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With Ryan Anderson Banged Up, BC is in Trouble

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Greg M. Cooper-US Presswire

Without a healthy Ryan Anderson, Boston College is basically hopeless. He is clearly playing on a bad ankle since he only scored three points before fouling out on a questionable call late in the second half. Anderson’s mobility has been compromised, which is evident while watching him move at half speed. He usually displays great footwork for a forward, and can score in many ways, but with his bum ankle he looks like a shell of the player we are used to seeing for the Eagles.

Boston College did manage to eke out the victory by a final score of 50-to-49 over the Auburn Tigers. When Anderson left the game the Eagles were up 45-to-40 with less than five minutes to play. Freshman guard Oliver Hanlan then split the defense for an easy basket. Then Auburn went on a five-point run that shifted the momentum. BC answered when freshman guard Joe Rahon made an amazing reverse layup to keep the hopes alive for his teammates. On the ensuing Auburn drive the Eagles defense got caught in an array of screens opening up a clean look for senior guard Frankie Sullivan, who also got a foul call to tie the game on a four-point play. Sullivan carried the Tigers with 23 points. Boston College managed to make a free throw that would seal the game, but it was too close for comfort for head coach Steve Donahue’s squad.

If Anderson can’t return to his effective self soon, the Eagles will finish this season on the bottom of the ACC. Without Anderson on his game this Boston College team is mediocre at best, and should have fans in Chestnut Hill running for the hills.

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2013-14 ACC Basketball Season Grades: Boston College a Star for One Night, Needed More





So, what do you make of the Boston College Eagles in 2013-14? For the overwhelming majority of the season, the Eagles were a disappointment, and their final record of 8-24 overall and 4-14 in the ACC shows that. But if you are grading the Eagles, what do you do when you consider their overall body of work vs. what Boston College did on one of its final exams, as it were? Yes, it was Boston College, the team that has faded into irrelevance in the ACC for the most part, that went into Syracuse and knocked off a 25-0 Orange team that was thinking national championship.

Sure, the Orange slid a lot after that, but it was a small glimpse of what might have been for the Eagles this season had they been at full strength and had they been able to give top scorer Olivier Hanlan a little bit of help. Here’s the evaluation on both sides of the ball for Boston College, as well as overall.

OFFENSE: Any team with Hanlan on it has the chance to have a decent offense. He only missed scoring in double figures twice this season, and Hanlan has a high of 38 in a win over Florida Atlantic. Hanlan even scored 25 in a loss to Duke and managed 14 against a very tough Virginia defense. But Hanlan, who recently decided to return to BC for his junior season, didn’t get enough help. Despite Hanlan averaging 18.5 PPG, the Eagles were 240th in the nation in scoring and shot 44.6 percent from the field, about middle of the road related to the rest of the country. BC’s offense got better later in the year, but the Eagles only needed 62 (in overtime) to win at Syracuse. Hanlan returning is big, but others have to pick up the pace. GRADE: C.

DEFENSE: Other than the one game against Syracuse, Boston College did very little right defensively this season. Boston College averaged fewer than 23 defensive rebounds a game and the Eagles were 268th in the country in scoring defense. This is unacceptable given how many of the nation’s top defenses reside in the ACC (Clemson, Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, etc.). New coach Jim Christian‘s team at Ohio University last season was far better defensively than was BC, so while the grade for 2013-14 might be low, the future looks bright. And the win over Syracuse should have taught Hanlan and others returning that the Eagles can be competitive if their defense is on point. GRADE: C-.

OVERALL: Boston College was a disappointment, and the departure of Steve Donahue in favor of Christian is an indication of that. The Eagles weren’t expected to contend, but 4-14 was a dip below what many would have considered even for a bad BC season. Nowhere to go but up, it would seem. GRADE: D+.

Twitter-style, the 2013-14 Eagles in 140 (or less): “Olivier Hanlan puts on a clinic, scores 25, but struggling Boston College falls again. #ButHeyBCBeatSyracuse”

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.

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Boston College Basketball Settles for Jim Christian as New Head Coach





As soon as this college basketball season had ended, it figured that the Boston College Eagles were going to be looking in a new direction for a head coach. Steve Donahue was let go after the Eagles went 8-24 and 4-14 in the ACC, only finishing ahead of Virginia Tech in the 15-team league. Boston College did have a myriad of issues with injuries and at times were pretty much a one-man show thanks to the talent of sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan, who averaged 18.5 points per game and had 38 in a win over Florida Atlantic early in the season.

But Hanlan rarely got any significant help and the Eagles cratered. There was life for one night, however, as Boston College went into Syracuse and handed the then-top-ranked and undefeated Orange their first loss of the season. But what could have been a turning point for the Eagles and Donahue just ended up being a blip. BC went 1-6 the rest of the way, with a win at Wake Forest the only positive notch on the slate. The Syracuse win wasn’t enough to save Donahue, and Jim Christian was today named the new coach at Boston College.

Christian was formerly the head coach at Ohio University, where he was 49-21 in two years and went 25-9 in the MAC. His Bobcats didn’t make the NCAA Tournament either year, but it was still a respectable couple seasons. But whether this was the hire that Eagles fans and perhaps even their players — especially Hanlan — were looking for is another matter. Tommy Amaker, the former Duke standout who now is the head coach at Harvard, seemed like the perfect fit for BC, having won back-to-back titles and winning an NCAA Tournament game each of the past two seasons. Why wouldn’t Amaker want to come to the ACC and try and succeed, especially since it’s his old conference?

But there’s the rub right there. No one identifies Boston College with the ACC. Since going 21-11 in the league in its first two years after joining, the Eagles haven’t won 10 games in a conference season since and went 15-37 the past three seasons in the league. BC hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2009 and hasn’t won a game in the Big Dance since 2007. BC came to the ACC in the midst of several solid seasons, but that has disappeared in recent years. While many felt Amaker was the person to restore the good times to Boston College, Amaker didn’t.

And who can blame him. Amaker is at a great school, one that isn’t trying to be a football powerhouse and one that doesn’t necessarily worry about getting every basketball game on TV and playing ridiculous schedules. Amaker knows if he stays the course, he can continue to win the Ivy League, get in the NCAA Tournament and do damage, no matter the seed. You can’t blame him for feeling BC isn’t the right fit just as much as you have to wonder if people at BC feel the ACC is the right fit for them — and the other way around. The conference will never complain about having a presence in the Boston TV market, of course, but BC basketball has become a wasteland in the nine years since the Eagles fled the Big East to join.

You can’t blame Amaker for not wanting to be a part of that. But you also can’t blame Christian for wanting to try his hand in the ACC after coaching in the MAC for two years. For Christian, it’s a solid step up after previously coaching Kent State and TCU, as well. Christian has never won an NCAA Tournament game, so there’s one clear goal. The other is sitting down with Hanlan and convincing his star player to stay and be a part of what is going to be a difficult rebuild.

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.

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Virginia Cavaliers Stay Hot In Blowout Of Boston College Eagles





Even though the Syracuse Orange are undefeated and are the No. 1 team in the nation, the Virginia Cavaliers may be the hottest team in the ACC.

On Wednesday night, the Cavaliers stayed hot with a blowout win over the Boston College Eagles, and at this point in the season, Virginia may be the only team that can catch Syracuse for the ACC regular season championship.

The Cavaliers entered Wednesday’s game fresh off their biggest win of the season, a road win against the Pittsburgh Panthers that came on a last second three-point shot by Malcolm Brogdon. But Virginia showed no hangover effect following their win at the Petersen Events Center, a place few road teams have won at throughout the years. They took control of their game against Boston College early and stayed in control for a full 40 minutes.

Virginia dominated Boston College in the same manner that they’ve won their last six games, with defense. The Cavaliers showcased their great on-ball defense, which prevented the Eagles from getting any dribble penetration and forced them to take contested perimeter shots. Virginia also dominated on the boards, holding Boston College to one shot per possession. That great defense allowed the Cavs to build a lead early in the game, which was impossible to overcome for a team as limited as Boston College.

Virginia has played exceptional defense for the past month, which has allowed them to shake off an uneven month of December in non-conference play and come shooting out of the gate when ACC play began. Except for their win against Pittsburgh, all of Virginia’s conference wins have been lopsided games, due in large part because they’ve allowed 55 points per game in conference play.

The Cavaliers are now 9-1 in ACC play, and because both Pittsburgh and Duke have three conference losses, Virginia may be the only team with a chance to beat out Syracuse for the league championship, especially if they can knock off the Orange at home when the two teams meet in early March. The way Virginia is playing right now, they may be a hotter team than Syracuse, and if they keep it up, they have a real chance to knock off the undefeated Orange.

Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com.  He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.

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