ACC Team Previews: Boston College EaglesPosted by mpatton on October 16th, 2012
Throughout the preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 ACC teams. Today’s victim: Boston College.
Boston College was bad last season. The Eagles lost nearly everything from 2010-11, getting left with mostly walk-ons and freshmen. The result was a team lacking in both talent and experience. Add in the ill-timed sickness of Patrick Heckmann, who to that point was Steve Donahue’s most polished player, and the recipe for a disastrous conference season was complete. Somehow the Eagles pulled out four ACC wins, including one over eventual conference champion Florida State. However, only seven of the Eagles’ 16 conference games were decided by less than 10 points. In those games Boston College was 4-3, winning the four games by a combined 12 points. This year should be significantly better for Donahue’s club, although the Eagles will still likely finish near the bottom of the conference.
Steve Donahue added two scholarship players to the roster this year, Joe Rahon and Olivier Hanlan. Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich also joined the team but he won’t be eligible until 2013-14. Rahon and Hanlan should be able to contribute right away, sharing minutes with 5’10″ sophomore Jordan Daniels at the point guard position. The two should provide much-needed depth in the backcourt. Both were consensus three-star recruits coming out of high school, meaning they have a ways to go before contributing positively at the power conference level. However, Boston College needs bodies, so look for both to see significant minutes.
Long story short: almost everyone. Boston College lost Gabe Moton and Matt Humphrey to transfer. Moton likely saw the writing on the wall as his minutes still decreased from his freshman season despite the Eagles losing all of their star players. Humphrey transferred for the second time in his career, which started at Oregon and will end at West Virginia. He was a significant contributor on offense, but an inefficient scorer to say the least.
The two key players to watch are Patrick Heckmann and Ryan Anderson. Anderson improved significantly over the course of last season, putting up double figure scoring in seven of his last eight games. He was California’s Mr. Basketball in high school, and his solid 6’8″ frame combined with range, driving ability and good touch make him a mismatch for nearly every team. An offseason of weight training could turn him into a very strong player in the ACC this season. Heckmann is a little more of an unknown. The German was by far the Eagles’ most ready player to start the season, initially playing the efficient analog to Humphrey. However, he never got the time to fully recover from the mononucleosis that he contracted in late January at the beginning of conference play. Assuming he’s fully recovered, he’ll be a huge asset to the Eagles this season.
Boston College’s non-conference schedule includes four games against power conference opponents — at Penn State, against Baylor, against Providence, and against Auburn. The home game against Auburn looks like the most winnable on paper, but don’t be surprised if the Eagles go 0-4 in these games. The key for a .500 season will be in its other non-conference games, highlighted by a home game against Harvard. The Eagles will need to do better than 7-4 outside of the ACC games to have a good chance at a break-even record.
Boston College’s conference schedule could have been a little friendlier. The Eagles play two games against three of the top schools in the conference (Duke, NC State and Miami); but they also draw home-and-homes featuring beatable opponents in Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia. The Eagles’ home game against Georgia Tech also should be circled as a good chance for a conference victory.
Boston College struggles again but is significantly more competitive and much more watchable than last season’s team. The Eagles surprise at least one of the top ACC opponents at home, but still finish 6-12 in conference play to finish the year with a losing record.