Sunday, March 01, 2015

Hockey is a 3 seed and other links

After things shook out over the weekend -- including BC's split with Notre Dame -- Men's Hockey fell to the 3 seed in the Hockey East Tournament. That is still enough to give them a bye into the Quarterfinals.

The Women's Hockey team crushed Providence in the opener of their Hockey East Tournament.

Baseball improved to 4-6 with their win over Kansas.

Women's Lacrosse upset Syracuse, ending a 0-13 streak against the Orange.

Women's Basketball beat Virginia Tech on some last second free throws.

Johnny Gaudreau is excited about the chance to play in front of his hometown crowd.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Woo Hoo! We won!

That's how it is supposed to be! BC played well in nearly all aspects of the game and beat NC State comfortably. If BC came to play, the Wolfpack clearly did not. This is the same NC State that beat Duke and UNC. Clearly they expected to coast and ran into a focused BC. The best takeaway from the game was that BC played the full 40 minutes and didn't let the W slip away.

-- Defensive rebounding. The best part of the defense was limiting second chance. Leading the charge were our guards. I don't know if Christian told them to hang back and crash the boards, or if this was just a random day, but it made a huge difference.
-- Not folding late. Admit it: when Clifford fouled out with plenty of time left, we all got a bit nervous. But BC converted enough free throws and didn't make too many mistakes.
-- Hanlan stays hot. He didn't score 30, but he still played really well. His early 3s set the tone. He also did more defensively than he's done of late.

One win can make a huge difference. I now believe the guys can make it two in a row when they take on VT Tuesday.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Hockey take game one from ND

BC took an early lead against Notre Dame and then held on for the final two periods for a critical 2-0 victory. McChosen and Tuch scored the goals and Demko made 35 saves. The two teams meet again on Saturday.

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Tweets of the Week


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Themes of Spring Practice

Spring Practice is here and Addazio has a lot to accomplish. He keeps telling the media what he's building long term, but in the short term BC needs to use these few practices to lay the foundation for next season's offense.

The presumptive favorite remains Darius Wade. He was the more sought after recruit. He is the only QB on the roster with playing experience and he has the most upside. When talking to the media, Addazio will occasionally slip and let the world know that it is Wade's job. However, in preparation for this set of practices Addazio seems to be keeping an open mind with regard to Flutie and newcomer Elijah Robinson. I expect Wade to win the job and be our starter next season. But he needs to show that he's up to the job this spring. Despite looking around, Addazio did not bring in a 5th year QB over him. The staff calmed themselves about rumors regarding a Wade transfer. Addazio is basically all in on the young QB. Now Wade needs to show improvement and leadership and get this team ready for the rest of spring ball and summer workouts. If he stumbles, Flutie seems like the next guy up.

The Offense
Addazio couldn't have been more clear on Signing Day that this was not Ryan Day's Offense, but rather his. And it will remain his scheme under new Offensive Coordinator Todd Fitch. But that is also easier said than done. The logistics and dynamics of having a new play caller will impact the team. They start working the kinks out now in practice. Addazio wants to run, so that is not going to change. But the Fitch/Wade combo should lead to more passing and explosive plays from the passing game. Hopefully we will see that in the Spring Game.

In all his recent interviews, Addazio is sure to mention the young, inexperienced offensive line. I don't know if he is purposefully lowering expectations or has real concern. It is probably a little of both. Regardless of what the coach fears, I am not worried about the OLine. Harris Williams should be back and healthy in time for the season. The other guys have more experience than the media is letting on. Bowen played a lot last season and looked good in jumbo packages. Baker also looked good in limited duty. Potential Center Frank Taylor remains the most untested. But I think OL is the one area where a good position coach can make a huge difference with the available talent. Justin Frye put together very solid squads his first two years at BC. I have complete faith he will do it again with the guys he has available. Will they dominate? Maybe not, but I am sure they will run block well enough for BC to remain competitive and productive.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How is Hanlan's hot streak impacting his draft prospects?

Olivier Hanlan tested the waters for the NBA Draft last year and wisely decided to return to BC. With his midseason slump it seemed like he would also spend his Senior season at the Heights. Now that he's on fire, many -- including me -- are speculating that he'll enter the Draft this spring. But it is far from a sure thing.

According to Draft Express, Hanlan is still not among the Top 100 Prospects for this Draft. Draft Express also slots him as just the 21st best Junior. (Draft Express updates their rankings daily.) ranks Hanlan as the 89th best prospect.

Now neither site is a guarantee nor do they address the needs that various NBA teams may have for a scoring combo guard. It is also likely that their rankings are lagging behind the growing consensus regarding Hanlan.

There is still plenty of basketball to play and Hanlan's final weeks will impact how NBA teams feel about him. For selfish reasons I don't want him to leave, but also think it is probably in his best interest. How high is he going shoot up the boards? Maybe he'll become a borderline 1st round prospect. If that is his status, he might as well return, get his degree and try to become a first-round lock.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Something special and something miserable

Olivier Hanlan is in the middle of a hot streak that has rarely been seen around BC. He scored 39 against Pitt despite getting double-teamed on nearly every possession. Yet his heroics were not enough as BC lost 71-65. The best thing about the past two weeks is that any concerns about Hanlan's shooting is over. His percentages from 3 and on FTs have improved and are reverting to his norms from the past two years. The guy is an elite offensive player, regardless of the coach, the system and certainly the players around him. This team is terrible. I would say just give the ball the Hanlan, but that is what they are doing at this point. The problem comes when the other guys have to play defense, grab a rebound or pass. BC was in a big hole early just from stupid plays from Brown, Heckmann and Clifford. If not for Hanlan this team would be completely unwatchable.

The depleted bench cannot score. We know that. But against any team with size, we are cooked. Carney plays hard but is over matched. Odio has athleticism, but is still not a complete player.

Heckmann is a mess. When he's off, he needs to get closer to the basket and help on the boards.

Brown's stats are bit misleading. He was our second leading scorer, but did not have a good night. The turnovers and whining to the refs hurt the team.

As the season comes to a close, I am going to keep watching to see what Hanlan might do next. I am also aware that these might be his last few weeks as an Eagle.

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Freshman ineligibility not good for BC

The Pac 12 and Big Ten are considering (but really trying to build national consensus) on a plan to make all football and basketball freshman ineligible. They are doing it under the guise that this is best for the student athlete. That's nonsense. This is just another move by coaches and administrators to get power back from the athletes and to a lessor extent SEC Football. Based on our protest vote against paying athletes, I am sure BC will gladly join the movement, but I think it is bad for the athletes and bad for BC.

As much as I turn a blind eye, football and basketball players are exploited in the current system. The education they receive is watered down and at times a complete academic fraud. There is very little free market movement and most of these guys don't belong in college and don't want to be in a classroom. The NFL and NBA get a free developmental league and the colleges get money and exposure. The majority of the college athletes get nothing. In an ideal world, there would be real basketball and football minor leagues and college sports could operate as an alternative path, like they do in baseball, hockey and soccer. Restricting players in those two sports gives guys without options, even fewer options to develop their skills or find their true value. If you really are an elite star and good enough to play at 18, shouldn't you be on the field getting better and raising your value? Sitting for a year -- even if you are still practicing and going to class -- stunts the growth of the truly elite.

While the Pac 12 and Big Ten and probably many members of the ACC believe that this will restrict the SEC's dominance, I think it will just lead to more corruption and that hurts BC too. In theory limiting freshman play will lead to more talent distribution. But really I think the SEC schools will just churn their freshmen in other ways. More of these permanent redshirts will come down with "career threatening" injuries while practicing and be out of the Bamas and LSUs of the world after one fall, while BC sticks with our underperforming recruits. I also think you will see more players graduating high school early so that they can speed up their time to the pros and still remain young. You see players in hockey graduate and enroll early at times. Now imagine this on a national scale. Enrolling 16 and 17 year-old high school juniors will favor schools with less academic rigor and schools that are closer to the athletes home. That again favors the SEC programs in the talent rich sun belt states.

Kevin Garnett spurred a movement of NBA prospects skipping college altogether in the mid '90s. Then the NBA instituted its age limit rule and we've seen an influx of one and done players. While I don't think it is the main reason we've struggled in basketball of late, I think BC was certainly better off in the no college era than the one and done era. When the best 5 to 10 prospects are skipping college and going straight to the NBA, it makes the playing field a little more even. Kentucky and Duke are still going to get the best players who want to take the college path, but often times those guys were more raw and less of a sure thing. I hope that an ineligible rule would spark a movement of the tops prospects to the D-League or overseas, but I fear it will just mean the best basketball players will still go to Duke and UNC and just skip their senior year of high school. BC's not going to come out ahead in those scenarios.

One of BC's tools for success has been player development and education. If other schools are forced into more serious development and education paths via new rules, it takes away one of our advantages.

I don't know if any of this will pass or lead to further schisms in college sports. I just hope that BC does what's right for our student athletes and athletes in general.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recruiting confusion

Word broke this evening that BC picked up a commitment from Georgia Defensive Back Ronnie Blackmon. But before I could put up some sort of "another Eagle in Atlanta" post, the gossip changed.

After the smoke cleared, it seems like a Rivals reporter jumped the gun and a 247 recruiting analyst is saying it is not a done deal yet. This is another example of how the recruiting process is broken. If the schools were just allowed to address recruiting as it happens, there wouldn't be a cottage industry around it. Under current rules, a school cannot talk about a specific recruit until he signs a Letter of Intent. Would it harm anything if BC were able to clarify what happened with Blackmon? Of course not! The back channels from assistant coaches to recruiting writers gets the news out there anyway.

Despite the hedge from 247, the news on Blackmon is still good. He's a very good prospect in a need position in a territory we are trying to grow. I hope he does commit soon. This class is picking up a lot of momentum, and he could help rally some more prospects.

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Hockey get crucial win in Beanpot Consolation game

Normally I don't care about the Beanpot Consolation/3rd place game. If we don't win the whole thing, most BC fans rationalize the Beanpot as an unimportant non-league tournament. Monday night BC finally wrapped up its delayed 2015 Beanpot with a OT win over Harvard. And it was a win BC had to have. This team is very bubbly and needed another W with regards to ranking and resume. Now the must-win games shift to the series against Notre Dame. We always want to beat the Irish, but this year the team needs the wins to help keep the post-season thoughts alive.

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