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Boston College Basketball's Best Non-League Games

BC's Top Non-ACC Tests

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Boston College didn't have that good a season a year ago, finishing a meager 8-24 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, which just edged out Virginia Tech at the bottom of the league. But the Eagles did get a nice road win at Syracuse to build on late in the season, and they get their top scorer back in junior guard Olivier Hanlan. Here are BC's top five non-ACC games to watch.

5. Home vs. Southern Cal, Dec. 21

USC
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5. Home vs. Southern Cal, Dec. 21

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The USC game isn't included here because it's some kind of non-conference battle of basketball giants. But it is an intriguing matchup for the Eagles in that the Trojans are somewhat of the Pac-12 version of BC. USC went just 2-16 in the Pac-12 a season ago and 11-21 overall. Like BC, USC is somewhat building from scratch in a tough conference and this game will be a decent tune-up win for either team.

4. Home to Providence, Dec. 5

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4. Home to Providence, Dec. 5

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Two old-time Big East rivals meet at BC early in December, and while this is still a decent northeastern rivalry when the teams get together, it's also a chance for the Eagles to get what could be a quality win. The Friars won 23 games in 2013-14 and went 10-8 in the revamped Big East. Providence also plays preseason No. 1 Kentucky just before this contest, so the Eagles may catch the Friars at a good time.

3. Massachusetts in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader, Nov. 16

UMass
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3. Massachusetts in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader, Nov. 16

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It's always special when the Eagles and the Minutemen get together, and this year there will be a bit more of a big-game feel to it, as BC and UMass battle at the TD Garden in Boston, not the Eagles' home court, as part of a Coaches vs. Cancer tripleheader. The last two meetings have seen UMass win in blowouts. The event also features Boston University vs. Northeastern, and Harvard vs. Holy Cross.

2. New Mexico in the San Juan Tip Off, Nov. 20

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2. New Mexico in the San Juan Tip Off, Nov. 20

UNM
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Boston College will play three games in the eight-team San Juan Tip Off, with the opener coming against the New Mexico Lobos. UNM was a solid 27-7 a season ago and 13-3 in the Mountain West. But top New Mexico scorer Cameron Bairstow is gone and the Lobos are in a bit of a rebuilding mode. The tourney field is solid, as well, including Connecticut, Dayton, Charleston, George Mason, Texas A&M and West Virginia.

1. Home to Harvard, Jan. 14

Harvard
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1. Home to Harvard, Jan. 14

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In the past, Boston College's matchup with Harvard was a chance for BC to reassert itself as the dominant team in the city. But those days are gone. The Crimson went 27-5 last year, have made the NCAA tournament three seasons in a row and return three starters from a team that rolled through the Ivy League (13-1). BC will have three ACC games under its belt before this game, but make no mistake, this one is important for the Eagles, too.





Boston College has several intriguing non-league games coming up.

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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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