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Boston College’s Season Might be Already be Over

Mark L. Baer – USA TODAY Sports

Before this season began, there was some cautious optimism surrounding the Boston College basketball program. After all, they returned potential All-Atlantic Coast Conference performers in Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson.

But after three losses to open the year, most recently a 95-92 defeat at the hands of Toledo, things are already looking dire for the Eagles, and head coach Steve Donahue is suddenly feeling his seat getting remarkably warm. Things aren’t going to get much easier for the Eagles either with games against Connecticut and either Indiana or Washington looming next week, and games against Purdue, USC, Maryland, and Virginia Commonwealth all coming in December.

If the Eagles can’t get things turned around in a hurry, they could be in for a very long, very frustrating season. The good news is that next up on the schedule is a Florida Atlantic team that they should beat, so they should be able to avoid going 0-6 to open the season. After UConn and whoever they face between Indiana and Washington, they get a little bit of respite when they play Sacred Heart.

But looking at the schedule, there’s a very realistic chance that they could find themselves closing in on double-digit losses by the end of December.

Of course, the most frustrating part for Boston College fans should be the way the Eagles have failed to close out games thus far. They led late in overtime against Providence before falling by four and in the loss to Toledo, they held an eight-point edge with under four minutes to play, but gave up a 14-2 run.

There’s no easy explanation for why Boston College has stumbled so horribly out of the gates other than the simplest one: maybe they just aren’t as good as many people expected them to be. As we’ve mentioned before, they need more than just Hanlan and Anderson and right now, the lack of overall depth and talent behind their two stars is glaring.

They’d better right the ship quickly, or else the season — and Donahue’s coaching stint at BC — could be over in a hurry.

Jeff is an ACC basketball writer on  Follow him on Twitter @jekelish and like him on Facebook.

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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 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 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  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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