Most people who follow college basketball closely tend to be loathe to read too much into performance of teams early in seasons. Yet there are certain things that cannot be ignored, and have to be acknowledged as irrefutable fact of a team's level of performance.
Teams cannot fake going 56% from the field.
Teams cannot fake going 91% from the stripe.
Teams cannot fake holding two players who average more than 10 points per game to under ten points, and a leading scorer to only 11.
So it is impossible to write off Boston College's 71-54 rout of the University of New Hampshire Wildcats as merely a byproduct of schedule that doesn't pass the same muster of the Eagles future ACC schedule, much like one is not able to classify BC's 62-28 drubbing of the Hartford Hawks as simply an anomaly against an easy opponent.
When a team is playing good basketball, much like the Eagle have been over the past month and a half, it is hard to classify the Eagles as anything but a contender.
Granted, the Eagles performance against the Wildcats today was not perfect. The Eagles battled with the Wildcats through the duration of the first quarter, only leading by one when the buzzer sounded. The Eagles also only shot 21.4% from behind the arc.
Yet, in a game where the Eagles got 35 points from the bench, and succeeded as much as they did from inside the arc, it is hard to get too worked up about the Eagles' struggles from three-point range.
"I hate to say I ever envisioned us shooting 3-for-14 from three point range, but we can go 3-for-14 from three point range and still shoot 56%, that wasn't possible last year," BC coach Erik Johnson said. "For us, we counted on the three point shooting. If we went 3-for-14 when our best shooters weren't making three's, we kept shooting more three's, and we didn't have as many things to go to… We're a great three point shooting team, but now I'm not worried about it."
The Eagles and Wildcats went back and forth through the first period, with the Eagles only leading by one at the end of the first period. The Eagles erased all doubt regarding the result of the game with a 24-8 effort in the second period. The Eagles held UNH to 3-for-11 from the field, and kept UNH leading scorer Elizabeth Belanger scoreless in the period. From the second period, the game result was never in doubt, with the Wildcats never quite able to regain their footing following the Eagles efforts in the second.
The Eagles will finish the semester 8-1, a remarkable record for the team.
"I'm an optimist, so I always know the potential for each team, so if you asked me, 'hey, do you think you could be 8-1,' I'd say absolutely," Johnson said. "Did I know that we would be? We've ben able to take care of business pretty efficiently, game in and game out from the defensive end, and this is a better defensive team than I've ever coached. The culture of this team has come so far, the buy in, the fact that they're there for each other…the culture feeds into our defense, it feeds into our balanced scoring… [and] when it really starts happening that's when it gets fun."
The Eagles hope to continue the fun against the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Dec. 20.