ACC Preview: Boston College’s Burning Question

Posted by Matt Patton on October 24th, 2014

Last place or not last place?

It’s not easy taking over a slumping program in a conference that just added three perennial Top 25 programs. It’s even harder when you can’t start until April and you lose your two of your three best players before you even take the job. That’s where Jim Christian stands a little over six months after replacing Steve Donahue. Perhaps his most important battle, though, was won when Olivier Hanlan decided to stay in Chestnut Hill. Hanlan’s presence — along with a graduate transfer and a healthy center — are the only reason this is a burning question at all.

Jim Christian needs to change the culture in Chestnut Hill (photo credit: Ted Fitzgerald/Boston Herald)

Jim Christian needs to change the culture in Chestnut Hill (photo credit: Ted Fitzgerald/Boston Herald)

Any look at Boston College this season has to start with Christian, a former coach at Kent State, TCU and then Ohio before coming to Chestnut Hill. He built a solid MAC program at Kent State, improving nearly every year while he was there. During his last year at TCU, he turned one of the worst programs in the country into a middling Mountain West team with a few solid wins (including one over Virginia). But there’s not much data from which to judge his time at Ohio, and he’s never coached in a major conference.

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ACC Afternoon 10: 03.06.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 6th, 2013


  1. Winston-Salem Journal: Dan Collins equates Wake Forest‘s tipping point to getting easy baskets in transition. If the Demon Deacons do, they do well. If not, you get the idea. The issue with that theory is Wake Forest isn’t a team that forces turnovers. The Demon Deacons struggle more on offense than defense, so when they can score (easily or with difficulty), they perform well. Their struggles are much more complex than just getting points in transition. In their two blowout losses to Maryland, Wake Forest was beaten by Maryland’s frontcourt in College Park and Dez Wells in Winston-Salem. Maryland is also notorious for turning the ball over. Regardless, this makes me want to go back and watch some Wake Forest games to see what makes them tick.
  2. Sports on Earth: This article does a good job addressing the challenge ahead of Duke’s opponents with Ryan Kelly now back. Essentially Kelly is the linchpin on both ends of the floor: He opens the lane up for Mason Plumlee, Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon to score, but he also helps shut it down as a versatile, wily defender. Other than Kelly, Duke didn’t play that well against Miami on Saturday night. However, things clicked — though not playing the conference’s best defense helped — after a slow start against Virginia Tech on senior night.
  3. Tallahassee DemocratTerrance Shannon‘s three minutes were the bright sunshine through the rainy day at Chapel Hill. He didn’t play well, but having him back at all after his gruesome injury is terrific news. The next steps for Shannon are obviously to continue getting back into game shape. On the whole, this has been a very quiet year in the ACC injury-wise (other than Kelly’s foot). Here’s to hoping everyone stays healthy for postseason play.
  4. Boston Globe: Sunday’s upset of Boston College over Virginia was special. Dick Kelly, the Eagles’ longtime SID, was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. This year he was awarded the USBWA award for courage for his fight against the disease. Kelley still keeps in close contact with the athletic department, and after freshman Joe Rahon hit the game-winning shot, it was clear even the younger players know Kelley well.
  5. Airball Free Throw@WXMoose took the time after NC State‘s too close win at Georgia Tech to recap the game in GIFs. This may be the funniest post I’ve read all year.
  6. BC Interruption: If you’re not a diehard ACC basketball fan or a fan of Boston College, you probably don’t know about Eddie Odio. He was supposed to redshirt his freshman year but played his way into the lineup. This year he’s averaging four points in a little under 20 minutes a game. But how he gets those points is why you should know him. Odio was a “standout volleyball player.” This should tip you off that he can seriously jump. Odio’s dunks are one of the many reasons watching Boston College is more enjoyable this year. His entire game still isn’t at the ACC level, but his athleticism certainly is. If Odio can bulk up a little bit and work on his jump shot (he’s only shooting 17% from deep this season), he’ll be even more fun to watch in future seasons.
  7. Gobbler Country: Sticking with player profiles, Gobbler Country did a nice homage to Erick Green. It follows Green’s Virginia Tech career and how he started life buried on the bench as a freshman before Dorenzo Hudson’s injury gave him the chance he needed his sophomore year. This year, Green’s numbers are truly phenomenal. It’s easy to say, “Well, he’s on a bad team” and brush them off. But efficiency-wise, Green is far and above the best ACC player out there. Sure, Mason Plumlee and Shane Larkin could never come close to his usage rate. Each has too many other weapons on their respective teams. But Green deserves as much recognition as he can get and probably the ACC Player of the Year award.
  8. Baltimore Sun: Pe’Shon Howard has had a tough year. He started the year as captain and leader of a team that many thought was dangerous. Midway through the year his captaincy was revoked and he sat out Maryland’s marquee win over Duke. Howard was also plagued by season-long cold shooting with a horrible tendency to turn the ball over, and often looked lost on both ends of the floor. Still, his performance against Wake Forest looked like he’s getting back on track — especially defensively. But unlike Mark Turgeon’s problem child last season, Howard appears to be responding to his criticism and looks like he’ll be returning to College Park next year. The Terrapins will be better for it.
  9. Charlotte Observer: If you’ve watched much of Duke this season, it’s hard not to notice the bond between Mike Krzyzewski and Mason Plumlee. Plumlee may still make some of the same errors he did as a freshman and sophomore, but they’re not from a lack of effort. He’s extremely focused this season (on winning a national championship), and his enthusiasm has helped to build a great relationship with the Duke coach. I’m not sure there’s a Plumlee-esque senior leader on next year’s team, but if I had to guess that person would be Tyler Thornton.
  10. Chattanooga Times Free Press: The last line of this story about Shane Larkin may reveal the real reason Larkin quit baseball:

“Shane used to always be known as my son,” the elder Larkin told ESPN last week. “Now I’m known as Shane’s father, and I couldn’t be happier about that.”

But whatever the true reason, Larkin is phenomenal. He’s the most exciting, important and consistent player on the ACC’s best team. If he wants to truly cement his legacy in Coral Gables, he needs to lead his team to the ACC Championship and/or the Elite Eight. Truthfully, his legacy as a ‘Cane is already safe, but those achievements would put him over the top. He’s also got the best team he’ll ever have at Miami, so now is the time.

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Conference Report Card: ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 28th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

Conference Recap

The ACC had a down year though North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall-led resurgence and Florida State’s Sweet Sixteen appearance helped a little bit. Before and during the season, Duke was the runaway favorite in the conference: Kyrie Irving’s toe injury obviously was the pivotal point that brought Duke back down to earth. Equally pivotal (in the reverse direction) was Marshall’s move to starting point guard for North Carolina. With Larry Drew II at the helm, there is no way the Tar Heels could have come close to surpassing Duke for the regular season title. The down year did not really surprise most people, and despite lofty preseason expectations (read: people forgot how highly rated North Carolina was to start the season) I think the perception is that the league at least lived up to preseason expectations with a couple of notable exceptions: NC State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. NC State had NCAA Tournament talent, but did not come anywhere close to sniffing the Big Dance; Wake was arguably the worst major conference team in the country; and Virginia Tech once again found itself very highly seeded in the NIT. On the flip side, Clemson and Florida State both exceeded expectations.

Roy Williams and Kendall Marshall led a mid-season resurgence that resulted in a trip the Elite Eight. (News Observer/Robert Willitt)

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