Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Harvard? Again? Really?

This wasn't supposed to happen. The team was ready. They were supposedly focused. We were coming off an impressive string of victories. Yet we lost to Harvard again. I still can't believe it. I didn't see the game, but followed online. If you did the same, you will know how we lost -- we shot poorly and played poor defense.

Where do we go from here? Like last year, we need to regroup quickly. Our resume is spotty so we will probably be on the bubble all year. Let's hope Sanders gives this team a boost.


jablo1313 said...

An absolute disgrace. This team clearly has the talent to compete in the ACC. Al needs to switch up the lineup. I think we all know what we're going to get with Southern now: mediocre performances most of his games, with an occasional solid effort as well as an absolute bomb (like tonight) just as frequently. Its time to start giving Dunn major minutes; he may not be that much of an upgrade, but at least he looks like hes trying out there. Southern honestly looks like he is moving in slow motion half the time. I would also like to see them go small more often. Put Biko and Reggie at guard, Corey at the 3 and then some combo of Trapiani, Dunn andRavenel at the 4/5 and then run.

P.S. How do we get OUTREBOUNDED by Harvard 4 days after getting more offensive rebounds then Miami's total defensive rebounds. Its really just an effort thing. Miami has much better athletes than Harvard, we should have outrebounded them by a ton, they just didn't feel like trying.

Ry said...

It was more of the same when you think about the worst of BC hoops:
- awful energy in the arena. The fact of the matter is that not enough kids give two shits unless a big time team is coming in. It's obviously not good enough for them to show up unless it's duke or unc
- bad defense down the stretch. Reggie did a good job of sticking with Lin in the first half and it looked like we wouldn't be beat the same way. Later in the game we allowed Lin to drive and score or drive and dish at will. Southern is's tough to watch.
- after a great first half, trapani vanished. No one seemed able to find their shot on the offensive side the flex was not working and we couldn't generate scoring chances.
- bad foul shooting...again
- failure to attack the hoop. We actually got it down to a three point defecitby attacking the goal in the last minute. We should have been doing that all game.

We desperately need the inside/outside threat and athleticism of Sanders.

I can't believe we lost to that team again. It is an embarrassment.

Jeffrey said...

Yes, the loss to Harvard hurts, but let's look at the big picture. The team has no scoring depth and to be without Rakim for three weeks and still pick up wins against Miami and Michigan is pretty solid. Harvard is a good team. They shouldn't be beating us at Conte, but it will not be a resume killer. I remember watching that stacked 05-06 team struggle to beat Stony Brook at Conte, so nothing surprises me anymore with Al's teams. No more home (or any) losses out of conference the rest of the way and we'll be just fine.

desiree said...


Nick P. said...

Did we the hockey game at least?

mod10aeagle said...

Hockey beat Harvard 3-2 with a strong performance from freshman goalie Parker Milner. York is doing a brilliant thing in bringing Milner along. Not only does it give Muse rest, which he needs after undergoing off-season hip surgery, it also assures continuity in the net for a few years to come.

If you haven't seen this team play, you should. They are the antidote to the coma-inducing performance of the hoop squad. They are high-energy, fearless, tenacious, and getting better every week.

Erik said...

Nick P- Hockey won 3-2.

To get pessemistic for a moment, it would be real typical if Harvard goes on to finish 5th or 6th in the Ivy after this.

I was in class last night, got out, checked my ScoreMobile on the phone to see us down a few with 32 seconds left. I had no idea who had the ball at this point, but knew it wasn't gonna happen for us.

Ry makes the point that a dead crowd (wouldn't expect anything more based on history) doesn't do anything to help the team. These guys might be better off playing in a rowdy away crowd, at least there's adrenaline going in that scenario.

Big Jack Krack said...

Al Skinner was out-coached by Tommy Amaker - again. In terms of energy - Harvard plays in front of sparse crowds all the time - no excuse.

Hey Al - stop blaming the players all the time.

We stink.

Go BC Hockey.

Bravesbill said...

This loss is an utter disgrace for the second year in a row. Being outcoached by Tommy Amaker is pretty sad. Where's Mod to make excuses for Al now?

Eagle1 said...

Get rid of Skinner. Enough is enough.

Galvin said...

I am always so hot and cold with Skinner. Watching him during sidelines - not calling timeouts, not making necessary adjustments, teams that aren't prepared for presses, etc. - pisses me off so much. However, he does bring certain things to the table - we have generally been a successful program the past several years, despite certain obstacles. He is a quality recruiter and brings along the hidden gems. His awful flex offense does seem to give certain teams fits. I never know which way to feel about him. It's like dating an attractive crazy girl. Sometimes it's really good but she always screws you in the end.

(On a personal level I hate/love him the same way, back in 2003 on a Saturday morning Skinner threatened me with violence during a pickup game when I fouled him really hard once or twic)

mod34b said...

Not me Bravebildo

almost_paul said...

Shameful. And not all that surprising. When I saw that Harvard took UConn to the wire, I was worried about this game. Do we play Harvard next year? At least Lin is a senior.

Nice explanation of the Skinner complex, Galvin. The problem is that he approaches everything with the same laissez-faire attitude. Sometimes it serves the team well, sometimes it leads to losses against Harvard. He should understand that different situations call for different appraoches. Ironically, I've heard many stories about his firey attitude in Plex pick-up games. Too bad he can't be a player-coach, then we might see some urgency out of the Skin Man.

mod34b said...

I offer no excuses for Skinner, but rather note that while there is a pattern of losing to lowly teams right after playing a big time program, this Harvard game is not part of that patttern

If you can accept KenPom rankings, Harvard is (before last night's game) #61 and BC was #77. Harvard was supposed to beat us based on Kenpom rankings. No that's a real outrage! this year's harvard is not last year's harvard. Jsut ask UConn. The loss still sucks, don't ge tme wrong.

Our loss this year to #154 St. Joe and #67 N. Iowa are more embarrasing on an ability level (not local ego level)

Look at the last few year's whopper loses


#135 rob't morris
#243 Harvard (after beating #1 UNC)


#144 St. Louis (right after losing to highly ranked #1 Kansas)


#199 Duquensene (right after losing to #3 Kansas)

Bad loses are part of the Skinner way. and bad loses after big games is very much Skinner. He can't seem to teach kids to put the big game behind them and refocus on getting a "W." But, really, these loses wind up meaning very little for NCAA purposes. They do tickle Bravebildo's downer gene, though.

almost_paul said...

Mod, I was following you until the "these loses wind up meaning very little for NCAA purposes" comment. What do you think the tournament committee looks at when a team is on the bubble? For a team like BC, EVERY game means a LOT for NCAA purposes. Unless you think BC is going to march through the ACC and finish in the top 3 with no problem.

Opinionater said...

Excruciatingly painful! To sit there in person and witness this "fiasco" for the second straight year should qualify me for automatic Sainthood (or for Fool-of-the-Year?!)
There are many reasons we lost, but there are no excuses. While both wins and losses are "team accomplishments", the ultimate responsibility has to be borne by the coaching staff. There is no debate, Al Skinner and his staff, once again got out-coached. To put the blame anywhere else is to have "blinders" on and BC Pom-Poms and Whale Pants securely in place.

To allow Harvard to spread the floor, for 30 seconds then have Lin EASILY dribble penetrate, and either score himself or easily dish to a teammate for lay-up with nary a BC defender even in the vicinity, was, like BC, indefensible!

It was obvious that Harvard had a "plan" and executed it with a carte blanche defensive "effort" by BC. A second straight year losing to Harvard, a second (or third or more) consecutive year of player suspensions for "violations of unspecified team rules", an offense that has little or no "flex"-ibility, a porous defense (when was the last time you saw BC extend the pressure full court, use a 3-2 extended half-court trap---or any other defensive strategy to change the pace or tempo of a game?), should all add up to a Gene wake-up call.

It is time to consider other "options"!

Eagle in Brighton said...

It's one thing to have a team like that sneak up on you every 5 years, but how do you not keep focus in back-to-back seasons? This is a (relatively) mature team, with an "experienced" coach. Not to kick a man when he's down, but losses like these fall on the coaching staff, pure and simple.

Ry said...

i am fine with laying the blame for this loss on Al. But I don't think that calling for his head is the logical next step. Yeah, it happens every year that we lose games we have no business losing. But we also have won our share of pretty important regular season games and have consistently gotten ourselves to the NCAA tournament. Our record in the ACC since our arrival is nothing short of impressive.

With Al, you have to take the good with the bad. Beating Duke and UNC last year were just as much a result of good coaching and gameplanning as the Robert Morris and Duquesne losses represented the bad.

I will continue to be a fan of Al until the team consistently underperforms as opposed to punctuating the season with a couple of shitty losses. Sure it's frustrating, but the only way we can really harp on this loss is if it means us not making the tournament.

Remember, we have essentially played every game so far without our best player.

Also, as far as the violations for unspecified team rules. I can't help but think of what the alternatives are. Al gives them a long leash, they screw up and it becomes a bigger mess? I'd rather this happen then have another Sean Williams situation. Maybe I am alone there...

morrina said...

Even with Sanders in the line-up, I'm not sure we win this game. Overall lack of intensity and effort. Harvard was beating us to loose balls, outbattling for reabounds, and sprinting down the court while BC jogged behind hanging their heads. I often see, when BC gets (figuratively) punched in the face by a lesser team, they get tight and lose their confidence and it gets "into their heads." That's where you need coaching. These are 18-21 year old kids, not NBA players.

Nick P. said...

All very interesting perspectives so far in the is this Al's fault debate.

For me, I think it boils down to the players' mental toughness. A coach can only do so much to drill mental toughness into a team. At some point, the players have to be held accountable. I'm no basketball expert, but what I've consistently seen is a team that lacks real mental toughness, which has resulted in stupid decisions on the court, low energy level, etc.

Blame Al for that if you want, but he can't play the game for these guys. The players have to commit themselves to the approach being taught and be held accountable for when they screw up.

Maybe Al doesn't do a good enough job of holding them accountable, but in general the fan base seems a little to quick to blame it all on Al.

Gorgias said...

I agree with Jablo, Almost_Paul and Bravesbill and others - a shameful disgrace. This is awful and despite efforts by some, there is no silver lining, there is no excuse. The sky fell. Every other team will know how to beat BC cuz we know no adjustments will ever be made. Our lack of 2009 recruiting has been exposed too.

Do our players really think they are getitng paid to lose to guys lacking scholarships who could never ever play for the Mighty, Mighty Eagles. We should fire the bunch of players and coaches.

JC said...

Maybe BC should just quit and not play the rest of the season?

Come on, everyone has a bad night once in a while and sometimes those bad nights occur against Harvard. (Not a bad team by the way)

When Jackson hits 31% of his shots and keeps jacking'em, our opponents get to the line and we don't care about rebounding the other team, we are going to be in trouble.

Not boxing out is going to cause me to have a fit in my living room every game. During the Michigan game, my wife thought I was yelling at someone on the phone. I didn't see the Harvard game but I have a feeling, it was the same deal.

Opinionater said...

Ry, it appears that the difference between our respective assessments of the implications of the second consecutive loss to Harvard, is that you are far more accepting of mediocrity.
The repetitive "bad losses" (eg. a loss to Northeastern a few years ago costing us an NCAA berth, and now 2 consecutive losses to Harvard), the repetitive coaching issues (defense, press-break, non-utilization of timeouts, etc. etc.), the repetitive "character issues" are acceptable to you and "the price to pay" for an occasional upset of Duke or UNC, and a bid to the tournament.
Can we, should we, expect more? If we never expect more---will we ever get more?
There appears to be a philosophical "chasm" between us---and that is OK and to be respected.

CT said...

The sky didn't fall last year after the loss and it likely won't this year. Get a grip. Nobody was complaining after beating Miami. I don't think we need to be making snap judgments about the season when Sanders hasn't played.

UConn might argue that Harvard can play, too. They play G'town on the 23rd; looking forward to that result.

But to be fair, Al has this year and next, in my mind, to make a serious run into the second weekend of the tournament or else it's time to amicably part ways.

Expectations for the bball program should be higher, though. Especially with this team. What's troubling thus far is a decided lack of improvement in the same things that plagued this team last season and others. There's still time to get it together, but we need to see something different from Skinner. "Different" and "Skinner" seem to be like oil and water.

Or maybe, like someone said, this group of guys just isn't headstrong, in which case it won't matter what anyone says to them. And, in that case too, Skinner is responsible.

DustBowl said...

The OPINIONATOR refuses to accept MEDIOCRITY "You are far more accepting of mediocrity," lectures the proud OPINIONATOR!

The OPINIONATOR will accept nothing less than the best, although it "is OK and to be respected" that feeble and weak minds can accept something less.

There will be no compromise by the OPINIONATOR.

He is the OPINIONATOR (cousin of Gigantor).


(what a pompous arse!)

Bravesbill said...

Dustbowl--is asking BC to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament once every decade or so asking too much in your eyes? Look at all the teams that have advanced into the second weekend over the last decade. There are a ton of them including traditionally weak programs like the George Washingtons and Bradleys of the world. And then there is BC. Despite having great teams, it still hasn't been able to advance into the second weekend under Al's tenure. It's pretty sad really. BC basketball will always be mediocre until it can get over the hump and at least advance into the second weekend.

And CT--A snap judgment might be made if it was solely based on BC's loss to Harvard this year. However, when you throw in the loss to NIU and St. Joe's, the Harvard loss becomes a microcosm of the entire season so far. A talented, but inconsistent and horribly coached team. And BC does not have much of a leash any more. Any more bad losses might give them the boot from the Tournament come March.

Raj said...

I'm not so upset with the loss yesterday as I am with a 6-3 record this early in the season. This could be a result of Rakim going down so early, but then again it might not have anything to do with that. We'll be able to compare our team with Rakim just before acc play and have a much better understanding of these losses.

That being said, asking for Skinner's job at this point is a little ridiculous, and maybe just an over reaction to a game we should have won. Everyone has their own twists on why we lost and why we aren't living up to expectations, but its not one thing. We are a team that has been built around one focus piece for the past 8 years- Troy Bell, Craig Smith, Jared Dudley, Tyrese Rice, etc. We lost our most talented player early in the season and we arent even sure he's a "go-to" player, so be patient let this team mature this season. Remember we have the same team next year with some decent recruits coming in. Support them, whether that means accepting mediocrity or not. I hate to break it to some fans, but we beat UNC and Duke last year, but that doesn't mean we are even close to as talented as some other ACC schools. We play a style that allows us to compete with almost everyone, no matter what the personnel, that's a good thing and a sign of a decent coach. He's done a lot with these players, a lot of players who other big programs wouldnt have sit on their bench.

Ry said...

Maybe you are right that I am more accepting of mediocrity. My freshman year we won 6 games, including only 3 Big East contests. I went to every game that year (including a loss to Harvard on a buzzer beater 3 pointer) and maybe I still carry a bit of that with me as I watch these teams now. Maybe I am just happy that we have a team that can compete in the ACC without getting embarrassed, which we have done since moving over in spite of our bad losses. I think Al carries an attitude that is a lot like Jerry York, oddly enough. Every year, the hockey team goes through some growing pains as they come to find their identity. Losses in hockey can be almost as big as losses in hoops come tourney time, but they happen and inevitably York's teams compete and are better for it. At this point, I don't have any reason to think that this year will be any different from previous years with this team.

I don't see the character issues that you are talking about. I would argue the opposite. Every school is going to have situations where kids get involved in bullshit off the court. It is how that gets dealt with that is telling. I actually think that Al has a quick trigger with the suspensions. I don't think the quality of the character is in question, I actually think that he does a decent job of handling his teams. The bad eggs get shown the door (Akida McClain, Sean Williams, Ryan Sidney, Andrew Bryant). I would be more concerned if those guys stuck around. The suspensions this year apparently had something to do with academics, not pot-smoking or passing counterfeit bills...there is a huge difference to be made there. Believe me, I don't think either of us want to be rooting for a team filled with thugs.

Of course I expect more, but I am also realistic and I'm not ready to throw in the towel on Al or the season yet.

Groundhog said...

As a lifelong St. John's fan and only a BC fan since '04, i might be a little easier on Al Skinner as i have witnessed what a true collapse into mediocrity looks like. I'm too lazy to pull up the stats, but the fact is BC basketball has been able to hang with ACC powerhouses for a couple of years now. A lot of other programs would kill to have a guy like Skinner. Let's see how this team fares in ACC play before calling for his head.

CT said...

BBill--fair enough. I agree we're on thin ice. The committee will take into account that Sanders wasn't around--if Sanders' presence results in a tourney-worthy team. I'm not convinced that losing to NIU was a bad loss.

I understand you're no fan of Skinner. Okay. There's certainly plenty of evidence for both sides of that issue.

My only point would be that we need to see what this team is like in six weeks before cancelling ACC Tourney plans.

Perhaps Sanders will offer some leadership. One can only hope...

By the way, when is Sanders due to return?

eagleboston said...

Yahoo is reporting that Brian Kelly is the new coach at Notre Dame. This guy is the real deal and a proven winner as head coach at 3 schools. I'm glad we only play them once as I absolutely loath losing to the Irish. We are getting ND in his first season and that wil be the best shot to beat a Kelly-coached Irish team. If he can guide Cincy to an undefeated season, imagine what he can do with ND.

mod34b said...

Yep, Kelly to ND. Great choice for ND. Guy is a winner.

Here is the kind of line from an AP story that makes my hair stand on end (or should i say gets my Irish up):

"Kelly has long admired Notre Dame, which seemed to be the perfect fit for an Irish Catholic coach raised in the Boston area."


ND should be the fighting slavs, or fighting germans not the Fighting Irish (a a name of a civil war brigade appropriated by ND). An Irish Catholic from Boston should be admiring BC.

Just one of those really aggravating things about the ND myth. BC is the school built by Irish Catholics for Irish Catholics (originally). ND was not. ND did not become the Fighting Irish until 80 years after it was founded! 80 years!!

But it is a fact that is just completely ignored by all media.

Oh, forget it, I am banging my head against a brick wall! @%$&@#$&#$

Coast said...

Behind the Fighting Irish nickname

Ry said...

as of last sunday, sanders was supposedly eyeballing sunday vs his home state URI team as a return date

haven't heard a more recent update than that

Opinionater said...

DustBowl, sorry to see you took such offense (or at the very least misinterpreted) my attempt to "reconcile" with Ry and to summarize our very different opinions. I thought this blog was about expressing opinions and respecting others? Ry, obviously understood, and posted a classy response. If I were to lecture, it would be to you for your trip to the gutter with the disrespectful "pompous arse" comment. Unnecessary, but very telling.

DustBowl said...


I guess Pompous arse (OMG arse!!)is too much for a priss like you.

maybe phony is better. Your language and tone scream out P-H-O-N-Y.