Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Game: a day of missed opportunities

We've learned not to read too much into the Spring Game. However, there are themes to the most public football event of the spring. This year I sensed an overriding feeling of missed opportunities. It started with the lousy weather and continued to the QBs making mistakes despite a depleted secondary.

The weather couldn't be helped. Moving the schedule forward necessitated the Spring Game in March. In Boston that's always dicey. Because of the unpredictable weather BC cancelled "Family Fun Day" and had smallish crowds. I hope we return to our normal Spring schedule next year. It might not make an impact on the field, but I think ending the Spring on a nice day creates a sense of optimism among the fans.

For those of us who watched online, the day started ignominiously. The feed was timing out and we couldn't see the first 20 minutes. Later the game came in.

As for seeing Doug Martin's new stlye, it wasn't drastic change. The formations were all pretty standard. The play was inconsistent and all the QB struggled at times. I don't know if that's attributed to the new scheme, the weather or talent issues. Rettig's rough numbers left some people wondering about the QB position battle. Spaz quelled that after the game by reinforcing that Rettig will be the starter next year. I remain in the Rettig fan club. This was just a glorified scrimmage. We've seen Chase execute against ACC defenses. How he does in an empty Alumni in March means very little.

There's nothing to read into the defense. Injuries and roster depth forced Spaz to put all sorts of raw or random guys on the field as the game progressed.

The Heights took lots of pictures. Check out their shots. You'll notice lots of empty seats.

Ultimately the Spring Game is about getting ready for next year. I hope BC's marketing arm use next year's Spring Game to see how they can grow the fanbase. Leaving the game to die in March doesn't do much for anyone.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Steve Donahue talks about the future and other links

Steve Donahue spoke with Tim Brando about this season. He recognizes that we still have at least another year of maturing before we improve.

As BCI noted, the weather is supposed to be bad during the Spring Game. But it is our last chance to watch BC football for months.

Chris Kreider will have to make a decision regarding his future with BC or the Rangers shortly after the Frozen Four ends.

ESPNBoston took a look at what makes BC Hockey so good.

Fox Sports didn't think much of our 2012 basketball team.

Spaz has already offered Virginia sophomore prospect Mustaqeem Williams.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sesquicentennial, more draft stuff, Anderson interview and other links

BC announced their plans for the school's Sesquicentennial. Sports-wise the two related announcements are a Mass in Fenway Park and that select teams will have a Sesquicentennial patch on their uniforms. The Fenway Park Mass is the most interesting item to me. I don't know where they will set the altar, but the Park can't hold that many more people than a full Alumni Stadium. Perhaps you could say it is a more central location for alumni and members of the BC family in the Boston area. the idea of Mass at Fenway sort of feels a little like a gimmick...and I am okay with that. I am sure we've all attended religious ceremonies in unique venues. If the setting adds to the reverence and passion to the event, I am not opposed. Most BC people have been to many events in Alumni. Perhaps having a Mass in Fenway will add a little bit to the memories and celebration.

Kuechly's Draft Diary with's tone has changed a bit now that the Eagles signed a free agent middle linebacker. Todd McShay has Luke slotted to the Chiefs at No. 11. Don Banks also thinks Kuechly ends up in KC.

Around The Res posted a good two-part interview with Ryan Anderson.

BC is using our ties to the Cincinnati area to recruit Ohio DB Keith Watkins.

Things are looking up for the Baseball team after a walk-off home run to beat Bryant.

BCI touched on this earlier in the week, but it is interesting to read between the lines of this Tiffany Ruffin interview. Regardless of why it came about, I think the coaching change with the women's basketball team will provide a breath of fresh air.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Austin Game Watch and Tampa Host Bar

If you are in Austin and want to watch the game with some other Eagles go to the Frozen Four Game Watch.

Austin Game Watch
Third Base Sports Bar
1717 West 6th Street
7:00pm CST

For those in Tampa, your fellow BC fans are meeting up in a Tampa bar prior to the game. There will be shuttle service from the bar to the Arena.

MacDinton's Irish Pub
405 South Howard Avenue
Tampa , Florida 33606

How you can watch the Spring Game will stream five ACC Spring Games. BC was not selected. But their is an alternative. BC fans jonesing for BC football can watch the stream via BC All Access on The production won't be as polished as ESPN3's but it will be more than enough for those who care.

As for why ESPN selected those schools and not BC, I reached out to BC for an answer. They didn't really have one as ESPN didn't explain why the other schools were selected. Some of us tend to overreact to these snubs or missed opportunities. This time I am not particularly offended. After all, these are just Spring Games. ESPN can't be making much money on any of them. Plus I imagine BC will look like a work in progress on Sunday, so it is probably best to keep things under wraps. Enjoy it for what it is: our first chance to see Martin's offense and our last glimpse of BC football until the Fall.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bad blood with UConn spills over into basketball transfers

Eric Hoffes is reporting that UConn will not allow Alex Oriakhi to transfer to BC. Unfortunately there is little BC or Oriakhi can do about it. I've been told the interest was mutual, and Oriakhi liked the idea of playing close to home in the ACC and on a team that needed a big man. Unless public pressure forces UConn to change its stance, he will move on to some other opportunity. What's curious about the whole thing is that he is still available to major programs like North Carolina and Kentucky. UConn doesn't seem bothered by the rich getting richer. But a school like BC -- which just finished last in the ACC -- is not allowed.

We know the history, but clearly the UConn leadership doesn't believe in bridge building or looking out for a player's best interest. The only reason Oriakhi is immediately available is because of UConn's violations. They flaunted the rules. But they are taking the players down with them by limiting his choices.

For any wondering, this is not about Steve Donahue. For all I know he has a good working relationship with Jim Calhoun. This is more about the BC-UConn pissing match.

The mistake UConn leaders are making is that this sort of move won't be forgotten. When Gene is retired and an expanded ACC comes up for proposal, do they think we will be supporting them or Rutgers? This will not end well but UConn has never been one to see the big picture.

Monday, March 26, 2012

McGlinchey just latest missed opportunity for Spaz's recruiting

BC target and Matt Ryan's cousin Mike McGlinchey committed to Notre Dame. In the big scheme of things, it is disappointing news but not enough to write off the whole recruiting class. The bigger problem is that none of the current recruits really matter to Spaz. When a Coach is not wrapped up in recruiting, recruits feel it. Spaz is days away from his 65th Birthday. The guys he recruits now will be 5th year seniors when Spaz is 71. He is not going to be coaching them regardless of how this season plays out. This sort of issue creates two snowballing problems.

Players have concerns about Spaz's future. Jameson McShea said as much last week. I assume that players from a regular BC recruiting stop like William Penn Charter who also happen to be relatives of a recent star, have a pretty good feel for what's going on at BC. Notre Dame -- despite their constant turnover -- has a more certain future for a guy like McGlinchey than BC. And it is not like Spaz can use his tenure and history to promote stability. He's on his fourth offensive coordinator. What conclusions do you think recruits and their families will draw?

Is Spaz's heart in recruiting? Even before this latest layup recruit slipped through our fingers, there have been rumors that winning games is more important to Spaz than wooing the latest high school kid. How much more intense will he be with his job really on the line? Recruiting is hard and only gets harder as things start to slip. Spaz is incorporating new staffers and trying to bounce back from his first losing season. Does he want to be out selling? Is that vibe and feeling surrounding recruiting going to get better as things drag on?

While this all seems like a temporary problem and a Spaz problem, this does have bigger ramifications. Spaz's problems will be someone else's next year if we have holes all over our roster.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Frozen Four bound again

BC put up the above image shortly after BC wrapped up its 4-0 win over Minnesota Duluth. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by their well-timed marketing as we are becoming old pros at the Frozen Four. This is our 10th Frozen Four in 15 years. We obviously want and expect to win it all, but I think we need to pause for a moment and recognized Jerry York's greatness. Despite the roster turnover, despite replacing incredible goalies, York produces the sports best team's every year.

As for this game, BC controlled the pace early. We didn't score but had some good opportunities. After BC scored in the second, the game got a little chippy. But BC's power play and penalty kill were both very good. Coming off this run, I would think BC is the heavy favorite to win it all. Let's go Eagles!

BC takes on Minnesota in the late game Thursday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hockey advances and other links

It wasn't pretty but BC advanced to the next round of the NCAA Tournament by beating Air Force 2-0. BC held the lead from the first period but couldn't build on it. The final goal came late. Both scores came courtesy of Chris Kreider. They take on Minnesota-Duluth Sunday night. That game will be on ESPN U.

BC held its second scrimmage on Saturday. Word is that despite the so-so stats, Rettig looked pretty good. Bordner played well too. The bigger concern remains the lack of depth all over the field.

Baseball split a double-header with Georgia Tech on Saturday. But combined with their win Friday, and the Eagles won their first ACC series of the year.

Finally watch Tyrese Rice nail this full-court shot.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cornell upsets Michigan reminder for BC-Air Force

Friday night Cornell -- a 4 seed -- upset Michigan in overtime. In a survive and advance formula everything is heightened. I hope Jerry York reminded his guys of that as BC gets ready to take on another plucky 4 seed in Air Force.

The other higher seed to fall was Miami of Ohio. They were knocked out by UMass Lowell. BC starts its run at 4 PM on Saturday. The game is on ESPN U.

Digesting rumors and speculation regarding incoming hoops tranfers

The season is over for most teams, so speculation regarding transfer is kicking into high gear. Donahue has not stated if his staff is seeking a transfer, but we do have scholarships to give and potential playing time. BC's biggest need is for big men who can play the 4 or 5.

Alex Oriakhi is probably the most well-known name available. Because of UConn's sanctions, he is eligible to play next year. The good news: he's from Lowell and would start immediately for BC. The bad news: he supposedly wants to play for a contender, there are questions if he is academically eligible to transfer to BC and he wasn't always on good terms with the UConn staff. Oriakhi is the prize opportunity, but based on his stated needs, I don't see BC in the mix.

Evan Smotrycz is another name to watch. He's a Massachusetts native and played in a system similar to BC's at Michigan. Supposedly he had a relationship with Donahue when Donahue tried to interest him in Cornell. We could use his size, but he will have to sit a year.

Brendan Lane can leave UCLA and play immediately. When he first announced his intentions, there was lots of message board talk about his interest in BC. He would also keep the California pipeline going. But in the week since the announcement, there's been no other reporting. I am guessing it is a long shot.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baldwin in flight and other links

If Baldwin could skydive into Alumni every week, I think people would get to their seats in time for kick off.

HT Eagleoutsider boards.

Need to get up to speed on the NCAA Hockey tournament? Read this overview from Yahoo.

Kuechly performed as expected at BC's Pro Day. The more disappointing issue is that Momah was not able to run.

Seattle has shown interest in Donnie Fletcher.

The NCAA Tournament was part of Tommy Cross' life long before he started playing for BC.

Recruiting target Matt Rolin is set to visit BC soon.

Dallas waived Sean Williams. I don't know how many more chances he'll have.

Dominique Davis redshirted during Matt Ryan's senior season. Maybe they are destined to be to together again as the Falcons met with Davis after his Pro Day. If the Falcons are going to have Ryan and Davis on the staff they might as well hire Steve Logan and also see what Chris Crane is up to.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rudolph's suspension leaves bigger hole at DT

BC suspended Jaryd Rudolph indefinitely after he was charged with illegally audio taping his teammate's sexual encounter with a female student in their suite. He's still a BC student but I don't think Spaz can count on him returning for the rest of Spring practice. As long as he remains a student and fights the charges, there is hope he can return to football, but given BC and BC football's track record with players and anything related to sex and illegal activities (I don't know if this is considered a sexual assault), the odds of Rudolph's return are long. Rudolph wasn't a star, but he provided depth at a position where BC is now alarmingly thin. Connor O'Neal is gone. Kaleb Ramsey is still recovering from injury. None of the incoming recruits is slotted to be a defensive tackle.

I think Appiah is going to be a star. Ricci showed potential. Quinn is serviceable. Bryan Murray is okay. But that is it. We desperately need Ramsey to comeback at 100% and we better hope the rest of the guys stay healthy. I know players can be moved over and we can use more 3-4 and 3-3 formations, but this is not the best way to manage your roster.

Saints' penalties means higher profile for Carmichael, Jr.

The NFL suspended Sean Payton for a year. As far fetched as it seems, this move has major implications on BC. In Payton's absence, BC grad Pete Carmichael, Jr. will take on a much higher profile role with the team. Currently the offensive coordinator, Carmichael is likely to take on the play calling duties and could also be named the interim head coach. The higher profile is a great career news for the well-liked Carmichael, but probably means he won't be on the shortlist if we make a coaching change next season. Carmichael's path from this new opportunity will be a head coach in the NFL. If he can keep the Saints competitive in 2012, he'll be at the top of the list for most NFL teams hiring for the 2013 season. Even if he struggles, the money the Saints will pay him next year will probably be more than he would make as BC's head coach. Add in the recruiting timeline and the NFL season's length and there are now just too many obstacles for a Carmichael-BC deal.

Despite his popularity among the die hard BC fans, Carmichael might have been a moot point anyway. Gene has said he wouldn't go the NFL route again.

Best of luck to Pete regardless of his future in college of the NFL. If anyone can handle this sort of mess, it is a BC guy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who benefits the most from BC's Pro Day?

Wednesday is BC's Pro Day. Luke Kuechly is the main draw but he'll be surrounded by former teammates and select players from UMass, Harvard and Holy Cross. At this point Kuechly is highly likely to be a first-round draft pick. Donnie Fletcher still has a chance to be a late-round pick. Everyone one else is fighting to get a chance. If the guys below impress at the Pro Day, they may get signed. Here are the guys who have a chance to impress on Wednesday.

1. WR Ifeanyi Momah. Momah's season was cut short, so he needs this day more than most. I don't think he will put up huge speed numbers, but his size will impress in person. It is a passing league so I expect someone to sign a good player who also happens to be 6'6.
2. DE Max Holloway. Holloway has got to be incredible if he wants anyone to take a chance on him. He's not well known, not ideal size and only has three years of game tape.
3. P Ryan Quigley Quigley became a great directional punter. Is that worth a draft pick? Probably not, but if he shows some power to go with his touch, I think he will get a get interest from a few teams.

Mark Spinney and Dan Williams are long, long shots to get drafted, but they can play multiple positions. If they work out well, a good agent should get them with an NFL team. The event starts at 11 AM and will run until 2 PM. Pro Day is closed to the public.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vote for Flutie and other links

Doug Flutie continued to advance in EA Sports's contest to determine the cover player for their NCAA Football 13 video game. Vote here on Facebook to help Doug win the honor.

Hayden Rettig will be visiting his brother and the campus during his Spring Break. He'll also visit Rutgers and former BC staffer Dave Brock. BC needs to land a quarterback in this class and is looking at plenty of QBs beyond Hayden. But I think landing him would be a good endorsement of Spaz and Martin.

BC is also looking at Florida lineman Kyle Schafenacker.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hockey gets top seed and other links

BC earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Hockey Tournament. BC will face Air Force this weekend in the opening round. ESPN put up a good preview of the Tournament here.

Clemson swept the baseball team this weekend.

The baseball team wasn't the only BC squad that had a rough weekend. The softball team lost three straight to Georgia Tech.

Profootball Weekly posted a feature on Luke Kuechly.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Notes on Saturday Scrimmage

BC held its first scrimmage of the Spring. Because it was a Flynn Fund event, there were plenty of comments and opinions leaked beyond the school's official write up.

-- Despite his absence from the depth chart, Andre Williams did play and looked good.
-- Galik, Ramsey, Naples, Pierre-Louis, Coleman, Rositano, and Vardaro all sat out with various injuries.
-- Rettig was a little off put got the first team snaps. Bordner was next, followed by Shinskie, Marscovetra and Suntrup.
-- The tempo was quick.
-- Tight Ends were used in a variety of ways and there were multiple two-tight end sets.
-- Coach Flip told donors that BC will be adding brick walls around the field.

Hockey East Champs and ready for another Frozen Four

We are just spoiled at this point. BC went out and controlled the game, beat Maine 4-1 and wrapped up their third straight Hockey East Championship. We will now be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Congrats to Jerry York and the boys for another great run. BC now has the record for consecutive wins in the Hockey East Tournament. Let's go Eagles and win another National Championship!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Men's Hockey advances and other links

BC beat Providence 4-2 in the Hockey East semifinals. They will play for the Hockey East championship Saturday night.

The Women's Hockey team wasn't as successful. They lost to Wisconsin 6-2 in the first game of the Frozen Four.

The baseball team lost their series opener to Clemson. They are still winless in ACC play.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Potential replacements for Crawley

I am sure Gene has a few potential names lined up for the women's basketball opening. These are a few that I've already heard mentioned.

Jen Rizzotti; Head Coach, University of Hartford
Rizzotti's name was mentioned when Inglese was fired. At the time she was pregnant, so that may have been a factor in her not wanting to make a move then. She's experienced and she's worked in New England. The only drawback might be the UConn connection.

Kelly Greenberg; Head Coach, Boston University
Knows the area. Has recruited at an Ivy League school earlier in her career. She also worked at Holy Cross.

Kenny Brooks; Head Coach, James Madison
A couple of Crawley's BC players actually transferred to James Madison and found success there. He's been a head coach for many years and won consistently.

Crawley's tenure ends for a variety of reasons and what it means

Sylvia Crawley resigned this afternoon as head coach of the BC women's basketball team. The official release from the school listed "health reasons" as the basis for her decision. As in the past, the school then felt the need to explain that these health issues are "non-life-threatening, treatable condition..." I hate being the constant cynic, but I think the change was made because Crawley wasn't a very good coach. A 67-63 record (20-38 ACC) capped off by this year's 7-23 season was enough to do anyone in.

None of this is a surprise. I predicted Crawley would be gone in December. Following Cathy Inglese would have been tough for anyone, but Crawley seemed like a bad fit from the start. She's wasn't particularly good at the Xs and Os and her supposed forte -- recruiting -- resulted in highly-rated recruits, but lots of turnover, transfers and losing. She didn't ingrain herself into BC and carried herself at practices and games like she didn't want to be there. I know she has other interests outside of basketball. Maybe she can now focus on them.

Because very few are paying attention, this story won't be a big deal nor will it get the scrutiny it deserves. But our current women's basketball situation was the canary in the coal mine. In 2008 a successful and well-regarded coach was forced out. There was no fireable offense. It was more about power and differing philosophies with her boss. BC filled the role with someone who was not qualified and not cut out to be a head coach in the ACC. Now we have to clean up that mess and are certainly worse off than we were four years ago.

I hope this is a sign that despite public proclamations, Gene is willing to correct his mistakes. Because I can see this football season playing out a lot like this year's women's basketball season.

Alumni's noise and other links

Spencer Hall wrote an interesting post on noise levels in college stadiums. I know much of Alumni Stadium's noise is dependent upon crowd size and passion, but the there are a few inadvertent features that make our stadium surprisingly noisy for its size. The big factors are the narrow sidelines, the closed ends of the stadium and the secret weapon -- the full aluminum stands. All that metal is much less forgiving to sound than concrete aisles and rows would have been.

The Herald caught up with former Eagle Brady Heslip. I know many are saying Heslip could made Donahue's transition easier, but I don't begrudge Donahue for being honest with Heslip. Letting him walk might have hurt this year, but in the end Donahue is going to be judged on how his own recruits develop and win.

Brian Dumoulin, Johnny Gaudreau and Parker Milner all earned Hockey East honors this week. Here is a good article on Milner and the legacy of the BC goalies.

In recruiting news, BC has now offered a pair of teammates from Eire Cathedral Prep. Hayden Rettig keeps piling up big time offers. BC is after the latest Don Bosco star. BC now has more competition for Ohio Athlete Darron Lee.

From earlier in the week: a Q&A with KPL and a interview with Chris Pantale.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Watching Donahue coach

These videos have been around for a year, yet I just came across them. If you like watching coaches teach, you'll love the short little insights. The video's also provide a glimpse into Donahue's tone and intensity during practice. These show him working with last year's team. I imagine his style didn't change much with the new squad, but maybe the lessons were pared down a bit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lively takes his fight to Facebook

When Jack Dunn rebutted Steve Lively's criticisms of Gene, he included the following:
It has caused a number of people, including several of Steve’s former football teammates, to express concern for him and his judgment.

It seems that there are a growing number of BC Football Alumni supporting Lively's efforts. He has a private, football Alumni group on Facebook that currently has 120 members and growing. Most of the members are players from the '80s and '90s.

Although Facebook groups are a dime a dozen, I think Lively is using the right approach. He's got select membership who understand BC football's history and potential. Ultimately this will come down to wins, losses and money. If Lively's group is organized and well funded, BC will have to listen. I also think that using former players as a sounding board will only help his message. At times his letters have missed their target or got bogged down in personal minutia with Gene. As a group they are much more likely to deliver effective communication.

I don't know if Lively will open the group to non-football players, but even without fans, he has momentum.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hockey still No. 1 and other links

Coming off an opening round sweep, BC Hockey held onto its No. 1 slot in the Division I Men’s Poll. BC will take on Providence this Friday at the Garden. The game will be on NESN.

Miami swept the BC baseball team over the weekend. BC will have a chance at their first ACC win this Friday at Clemson.

BC basketball target Anthony January is gaining more attention from other programs...especially with his strong play of late.

If you missed it over the weekend, you need to read the New York Times article on Nerlens Noel. This is Jimmy Noel's little brother and he is one of the biggest basketball recruits to come out of New England in years. BC is not on his radar. If you read the article you won't begrudge Donahue for not bothering. The situation is a mess and multiple people are pulling Noel in different directions.

Here is another scouting report on Luke Kuechly.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Boston College rooting guide to the NCAA Tournament

BC missed the NCAA Tournament. Shocking, I know. I still believe that if we had gotten to 10 wins we would have been off the bubble! But just because we are wallflowers during the Big Dance doesn't mean you shouldn't jump on some other team's bandwagons. The following programs are all important for any BC fan thinking about our future triumphs.

St. Bonaventure -- The Bonnies are coached by an Eagle, Mark Schmidt '85. As Kool-Aid drinker No. 1, I am not suggesting we think about Donahue replacements, but it is always nice to see BC guys succeed knowing that they could come back to the Heights one day. Plus I know a few other Eagles like me who have proud fathers who went to Bonaventure.

Michigan -- If you want some reassurances in what Donahue is building it would nice to see the guy whose program is most closely aligned with his strategies succeed. Michigan runs a motion offense with an emphasis on 3-pointers. John Beilein's stocked his team with a mix of under the radar shooter types and blue-chippers. He's doing "it" the right way. If Michigan makes it to the Final Four, it would be encouraging to all BC fans.

Harvard -- Harvard has made our lives miserable on the court of late, but the better they play the better it is for BC's reputation. Harvard's going to be on our schedule every year, so we want that potential win to be respectable.

Any ACC Team -- The ACC seems to be the whipping boy for the national media. They love to bash us and talk about the mistakes of expansion. Another NCAA Championship from our one of our members helps the league's reputation and BC's basketball recruiting.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

BC sweeps UMass, Women heading to Frozen Four and other links

BC is now headed to the Garden for the Hockey East Championships after sweeping UMass. BC's 3-2 win over the Minutemen was another tough effort, but BC did enough to win.

The Women's Ice Hockey team are headed to the Frozen Four again. While we are used to the men going every year, this is the first time the women have gone in back to back years. They earned their spot by beating St. Lawrence 6-3 on Saturday.

The Women's Lax team started their ACC schedule with a 17-10 win over Virginia Tech.

The softball team beat Providence 13-1. They will finish their final game of the FAU Embassy Suites Classic on Sunday against Minnesota.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Light the lamp Conte

Not really a picture of Conte Forum at the scheduled drop of the puck.

BC started their march towards another Hockey East crown by beating UMass 2-1. But before I get into that, I want to comment on the pregame power failure at Conte Forum. The entire building lost power for several minutes causing a delay in the game as the lights are slow to relight. Supposedly the cause of of the outage was a power station in Newton and impacted other parts of town. Even though the failure wasn't related to one of Conte's issues, why doesn't the building have a generator or two just for times like this? Conte needs a major renovation and BC can't keep delaying the project.

As for the game itself, UMass outplayed BC for most of the night, but Milner kept BC did enough to keep BC on top. BC can wrap up the series with a win Saturday night.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Still drinking the Donahue Kool-Aid

BC lost an ugly game to NC State in the first round of the ACC Tournament today. The loss wrapped up BC's worst season in 14 years. It was the type of season that makes you question everything. Yet I am really optimistic about the future. I really believe in Steve Donahue.

The guy can coach...
Basketball can be a tough sport too coach. I always preferred college coaches who found the right players, gave them the right system and then let them play. I think too many coaches overmanage a game. I think Donahue is one of those rare college guys who can make in game adjustments without confusing his players and throwing his lineup out the window. I don't always love his decisions (like his willingness to deemphasize offensive boards in exchange for better transition defense) but you know that they are well thought out, backed up by stats and for the most part worked.

I like our talent...
These guys looked skinny and confused, but there is obvious talent and basketball skill there. Dennis Clifford moves well and has really good post moves for someone his size. As he matures, those skills combined with his height will make him a very good college basketball player. Ryan Anderson has a really good offensive skill set. At little more strength and he'll be All ACC. Lonnie Jackson's upside is more limited, but what he does can be very valuable to a good team. Heckmann is a big unknown. But if he returns, stays healthy and gets stronger, he can also be a very good ACC player. The remaining guys are solid enough and can be good role players on a winning team. Another season together will make a huge difference for all of these players.

Donahue is a hard worker. He's smart. His players seem smart. The biggest challenge he and the players will have is the patience to keep improving together. Losing will wear on everyone. Being together all the time will either create a closeness or resentment. I am predicting the former. The summer trip to Spain should only help.

Donahue's made some mistakes and I think he's got to make some assessments of his approach. But we are on the right path. Pass the Kool-Aid!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Can BC win at least one ACC Tourney game?

Prior to the season and even in down times, I stuck to my prediction that BC would win a minimum of five ACC regular season games and at least one ACC Tournament game. I obviously missed on the regular season prediction. The team had its moments but never showed the steady improvement that I had hoped for. The ACC also turned out to be better than I thought.

But with the ACC Tournament set to begin, my second prediction still has a chance to come true. The oddsmakers aren't feeling my confidence. BC enters the game as a 12-point underdog. That expected as we are the 12th seed and NC State is a bubble team needing a win.

I'm hanging my hope on a few nuggets from our first two games against the Pack. In the first game, we got down early on the road yet kept fighting. Sloppy play was the main issue then. I think BC's improved enough in that front to avoid another 17-turnover disaster. The second game in Conte was closely fought. BC slowed the pace and went back and forth in the second half. However, they couldn't score down the stretch and NC State won by five.

For this game I think BC will also slow things down. In addition to the usual keys (3-pointers and turnovers) is CJ Leslie. Wood put up big points but the difference between the two games was BC's defense on Leslie. Anderson will get most of the minutes guarding him, but I do think we should double him on occasion with one of the guards. If Leslie has an off shooting night and is kept off the boards, BC might actually turn the ACC Tournament into a multiple night stay.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Anderson's honors good indicator for future success

Earlier this week, the ACC media elected Ryan Anderson to the all-freshman team. Call this season a rebuilding project or call it a letdown, but you have to call Anderson's honor is a silver lining. By winning the award, we can probably predict future success for the freshman. He's also probably a guy we can build around. Just look at the track record of past honorees.

All ACC freshman
2005-06 Tyrese Rice -- 2,000 point scorer, first team All ACC as a JR

All Big East freshman
1979-80 John Bagley -- first team All Big East twice
1980-81 Martin Clark -- 1,000 point scorer and two time BC captain
1980-81 Jay Murphy -- scored 1,795 points and made three All Big East teams
1984-85 Skip Barry -- Only 553 in three years at BC. One of the few that didn't have a great career at BC
1985-86 Dana Barros -- First BC player to scorer more than 2,000 points. Led Big East in scoring twice
1987-88 Corey Beasley -- Decent BC career but never dominant.
1990-91 Bill Curley -- twice elected first team All Big East, 2,102 career points
1993-94 Danya Abrams -- elected first team team All Big three times, 2,053 career points
1995-96 James “Scoonie” Penn -- transferred to Ohio State but was part of two NCAA tournament teams at BC and part of the Big East Championship team in 1997
1999-00 Troy Bell -- two-time Big East player of the year, BC's all-time leading scorer
2002-03 Craig Smith -- 2,349 career points, 1st team All ACC and 1st team Big East (twice)
2003-04 Jared Dudley -- ACC Player of the Year, 2,071 career points
2004-05 Sean William -- BC's all-time leading shot blocker

I don't know if Anderson will score 2,000 points, but he's got an all around game that can serve as Donahue's foundation. But if you look at our most successful times, good freshman were followed by more good freshmen. That means that Donahue needs to have an impact guy next year too if we want things to truly turnaround.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Piling on Gene doesn't really matter

Boston Metro produced a long overdue critique of BC's decline in major sports and put most of it at the feet of Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo. I thought the article was a worthy read and quoted the right critics. But for whatever negative attention it brings on Gene, it really won't impact anything. BC made that perfectly clear when they publicly sided with Gene after Steve Lively's second letter.

Regardless of where you stand on who is to blame and if Gene should go, it will all come down to this football season. If Spaz cannot deliver a winning record, I think he will be gone and Gene will either be fired of neutered of power behind the scenes.

Until then, we are in a holding pattern. Crawley is safe. Donahue's staffers are probably safe and Spaz is certainly safe.

If the Metro article does spark a wave of copycat articles and investigations, the only real benefit will be to BC bloggers and disgruntled fans who want to keep the Fire Gene movement fresh in people's heads.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Could Skinner end up back at URI?

URI fired Jim Baron and people are already speculating that Al Skinner could be a candidate to replace him. Prior to his time at BC, Skinner coached URI from 1989 to 1997. I love Al Skinner but I don't know if going back to URI is a good idea for him or the Rams.

The challenge in Skinner going back to URI is that there will be higher expectations for him. He led URI during a successful time and they've just fired a semi-successful coach. I think Al would be much better suited to take over a program in the northeast that hasn't had success and doesn't have any familiarity with him.

I actually think URI should consider a Skinner assistant like Pat Duquette. That way you get someone who would implement some of the same Skinner blueprint yet comes to the fanbase with a relative blank slate.

Hopefully Al finds a good job this offseason. I still think he can be successful at the right program.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Memorable night for hockey, forgettable day for hoops and other links

The high point of the weekend was BC hockey winning its second straight Hockey East regular season title. The victory was sweet as was keeping BU from getting a share of the title.

Softball lost to USF in the Under Armour Invitational.

The basketball team got trounced by Miami. The Hurricanes overwhelmed BC with 3s and we never recovered. It was a terrible way to end the season. Worse it left BC in the 12th slot of the ACC tournament...meaning we take on the No. 5 team next week.

Bobby Valentine was very complimentary to BC baseball after BC hung with the Sox for a few innings. No one ever expects BC to win the game so keeping it close boost morale.

A recent BC grad is the focus of this article on Jeremey Lin's impact on recreational players.

BC QB target Ryan Burns committed to Stanford.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Women's hoops sent packing and other links

The Women's basketball season ended yesterday with another blowout loss. They wrapped up their season with a 7-23 record. The difference between their rough season and the men's team or even Cathy Inglese's terrible record in 1995, is that this is Sylvia Crawley's 4th year and things are trending downward. This should be when things start improving. The roster is young in part because of heavy turnover. Gene is under enough of a microscope now that I don't think he will make a move on her, but you have to question where this program is headed.

Earlier in the week posted a ACC Spring preview.

Spaz holds the No. 1 spot on Athlon's hot seat list.

This article reviews how Stanford became a recruiting power without compromising who they are. I hope we look to some in the Harbaugh tree the next time we have an opening for a head coach.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Lessons from SI's expose on UCLA

If you haven't read's feature on UCLA basketball, check it out. There's a lot in there (much of it is pretty standard college stuff) but my biggest takeaway was how hard it is to maintain success in college sports. UCLA had the right coach in the right program, but as they seemingly moved forward with even better talent, the whole thing unraveled. There are a lot of lessons in their for BC fans, coaches and ADs.

Success breads confidence but also an arrogance. That arrogance leads some to believe that they are always right and "they" are the reason for success. When in reality success in college sports is usually multiple things coming together at once. While football gets the most attention, UCLA's issues can be applied to basketball, football, hockey, etc.

1. Team chemistry matters. I don't think you need a team full of Boy Scouts, but I do think you need some leaders and the guys have to like playing with each other. Too often BC coaches use character as a crutch to excuse mediocre recruiting. Instead of a crutch it should be a guide and a reminder. If you have motivated, hard working leaders, they will raise the effort of the whole team.

2. Personality only gets noticed when you lose. Howland was a genius Xs and Os guy when UCLA was winning. Now that they are losing, he's considered a cold bully. When we talk about head coaches, we all want them to have the personality of Jerry York. The truth is that the head coach's demeanor, interview skills and charm go unnoticed when things are going well. When BC looks for its next coach in any sport, his or her plan for building a champion should be more important than how he or she is at a cocktail party.

3. Things can turn quickly. UCLA went to three-straight Final Fours and then followed that by landing the best recruiting class in the country. Now they are a mess. I don't know if they will fire Howland, but the decline hasn't been managed well. As we watch the football team struggle, we have to acknowledge that things can unravel nearly overnight. Therefore BC's leaders need to be ready to act. You can't let a slide last for three or four years.

A new look at 3-point shooting

During last night's win over Georgia Tech, the announcers reiterated Steve Donahue's goal of ten made three-pointers per game. In the past Donahue's talking points indicated that he uses advance basketball stats and trends (probably more than Skinner ever did), so I assume he found a clear demarcation point between nine converted 3s and ten. What's important to remember though is that three-point shooting is still very luck based. Kenpom explained it well last week. Even if you have a team of great shooters, your 3-point shooting will have a degree of randomness that most coaches would like to avoid. Kenpom compares it to playing the lottery.

What I find interesting is that Kenpom also list Michigan's John Beilein as a coach who is willing to gamble with the 3. Of all the coaches in big-time programs, Donahue's desired schemes are most closely aligned with Beilein's. If you want to look at the future direction of our program, you would be wise to see how Beilein implemented his schemes at Michigan and West Virginia. What BC fans should also remember are some of Beilein's West Virginia teams that buried BC with hot shooting nights from 3.

What most excites me about gambling with the 3 is where it can lead. VCU showed last year that you just need to get hot and you can outshoot more talented teams. If Donahue can get BC to become a regular tournament team, his willingness to gamble might give us one of those runs we've been waiting for.