Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reggie Jackson has one foot out the door

As expected, Reggie Jackson declared for the NBA Draft (kudos to the Heights for their good interview). As long as he doesn't hire an agent, the rules give Reggie a window to return to BC prior to the actual Draft. This is a thin Draft so I expect Reggie to keep his name in the Draft and go within the Top 20 picks.

I wish he would return but don't begrudge him at all. His stock is still relatively high and I think his game and his build translate well to the NBA.

If he stays in the Draft, it is certainly a setback for Donahue Year 2, but I don't think it is as severe as some are stating. Even with all the new pieces, I don't expect our offense to fall of a cliff. Defense will be a different issue. My very early prediction is that BC will near .500 and win 5 to 7 ACC games.

Gene D, BC featured in Fiesta Bowl investigation

With the Auburn stuff brewing, the Fiesta Bowl scandal is momentarily on the back burner, but that doesn't mean that we should overlook BC's connection. The Bowl seems to be one of the most corrupt organizations you could find. Allegations and violations include paying off politicians and massive expense reporting tax fraud. Gene Defilippo was not interviewed by the investigators but he is featured prominently regarding a boondoggle trip to Boston the Fiesta Bowl committee made in 2008. The Fiesta Bowl expensed $65,000 for bowl officials, friends and politicians to come to Boston in 2008. The educational/business development purpose of this trip was a dinner on Friday night before the game. Gene was the key note speaker. From the report (p.179-180)

The educational function of this trip appears to have been a dinner presentation on Friday night titled "BCS Football: An Economic Engine for Arizona" featuring guest speaker, Gene Defilippo, the Boston College Director of Athletics. According to Martin, Defilippo's presentation "was not so much educational." Martin explained, "We had a dinner like we always do and Gene Defilippo spoke at the dinner. That was our training, but it was more like a welcome speech" Keogh further stated: "the Boston College Director came and talked to the know, to fill the 'business purpose' obligation part."

Now let me be clear: Gene has not done anything illegal. How much he knew about this boondoggle cannot be proven. But we all know that there was no way that the Fiesta Bowl was ever going to select BC for their bowl. So Gene's sole purpose for this was to give a fluffy speech, make a toast and give the fat cats an excuse to write off their $65,000 trip to Boston. He just helped grease the engine that is the college football bowl system. If they're happy, Gene's happy. And that has been Gene's MO. He's an insider and a glad hander. That skill has benefited BC at times, like the move to the ACC. My frustration lies in that he is enabling all this bowl nonsense and it doesn't really serve BC's goals or purposes. We get the short end of the stick regarding bowls. We are the type of school that would benefit from a playoff. A playoff will never happen though as long as the Presidents and ADs are in bed with the Bowls.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why do BC boosters behave?

With Real Sports about to unload on Auburn tonight and the Ohio State booster-tattoo scandal still gaining steam, I keep coming back to a topic I've long pondered and occasionally touched on: why don't BC fans cheat? Now let me preface this by saying I am 99% sure some BC fans have broken some NCAA rules in the past and will in the future. It wouldn't surprise me if minor violations are occurring as we speak. But in general, I've never heard of the out and out, cash for play, "$500 handshakes," signing bonus nonsense and what not that is all too commonplace at the major football powers.

Unfortunately, my theory as to why BC fans behave comes back to football culture and fans passion, and is less about integrity. We know money is not the issue. There are plenty of BC grads with big wallets and big egos. If the going rate to get a Cam Newton to campus was $180,000, there are plenty of BC grads who could have doubled that. But to even be in on those conversations, you have to really be into BC football and have a lot of excess cash. We just don't have many of those guys. Just look at Donor Based seating -- not enough demand to fill all the spots. Our luxury boxes rotate pretty regularly due to faining interest. The Yawkey Center was driven in part by money freed by the Red Sox sale, not by someone attaching his name and ego to BC sports.

But we also have a culture around BC sports that doesn't really cater to the big donors' needs. Sure the bigger checks get Gene's attention and some nice perks, but it doesn't get you a say in anything (see Greg Barbour's frustration with the coaching transition from TOB to Jags). At other schools, the donors call the shots and run the fundraising. Since we are a private school, the fundraising and athletic budgets can be housed under one roof.

I would also be very surprised to ever hear of BC boosters slipping high school kids cash. Once again, there is just not that much interest. Rival's BC site has less than 1,000 paid subscribers. So there are only a limited number of BC fans/boosters who even know who BC is recruiting. When you have ten times that amount from a SEC fanbase, you increase the odds of a rogue fan showing up at a high school and handing out hard cash.

I also think it is a cultural issue. Our fanbase is still primarily from the northeast and reared on pro sports. So the mentality of supporting the team is more about watching and cheering and not getting actively involved in recruitment. Sox fans may pay top dollar for their seats, but they're not going to go up to David Ortiz and slip him a hundred. In fact they are more likely to call him out for the money he is making.

I love college sports, but I also turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy around it 90% of the time. I like BC's image and culture but would also like our moment in the sun. I know Auburn fans who say the Cam Newton situation was worth it for the championship. I don't think many BC fans would say the same. Whether it is because we hold ourselves to a higher standard or just don't care enough, I will never know.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ACC Hoops next year and other links

Duke and North Carolina are favorites to win the ACC again next year. As you would expect, a North Carolina-based writer picked BC to finish 11th. I am sticking to my early statement that we will be a bubble team if Reggie returns. If he leaves and we are totally dependent on the transfers, I think we will finish with five or six ACC wins and around .500 overall.

Jimmy Hayes is foregoing his senior year to sign with Chicago.

After dominating the indoor track season, BC's Caroline King earned performer of the week honors for her 1500 time.

On the recruiting front, New Jersey line prospect Ray Korang plans to visit BC. Tight End prospect Colin Thompson likes BC, Florida and Wisconsin.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The challenge with being a contrarian

College basketball is a coaches's sport. The guys in the fancy suits are the names. They are the familiar faces on TV. They pitch the products. While their football counterparts certainly get accolades, basketball's nature directs much more visual attention to the head man. And what sort of traits fit into the stereo-typical college basketball winner? What would you want and expect if you were building a college coach from scratch? 1. Vocal 2. Passionate 3. Great salesman of the program to fans and recruits 4. Capabable of Xs and Os to overcome talent gaps. 5. A grinder/workaholic. Al Skinner is not your prototypical college head coach. And that is probably his biggest problem.

In this interview with the Globe, Skinnner states that he wants to coach again. He also says it is important for him to coach in a major conference. Given the tone of the piece and the lack of gossip surrounding Skinner, I don't think many are calling. But why? Al's age is probably a factor. Hiring a fired coach is always tougher than hiring a rising coach. But I think Al's biggest challenge remains perception. Why would a school hire an unassuming, laid back coach when there are dozens of so many young coaches who have the potential upside and wear their emotions on their sleeves?

I am not here to rehash the Skinner firing at BC. I disagreed with Gene's move but like Donahue. I also agree with those who felt Skinner and BC basketball had become stale. But regardless of how it ended you cannot question Skinner's success. Al has an incredible eye for coaching and player talent. He had a deadly efficient offense. He's a much better game manager than people realize. I am confident that Al could go to any BCS program and have them in the tourney within four years. But I don't think it is going to happen. I think if Al wants one last run, it will have to be at a smaller school.

I loved the Al Skinner era at BC. A big part of that was the identity his teams had and his ability to win differently. I also think many of the complaints regarding Skinner are mistated and uniformed. Al Skinner is a great coach. He deserves another chance and any school that rolls the dice with a young unproven coach is missing on a sure thing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adios Atkinson and other links

Everyone expected Cam Atkinson to go pro after the season ended. But with BC's early exit from the NCAA Tournament, a few hoped he would return for one more season. It was not to be as the JR forward signed with Columbus. York gave a positive quote and we wish him all the best.

Thomas Claiborne knows he has a lot to prove to the NFL. Once a sure-fire draft pick, his uneven 2010 season has him looking like a free agent.

Bill McGovern told NFL scouts they didn't have to worry about BJ Raji's off the field issues.

Although they lost the finale, the baseball team took two out of three from Virginia Tech over the weekend.

Also, I am not ignoring this Skinner article. I just want to get my thoughts together before I rehash what so many have talked about already.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Missouri Meltdown

This year's predestined run to the Frozen Four ended before it even got started. It's been an hour and I am still not sure what happened in BC's 8-4 loss to Colorado College. I am far from an astute or well schooled college hockey expert, but it was easy to see that CC out BCed BC. They were faster. They were putting more shots on goal. They were better penalty killers. Their goalie was locked in. It was like the team's switched uniforms before the start of the game. The finality of it all still hasn't sunk in. This is supposed to be the weekend when all of us bandwagon hockey fans start paying attention.

While there is a lot of disappointment, this year's team still won the Beanpot and the Hockey East. Not much solace, but I am trying to look on the bright side. Also thanks to John Muse. I tweeted that he should be pulled (and he didn't have a great night) but the guy still helped BC win two National Championships. That shouldn't be overlooked.

Now it is the offseason for most BC sports. I will have my thoughts on the Skinner article this weekend and promise to get to some of my overdue football and hoops stuff.

Friday, March 25, 2011

WNIT run over and other links

The women's basketball season is over after its loss to Virginia in the Women's NIT. The loss concluded a winning but disappointing season. The lone bright spot on the loss was the performance of Carolyn Swords. She finished her career as BC's No. 2 all-time leading scorer and the all-time leading rebounder.

Here is a feature on Herzy. What's interesting is that Mark's friend and role model Tedy Bruschi still thinks Mark is yet to get to 100%.

Ohio WR prospect Cameron Wilson liked his visit to BC and hit it off with Spaz.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pro Day results and other links

As usual other players from other New England schools were invited. Unfortunately due to the lockout, recent BC guys were not allowed to work out. That was a tough blow for some of the young guys trying to catch on with an NFL team as a free agent.

The knock on Castonzo still seems to be his ability to handle speed rushers. Most scouts project Herzy as a third rounder and have concerns about his speed.

The NFLPA is asking top draft picks not to attend the NFL Draft. This may effect Castanzo. Anthony doesn't seem like a boat rocker, so I predict he will not show up at Radio City.

Holy Cross beat the baseball team. Baseball's record now stands at 8-10.

Even thought BC was in early on Graham Shuler, it still seems like BC is a long shot to land the OL prospect.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What to expect at Pro Day and other links

Wednesday is BC's annual Pro Day. BC's current seniors, some local prospects and some recent alums will all be trying to impress NFL scouts. Some of the guys who didn't get invited to the NFL combine who have a chance to make an impression include James McCluskey, Alex Albright, and Thomas Claiborne. Mark Herzlich will also be under the microscope again. His slow 40-yard-dash time at the Combine hurt his draft stock. The Pro Day is a chance to undue some of the damage. Given all the conflicting Pro Days you probably won't see the who's who of the NFL. But Castonzo's status should be enough to entice representatives from all of the NFL teams. I will try to post updates as I get them on the blog and on twitter.

BC's baseball series with Virginia Tech will be played in Rhode Island. The baseball only field can't get here fast enough.

Interesting article from Heisman Pundit. He lists Kuechly as one of the best players who will not be a Heisman candidate. While unfair, the logic is sound. A junior defensive player from a middle of the pack ACC team is not winning college football's beauty pageant.

After all the speculation, Providence hired Ed Cooley. It is a good fit all around.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oline questions and other links

Eric Hoffses posted a good interview with our Offensive Line coach Sean Devine. The coach gives assessments of most of his prospects without tipping his hand on the starters. Everyone has good things to say about Devine, but this is really a make or break season for him. The Oline has not been as consistent or as great as BC needs it to be. This year the old excuses of talent or scheme don't fly. These are Devine's guys. Let's hope he closes Spring Ball with a good idea of who his starting lineup is and doesn't have to reshuffle midseason like he did last year.

The seniors are getting read for Pro Day. Although the Panthers's writers are covering Castonzo, I think there is 0% he goes No. 1 overall. If Carolina likes him, they can trade down.

BC is one of many schools interested in Florida DB Jordan Diggs.

As expected, Tennessee fired Bruce Pearl. Andy Katz explained how the smaller secondary violations really broke the camel's back. As I have said, BC shouldn't ever touch him as a coach, but I expect him to land at one of our rivals. If it is not Providence or NC State this year, it could be another ACC or Big East school in 2012.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hockey to St. Louis and other links

The good news: BC hockey earned a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The bad news: it is the No. 1 seed out West. The team will take on 4 seed Colorado College Friday night on ESPNU. The winner of the game takes on the winner of Michigan-Nebrask-Omaha on Saturday. Closer observers of the team and college hockey predicted that BC would be sent west. Although they weren't surprised, they remain disappointed that BC didn't do more to host a regional or end up in New Hampshire. St. Louis doesn't seem that bad to me. No team will truly be home. Of course the distance will keep some of the bandwagon fans from getting involved.

Castonzo and Herzlich's bond continues to grow as they prepare for the NFL. This projection has AC going to the Bears. Would the Bears move on Castonzo (another BC product) after giving up on Beekman? Herzlich is considered a 3rd rounder.

The women's team will take on UVA in the next round of the WNIT.

One of our Donahue's walkons targets just got a few more scholarship offers.

Thank you, BC Hockey

Well two out of three ain't bad. I'll have a lot more about basketball's pathetic conclusion to their season and the women's NIT win later. For now, we celebrate yet another Hockey East Tournament title. BC locked up their 10th title with a 5-3 win over Merrimack.

The game was a back and forth affair for the first two periods. BC pulled away late. The conference named Cam Atkinson's the Hockey East Championship's Bill Flynn Most Valuable Player award for his two goals.

BC has probably locked up a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The official seed and where they will play will be announced Sunday morning on the Selection Show.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In-game comments post: NIT, WNIT and Hockey East Championship

Big day on the Heights and at the Garden. It marks another step for the men and women in their respective NITs and a chance for the Hockey team win another Hockey East title. Let's make it 3-0.

You can leave your thoughts on our different teams here.

You can also follow my thoughts on Twitter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Basketball star on the way and other links

When Steve Donahue signed Ryan Anderson, most viewed him as a solid building block. Now he may be Donahue's first superstar. The California big man was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. BC has signed individual Gatorade winners before, but getting the top player in California is obviously a bigger deal than say the Gatorade winner from New Hampshire. If Jackson returns and Anderson can make an immediate impact, BC might surprise people again next year.

The women are in Erie for their Frozen Four game against Wisconsin. If they win, they will face our friends from the other end of Comm Ave.

BC target Caleb Stacey just picked up an offer from USF. Another Cincy prospect Joe Bolden got an offer from Michigan. BC has an offer to Missouri LB Michael Scherer, but he really seems to want to go to Stanford.

More Ed Cooley to Providence talk continues.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Can you make the BC Triple header?

This is a challenge to all current students. If you consider yourself a Super Fan, you must attend the basketball doubleheader at Conte on Saturday and then follow that with an evening of hockey at the Garden.

Why is this important for students? Because, as I've mentioned before, the real world is right around the corner. Wasting your day watching two NIT games and the Hockey East Finals is something that can't be replicated. You will get free tickets. You will get to see BC play a decent Big 10 team! You will be able to say "I was there."

BC's 2011 NIT got off to a rocky start. After beating McNeese State the team endured a hellish series of flights in an effort to get home. They deserve a great home game. Be there to support them.

The BC women's basketball team is always overlooked. I understand. This Saturday is a chance to change that. After the BC men play their game, the women will take over the court. If you simply stay in your seat from earlier in the day, you can give the women the biggest home crowd of the season.

The other day on Twitter, I suggested playing the NIT game in Power Gym. My suggestion was not intended to mock the NIT. It was actually the opposite. I wanted the team to play in Power simply for the novelty. Power is not going to happen but you can do your part to make this unique. Get there early and make noise.

I know the hockey game is not on campus, but it is still accessible. Go to the Garden. This will be your chance to watch the best team on campus do their thing.

The NIT stinks. I know we would all rather be in the Big Dance. But the only redeeming aspect of the NIT are the on campus games. Take advantage of this.

I want the athletes to feel your support, but ultimately it isn't about them. It is about making memories...three of them. Go!!!

Please note: I know Hockey needs to win Friday to advance to Saturday night's game.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting ahead of the Offensive Line Narrative

Most BC fans agree that Oline U hasn't been itself for two years. We've been inconsistent and worst of all, the guys didn't always play well as a group. BC had talent, but the parts were greater than the sum. Who was to blame? There was plenty of finger pointing. Some say it was scheme. Others blamed coaching. Maybe BC's coaching turnover and talent attrition just came home to roost.

BC enters the season with a new offensive coordinator and three new starters on the Oline, so the excuse making is starting already. But we fans shouldn't accept this narrative just yet. Look at the talking points and then the reality.

1. BC lost three starters on the offensive line.
Although it is technically true, the impact and importance of those starters is subjective. Castonzo started all 13 games and is a loss. Claiborne was in and out of the lineup last year and only started eight games. Lapham was inconsistent prior to his injury and the line play actually improved once Cleary stepped in for him. Lapham only started 8 games. Now the good news:
-- Cleary started 10 games
-- Richman started 10 games
-- Spinney started 11 games
-- White started 3 games
-- Davis earned 1 start
Plus BC has some promising depth on the roster. But look at that list of 2010 starters again. Spaz could open the season with an offensive line with an experienced starter at every position. That's a nice problem to have, especially since the media won't notice.

2. The offensive line has dealt with numerous coaching changes.
The four oline coaches in four years was a nice tidbit excuse the media could trot out when covering BC the last few years. Now we've had a bit of stability. The current OL guys on the roster have only had two position coaches: Jack Bicknell Jr and Sean Devine. Most only know Devine. While they are learning another system, conceptually it is still "pro style" and shouldn't be a huge adjustment.

3. They were recruited for a different system.
The zone blocking body type is overrated. Most good players on the Oline can do both. And if the oline and its coach are not capable of teaching and adapting then Spaz has a big problem on his staff.

I actually think the Oline will be good next year. If we get the right guys in the right positions things should be much much better.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making the most of McNeese State scrimmage

BC beat McNeese State in the opener of the NIT, yet it was wholly unsatisfying. We played really well in the first half. But it only made me wonder where this efficiency and effort was against Clemson. The second half was another sloppy half-hearted effort that left me empty. I never feared that the game was in doubt yet I never got excited. That 20 minutes of basketball felt like a chore to watch. I couldn't wait for the game to end. Yet indirectly the awful second half got me more invested in the NIT. Now, because I've already watched some lame basketball, I feel the team owes us (and me) an NIT Championship. They can win it. All they need to do is play well in 40 minute blocks. The team that played in the first half can beat anyone in the country. Here are my thoughts on our trip to Lake Charles. Leave yours below.


-- Reggie Jackson's 3s. As I said, the game was never in doubt, but that was in part because Reggie killed any of their momentum with some killer 3s. He was especially good with the shotclock running down.
-- Raji and Southern on the low block. Raji got most of his points on putbacks and cuts, while Southern did his work with his back to the basket. It gave the offense some nice diversity. It also should be a blueprint anytime we go against a team that doesn't have strong interior defenders.
-- Road Warriors. This team could have mailed it in. But on short notice they traveled to a relatively remote area and strange gym and took care of business. The mental toughness is a little late for the games that matter but maybe it is a sign of what Donahue will establish next year.


-- Turnovers. Reggie got sloppy at times. So did Biko. Way too much dribbling into traffic and some careless passes that did not need to be made.
-- Trapani's touch. He missed some close ones and bricked a dunk. Nitpicky but needed to be said.

BC will play the winner of Northwestern and UW-Milwaukee this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed that the game will be played at Conte.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ho-hum Hockey and other links

I spent most of my weekend thinking about basketball and once again ignored BC hockey. Both the men and women had impressive weekends and are skating towards championships. I guess we are all so spoiled by hockey's success, we and I take it for granted.

The women had the big news. They beat Minnesota 4-1 to advance to the Frozen Four. They take on Wisconsin on Friday in Erie, PA. If you are in eastern Ohio or western PA, you might want to head over to the game.

Jerry York's crew swept UMass as expected and earned the right to face Northeastern in the Hockey East semis. Friday's game is a double-header at the Garden.

One of the silver linings of the NIT is it is a chance for Biko Paris to play in his home state.

Former BC assistant and current Fairfield coach Ed Cooley is a leading candidate for the Providence opening. It would be a great fit and I wish Cooley luck.

Kenpom gives us a 75% chance at victory on Tuesday.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Despite the mounting evidence that BC would be left out, I held out hope that we would sneak into the NCAA Tournament. It was not to be. The ACC as a whole was snubbed with Virginia Tech also getting left out and Clemsom being forced into the play-in game. Where did things go wrong? Yale and URI hurt. Losing to Miami twice hurt. BC was also impacted by some things out of our control: like Cal, UMass, South Carolina and Indiana having down years. Those games could have been nice "resume" wins, but none really impressed.

While we whined, the team had the right perspective -- the team "got what they deserved." It looks like Donahue will use this as motivation for this postseason and for the years ahead.

The consolation, BC did earn the No. 1 seed in the NIT. If we advance will face the winner of Northwestern and UM-Milwaukee. Of course because this is BC and it is never that simple, BC will be on the road at McNeese State for the opener of the NIT. I am still waiting on official word as to why BC is traveling, but I imagine the excuse will be related to conflicts at Conte.

I never want to take anyone lightly, but McNeese State hasn't accomplished much. They lost to Washington and Miami in their only real tests. Their strength of schedule is terrible. They are not a good defensive team and they don't have much size. If we come to play, this shouldn't be close.

Our game will be on ESPNU Tuesday night. While it is not where I want to be, a BC game on TV is better than no BC game on TV.

The NIT is such an afterthought these days, but I hope we take this seriously. If BC wants to make a statement, if Donahue wants to show that he can put multiple good games together and if the seniors want to go out with their heads high, then they will go win the NIT. Ever to excel and get to the Garden!

Sunday, Bubble Sunday

It looks like we are on the outside looking in. There is still a chance but we won't know anything until the Selection Show early Sunday evening. To many BC fans this is very familiar. Unfortunately our history as a bubble team is not great. More times than not, our bubble teams have ended up in the NIT. Here is a look back.


Resume: 18-9 regular season. 7-9 in Big East play. Lost first round of Big East Tournament.
BC made the most of the invite making the Sweet 16.


Resume: 15-12 regular season. 7-9 in Big East play. Lost in first round of Big East Tournament.
Not invited.
This wasn't surprising as BC had an awful Big East record. However, Jim O'Brien made the most of his NIT bid and got BC to the semi-finals before losing to UConn.


Resume: 15-12 regular season. 7-11 in Big East play. Lost in the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament.
Not invited.
This was not a surprise either. The team was young, started hot and then faded later in the season. They received an NIT bid but only made it to the second round.


15-11 regular season. 9-9 in Big East play. Lost in the second round of the Big East Tournament.
Not invited.
This was a big disappointment. The team was red hot mid season, but faded down the stretch and didn't get off the bubble. They made the third round of the NIT.


20-9 regular season. 10-8 in Big East play. Lost in first round of the Big East Tournament.
You would have thought that the resume was a lock, but it was another JOB team that faded down the stretch and got knocked out of the Big East Tournament early. They selection committee didn't think much of BC, handing the Eagles a 9 seed. BC was also put in the same bracket as the No.1 overall seed and defending champions North Carolina. We all know how that ended.


Resume: 19-10 regular season. 8-8 in Big East play. Lost in second round of the Big East Tournament.
BC was invited but many said we were flawed and undeserving. We proved them right by getting blown out against Texas.

Resume: 17-10 regular season. 10-6 in Big East play. Lost in second round of the Big East Tournament.
Not invited.
This is the biggest snub in BC history. Our non-conference resume was spotty. We had good wins against UMass and NC State but bad losses to Holy Cross and Kent State. We finished strong in a weak Big East. Most pundits felt we were robbed.

Since the field expanded to 64 teams we ave been a bubble team seven times. Three times we made the Big Dance. Four times we did not. We know 2011 will be added to the list but which way will the bubble burst?

**Please not that I did not include 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2009 in the bubble review since all of those teams were solid tourney picks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rooting Guide for Saturday

As of Saturday morning Lundardi says we are in and Bracketology 101 says we are out. As I tweeted yesterday, I think we are in. Only three ACC teams with 9 conference wins have ever been shut out of the tournament. Now with the field expanded to 68, I still think 9 ACC wins, a win over Texas A&M and some other decent wins on our resume will be enough. But you can never be too careful. Here are your new favorite teams for Saturday. If the following win, our chances improve.

Harvard. Our loss to the Crimson becomes less of a black mark if they are the conference champions. Plus it gives our RPI a little boost.

We are vying for a bid against their opponent -- Memphis.

Alabama is on the bubble. Knocking Kentucky off gets them in.

Michigan State.
The Spartans are probably in. If they lose today they will give life to Penn State (another bubble team).

I imagine that Virginia Tech and Clemson are already in, so there is not much we can do there.

Watching (hockey) and waiting

When times are tough, it is best to turn to someone you can trust. For BC that means Jerry York. After the drubbing that the basketball team received, Hockey changed the mood on the Heights with a sound 4-1 win over UMass in the opener of the Hockey East Playoffs.

The win over UMass gives BC a leg up in the best of three series. BC can close out the series with a win at Conte tonight.

Meanwhile the basketball team is left to wait. Most experts put us out of the tournament after last night. I still have hope. There is enough basketball to play and a few other upsets will happen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One down, one critical game to go

BC beat Wake Forest, but not in the way I predicted. Instead of beating them inside, BC bombed away from 3 to pull away early and hold on in a sluggish second half. There wasn't much to say beyond that. BC played at their ideal tempo and ideal style. The defense was good and other than Raji's shooting, everything was good.

Yet the win against a weaker opponent and a few other dominoes around college football have BC among many "last four in" listings. I am not buying it. Enough other bubble teams have popped this week, plus some of our good wins are looking better (Texas A&M) and one of our bad losses (Harvard) is looking better. If we beat Clemson we are a lock. If we lose close, we are still probably in. If we lose big and some other bubble teams make a run, we may have a frustrating Sunday.

Although it is a bad matchup for us, I think we can beat Clemson. The Tigers are a good defensive team (problem No. 1). They play well on the perimeter (problem No. 2). They have a fairly functional offense (problem No. 3). So basically Clemson frustrates you and doesn't beat themselves. That is sort of what happened earlier this year. We got down, Biko was cold and our comeback was too late. However, things are slightly different now. We have tweaked the rotation, have improved our transition defense and have done a better job of slowing down big men.

I think we will win on Friday. In addition to Biko playing better, I think Raji will also play better than he did in the ACC opener. I think we will hit more 3s. I also think we will come out motivated knowing that the NCAA bid is on the line.

In-game comments post: BC vs Wake Forest

Hopefully today's opening round of the ACC Tournament is uneventful. We'd all love to see BC cruise to victory and give us some breathing room...but we all know better at this point. Leave your comments on the day's activity below.

For those at work, remember that you can catch the action on ESPN3 or at (depending on your market). If you are like this blogger you will be on a plane in the second half.

I will have a recap and tournament outlook late tonight. I will have more immediate reactions throughout the day on twitter.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Deacs again and where were stand in projections

It's time to play Wake Forest again. I think we will win. The team has been playing much better of late. After Wake's quick start our defense got used to their sets and slowed them down. While the Deacons might add a wrinkle or two from Sunday, their basic concept is still in place. My fear is that we won't be as sharp from 3, but Trapani, Raji and Southern should be able to score inside.

Kenpom gives us a 90% chance at victory. Most odds makers have us as a 13-point favorite.

Wake bloggers are not optimistic.

Now entering the game we are still in via Lunardi, Bracketolgy 101 and

I think we will win and with the win cement our spot in the Big Dance.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Still bubbling and other links

I had hoped that we wouldn't be so bubblicious by now but the pundits still are not totally sold on BC. The Wake win didn't mean much, which means Thursday's game probably won't mean much either. In their Tuesday recap (based on Monday's results) Bracketology 101 has BC last four in. Lunardi has us as the last four in.

This is SI's take on the ACC Spring. Everyone is focused on Rogers and rightfully so. I don't think Rogers' changes will be drastic schematically. I think it will be more about can he get Rettig to mature and get the offense to execute better.

Baseball beat Bethune-Cookman 6-4.

Oakland is shuffling paperwork around the pending CBA to potentially keep Ricky Brown.

Monday, March 07, 2011

ACC Honors and other links

As expected, the ACC named Reggie Jackson first team All-ACC. Trapani made the third team. Congrats to both.

I overlooked an important accomplishment over the weekend -- the BC women won the Hockey East! Congrats and now go get the big trophy.

HD has a pretty good take on our 2011 schedule. Obviously the ACC schedule is primary but I think how we perform in the non-conference will really impact perception among the fans and Spaz's progress. We only have on non-conference cupcake this year.

Montel Harris's injury put a damper on the end of his 2010 season. I wonder if it will mute some deserved publicity heading into 2011. Southern Pigskin thinks he is unappreciated.

Pre-snap read is following Emmett Cleary this spring. I actually think Cleary played well for Lapham at RT and wouldn't mind seeing him stay on the right side. Give one of the young guys a chance at LT.

Steve Donahue and Joe Lunardi go way back...not that it matters come Sunday.

I hope Charlie Davies new found maturity speeds his comeback with D.C. United.

Future Eagle Ryan Anderson is developing nicely.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Soaring Seniors

Not only did BC do what it had to do today in beating Wake Forest, but it did so in a style that has me thinking big. If they play with the same intensity and continue the recent improved defense, we can make a run this week and next. Here are my thoughts. Leave yours below.

-- Playing man defense for 40 minutes. Wake is terrible, but they do have some pieces and some size. Yet we were able to play them in man defense nearly the entire game. Trapani didn't have trouble with their bigs. We rebounded well and Wake didn't drive or post up on Cahill.
-- Reggie distributing. Jackson did a good job of getting others involved and making smart passes. It is just another aspect of his improving game.
-- Corey Raji's big day. He was great in transition. He was great in defense. He made some big shots. Once again, if he and a few others peak at the right time, good things can happen.


-- Losing men on defense early in the game. We gave Wake some wide open looks early and they converted. Fortunately we clamped down and made some stops.

Let's hope this loss crushed Wake and we are supremely focused since we get to do this all again next week in the opening round of the ACC Tournament.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Hockey East regular season champions

BC scored late in the third to beat UNH 4-3 Saturday night. The win did two things. First it gave BC yet another regular season title (the school's 11th). Secondly, it also gave BC the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East Tournament. BC will take on UMass next weekend in the opening round of the HE Tourney.

What's interesting is that even with all the success he has had, Jerry York still knows how to push buttons. He invited Bill Belichick to practice on Tuesday to speak to the team about being champions. The Patriots coach admitted to not knowing much about hockey but clearly made an impact on the team.

I don't think BC will need any pep talk preparing for UMass. The Eagles don't need to win the Hockey East Tournament for an NCAA bid, but it could be a great springboard to another Frozen Four run.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Hockey wins, Rogers speaks and other links

In most of our championship years, York's teams started collecting trophies en route to the big one. Beanpot, Hockey East regular season, etc. Well with their win tonight, the Hockey team leaped ahead of UNH for first place in the Hockey East. The teams face off tomorrow night with BC having a chance to clinch the regular season title.

It wasn't all rosy though. Chris Kreider broke his jaw and is likely out for the remainder of the season.

The BC Draft crew held a Q&A with our new OC Kevin Rogers. Rogers doesn't tip his hand much regarding players or schemes. What is interesting is that he will seem to continue a BC tradition of Coordinators being secondary recruiters while the staffers are the primary. Many schools handle the recruiting among the staff that way but I've never really cared for it. I think you lose something if the coordinators are not actively on the road meeting the kids, talking to other coaches, etc. I also think that recruiting windows are so much smaller now, that more feet on the street can be useful.

Castonzo told WEEI that he does expect to be a first-round draft pick.

Castonzo's former bookend tackle Gosder Cherilus is battling knee issues again. If the Lions need a tackle, maybe they will take AC.

The ACC named Carolyn Sword to its All Academic team.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

BC women upset and other links

A disappointing end to a disappointing regular season as NC State upset BC in the first round of the Women's ACC Tournament. BC has a winning record so they are likely to get an invite to the NIT.

BC was the first to offer a scholarship to Jarron Jones, but now that he has made ESPN's 150, most major programs will come calling.

If you find the ACC Tournament seeding scenarios confusing, this post should help clear it up.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

More tournament projections and other links has BC playing Memphis in one of the play in games. I actually like that matchup...of course it won't happen that way.

Southern Pigskin took a look at current ACC QBs and then went back to examine their ratings as recruiting prospects. Rettig is in the middle of the pack. Maryland's Dan O'Brien, who was on the ACC All Freshmen team, was lightly regarded out of high school.

Adam DePietro enjoyed his visit to BC. BC also has early interest in Ohio athlete Demitrious Davis. Jamil Pollard is talking up football and academics, so hopefully that will play to BC's favor. Alex Albright's cousin Sid Anvoots doesn't have a BC offer but did root for the Eagles.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Statement game? Looked like it to me

Which team looked like a tournament lock tonight? I have to hand it to Donahue and crew. After allowing VT to close the gap towards the end of the first half, they killed the Hokies for long stretches of the second half. That sort of determination will be vital for the next week (and hopefully two weeks). These are my thoughts. Leave yours below.


-- Corey Raji on Defense. He set the tone early. He provided great help and hit the defensive boards hard.
-- Josh Southern in the paint. Good minutes from Southern tonight. More inspired defense than we are used to and he had some good post moves.
-- Critical 3s. So much of tonight was about momentum. When BC was down early we hit some 3s. When VT made a run, BC would answer with a dagger of a 3.


-- BC against the 2-3. We were lucky Greenberg didn't use it as often in the second half. When he went to it in the first, BC got sloppy with some possessions.
-- Dumb fouls up late. When the game was out of reach BC -- understandably -- eased up. But I still didn't like the dumb fouls. You have to remain focused.

Why BC's expenses are a little deceiving

Forbes has an interesting breakdown of ACC Sports revenue and expenses. BC was in the middle of the conference in terms of football revenue but had high expenses. The first assumption is that travel is the big driver. Given BC's location, it is a factor. But an equally big driver for the private schools is tuition cost. Just look at Duke and Wake Forest. Their travel expenses are near their neighbors on Tobacco Road yet both have less expensive football staffs. But like BC they have to account for the more expensive tuition. The nice thing about scholarship tuition, is that it is not a true cash outflow (like chartering a plane). BC has to account for it, but it is really just an internal allocation.

The good news in all of this is that the ACC's revenue numbers will more than double with the new TV deal. I also wonder (and doubt) that BC's Under Armour deal was factored into the last revenue number.

But regardless of where the money is coming from or how expensive it is to travel, this report is just further confirmation that BC clearly made the right choice when we left the Big East.

Help WZBC Sports Grow

In the 1990s there were no BC message boards or BC blogs. If you were a student and you wanted to talk or cover BC sports you could join the Heights or WZBC. My path was ZBC. Our shoe string budget had its limitations but was a good primer for the years ahead. Doing something you love, having fun and learning to cover the teams has put numerous BC guys on the path to careers in sports.

Fortunately new media, new technology and a passionate student base has helped grow WZBC to a staff of 40 students. The current crew have aggressive expansion goals but need more financial support. If you want to help the next generation of BC coverage and enjoy the coverage yourself, you can send a tax-deductable donation to WZBC Sports. Contact the station's promo director adam.rose.1 at bc dot edu for more information.

Key Links

-- WZBC Sports Website

-- WZBC Sports Twitter account

-- Contact info