Boston College is the Best Worst Team in the ACC

Posted by Jimmy Kelley on February 11th, 2013

Jimmy Kelley is an ACC correspondent for Rush the Court. Follow him on Twitter @DevilsinDurham

Conte Forum is a hockey arena masquerading as a basketball court. The banners in the rafters tell the stories of Boston College’s rink-related exploits while Doug Flutie’s Heisman Trophy sits in one endzone. But for forty minutes the arena doubles as a proving ground for the best teams in the ACC as Steve Donahue’s team shed the stigma of its 2-7 conference record and pushed the conference’s upper echelon teams to the brink. Just two years into Donahue’s tenure, the Eagles are starting to have the look of a real problem team, at least at home.

Olivier Hanlan and Boston College pushed Duke to the limit on Sunday in Conte Forum. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Olivier Hanlan and Boston College pushed Duke to the limit on Sunday in Conte Forum. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Boston College opened ACC play by pushing NC State to the brink of an upset before eventually falling to the Wolfpack, 78-73. Then, 11 days later, the Eagles welcomed a red-hot Miami team into Conte and were a missed Olivier Hanlan free throw away from taking the Hurricanes to overtime. Finally on Sunday the Eagles pushed the #4 Duke harder than they pushed the previous two, actually leading late in the second half before falling by one. Three top-tier teams, three losses, a total point differential of seven points. Not bad for a team led by underclassmen.

Outside of blowout road losses to Virginia and Miami, Boston College has looked like a competitive ACC team that simply doesn’t have the experience to break through and win tight game. I’ve said it a few times this season, but I’ll say it again: Ryan Anderson is a legitimate all-ACC player and Hanlan is on the verge of being one of the top guards in the conference. It is only a matter of time before the Eagles pull off a stunning upset that will bring their growth full circle and, in all likelihood, it will happen at Conte Forum.

But back to the title. If Boston College is the best worst team in the ACC, who else is in the running and what makes the Eagles better than them? Well the first place to look is Wake Forest. C.J. Harris and Travis McKie are very talented players and Devin Thomas has come into his own as an impact player. The Eagles dropped a three-point game to them on the road in Winston Salem but, as we have seen, no ACC road game is a gimme  especially for a young team. The rematch will be on Wednesday in Conte and should Boston College win, it would move one step closer to the Demon Deacons in the standings and closer to the undisputed “best worst team” spot.

Next up is Clemson, a team the Eagles already knocked off in Conte thanks to 26 points from Joe Rahon. Clemson has been one of the league’s least consistent teams and when talking about the “best” anything, consistency must be taken into account. BC and Clemson will play again on March 5 after a brutal stretch against Maryland, Duke, NC State, and Virginia. By then, the Eagles may have made enough noise and built enough momentum to make easy work of the Tigers and break into the middle of the ACC standings.

The two teams left in the discussion are Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech with both teams floundering in their own unique ways. Georgia Tech just isn’t a very good team, but have enough young talent in Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter to make the discussion between them and BC a conversation. Virginia Tech on the other hand has just been a one-man show with Erick Green doing everything but defend post players and their 2-8 record in conference fleshes that out. BC has already beaten Virginia Tech and will play Georgia Tech on the final day of the regular season.

Records must be thrown out the window in a discussion like this because they will all be bad. What must be considered is how they lost, where they lost and how they looked when they lost. At the end of the day it comes down to Wake Forest and Boston College with one possessing upperclassmen leaders and the other led by freshmen and sophomores. By pure talent and the way they make teams play in their house, Boston College gets the nod as the best worst team in the ACC.

Jimmy Kelley (20 Posts)

Follow Jimmy Kelley on Twitter @jp_kelley

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