Quick turnaround for the Eagles, which are in Tallahassee on Wednesday night to take on the Seminoles. Then it's back home to snowy Boston to host Notre Dame in the back end of this year's home-and-home.
Game 25 vs. Florida State Seminoles
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 9:00 p.m. Eastern
TV: ACC Network / ESPN3
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com
Series History: 6-5, Florida State
First Meeting: Boston College 90, Florida State 87 (January 14, 2006)
Last Meeting: Florida State 74, Boston College 70 (March 4, 2014)
Last Meeting at Tucker Center: Florida State 69, Boston College 66 (February 16, 2013)
Game 26 vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 4:00 p.m. Eastern
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com
Series History: 14-10, Notre Dame
First Meeting: Notre Dame 74, Boston College 66 (February 7, 1963)
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 71, Boston College 63 (February 4, 2015)
Last Meeting at Conte Forum: Notre Dame 73, Boston College 69 (February 16, 2014)
No changes from last week.
G Olivier Hanlan, junior
G Aaron Brown, graduate
G Dimitri Batten, graduate
G Patrick Heckmann, senior
C Dennis Clifford, junior
1. Solve Florida State's bigs. Florida State features not one, not two, but three 7-footers on the roster. Michael Ojo, Kiel Turpin and Boris Bojanovsky will all see the floor against the Eagles. While it's the Seminoles' guards who are the main scoring threats, BC will have trouble going up against all that height in the paint while on offense. Clifford got the start against Miami, but Magarity had a strong performance off the bench. Does Christian go back to Magarity as the better shooter from the perimeter? Either way, one or both of Clifford and Magarity will have to have a solid performance if BC is to knock off the Seminoles.
2. Find Ways to Spell Hanlan. BC asks way too much of Hanlan. He's averaging a ridiculous 37.7 minutes a game through 24 games, and is coming off a 49 minute effort on Monday (And folks wonder why he's missing free throws and shots late in games?) Only Syracuse's Trevor Cooney averages more minutes a game, and just barely (37.68 to 37.667). Usually the offense goes pear-shaped when Hanlan hits the bench, but it would be nice to keep things close and spell Hanlan a bit. He's had a ton of mileage over the last few games. Keeping him fresh for late-game situations is a luxury Christian can't really afford, but if he can give Hanlan a breather now and then, this might help BC better close out some of these games the rest of the way.
3. Production off the Bench. Magarity had a very nice first half for the Eagles vs. Miami, but wasn't heard from again in the second half or either OT period. Still, it was something...one of the first time since Odio's homecoming at Miami that I can recall a player off BC's bench having an impact on the game. Will Magarity or Odio step up again off the bench? Does Garland Owens have a solid outing in him? It's clear BC will only go as far as the starting five takes them, but they could really start winning some of these games if 1-2 players can step up coming off the bench.
Steve Addazio* Previews Florida State and Notre Dame
Well, the good news is that when you watch the film of the Syracuse and Miami games, the film is reflective of what happened. We played well for stretches of the game, but once again, couldn't close things out when it mattered. Still, I'm encouraged. There is no quit in this team. I feared after the second half of the Syracuse game some of these guys would quit. They responded to the challenge by pushing a very good, a very talented Miami team to the wire. I think it spoke to our heart, the will of our team. I thought it was a good lesson for our team. Jim Christian and the team have talked about winning games in the "fourth" quarter. It'll happen. We're close to breaking through there.
That said, I'm not naïve. We're a "young" team. We have some veteran guys—a pair of grad students, several seniors—but the team is young in the sense that they haven't played with one another for very long. With a young team, sometimes can come a rollercoaster ride. But it's a process. We're building things the right way here, and I have the confidence in Jim Christian to continue to build back up the program. Our goal right now is to try to utilize that learning experience to help us mature as we develop, try to take out some of the peaks and valleys.
We are on to Florida State and Notre Dame, two tough, physical teams. Championship-caliber teams. Florida State, that's another extremely young but talented team. They've hit some bumps in the road here. Clearly missing the impact a guy like Aaron Thomas has on the team, but they are still battling. Beat a very good Georgia Tech team on the road over the weekend. Wins over Wake Forest, Clemson, Miami. They are right there in the mix for those mid-tier ACC Tournament spots and will look to get back to .500 in conference play at BC's expense. They certainly have our full attention.
Then BC returns home to face Notre Dame, clearly one of the best teams in the nation this year. They are ranked #10 in the nation for a reason. Jerian Grant, total dude. 17.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game. One of the most talented players in the conference, if not the nation. Pat Connaughton, Zach Auguste—two local dudes that BC let get away. They'll have no shortage of motivation in this one playing in front of friends and family. After a down year, Mike Brey has his team right in the mix at the top of the conference. Tremendous turnaround in South Bend. It's a big challenge for us but one that we embrace. Hopefully the crowd will be into the game and provide that edge BC needs to start closing out these games.
Scoreboard Watching / Out of Town Notes
Unfortunately, or luckily, depending on your viewpoint, BC-Florida State is going up against North Carolina-Duke round 1, a.k.a. a three-hour Twitter vacation for Brian. You can catch that game on ESPN starting at 9 p.m., if you're into that sort of thing. On Saturday, I'm interested in seeing how Virginia Tech fares at N.C. State (6:00 p.m., ESPN2). BC has yet to face either team and, despite mounting losses, Buzz Williams has Virginia Tech playing some really good basketball of late. N.C. State appears to be heading in the opposite direction, though they're coming off a huge upset victory at #9 Louisville.
Gametime Song of the Week
Silversun Pickups - Panic Switch.
Both of BC's opponents this week also made the rounds against teams from New England earlier in the season. Florida State played consecutive games against Northeastern (L 76-73), Providence (L 80-54) and Massachusetts (L 75-69), while Notre Dame faced Massachusetts (W 81-68) and Providence (L 75-74) in the same Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic event at Mohegan Sun. Of the three, only BC was able to knock off Providence (W 69-60).
Dot Dot Dot (An Appreciation for Patrick Heckmann)
I feel for a kid like Patrick Heckmann. While his game can be maddeningly inconsistent at times, he always leaves it all on the court. After missing a potential game-winning layup then later fouling out, Heckmann appeared visibly frustrated and distraught on the bench. Reminds me a lot of Joe Trapani in that way—he's the team's emotional leader on the floor.
Over the final 16 minutes of the Syracuse home game, I feared this team might just pack it in for the rest of the season (and, if we're being honest, I can't say I'd blame them). The team responded in a big way against Miami, and Heckmann's energy and effort was a big part of that team response. That Christian still has guys like Heckmann playing hard and giving it his all night in and night out bodes well for the immediate future of the program.
When your team is 1-11 in the ACC, it's officially silly hour with some of these predictions ...
|BC-FSU||Score||BC-ND||Score||Pts.||Record Picking BC|
|Grant Salzano||3-0 over Lowell||4-2 over Harvard||12||10-12|
Leave your thoughts / predictions on Boston College-Florida State and Boston College-Notre Dame below. Go Eagles!
* Steve Addazio actually didn't say these things