Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Skinner in the First Round

This season marks Skinner’s sixth Tournament appearance as Head Coach at BC. While he has a pretty good record of advancing past the first round, it hasn’t always been easy. Here is a short trip down memory lane. (I apologize if I get anyone a little nauseous our uneasy about this Thursday.)

BC 68, Southern Utah 65. March 15, 2001. Uniondale, NY. This was Al’s breakout season. BC entered the tournament hot, having won the Big East and received a 3 seed in the East. Southern Utah was making their first NCAA appearance ever…and we almost made them a classic Cinderella. Things were bad right away. Bell didn’t make a field goal in the first half and BC trailed by six at the break. Bell was not alone in his off night. The team as a whole shot 32%. Fortunately we rebounded well. In the second half Bell, Sidney, Agbia and Harley all grabbed clutch rebounds as BC tied the game up. The final minutes were agonizing. We’d go ahead and they would tie it up. Singletary made a huge 3 with a minute left to give us the lead. Southern Utah answered with a quick basket. Troy made two free throws to move the lead back to 3. One final shot…and Southern Utah rimmed out a 3 that would have tied the game.

BC 57, Texas 70. March 15, 2002. Dallas, TX. This is one of those games where the final score is not indicative of how lopsided the game was. Texas blew us away early and got the lead up to 22 in the first half. BC was a bubble team to begin with and backed into the tournament. Troy played well but Sidney did not, going 0 for 9 (Sidney was never the same after he broke his jaw during the 2002 season). In the second half BC narrowed the lead before Texas pulled away for good. There was a lot of unrest about having to play Texas in Dallas. Many felt like the Big East wasn’t doing enough to help BC regarding seeds or placement. Regardless of the distractions, the 2002 team played with a malaise that they could never seem to shake and the flat effort in this game was the perfect example of it.

BC 58, Utah 51. March 19, 2003. Milwaukee, WI. After missing the tourney in 2003, the 2004 team surprised everyone with a strong season and good seed in the Big Dance. Probably the best first round effort of the Skinner BC teams considering the opponent. (Utah was led by Andrew Bogut.) BC controlled early against a good, but not great Utah team. The Utes made it interesting towards the end, but BC grabbed their misses and kept making our foul shots. Solid day from Smith with 19 points.

BC 85, Penn 65. March 17, 2005. Cleveland, OH. As expected BC rolled here. The Ivy League Champion Quakers were overmatched. We were more athletic and bigger upfront. Dudley had a bid day. Smith had a big day and we were making our 3s. It helped that Penn was stone cold.

BC 88, Pacific 76. March 16, 2006. Salt Lake City, UT. I still have nightmares about this game. We were in control late only to squander a 14 point lead. Pacific tied the game with a 3 when we left there best player wide open with 9 seconds. OT seemed like a lost cause. BC was down early. Yet we clawed back and Smith made a pair of clutch free throws to send it to double OT. At this point every BC fan in the country had thrown up their lunch. Fortunately BC didn’t mess around in the second overtime. Williams made a few big plays and we pulled away for good.

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