Wednesday, February 09, 2005

First loss, hope and recruiting update

It sucks to lose. It sucks to lose to Notre Dame. It sucks to lose during your first national television appearance. It sucks to lose after everyone was predicting the loss, including your opponent’s former coach. It sucks to lose after reaching No. 4 in the rankings (the highest ranking in school history). It sucks to lose – period.

That said…I didn’t expect BC to go undefeated. And that it took a lights out shooting night from Notre Dame including a blitzkrieg from beyond the arc, a few questionable whistles down the stretch and Craig Smith’s worst shooting performance of the season to beat us by three points. This team has heart. It needed a test. It needed to work on its perimeter defense (which looked like a Jim O’Brien team). And it needed to get this stinker out of the way.

They now have a week off to regroup. I think this team can put together another run or two and go far into the tournament. Regardless of how the season ends, they deserve a round of applause for this tremendous start and streak (the best in school and Big East history).

It has been a busy week so I wasn’t able to chime in on recruiting. According to the experts it was a down year for BC. They had limited scholarships and did not target as many Five-Stars. The "one that got away" was Jersey linebacker Brian Cushing. Supposedly it came down to BC and USC and he is now a Trojan. It is hard to compete with LA and championships. Recruiting is funny business. I think the rankings have some merit but are far from fool proof. Over the last decade many teams have won championships without marquee classes. As my former colleague Stewart Mandel pointed out, if you reranked in hindsight based on NFL talent and on field accomplishments, things would be different. I have more to say about recruiting in general and past travails, but will save it for a slower time. I am also trying to solidify an interview with a recruiting expert. One final note about recruiting…I was surprised with Mike Vega’s slant on the class. He took the let down angle, which in rare for him. Shalin has slipped in more criticism of TOB the past few seasons, but Vega has more consistently towed the party line. Maybe after eight seasons with TOB, they are finally feeling secure in what they can get away with and still have access.

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