ACC Burning Questions: Boston College Eagles

Posted by Matt Patton on October 20th, 2017

This team preview is part of the RTC ACC microsite’s preseason coverage.

Burning Question: Can Boston College cobble together a winning season?

We’re nearing put up or shut up time for Boston College head coach Jim Christian. Last year’s Eagles lacked both talent and experience, a deadly combination. They stifled any possible early momentum with an atrocious loss at home to Nicholls State right out of the gate, but a 4-1 December stretch that included wins over Auburn, Providence and Syracuse built hope for a breakthrough after the new year. Alas, the whole team hit a freshman wall in ACC play, finishing the year on a 15-game losing streak.

Ky Bowman needs to make a sophomore leap for Boston College to sniff .500. (Photo: Keith Carroll / BC Heights)

What’s the upside? First, nearly all of Boston College’s talent is back. Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman were Christian’s best players last season, and it wasn’t really close. Nik Popovic is an intriguing player who could make a big leap during his sophomore season (admittedly, his best games last year were against poor competition), and throw in Illinois State graduate transfer Deontae Hawkins along with four consensus three-star freshmen. That’s a much better team — at least on paper — than what the Eagles brought to bear last season. They should be one of the better perimeter shooting teams in the ACC, and more experienced teammates should relieve some of the pressure from Robinson, possibly further boosting his efficiency. Despite shooting very well from the floor last season, Boston College’s poor offensive efficiency was because of a high number of turnovers, poor rebounding and an inability to get to the charity stripe. The last two pieces are related and unlikely to improve dramatically if the team ends up spreading the floor as much as anticipated. Minimizing turnovers should be a very high priority this season (along with loads of practice in team rebounding).

Also working in Boston College’s favor is what amounts to Ivy League scheduling. Instead of playing Harvard as in years past, Christian opted to play the likes of Columbia and Dartmouth. All in all, the Eagles have a very winnable non-conference slate, but the team will frequently be athletically over-matched for nearly all of ACC play. Apart from a rudderless Pittsburgh team (Boston College only plays the Panthers on the road), there won’t be any easy wins. Getting Clemson and Wake Forest at home this season is a blessing, but the Eagles need to steal a few games somewhere on the schedule to have a real shot at the NIT.

The bottom line is that Boston College must overcome a recent history of disappointment to make the transition from perennial ACC cellar dweller to plucky underdog. It’s certainly possible in Chestnut Hill, but don’t hold your breath.

mpatton (573 Posts)


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