Monday's stomping of UMass-Lowell wasn't the true midpoint of the basketball season, but it was the end of the growth stage. Now BC faces the ACC schedule (and one game against Harvard). It is time to see how they compete and see how Christian coaches when facing the best teams and coaches in the country. This is a pieced together team in a transition year, but it is still critical for them to show toughness and smarts in ACC games. Here are things to consider before we play Duke this weekend:
1. Can Hanlan take over?
Hanlan carried huge expectations into the season. I certainly drank and poured the Kool-Aid. He hasn't been bad but he hasn't been elite and he hasn't been consistently dominant. We are not as offensively focused this year and he's still learning to play with the new guys, but he's been too passive at times. Just improving his shooting 3-point and free throw shooting to his historical norms would be a huge difference. Missing those shots isn't about scheme or coaching. It is just about being cold or overthinking things. If Hanlan wants to test the NBA waters again, he's going to have to kick it up another gear.
2. How short is our rotation?
We've tested plenty of rotations, but we are probably our best when we have Brown, Hanlan, Batten, Heckmann and Clifford on the floor. While not mini, that is still a smallish five. And though small, it doesn't create offensive mismatches in our favor that some small ball teams might. There had been high hopes for Jackson, but he hasn't shown much since coming back from injury. Owens and Odio have been inconsistent. How much time do any of them deserve?
3. Can they survive the early part of the ACC schedule?
There are no easy games in the ACC, but we get most of the best teams early. Does this team have the mental toughness to survive that and stay competitive against the lesser ACC teams in February? Donahue's teams did not. I think how they respond and fight will tell us about Christian's coaching.