect start to the season, but they have strung together a few really nice games. I’m not sure that I have confidence in them every night, especially as the developing sophomore class still figures some things out, but they’ve proven that they can win against pretty much any opponent.
Who is your team MVP up until this point?
Kieran: I think Quinten Post has to be the unanimous MVP right? He’s been stellar this season and has had some really big games. But Claudell Harris deserves a shoutout as well. He’s been exactly what BC has needed: another scorer alongside Post.
Brian: I’m going to give out Co-MVPs to Quinten Post and Claudell Harris, Jr. Post is the engine that makes this team go, and Harris is the scorer the Eagles have been missing.
Curran: It’s obviously Quinten Post, but for the sake of variety I’ll say Claudell Harris. Many were drawing Makai Ashton-Langford comparisons when Harris committed, but offensively Harris has been way more effective. He fits so seamlessly into this new offense, can score off the bounce, and simply take over games (see: Lehigh).
Curtis: It’s Quinten Post, but I don’t think it’s by a large margin. He is the focal point of the offense and is a threat to pop off against any team, but they also rely a lot on Claudell Harris and Jaeden Zackery to keep things afloat. Those three together have been the driving force behind their success so far.
What has impressed you the most so far from this team?
Kieran: I think the offense in general has impressed me the most. This team is consistently scoring 75-80+ points in their wins and they’re gonna need to keep up the scoring if they want to compete in the ACC.
Brian: Donald Hand, Jr. has impressed me, so far this season. I wasn’t expecting him to contribute as much as he has, and it’s been a great surprise.
Curran: The three-point shooting. Now, Boston College is by no means an elite-shooting team, but in recent years the 3-point shooting has been downright dreadful and directly hurting the team. Not so this year. Though as a team they are only shooting 35.4% (still a 4% increase over last year), the guys who are supposed to hit shots are hitting shots — all of Post, Harris, and Madsen are over 43%.
Curtis: Just look at the box scores. BC hasn’t scored fewer than 68 points all season. Last year up to this point, they had 9 games scoring under 68 points out of 14 games total. The offense looks a lot better this season, in large part due to the supporting cast around Quinten Post.
What has you worried heading into the rest of the season?
Kieran: I think I’d be most worried about teams locking down Post and the rest of the team not being able to generate enough offense. I know I said the offense has impressed me, but I also know that Post is the engine that makes this entire team go. If he has a bad game or the opposing defense makes him a non-factor, I’m not convinced Jaeden Zackery, Claudell Harris, and the rest of the gang can get it done.
Brian: I’m worried about our interior defense against some of these ACC teams. I’m also worried that we could have a great season and still not make the tournament. With the ACC being down this year, the conference won’t get as many bids as in previous years.
Curran: The lack of frontcourt depth. I’ve already written about this in my column, but BC has very few reliable options behind Post and McGlockton, and it forces them to play huge minutes. When one is in foul trouble, the team becomes much, much smaller. Mighty and Strong need to become consistent contributors in their roles.
Curtis: Defense, especially interior defense, hasn’t looked as sharp this season as compared to the past couple of years under Earl Grant. McGlockton is great but he gets into foul trouble, and Post doesn’t really have the body size to defend big centers effectively. We might see BC get abused in the paint on quite a few nights.
What’s your prediction for where the Eagles end up at the end of the season?
Kieran: I still think BC will finish in the bottom half of the ACC, but I’m more hopeful than I was at the start of the season. I can see a future where they make a run and finish above .500 in conference play and win a few big games.
Brian: I really think the Eagles can make it to the NCAA tournament. They have all the pieces.
Curran: I think we’ll pick up 2-3 wins in the ACC Tournament and finish with around 20-22 regular-season wins.
Curtis: I’m thinking right around .500 in conference, landing them at a 19-12 record before tournament play. A very promising step forward, but not quite ready to take a major leap.
Any hot takes?
Kieran: Not sure how scalding this is, but I’d like to see Mason Madsen in the starting lineup. I like the swagger he plays with and when get gets hot from downtown, he’s very fun to watch. I just want to see him play more.
Brian: Claudell Harris, Jr. will an be All-ACC selection
Curran: BC makes the NIT.
Curtis: January 20th. UNC comes to Conte Forum. Keep your eyes on that one.