Monday, November 11, 2013
Steve Donahue knew he created a very difficult schedule. Like many of his moves, he studied the data and made a decision that went against conventional wisdom. We wouldn't fill up on out of conference cupcakes. Instead BC would play one of the toughest schedules in America and would be rewarded when the Selection Committee gets together to in March. Like some of Donahue's other unconventional decisions that are statistically supported (valuing transition defense over offensive rebounding, valuing a players who can execute a perimeter shooting based offense over raw athleticism) this sort of move takes a brave visionary to embrace and execute. If it works, Donahue looks really smart. Right now, he and the team look lost.
I am not ready to give up on the season. College Basketball can be a tricky sport, especially when you play a high risk, high reward system. BC could easily get hot for a few weeks and shoot everyone out of the building. In prior rears Donahue also did a decent job of adjusting rotations and strategies after early shortcomings were exposed. Magarity looked decent too in limited action, so maybe some of our size and rebounding issues will improve as he gets more time. And as much as the schedule seems foolish now, Donahue is right. If BC has a decent ACC record and a good RPI, we will make the tournament. But to recover and start winning means Donahue and his team figure out all their issues quickly. The schedule is unforgiving.
I am not off the Donahue bandwagon yet. There have been too many glimpses of what we could be to lose faith this early. But I am not someone who thinks he deserves a fifth year if BC struggles with our schedule. I appreciate unconventional approaches but you cannot ignore reality. If a coach cannot translate stats to success on the court, you need to let someone else take over the program. The Miami Heat are one of the least conventional teams in basketball with regard to player positioning, lineup usage and traditional positions and they have won two straight championships. But the Heat won when they married an unconventional approach with the best talent. Donahue has to adjust his approaches to the talent he has brought to BC.
I hope all this handwringing and fire the coach talk seems premature in March. As I've said when Spaz struggled, these seasons are much easier to watch and write about when they are fun. BC fans want Donahue to succeed. This start is disconcerting, but let's see if the guy can paint himself out of the corner.