Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chip Kelly -- influencing BC football from 3,000 miles away

Outside of Lane Kiffin, no new coach is getting as much press as Oregon's Chip Kelly. Considered the latest college football offensive genius, Kelly is the next big thing. Lost among all the hoopla is that the only staff outside the Pac 10 with three of Kelly's former colleagues and proteges is Boston College. What does it mean when you have the pupils working under a different leader and coordinator. We will soon find out, but first let's look at the Kelly guys in Boston and what they bring to the table.

Ryan Day is the known commodity among BC fans. Just 30, he is considered the rising star. He reportedly turned down opportunities from Mississippi State, Florida, and the chance to join Jags in Tampa. Kelly even makes reference to Day joining him in Eugene if not for some timing and move issues. While at BC Day has been a very good position coach and a hard working recruiter. While nothing has ever been formally announced, it is rumored that he'll be the next offensive coordinator when Tranquill retires (for the third time).

Day gets all the pub, but Sean Devine has the resume closest to Kelly's. In fact, he took over the play calling duties at UNH when Kelly left for Oregon. While he never reached the offensive heights Kelly did in 2005, UNH was 17-8 in Devine's two seasons as OC and scored as often as most of Kelly's Wildcat offenses. Devine won't be calling plays, but he will be using the same blocking scheme as the Ducks. This is important as it provides continuity to Jack Bicknell Jr.'s (yet another former UNH assistant) teachings. Having spent the most time actually working with Kelly, you hope that Devine will share the same drive to learn about other offenses and relentlessly recruit. The BC OLine coaching job has been a great springboard in the past. Combine that with everyone looking for the next Chip Kelly and you have to consider this a great platform for Devine's career. If his veteran line plays well, he'll join Day as a hot coaching name.

The final branch of the Kelly tree in Boston is Mike Dawson. Dawson spent most of his time at UNH on the defensive side of the ball, so he had the fortune (or misfortune) of going against Kelly every day in practice. Those experiments, gadgets and new looks -- Mike Dawson saw them first. The UNH defenses were never dominant, but that might not be relevant for Dawson's new role as special teams coordinator. You'd hope Kelly's experimentation bug bit him and he brings fresh ideas and good excecution to a BC unit that he struggled under the past two staffs.

What does it all mean? BC has disciples of the hottest name in college football working under one of the most experienced Head Coach-Offensive Coordinator combos in DIA. These guys may all share Kelly's ambition and perspective, but a big reason for Kelly's success was the encouragement and freedom he received from Sean McDonnell and later Mike Bellotti. Will Spaz and Tranq do the same for their young turks? Ideally these guys will have the freedom and BC will succeed and eventually have a transition like Oregon's. How Spaz mentors and works with the UNH clique will probably be the biggest factor in the success of failure of his first two seasons. Let's hope he gives Bellotti a call.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: Dallas Elmore and Evan Ravenel

Life as a player under Al Skinner is usually straight forward. You either play regularly or you don't. Skinner keeps a tight rotation and it only gets tighter as the games get more important. This year offered a variation from that model in the form of Dallas Elmore and Evan Ravenel. They played in 12 and 14 games respectively. Often when a young player gets benched like that in Skinner's world, their BC careers are over. They know future playing time is not coming so they transfer elsewhere. However, that doesn't seem to be the case with Elmore and Ravenel. Both didn't play for particular reasons and both have opportunities heading into next year.

Elmore only played 110 minutes. Most of it was against the weaker portion of the schedule, but when he played, he played well. He was productive enough and was a capable defender. He didn't convert many of his few 3 attempts (which was supposed to be a strength) but didn't seem lost or hopeless. He would have played more on a team that was less crowded on the wings. His PT was also hurt by the unexpected rebirth of Tyler Roche. If Elmore works on his handle and improves his outside shooting, he should see the floor more next season. Rice's departure means that minutes Jackson and Paris logged at the 2 spot will now shift to the point. Elmore will be behind Raji, Roche, and Sanders for minutes, but he can still be add a bit of size and a mid to long range touch that Raji doesn't have. If he needs a role model, he only needs to turn to Courtney Dunn. Dunn played even less than Elmore during his freshmen year, yet logged 368 minutes this season and saw action in 29 games.

The other player to get an incomplete was Evan Ravenel. He also looked promising in his debut stretch. In the second half of the season he didn't see the floor. The school will never provide an official reason for the DNPs, but the recurrent rumor was his bench time was related to struggles in the classroom. When he played he showed good defensive instincts. If he can become an efficient rebounder, BC would suddenly have more options on the front line.

With no impact player scheduled to arrive at the Heights next fall Elmore and Ravenel are all we have in the way of new blood and new looks. If they do the right things on and off the court there is no reason to think that they won't both be regular contributors next year. For now they get a pass on 2008-2009.

Season Grade: Incomplete

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Final Four, Frozen Four, WNIT Semis!

The women won again! I am not trying to generate false enthusiasm. I am genuinely excited for the women's basketball team. Like the men's team they faced many questions heading into the season. New coach, still young team, etc. They didn't have the highs that Al's guys did, but they put together a nice season. There was disappointment about the NCAA snub. They could have packed it in. Instead they are playing good basketball and are headed to the Semifinals of the WNIT. Unlike the men's NIT, there's no trip to MSG. Instead they get another home game at Conte Wednesday against South Florida. Go out and support the women.

Eagle Insider continued their Q&A sessions with incoming freshman. This time we learn more about Mike Naples.

Here is another BC student blog. Good luck and welcome to the fray.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tough day for baseball and other links

After shelling Clemson Friday, BC looked to win another ACC series on Saturday. However, the Tigers won both ends of the double header.

Francois continues to gain NFL interest.

I answered a few questions for ACC Sports about the end of the basketball season and Jags-Gene-Spaz.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Women keep trucking in WNIT and other links

The BC women beat St. John's yesterday to advance to the next round of the WNIT. They host Georgetown Sunday. If you haven't been to a women's game this year, go out and support the gals. They are the only ones still playing!

In football news, Steve Aponavicius is officially coming back and Harris has a new number.

College Football News started posting the first of their spring previews.

Nick Petrecki is passing on his final two years of eligibility and will turn pro. He's part of the Sharks organization.

Is anyone surprised that HD doesn't think BC will be in the top half of the division. This will be a running theme from most writers this spring.

USA Hockey added BC stars Kelli Stack and Molly Schaus to their roster.

Sorry Indiana or Kansas but when it comes to college hoops you are not as popular as BC! Clearly this wasn't a great poll or based on TV ratings or dollars spent. But I'll take it. (Thanks to BC Mike for the link.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Holy Cross upsets the baseball team and other links

We don't play them in major sports, but Holy Cross still loves to play spoiler to our teams. The Crusaders took the baseball team down a notch yesterday. As a side note, we really need to add them back to the basketball schedule.

Speaking of schedules, the basketball team might get Villanova back on our slate. This makes sense in many ways and I am sure our Philly area fans would enjoy the short road trip.

His combine performance hurt his status, but Kevin Akins is still getting strong consideration from NFL teams.

Could Ryan being throwing to Purvis again? The Falcons took a look at one of Matty's favorite targets.

HD held a Q&A with Montel Harris. I'll have more thoughts on this later.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tourney in Boston and other links

Boston, in large part because of BC's work as a host school, is holding an NCAA regional for the first time. It looks like it will be a big success financially.

The expectations will be a little different for the basketball team next year.

Nathan Gerbe is hoping to extend his strong season into the playoffs.

How cool would it be for Jamie Silva to show up at your school's career day? (Thanks to John for the link.)

Remember Tom Dienhart and his ongoing spin for TOB? He's back overstating TOB's accomplishments and diminishing the latest BC coach. What does a BC coach have to do to register with this guy? And how does TOB keep having losing seasons at NC State yet keep moving up these lists?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women win and other links

BC beat BU to advance to the third round of the WNIT. Doesn't change what happened Friday night, but hey, we beat BU and won a basketball game. The Eagles take on St. John's next.

This blogger thinks that Al Skinner is the fourth best coach in the ACC. The only guys ahead of him have won national championships.

Catching up with new father Dan Koppen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stars, Skinner, and winning differently next season

This season validated many things around BC basketball. It showed that last year was a temporary setback due to rebuilding. It showed that BC could win in the ACC with a young team. And finally it showed that BC could win if Rice got more of his teammates involved. But as we all read in the run up to the tournament, opposing coaches and fans still felt Rice was the key to the team. Friday night USC stopped Rice and therefore stopped BC. But I don't think any of us believe it was that simple.

Rice is now gone and Skinner's squad will be very different next year. For the first time in a long time BC won't have a proven star returning. In fact next year will be the first time since 1999-2000 that BC will enter the basketball season without a player who has earned league honors. None of the super sophs, Roche or Jackson have been named to ACC rookie teams, defensive teams or all conference teams. The only player to get any sort of recognition is Joe Trapani, but that comes with a major asterisk since his America East All-Rookie Team honors had nothing to do with his BC career.

Stars have served Skinner well. Each year he took his scheme and adjusted it to the talents of his best players. He also let the under recruited, late bloomers lead the team emotionally and through example. Despite our occasional frustrations with how the team deferred to these different stars, the program worked. BC kept finding and installing great players and kept winning.

The current mix of players breaks that model. The six sophs (and even Reggie Jackson) are a different breed of BC recruits. They are not McDonald's All Americans, but all had solid offers from major conferences. None were as unheralded as Bell or Dudley. They also all came in together. Prior to that BC had small classes that saw usually just one star emerge. These guys have a bond that prior classes didn't. They also will share the load in ways previous teams did not.

I don't mean to limit any of the guys we have returning. I think more than one will get all league honors before their BC careers are over. You could argue that Sanders and Jackson were overlooked this year. But there is no one yet who has shown the consistency to be considered a star. Some of the clutch moments are a good foundation for stardom. You need a pile of game changing moments to be considered a star.

I actually think the team concept will take BC further than any of the previous Skinner years. Next year Al will have one of the most experienced, versatile and deepest teams in the ACC. Not dominant in any facet, but good enough in all. And most importantly, unless there is a late flyer or some one has a change of heart, BC will not be bringing in any significant recruit. Barring transfers and a little more Ravenal and Ellmore sprinkled in, what you see is what you get for BC basketball. Can they do it? I think so. In a way, I think they outgrew Rice this year. Friday's struggles were a learning tool and a transition. These guys now have the off season to bet better, work together and show that there is more to BC than just a star system.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Baseball brings a bright spot to the weekend and other links

It wasn't all bad news this weekend. The baseball team captured another ACC series, this time winning two out of three in College Park. Former BC pitcher Joe Martinez is hoping to make the Giants starting rotation.

The late push was not enough for the men's hockey team. They did not get an at-large invite to the NCAA, so Jerry York's current streak of Frozen Fours will come to an end. Like the basketball team's bounce back, I am pretty sure that

Tony Barnhart took an early look at next season's Atlantic Division.

Julian Benbow was a breath of fresh air to the Globe's basketball coverage this season. He filed a final report on Skinner's hopes for next year.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A day later

Still not ready for any real analysis, but wanted to weigh in quickly on the debate going on in the comment section of the previous post and on both message boards. Friday night was frustrating and the second half was not a good 20 minutes of basketball, but on a whole, this season was a huge success. We are ahead of schedule with our six sophomores. We hit a hot team and didn't fight back. That stinks, but overall there is a ton of encouraging things to take away from this past month and this season. I think Al is the perfect coach for BC and actually under appreciated. Is he perfect? No. But he is a great coach.

Everyone take breath. This will be a long offseason and we can breakdown all aspects of this team.

Friday, March 20, 2009


We played our style in the first half. They played their style in the second. It didn't help that we spent long stretches in a daze. Thank you Tyrese Rice for four good years. I wish your era had a different ending. I'll have more on him, this season and the future in the coming weeks. More thoughtful game commentary this weekend and hopefully some good hockey news (the hockey game took a turn for the worse quickly).

In-game comments post: USC (NCAA Opening Round)

Last hurrah or the start of something big? We will find out shortly. Oh, and there is a pretty big hockey game too. Let's go 2-0 tonight!

I will not be online during the game. Leave your comments below.

Shaughnessy on the bandwagon (sort of) and other links

Shaughnessy filled this article with plenty of backhanded compliments. Despite the cheap shots, I think he is right -- BC is the only true big time program in Boston for football and hoops. I also think Dan's tone has softened since his son became an Eagle.

Craig Smith is still not over our last trip to the Metrodome.

A few more facts about the game.

We are not a top seed, but Baldwin is considered one of the power players in the tourney.

More on BC-BU from NESN.com. (Thanks to Nick P. for the link.)

I doubted at first, but now I believe that BJ could go top 5.

NCAA Tournament Game Watches

I didn't get many notes about Game Watches. Please be sure to send any additional events or post in the comments.

Minnesota PREGAME

The Restaurant Max (1st floor of Hotel Minneapolis)
215 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
612. 340.0303
**Complimentary Valet Parking after 4:00pm

Atlanta Game Watch
300 Marietta St

Denver Game Watch

Wyman's No. 5.
2037 E. 13th Ave,
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 996-0842

New York City (unofficial) Game Watch
Hairy Monk
25th and 3rd Avenue

Philadelphia Game Watch
Field House
1150 Filbert St
Philadelphia, PA

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Guest Hockey Blogger: Mook gets us ready for BC-BU

Mook's back and he's got some opinions on BC's huge weekend against BU. A good showing can get us off the NCAA bubble. Here are his answers to my questions.

1. BC has played well the past two weeks. What is the difference between now and their midseason swoon?

Mook Williams: Goaltending, skating, and offensive philosophy.

John Muse is smelling the postseason, and that raw scent turns him into a monster between the pipes. This guy plays for clutch games, and probably can't even fake it during the middle of the season. Everything about Muse looks better recently, from his positioning to his reflexes. Muse is sharp right now, and of course a sharp goaltender will make a world of difference for any hockey team.

BC is skating like they should be. There is a lot of power in those strides, and they are beating defenders at a much higher rate than during the midseason doldrums. THIS is what we have all come to expect from BC teams, year in and year out. Watching them move up and down the ice last week, oftentimes right past UNH defenders, was a thing of beauty.

And maybe going hand-in-hand with the boost to their skating comes an improved and more practical offensive philosophy. Guys are getting into the slot more, getting in front of the goalie, and not trying to make the fancy play. There appears to be less cycling and more aggressive lines taken straight to the net. Now cycling typically is a trademark of a good Jerry York team, but perhaps this year the coaching staff realized that it wouldn't work with this group of players, and have simplified things. I watched this team generate about seven odd-man rushes in the third period against UNH in Game 1 of that short series. Although they converted none of these rushes, the fact that they kept generating them, and kept focusing on getting to the slot and the net, was very impressive. I'm excited to see this brand of hockey against BU.

2. BC is 0-2-1 against BU this year and only scored 3 goals total in the games. Was there anything positive to take away from the earlier meetings?

MW: There wasn't anything positive, and I mean absolutely ZILCH, to take away from the third game. BU completely dominated BC in every way.

As for the 1-1 tie . . . that outcome could have been a lot worse for BC were it not for the play of John Muse, who had a fantastic game that night. He showed that night that if he's on, he can equalize all that impressive talent and size coming off the BU bench.

The 3-1 BU win on BC ice was capped off with a BU empty net goal, so the game was a lot tighter than some may assume. The game featured tight checking and conservative play, and lots of iron hits by BC. Shot totals were kept low, and the ultimate game winning goal was scored on a penalty shot by Chris Connolly. This game may be the best indicator of what we can expect on Friday night. BC needs to turn the hit posts and crossbars into goals if they want to win, as BU doesn't yield many great scoring opportunities.

3. What is the key to this weekend?

MW: John Muse is the most important player on the ice for BC. BU is so talented, that you KNOW that Muse is going to have to make some great stops to keep BC in the game. In front of Muse, BC's blueliners need to maintain the grit and physicality that they displayed against UNH. I saw a much edgier BC defense corps (Petrecki excluded, that man always lives on the edge out there) against UNH, with guys like Anthony Aiello liberally applying lumber to the Wildcats whenever they got near Muse. This nasty attitude needs to continue, provided that the BC Dmen keep everything between the waist and the shoulders.

And finally, keep the simplified offense going. Drive and cut to the net every chance you have, and get as many pucks on BU goale Kieran Millan as possible. Make him feel the pressure of being in the Hockey East tournament semifinals, a place where Muse has already thrived.

Getting on the board early is always important, but WOW will it do wonders for the Eagles on Friday night if they can get there. Getting the lead on BU will take BU out of its conversative defensive shell, which can often be tough to crack. BU normally gets away with this type of play because they have enough talent up front to get the job done without any gambling.

Something hardcore BC hockey fans are wishing for but will never receive: GET THE FORWARDS OFF THE POINT ON THE POWERPLAY. As a BC hockey observer, I just don't feel comfortable with those guys out there. It opens us up to dangerous shorthanded opportunities (UNH scored 2 shorties in Game 1 last week), and I do not think that the forwards on the point give BC that much more of an advantage then having defensemen play there. But, alas, this adjustment will never happen.

4. What is your prediction?

MW: BU wins 3-2 in OT and ends BC's season. But hey, BC may just be on another magic run right now, so this prediction is not made with much confidence. I think this game will make the Hockey East slogan "Great Hockey, Guaranteed" completely on point. Keep in mind that BC has its whole season to play for (it ends with a loss), but BU already has a #1 NCAA tournament seed locked up. With a BC win, they might be in the tournament even with a loss on Saturday night (although many other games will have to break in a certain way for this to happen). IF BC wins this game and the following one on Saturday night, you can book them for the Frozen Four in Washington DC. No one will be able to stop that kind of momentum. Drop the puck.

Obama picks BC in opener and other links

Even though his brother-in-law coaches out west, the President is down on the Pac 10. So much so that he has BC beating USC before losing to Michigan State in the second round.

New notes from Spring Practice: Albright and Tennant will both miss practices but should be okay for fall.

Biko Paris has an extra bit of motivation facing USC. The Trojans dropped him as a recruit once they had a chance to sign OJ Mayo.

Doug Flutie was a hit at a recent speech in North Carolina.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guest Blogger: Conquest Chronicles

I imagine most casual fans can rattle off a few nuggets or quick scouting report of USC football. But what do any of us not on the West Coast know about USC basketball? To find out more about our upcoming opponent, I asked Laughing Stock from USC blog Conquest Chronicles a few questions about the Trojans. His answer are below.

1. Why did the Trojans struggle so much on the road? How much do you think the trip to Minneapolis will impact the team?

CC: For a little background, the Trojans didn't so much struggle on the road as they struggled to close on the road (which I guess might be te same thing, but just bear with me). Very winnable late game situations were blown against Oklahoma, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, and Stanford. USC also gave up double digit leads in losses to Seton Hall and Missouri on Neutral courts. SC was very competitive in pretty much every game, except for the game at Pauley Pavilion, but for some reason they just could not maintain their composure in late game situations away from home. The only explanation I can come up with is that Tim Floyd simply lacked players who were willing to step up and carry the team through difficult situations. Daniel Hackett began to shoulder that load as the season went on, but it is only recently that Demar Derozan and Taj Gibson have shown a willingness to bite back in those pressure situation. Hopefully this means that the players have overcome those road woes, but we'll only really know how the trip affects them once they hit the courts.

2. The outside opinion seems to be that this year's team is very different from last year's Mayo-led version. Aside from not having Mayo, how is this team playing differently? Who has filled the void? Has the style of play changed?

CC: The team is really only different in so far as what left when Mayo declared for the draft early. Last year OJ was the go to scorer and primary outside shooter while also sharing ballhandling duties with Hackett. The outside shooting has diminished somewhat as Dwight Lewis can be somewhat mercurial to the say the least, but Derozan has a silky smooth jumper that seems to extend out to just inside the three point line. There were a lot of struggles early on with turnovers due to the lack of a secondary ball handler and the transfer of backup PG Angelo Johnson, but Hackett has improved as the season has gone on and the TOs have been reduced dramatically since the beginning of the season. Finally, while it is sometimes painful to have no true go to scorer, the Trojans are a very balanced team offensively and feature four players who score in double digits which make them a difficult team to defend.

3. What is the key to stopping the USC?

CC: The key to stopping USC is not so much in stopping them, but not allowing their D to stop your team. The Trojans rely heavily on their defense and are 17-5 when their opponents score less than 70 points. If BC is taken out of their offensive game plan and has to force shots then they won't win pure and simple. SC's bread and butter has been defense all season long, and the main goal out of the gates will be to stop the Eagle's top two or three scorers. To stop USC, Boston College will need another player outside of the regulars to step up and provide offense As Tyrese Rice will have a tough time carrying his team to victory on his own.

4. What is your prediction for the game?
CC: I predict a close SC win. I have always been a fan of guys like Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, and John Gasaway, and all of them have USC as favorites over Boston College based on their various metrics for ranking college hoops teams. More importantly though, I think SC matches up very well size wise and has a ton of momentum heading into this game. USC could certainly come out flat and prove me wrong (trust me, they've done it before), but even Vegas picked the Trojans as the favorite to win.

Tim Floyd stuff and other links

Tim Floyd doesn't have the greatest reputation in college basketball. The man is known for doing what it takes to get recruits, whether it be signing their friends as a package deal or hiring family members. But we BC fans shouldn't cast the first stone as Preston Murphy had prior relationships with Southern and Sanders. He's been great as Director of Ops and is seen as a rising coaching talent, but having an in with Al and two highly touted recruits didn't hurt his chances for getting the job three years ago.

Floyd thinks the game will be physical. All this physical talk is funny to me. First, I don't think we are nearly as physical as we were a few years ago. I also don't think we have ever been as physical as some of the old Big East teams or Bob Huggins teams or even the Washington State teams that USC faces annually. But let the Trojans think that. It can't hurt.

Vega is moonlighting back on the BC beat and had a nice article on Sanders. Rhode Islanders are paying close attention to Sanders' first shot at the big stage.

Spaz confirmed my prediction from yesterday -- he is unlikely to name a starter until summer.

BJ is in Detroit today meeting with the Lions. I hope he goes No. 1 overall, but I don't think Detroit is going to take a risk like that after what they've been through the past decade.

Finally this is one last image from the ACC Tournament. Matt really is a good sport.

Mega game watch potential

Attention regional BC Club folks: please be sure to send me your info for Friday night. And if you are trying to drum up interest from a sports bar or from your local BC fans, remind them that they can watch the hockey and basketball games at most bars.

Image courtesy of BC Mike.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Springtime for Spaz

Today marks the beginning of BC's spring practices. The recruiting was a nice first step, but this is where the Spaz era truly begins. The latest news on McLaughlin is somewhat encouraging. But I don't think we can count on him being back for a full season or be at 100% when he returns. Achilles are tricky injuries and can often be long recoveries. His unfortunate injury added a new challenge to Spring but there are plenty of things to do between now and the Spring Game. Here are the main objectives.

1. Learn the offense. Tranquill has taught and installed his offense at multiple stops in his long career. I am sure he has a sound plan on what to introduce and when to introduce it. It helps that crucial holdovers like Day and Sirmans are around to bridge any gaps for the kids. This transition should be much easier than the Bible to Logan switch.

2. Find a QB.
Davis, Tuggle and Boek will all get shots to win the job. I don't think we will come out of Spring Practice with a clear QB. However, it will go a long way toward determining the front runner. If we hadn't changed offensive staffs I would bet on Tuggle as the favorite. The new staff hasn't tipped their hand nor really seen any of the guys live, so it is up in the air.

3. Find a linebacker rotation.
The McLaughlin injury moved this up the priority list. I think they have to plan as if he won't return. Thompson is considered the next MLB, but I would expect multiple players to get an opportunity. Some of the redshirts showed promise on the scout team and there is a chance one or two DBs might be move to LB too.

4. Learn the new offensive line scheme. This won't be as dramatic as it could have been. Based on his history and work at coaching clinics, Devine uses a zone scheme. How different or what intricacies he uses is unknown. This will also be the fourth position coach for some of these linemen so they are used to change. Either way, OL should be a strength of the team next year.

5. Find a defensive tackle rotation. Raji and Brace will not be easy to replace. But there is talent left. The key will be seeing who steps up. The return of Alex Albright will also make the defensive line better and put less pressure on the Brace-Raji replacements.

Bubble burst for the women and other links

The BC women are WNIT bound. The BCI guys discussed it more in depth, but ultimately BC didn't do enough against the best teams on their schedule and didn't win enough in the ACC (7-7). Hopefully they get back in next year. Things seem to be headed in the right direction but I know little about the national women's basketball scene.

Sean Williams is in the news again for all the wrong reasons. Does anyone think he stop acting like an immature idiot? Hopefully he gets the help he needs because the kid clearly has issues.

This guy wants to see the Giants take a chance on Toal.

Another quick look at USC.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Join the Minnesota BC Club for a pregame event

The Minnesota Chapter of the BC Club is rolling out the red carpet for BC fans. They will host a pregame Friday. Join your fellow Eagles to get in the mood. The location is only three blocks from the Metrodome. Info below:

MN Chapter NCAA Tournament Pregame Event

The Restaurant Max (1st floor of Hotel Minneapolis)
215 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
612. 340.0303
**Complimentary Valet Parking after 4:00pm

Date: Friday, March 20, 2009
Time: 4:00-6:00pm C.S.T.

There will be give-aways, and happy hour pricing on food and drinks. And it is walking distance to the Metrodome. Let's go Eagles.

Announcers and gametime and other links

Gus Johnson and Len Elmore will call the game Friday night. The tip off is 7:20 ET. I love the pairing and love the time slot.

The LA Times had a quick breakdown of the game.

Sunday's baseball games against Georgia Tech got washed out.

Enter yet another pool

Since BC is back in the Big Dance, I created a bracket for BC fans and readers of the blog. You can join here at Yahoo. The password is: skinner. For those who have trouble with the link you can go to Yahoo and use the Group ID #104968.

No money to enter. The winner will get a to be determined BC flavored prize.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why I like our chances against USC

The reaction to playing USC is mixed among BC fans. Some fear playing the hot, young athletic team. Others think we match up well. Put me in the second camp. I don't take anything or anyone for granted this time of year. I just think USC is one of the better teams we could have faced, in part because of who they are and in part because who they are not.

Reasons I think we will win
-- USC is a terrible road team. I know this is a "neutral" game, but this will be a long cold trip for USC. 10 of their 12 losses were on the road. I think the travel and weather will impact them more.
-- We are playing in a Dome. Supposedly playing in a Dome takes an adjustment as far as shooting perspective and dealing with the noise, drafts, etc. We played in a Dome this week. USC hasn't played in a Dome all year.
-- They are not a midmajor. Given how our guys have played up and down to the level of their opponent, I feared playing a mid major. We won't come out flat against USC. They are a name and just won the Pac 10. Our guys will be pumped and ready.
-- They are bound to lose. They have just won five in a row, including three to win the Pac 10 Tournament. Two of those wins were by two possessions or less. They won't stay hot forever.
-- They are not a methodical, consistent offense. USC is not going to bury us with 3s or even run some sort of patient scheme that we have to prepare for.
-- They haven't face an offense like ours all season. A few Pac 10 teams have elements similar to our flex, but no one tries to run it as tightly with so many bounce passes. We haven't been nearly as dependent on it lately. I hope Al uses it over and over on Friday.
-- They are athletic rather than a bunch of shooters. I would say they remind me most of Georgia Tech or Florida State. Both those teams frustrated us, but we also won those games.
-- We left Atlanta with confidence. Andy Katz said it tonight. These guys know they could have won the ACC. They have unfinished business.

My concerns
-- They can and will press. They did it against Arizona State this past weekend. We will need to break it early so they have to abandon it.
-- They are hot. I know I put this as a reason why I think we will win, but it works both ways. They are on fire and we just might be their next victim.

Kenpom thinks very highly of USC.

Trojan time!

First of all, the selection committee had more respect for BC than the talking heads. While all the analysts pegged BC as a 9 or 10 seed, the people that matter considered us a 7. As a 7 we will face USC in Minneapolis on Friday. My first reaction is that this is a good match up for us. The Trojans are very hot but have been very uneven this year. If we get by I also like our chances against Michigan State. More analysis later tonight.

Thoughts before the selection

We are being slotted by bracketologists as a 8, 9, or 10 seed. If that happens we will face a tough opener and a very tough second round game. I won't list all the potential opponents, but here are the ones I fear and the ones I think we could beat. Nothing too scientific. This is based more on style and matchups. I am not discounting any of the 1s or 2s. I am just saying that some will run us out of the building while others are beatable. Leave your thoughts below and I'll certainly have more to say once the pairings are announced after 6 PM ET.

Good Matchups

Michigan State
West Virginia
Mississippi State
Ohio State

Bad Matchups
Texas A&M

Randoms thoughts and pictures from the ACC Tournament

This is all after the fact so I will keep it short.


Ugly, ugly game. The silver lining (outside the win) was Sanders. They really had no answer for him. As his handle improves he will be very dangerous. He is just too strong for most wing players to guard close to the basket. I also wanted to mention the good crowd from Thursday night. There weren't a ton of BC fans, but because the building was about a 25% full, you could see the various pockets around the Dome. They were load and I would argue, outnumbered the UVA fans.

Writing this now, it is only more frustrating, that we gave the eventual ACC Champs their toughest game. I was most impressed with the defense. Duke's offense caused BC to switch off repeatedly and the guys did a great job with help and not getting exploited. Rice was one on one with Singler a few different times, yet Duke was never able to burn BC with the mismatch. I thought the refs were terrible but that is to be expected in a Duke game.

The final 34 seconds were not great. The first possession...I didn't care for Sanders forcing the shot. Then followed by a bad inbounds. We got lucky on the Scheyer miss. I didn't mind the final shot though. It was a heave but Sanders had space and hit the front of the rim. As I wrote after, this team should feel good about next week.

Here are my pics from the weekend. I apologize for the suckiness and lack of any linear progress. When the game gets close I forget to take out the camera. Plus we were behind the basket both nights which created a few obstacles for good shots.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hockey wins again and other links

Sorry for not having more postgame Duke stuff. A couple of late nights in a row put me behind schedule. I'll have more ACC Tourney thoughts Sunday and Sunday night will have initial reactions to our seeding.

Every summer Gene should ask Jerry York to hold a coaching seminar about turning it on in the postseason. Following Friday night's win in the Hockey East Tournament opener, the hockey team beat UNH 1-0 Saturday.

The women's hockey team's season is over after losing to Minnesota.

If you were in Atlanta for the ACC Tournament, then you might want to head over to Georgia Tech Sunday. The baseball team will be playing a double header against the Jackets.

In Draft news, Raji is now considered a Top 6 pick and Francois is considered a "riser" after an impressive Pro Day.

The "Coach Handsome" legend is growing.

So close

That hurt. Not so much because they lost to Duke and couldn't put together two good possessions in the final 34 second. More so, because they played hard and climbed out of holes twice and didn't finish it off. All that said, I am encouraged about next week. This team can play with anyone and over the past month showed they are more than just Rice.

I'll have photos from the weekend and more thoughts later on Saturday.

P.S. Congrats to the hockey team on their win.

Friday, March 13, 2009

In-game comments post: Duke (ACCT Quarter Finals)

Can we do it again? We will find out shortly.

I will be at the game and not online. Leave your comments and thoughts below. Let's go Eagles!

The known and unknown of the McLaughlin injury

An article in a Woburn paper -- that of course is not online -- is saying that McLaughlin has an Achilles injury. This is huge news for a potential Top 10 defense, but of course there is no other reporting from the Boston media or even the BC sites. I think there is some legitimacy to it all as students on campus are reporting that he is using crutches. Having your team captain and one of the better defensive players on crutches is not good news, regardless of the extent of his injuries.

What we know
-- He is injured
-- It is foot/leg related (likely Achilles)

What we don't know
-- If it needs surgery
-- How long he will be out
-- If he'll apply for a medical redshirt
-- If the NCAA will grant him a medical redshirt

McLaughlin redshirted his freshmen year. Although an additional medical redshirt in this sort of situation is common, they are never guaranteed. If he is unavailable for most of the season, it will be a huge setback for the team as a whole. Forget the subjective "leadership" role he filled. His production and importance to the defense was critical. His consistency was one of the reasons we were so strong against the run. His ability to cover space also allowed Herzy to rush the passer more. And as we saw against Maryland, McLaughlin is a playmaker in his own right.

The team has good depth at linebacker but outside of Herzy the rest of the guys are either young and/or untested. The only silver lining is that if he gets a redshirt, his extended career and time off will serve the team well in 2010 (like Raji and Toal's return did in 08, and how we hope Albright will provide a spark in 09).

I'll have more in this as the news trickles out.

Toal's last chance and other links

Vega wrote a nice article on Brian Toal at BC's Pro Day. Regardless of the wear and tear on his body, Toal remains a great athlete. I don't know what his natural position would be in the NFL. Hopefully he gets a shot.

Although young Pitino is the favorite, BC assistant Pat Duquette is a candidate for the BU job.

Buster Sports' report card on last night's game.

HD thinks Herzy will have a big year. I think he'll play well and lead the team, but I doubt his stats will be as impressive. He'll be the focus of every opponent and I imagine they'll just try to avoid him.

The Sanders show

Another ugly final 10 minutes marred a great game from Rakim Sanders. By the time UVA was done fouling, only the diehard BC fans were still in the Dome. This win erases all bubble talk (we were already in anyway). I'll have more coherent thoughts Friday morning.

Big shout out to the Band. They did a great job (as always) and really made the BC faithful feel at home.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In-game comments post: Virginia (ACCT Opening Round)

The ACC Tournament opened today and already saw a huge upset as Geogria Tech knocked off Clemson. I'm glad we fell to the sixth seed instead of playing the Jackets again. For those looking for a quick overview of UVA, here is Kenpom's scouting report for the Cavaliers. BC is currently favored by 4.5.

I will be at the game and not online. Leave your comments and thoughts below. Let's go Eagles!

A different sort of Pro Day

BC holds Pro Day every year. With Matt rated as the top QB overall, last year saw hordes decend upon the Heights to watch BC and New England area prospects. This year will have a different feel. There will be the usual mix of scouts, agents, and coaches. You won't see nearly as much media. Raji is a hot pick but Defensive Tackles don't generate the interest of the draftnik and talking heads. As information, feedback and reactions come out I'll update the blog.

Who has the most to gain from Pro Day?

Ryan Purvis. Overlooked for the combine and coming off a year that saw his production decline, Purvis needs to impress scouts with his hands and athleticism. Depending on how he performs and how much scouts factor in going from Ryan to Crane/Davis, Purvis could be anything from a fourth rounder to undrafted. Speaking of Crane...

Chris Crane will not get drafted, but today is another chance for him to position himself as a good project. He's got the build and the arm. If he can show some accuracy and smarts in his interviews, NFL teams may sign him with the intent of turning him into the next Matt Cassel. Crane's game film isn't going to be great but the Matt Ryan lineage will make him intriquing to some.

One other guy who will benefit from Pro Day is Kevin Akins. His 40 time at the combine was disappointing. This is his chance to show it was an off day.

Who stands to lose?

No one really. Brace and Raji probably won't do anything to hurt their standings. Impressions for the other potential draftees (Ramsey, Akins, Purvis, Crane, Robinson) are probably set to the point where they can only benefit from a Pro Day.

Good luck to all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An evening with Matt and Gene

Tonight the BC Club of Atlanta hosted a cocktail party with Matt Ryan and Gene DeFilippo. Thanks to the Alumni office for coordinating the details and our local chapter president Kyla Perfetuo. Big congrats to BC Mike for being the driving force behind the event and for giving Gene a very nice introduction.

Before I get into the details of the evening, I strongly encourage all chapters to organize and push for events like these. We are very fortunate that the ACC Championship is taking place here in our city and that Matt just happened to be drafted by the Falcons, but there are always opportunities like this in major cities. Try to capitalize on any occasion locally and then work with BC to bring some names to your town. I don't know if Spaz expressed any willingness to do these sorts of things, but his recruiting will take him to the big markets of the Midwest, Texas and California. It doesn't hurt to see if he and/or Gene will come and speak with you. And as BC continues to push the "Light of the World" campaign they will need to hold more events like this. So be aggressive, organized and continue to give to BC. Pep talk over.

As for the evening, it was a simple cocktail party for the first hour. Matt and Gene both worked the room while alumni mingled. Then we moved into a seated area. The alumni office showed a short Light the World video, then BC Mike introduced Gene. Gene spoke for a few minutes and then handed things over to Matt. Matt was the star of the show. Gene does this sort of thing for a living. Matt does it even better. Working off the cuff, he gave a short speech with the right amount of humor, modesty, and poise. He understood his audience and what they wanted to hear. I don't want to make it sound like the Gettysburg Address, but I've sat through a lot of canned speeches. And to see Matt handle himself in this way was very impressive. If he didn't have an NFL arm, you could see that he'd be very comfortable in front of a classroom, court room or board room.

After the speeches Matt and Gene both stood for a short Q&A. This was probably the best part of the evening. Like and old comedy team they finished each others sentences and balanced things out. Gene did an impression of Jared Dudley. They told a story together about Matt going to Gene and asking that the football team live somewhere other than Upper during the summer practices. Matt fielded most of the questions. He talked about the difference between college and pros. Admitted that the Virginia Tech touchdown is still his favorite moment and told stories about the NFL. I couldn't help myself and asked a question to Gene. I didn't want to rehash any of the topics where we already knew his answer or try to show him up with any of the things I've criticized him for on the blog, so I hit on the subject that I get emailed about often: ESPN U. I said I get ESPN U but many BC fans don't and I wanted to know what the ACC is doing about it. Gene got into the history of ESPN and how they've always leveraged special events and live games to force the cable companies to carry them. First with the original ESPN and then with ESPN 2. He even said that that the 1995 Duke-UNC game was a critical piece of programing in getting ESPN 2 onto more systems. He then explained that some of the top ESPN folks just met with the ACC about this issue. They are going to continue to push and also hope fan interest puts pressure on the cable companies. In summary, there was no timeline or specifics given, but the powers that be do think getting ESPN U into more homes is important.

After the Q&A wrapped, people mingled and Matt stood patiently for more pictures and autographs. The guy is a saint. He was kissing babies, shaking hands, listening to everyone's stories and fawning questions...and he's and NFL superstar. How many of us would be that patient with nothing to gain?

It was a short, fun night and certainly made me proud to be a BC fan. Despite my differences with how Gene handled the Jags situation, I thank him for speaking to the BC fans tonight. Obvious thanks to Matt. And one more thanks to Kyla and Mike for pulling it off.

[Here are my amateur pictures. Sorry, but the lighting was screwing up my auto focus.]

ACC Tourney Game Watches

ACC Tournament time, means time for local Game Watches. If you haven't been to a Game Watch before, give it a shot. They are a great way to connect with local alumni and fans and most importantly, watch the event with a BC friendly crowd. The following clubs will be hosting watches for Thursday night's game against Virginia. I won't mention their plans for Friday night (don't want to jinx things). For more information check with your local chapter. If there are any locations I overlooked or informal gatherings, just send me a note or leave a message in the comments.

Atlanta pre and postgame

300 Marietta St

Chicago Game Watch

Finley Dunnes Tavern
3458 N. Lincoln Avenue

Phoenix Game Watch

Turf Accountant Restaurant & Irish Pub
705 N. First Street, Phoenix

Washington, DC Game Watch
Porter's Dining Saloon
The corner of 19th and M, Sts. NW and is walking distance from the Dupont Circle, Farragut North, and Farragut West Metro stations

Spaz lands first blue chipper

Michigan QB Joe Boisture committed to BC Tuesday. Regardless of how you feel about recruiting, this is nothing but a positive sign for Spaz and BC. Boisture is a big kid with a big arm and had interest from numerous schools. He could have played the waiting game. But instead he's ready to move forward and lock in with our Eagles.

Boisture is much more in the mold of the TOB era QBs. We shouldn't read too much into that though. Tranq used QBs with a variety of styles in his last few stops. Boisture's commitment doesn't mean we are going back to pure pocket passing. It just means that BC can be a player for our prime targets. Now let's hope Boisture starts a flood for the recruiting class of 2010.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sanchez honored and other links

After the impressive showing against Florida State, the ACC named BC's Tony Sanchez the player of the week. Sanchez leads the ACC this season in hits with 25.

The ACC Media named Florida State's Leonard Hamilton the ACC Coach of the Year. Al finished second. It would have been nice to see him recognized, but I don't think Al cares much about those awards. Skinner finishing so far behind as the runner up is a sign that the media is reaching the point where they take Al's success for granted. How else can you explain only 10 first place votes for a coach who won 9 league games in spite of preseason predictions of an 11th place finish.

Here is the the first of many predictions that BC will finish at the bottom of the Atlantic next season. Will the media ever learn? We should have a very good D and enough talent on offense to compete. Speaking of the Atlantic, the BCI guys debated the rumored division shuffle. My take: why bother? Seriously. If you keep moving things in order for things to make sense or build drama and rivalries, your timing will always be off. You can't force things. Parity and the ebb and flows of a program will keep things unpredictable. My suggestion is keep the divisions as is and let the rivalries build over time. Plus, I don't want to lose Clemson from the schedule!

HD wrote a nice article on the OLine. These guys will carry the team next year. I also eagerly await hearing what Devine has to say about his new players and what changes he plans to make.

Monday, March 09, 2009

How will the Tyrese Rice story end?

Tyrese Rice made the ACC's second team. Congratulations to him. But what are we, the close observers, to make of it? He was first team ACC last year. Did he take a step back? Did he have to subjugate himself in order for the team to advance? Rice proclaimed that he returned for his final season at BC to go out a winner. Mission accomplished. Picked to finish 11th, BC proved the media and the league wrong and couldn't have been as good without their senior leader and leading scorer. Yet there is still an emptiness. Something about it all feels hollow and I think it's about Rice.

I've loved this season. The North Carolina and Duke games will be ones we remember for years. Watching Sanders, Jackson and Trapani all emerge and take over games has been rejuvenating. Their futures are bright and we get to witness it all for the next few seasons. Sanders sinking his shot against Georgia Tech was just the beginning. But (and indulge me for a minute) that moment showed how much Rice has been detached from this excitement, the young players' growth and the success of this season. Skinner didn't put the ball in Rice's hands. Sanders didn't look to give it back to Rice and then he, not Tyrese, made the clutch shot. Rice was just an observer. A decoy.

Tyrese Rice is a great basketball player. Rice is the best shooter on the team. He's one of the most natural scorers in college basketball. Put him on a midmajor and he'd be a media darling and averaging 30 a game. He's got a very high basketball IQ and has made smart plays from the minute he stepped on campus. And to top off the package, the strong little bull is left handed. Just one more thing to keep defenders off balance. His fearlessness provided countless highlights. Think back to the 2007 ACC Tourney...Rice kept BC in the Miami game singlehandedly. Last year he nearly went for 50 against top ranked North Carolina. Where were those moments this year? Never as emotional or gregarious as some past BC stars, Rice seemed bored and unsure of himself at times this year.

Now, with his BC career coming to an end, Rice has a chance to write the ending to his story. He is capable of leading this team deep this week in Atlanta and next week in the Big Dance. He needs to play smart. He needs to strike the right balance between making his teammates better and asserting himself. He needs to be the man and player we know he can be. Earlier this year BC basketball historian Bob Ryan hinted that Rice could be the best guard to come through the Heights. Right now, in my opinion, he's not even in the discussion. But...and it's a big but...Rice can vault up the list with his play this month. I don't know Rice. The people around him all seem nice and those around BC speak highly of him. He can be more than he's been. Let's hope for him and for BC, that we are about to see something special.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Rest up, we are in the late spots for the ACC tourney

By finishing 6th in the ACC, BC will face No. 11 Virginia in the night cap slot on Thursday. The tipoff is scheduled for 9 PM ET, but the game never starts on time. Look for it to begin at 9:15 at the earliest and probably closer to 9:45.

If BC advances, we'll be in the late spot Friday night too. The ACC has the split deal with Raycom and ESPN for the tournament. For those in Raycom markets, you'll see BC. For those outside Raycom's coverage map, you'll have to watch the first round in a bar or via one of ESPN's package outlets (360 or Fullcourt). Friday's game will be on ESPN 2.

If you are making the trip to the ATL, remember there is a BC event Wednesday night. For those interested in two sport double headers, the baseball team is also in town this weekend too.

Baseball makes history and other links

The doubters predicted that our football and basketball teams would struggle in the move to the ACC. But they were positive that baseball would suffer. Not this year. BC became the first ACC team to beat Florida State in its ACC opening series. And they did it in Tallahassee. Nice job.

The BC women lost the finals of the Hockey East tournament. But they still earned an at large bid and will face Minnesota Saturday.

The hockey team rebounded from their tough loss Friday night to beat Northeastern Saturday. They finished 6th in Hockey East and will face UNH in the opener of the Hockey East tournament.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

"What bubble?" Ugly win but I'll take it

I hate watching Paul Hewitt's teams especially against Skinner. I don't think Hewitt is a great coach (far from it actually) but his micromanaging, style of play and the type of player he has in his system makes for an ugly game especially against our more deliberate scheme under Al. Our guys didn't help things by playing some of the most sloppy and dumb basketball of the season in the second half. Rakim Sanders final 20 seconds was a microcosm of the game. Up 1, he makes a dumb foul to send GT to the line for 2 shots. Then out of the timeout, he dribbled into the corner to take a tough shot...and made it. Fortunately style points don't matter. No one will care about an ugly win on Selection Sunday. Here are my other takes. As always, leave your thoughts below.


-- Reggie Jackson playing to the whistle. Too often over the past couple years we've had players who sort of gave up on plays. Not Jackson. He cleaned up a crucial missed layup from Rakim late and he also went for blocks inside on GT's much bigger frontline guys.
-- Southern's shot selection. I expected much more out of Southern this year. He has not progressed as quickly as I predicted. When you see his touch and decision making today, you see what type of player he can be. Hopefully he turns it on over the next week.
-- The final play out of the timeout. Like Dave Odom, that is not what I would have drawn up. But it worked. In hindsight it was brilliant. Instead of Rice -- who was cold from the field -- forcing a final shot, you had the much hotter Sanders move to the midrange and get space. Sanders also drew two guys over, so if you watch the replay, the rest of the team was in good position for a potential putback.

-- Rice's decision making. Certainly a deceiving stat line for his final game at Conte. While his free throws were important, he made multiple mistakes throughout the game. Dumb fouls, sloppy and forced passes, wasted possessions while he dribbled around, and ugly shots.
-- Awkward lineups in the second half. Roche played a lot and not particularly well. Paris never got much PT. Al went smallish while their bigs dominated the boards. There wasn't much flow and no group looked good against the press. If not for their fouling us, we would have lost.

With 9 ACC wins, this team is in. But they will be one and done if they don't start playing better. Fortunately Jackson and Sanders are coming on to the point where they can fill the void on Rice's off nights. See you all in Atlanta.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Forgettable Friday

Tough loss for the hockey team tonight. For the most part Northeastern outplayed them, yet BC was up 1-0 most of the night. They held the lead until the 59th minute. One minute from a much needed victory and momentum and it all fell apart. Muse got screened by his own man and gave up a top shelf goal. In OT Northeastern kept control of the puck and scored again to stay atop Hockey East.

The BC women's run at the ACC tourney didn't last long. The day after beating Miami, they got bounced by FSU. Carolyn Swords battled foul trouble and fouled out early. While they are still on the bubble, their RPI (34) should be enough to get an invite to the big dance.

The baseball team began ACC play with a loss to Florida State. The Eagles just couldn't get much going and only managed three hits.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spaz in the spotlight and other links

Ivan Maisel wrote a very nice feature on Spaz for ESPN.com. Credit to BC sports Information on this as they always do a good job of shaping a narrative on a new coach with the national media.

NC State blog Section Six produced their usual solid take on last night's game.

This writer thinks Raji would be ideal as a NT in a 3-4 defense.

The The Suffolk DA dropped charges against Sean Williams. He is now free to return to campus. His lawyer even floated the idea of him graduating one day. I think 3-year-old will get a BC degree before Williams wises up.

The BC women start their ACC Tournament Friday.

The Gene chat hit on the usual topics. However, the "we've tried everything" answer to basketball attendance rings a bit hollow. There has got to be an answer for the less exciting opponents.

BC kids have a long tradition of using their spring breaks for service trips. This year some BC students even came to Georgia to help the elderly and less fortunate.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Back Pack and forth

Last time around against NC State, BC got up early and held on. This time around the Pack blew past BC's early lead. Then BC chipped away in the second half but the Pack answered and, in my opinion, made the smarter moves in the final minutes to hold on. Leave your thoughts below.

-- Sanders getting hot. Credit where it was due, Rakim was hot tonight. Sure there were a few "no, no, yes!" moments when he put up shots I thought were a bit ill-advised, but he played well.
-- Raji's productivity. We've all mentioned Raji's recent slump, but tonight he put up good minutes against a big frontline. He rebounded well and converted his shots.

-- Decisions in the closing minutes. I didn't mind getting the ball to Trapani on the low block. I did think we wasted too much time on NC State's possession (that resulted in a foul anyway). I also think Rice should have taken a shot earlier in our possession. And think we should have rushed up a shot before they fouled with 6 seconds left.
-- Paris's playing time. We've spent the past few weeks talking about Paris' emergence and then he barely gets off the bench tonight after taking a hit to the head. I guess it was bad...I think Paris might have been a good option when the offense started to get a bit stagnant and might have resulted in more high percentage shots.

BCI did a good job breaking down our ACC Tourney seeds. It's 5 or 6 now.

NC State stuff

With the way the rest of the conference is playing out this game is actually rising in importance. A win combined with a victory in the final game might move BC into the top 4 of the conference standings. That would give the team a bye for the first round of the ACC Tournament.

Section Six has an interesting take on our team and also points to the first BC game as a turning point for NC State. When Lowe went big in the game at Conte, he found a lineup that worked.

Are you in Puerto Rico tonight? A bunch of BC students there for spring break have put together an impromptu game watch for NC State. You can join them at the the Videobar on Condado Beach near the Marriott.

Time for another Gene chat

Just a reminder that BC is holding another Gene chat today at 4 pm. Expect a few of the same complaints about donations, lax, and football schedules. The unknown will be the Jags factor. I am sure questions about our former coach will be submitted. I just don't know how many he will take or what he will say.

40 times and other links

Heisman Pundit and the Wiz both took on the recent revelation that top players got slower as they matured from high school recruit to NFL prospect. File this as just another reason not to put too much stock in the evaluations that come out of the high school recruiting combines.

J.B. Macdonald recounted his at bat against the Sox to the Salem News.

The Vikings cut Vinny Ciurciu. He's shown surprising staying power so I predict he'll catch on with another team.

HD thinks that other ACC coaches are facing more pressure than Spaz.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Looking back at Spaz Part 2

Spaz is a first-time head coach, but he is a very familiar name to BC fans. Having called the defenses for 10 years, I thought the offseason would be a good time to look back at some of his best and worst moments. Hopefully he’s learned from these events and will use that knowledge this season now that he is in charge of both sides of the ball.

Syracuse 43--BC 17
November 27, 2004

What happened?
BC entered its final home game of the season and final home game as a member of the Big East with its destiny in its own hand. Beat a floundering Syracuse team and it was on to the Fiesta Bowl. Playing without their starting QB, the Eagles needed a strong effort from their defense. Instead they got run over. Calling the performance flat would be generous. Five years later it is still hard to understand how such a talented defensive unit had so many problems against a undermatched opponent.

Head scratching defensive lowlights from that game included:
-- Allowing the first play of the game to go for a 69 yard TD
-- Allowing Syracuse's third string RB -- who also played on defense that day -- to run for 141 yards
-- Allowing two 'Cuse running backs to gain more than 100 yards
-- Allowing 43 points when the opponent's QB only completed 9 of 16 for 88 yards and had two INTs.
-- Allowed Syracuse to score more than they did against Buffalo, Temple, and Rutgers (when Rutgers was still bad).

TOB gets much of the blame for the emotionless effort on that day. Everything was in their hands and they blew it. But I've always felt Spaziani deserved some blame too. His guys were the ones missing tackles all day. He didn't get them fired up. He also failed to adjust as Syracuse ran up and down on BC all day. I think this game remains the most disappointing loss for BC fans of my era.

What I hope he’s learned?

For all the rah rah gimmicky stuff that gets dismissed by tacticians, I hope that Spaz remembers that these are still kids. Gimmicks and emotion have their place. As Head Coach he now stands as the leader of both sides of the ball. He needs to set the tone in preparedness, focus, and emotion. We can never take another win for granted, especially when the stakes are so high.

Appreciation for Paris and other links

Lost in the shuffle earlier in the season, Biko Paris is now making a difference and getting attention.

BC goalie Molly Schaus is a finalist for the most prestigious honor given in women's college hockey.

New Jersey lineman Dan Fosse likes what he sees at BC. I expect Spaz to close on a few recruits this spring.

The Fenway Sports Group are showcasing their success with BC in an attempt to win business with Ohio State.

HD attempts to move out of the fluff zone with a piece on returning scorers. Good news for BC, however, I think it might be a case of apples and oranges. Why compare returning scorers when we have a new offense?

In this notebook, Skinner continues his support for Sean Williams. I think the miscommunication in Williams' return was unfortunate. That said, the way he handled the arrest and court appearance shows that he has not matured one bit. What a waste...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Reminder to Atlanta area BC fans: Gene is coming to town

For those of you who might have missed the invite or forgot to RSVP, there is still time to join your fellow BC supporters next week at a dinner with Gene DeFilippo. Here is the information:
An Evening with Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Reception 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Gene DeFilippo to address alumni at 7:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech Alumni House
190 North Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30313

Alumni, Parents and Friends,

Please join the BC Atlanta Chapter of the Boston College Alumni Association as we welcome Boston College Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo, to a reception at the Georgia Tech Alumni House.

With the ACC tournament just around the corner we're thrilled to kick-off the tournament weekend by welcoming Gene to Atlanta and have him discuss what has taken place over the past year for the University's 750 student-athletes and its 31 varsity teams.

RSVP by Friday, March 6, to alumnichapters@bc.edu or 800-669-8430.

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be provided. Business attire preferred.

For those of you in other areas of the country, I strongly suggest you continue to reach out to BC for opportunities like this. Our local chapter leadership has been very aggressive in trying to get speakers. This is the payoff for their efforts.

What do all the Bracketologists think of BC?

ESPN's Joe Lunardi gets all the attention but there is now a growing army of bracketologists speculating on who will make the big dance. According to all of them, BC is in. The consensus is that we are an 8 or a 9 seed.

Our RPI remains steady at 47.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday roundup

The women's team improved to 7-7 in ACC play by beating NC State Sunday. The win moved them to seventh in the ACC. They will play Miami Thursday in the opening round of the ACC Tournament.

The baseball team lit up the scoreboard again. They beat Samford 19-13 on Sunday.

Eagle Insider continued its series of interviews with incoming recruits...this time with QB Michael Marscovetra.

Former hockey reserve Justin Greene is promising young hockey ref.

Quinton Porter enters the CFL preseason as the No. 1 QB for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.