Saturday, December 1, 2012

season preview: Boston College

First in a series that's just like the football one, except for basketball.

Boston College Eagles

Media prediction: 12th of 12

Last season:

Record: 9-22 (4-12)
Postseason: none
KenPom: 259th of 345

Returning scoring: 63.7%
Returning rebounding: 70.9%
Returning assists: 50.6%

2011-2012 all-ACC:

1st team: none
2nd team: none
3rd team: none
HM: none
Defensive: none
Rookie: F Ryan Anderson

(Italics indicate departed player.)

Starting lineup:

PG: Joe Rahon (Fr.)
SG: Lonnie Jackson (So.)
G: Olivier Hanlan (Fr.)
F: Ryan Anderson (So.)
C: Dennis Clifford (So.)


G Patrick Heckmann (So.)
F Andrew Van Nest (Sr.)
F Eddie Odio (So.)
G Danny Rubin (Jr.)

Coach: Steve Donahue (3rd season)

ACC schedule:

Twice: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest
Once: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia Tech

Boston College is mired in the middle of a long and painful rebuilding process.  Two years ago, they had a decent season and went to the NIT in the last year of the team that Al Skinner built.  Midnight struck and Mephistopheles arrived and claimed BC's soul, and they plummeted to a 9-22 season in 2011-2012.  Skinner recruited like he believed in the Mayan doomsday calendar, and didn't leave Steve Donahue with an empty cupboard; he stole the cupboards and kitchen sink too.

BC's lineup and roster reflect the rebuilding project; the roster lists four freshmen, seven sophomores, two juniors, and one graduate-level senior.  Of the three upperclassmen, one is a transfer from Notre Dame who must sit out the year, one (Andrew Van Nest, the senior) is a transfer from Harvard who wasn't actually all that good at Harvard, and one, Danny Rubin, was part of Donahue's desperation class of 2010 and has been sliding backwards in the rotation ever since a respectable freshman campaign.  Rubin has been relegated to that guy who comes off the bench in case of too much foul trouble, because he can shoot pretty well but can't defend.

The rest of the roster is a product of Skinner's criminal negligence and the usual upheaval of a coaching change.  BC's core is the recruiting class that Donahue signed in 2011, who are now sophomores.  The leader there is forward Ryan Anderson, a unanimous selection to the all-freshman team last year.  Leading your team in scoring, even if it is Boston College, will do that for you.  This isn't to say that Anderson will tear up the ACC going forward, but he's a solid player who can score and rebound.  Anderson's scoring has been supplemented this year by a pair of freshmen guards: Quebecer Olivier Hanlan and point guard Joe Rahon.  That will be be the big three in BC's starting lineup; BC also brings in sharpshooting specialist Patrick Heckmann off the bench as the sixth-man scoring option.

Heckmann, however, could see himself as a regular in the starting lineup soon; he got the nod against Penn State over Lonnie Jackson, who is shooting his way right out of the regular minutes he's used to.  Heckmann has been much better than Jackson this season; he's shooting .531 to Jackson's .273.  Hanlan was also expected to be a backup this year, but nominal starter Jordan Daniels transferred out only a few days before the season began, putting Hanlan in the starting lineup.

BC is thin in the frontcourt, where Matt Humphrey's transfer also hurt, probably more than Daniels.  Humphrey gave the Eagles one year after transferring in from Oregon, and then booked it right back out of town in the direction of West Virginia.  BC can look forward next year to adding Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich, but until then the big-man rotation is three and a half deep.  There's Anderson, who they will try not to run ragged this year, and the Eagles start Dennis Clifford at center.  Clifford is a true big man at seven feet, 250, and is a very good defender and rebounder, but he's not a huge offensive contributor.  Van Nest is a body they can throw in there, but that's about all, and KC Caudill only bring spot minutes.

Boston College is probably a better team than they were last year.  KenPom (with the early-season tiny-sample-size caveats applying) has them with a Pythagorean of .5249, much-improved over their end-of-season number of .2631.  Much better offense accounts for that, which is to be expected when you were relying so heavily on freshmen last year who are now sophomores.  There's still a world of growing pains to deal with, though; a home loss to Bryant drives that point home.  And early indications are that the middle-to-bottom section of the ACC is solidifying up to where it belongs, instead of the anemic results of last year.  So there may be no improvement at all in the wins column; the Eagles won four games last year, by an average of three points each, in most cases taking advantage of opponents playing well below what's expected of an ACC team.  So BC will struggle this year just as they did last year, with the W/L record hiding some steady improvements.  It won't really be until next season that BC can harbor legitimate postseason aspirations.


I am aware of much news that has befallen the world of football in the past, oh, 36 hours, including that which concerns Mike Rocco, and promise to address it all Monday.


Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Rocco's leaving, but I can't blame him. When you head coach gives you zero support when you are his best chance to win games, well, it's just not a good situation. I don't know the academic situation for Rocco, but here's guessing that he'll get his undergraduate degree from UVA. Maybe I'm wrong, but this close, it seems like he wouldn't make this move without having degree in hand.

He'll land on his feet somewhere, perhaps in FCS, maybe Richmond for his uncle (where he might keep Strauss waiting). He'll probably turn in a good season.

As for UVA, here's hoping Phillip Sims can learn the damn playbook. To be honest, I'm sort of hoping that Lambert wins the job so that we can build off of him for 4 years, with London or without.

Of course, at this juncture, Mike London not screwing up the QB situation would be a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Okay, now I'm just befuddled with the moves. Shawn Moore, Jeff Hanson, and Jim Reid gone? Poindexter off ST makes sense, as ST was horrible, but those three?

I don't get it. Maybe Mike London brings in better coaches to replace them, but they were hardly the problem this past year. Reid was saddled with a young defensive front that arguably didn't have many developed playmakers on that side of the ball. Hanson had a raw DL to develop. Moore had two senior Te's that were limited, and developed McGee somewhat.