Brian of Boston College Interruption is not only the pinnacle of BC fandom. He is the pinnacle of SBNation bloggerdom. Check out his responses to our questions in build up to the Battle for Last Place:FTRS: Since America just watched the State of the Union, let's talk State of the Program. What is the vibe around the BC program after a promising inaugural season under Donahue and relative flop in year 2?
Brian: Well classifying last season as a promising inaugural season and year 2 as a relative flop is a bit misleading. Donahue ended up taking a team of six seniors (and Reggie Jackson) and bringing them within a win of the NCAA Tournament. The problem is that all of the key contributors from last year's team were recruited under Al Skinner. So Donahue basically took Skinner's team and coached them to the doorstep of the NCAAs in his first season.FTRS: Tech and BC have both lost some games recently to the proverbial instate little brothers (Kennesaw State/Mercer for Tech and Harvard/UMass for BC). What do you think losses to these little guys really mean? Is it the three point shot or have our two programs fallen to unimaginable depths?
Year 2 is a completely different story. Gone are last year's top five scorers -- Reggie Jackson (18.2 ppg), Joe Trapani (14.8), Corey Raji (12.1), Biko Paris (10.3) and Josh Southern (6.6) -- as well as big man Cortney Dunn (graduation) and Dallas Elmore (transfer). The only other players that logged significant minutes last year -- Danny Rubin and Gabe Moton -- now play a supporting role coming off the bench.
What Donahue is left with is a starting lineup that includes four true freshmen -- Ryan Anderson, Lonnie Jackson, Jordan Daniels and Dennis Clifford -- and junior Oregon transfer Matt Humphrey. So BC is working in five new faces in the starting lineup. Donahue probably could have done a bit more to keep Skinner's final recruiting class together (Brady Heslip wound up transferring to Baylor and is having a good season), but BC basketball is literally starting over from scratch.
So season 1 was promising, yes, but was done with Skinner's players. Year 2 is bad, but it's too be expected when the program is torn down and you are starting over.
Brian: Well, I don't think you can classify Harvard as a little guy anymore, as the Crimson are 19-2, ranked in the Top 25 of this week's Coaches Poll and could very well run the table in the Ivy League. Harvard has also beat BC four years running now, all at Conte Forum, so ... yeah.FTRS: No one is scoring more than 10 points per game this season on BC's squad. That means there are 34 different ACC players with higher scoring averages than every player on BC's roster. Is there a void in the BC Eagle leadership? Or is Donehue having trouble finding a stable lineup? Basically, what's going on offensively for the Eagles?
But replace Harvard with, say, Boston University or Holy Cross and your question stands.
I don't think it means much for the long-term outlook of either the Boston College or Georgia Tech program. Are those single-game results disappointing? Sure. But I think they are speed bumps in the process of rebuilding the program with a new coach. A lot of people whine and moan about how expansion ruining ACC basketball ... death of the round-robin ... etc. But the conference has gone through an unprecedented about of head coaching churn and the results speak for themselves.
As these first- and second-year coaches gain more experience, establish an identity at their current schools, the overall ACC hoops product will improve and the BCs and Georgia Techs of the world probably will lose to BU, UMass, Mercer and Kennesaw State with far fewer frequency.
Brian: That stat is a bit misleading, as a bunch of BC guys are hovering around the 10 ppg mark. But the fact that BC has four guys hovering around the 10 ppg mark is also misleading. Patrick Heckmann (9.1 ppg) is out for over a month now with mono, and his average is bolstered by some strong performances in non-conference play (he's averaged far fewer points since conference play started up). Matt Humphrey's 9.9 ppg is simply a product of taking the most number of shots from the floor (and shooting just 33.3%!).FTRS: BC has lost five in a row by an average margin of 14.6 points. Tech has dropped six in a row by an average margin of 14 points. Someone unfortunately has to continue their losing skid. Who wins? What's the margin?
Forward Ryan Anderson (9.6 ppg) and center Dennis Clifford (9.4 ppg) are the two freshmen who have really begun to separate themselves from the rest of the class. Donahue tinkered quite a bit with the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, but has settled into a rotation of Daniels, Jackson, Humphrey, Anderson and Clifford. I wouldn't say its a void in leadership. I'd just say it's a growing pain associated with having a very, very young and inexperienced squad.
Brian: I really have no read on this game. I just took a glance at the point spread -- Georgia Tech -9 1/2?? -- and thought that might be a little generous in favor of Tech. I think Georgia Tech has the more talented roster with Rice Jr. and Udofia right now, but I think BC has been playing better of late (and has been close to breaking through against teams like Virginia and N.C. State). If I compare Tech's recent performance against UVa with BC's, I start to like the Eagles chances in this one.Thanks goes out to Brian. I hope he's wrong on the prediction. Tech needs a W like CPJ needs a 4 star recruit. Let's knock out some Eagles!
I think this game probably comes down to the wire, is an ugly affair and BC wins by a bucket. 61-59.