Now that BC has completed its annual loss to the team across the Charles River, its ACC schedule begins in earnest. I thought it would be a good idea to look at how the first part of the schedule might go for the Eagles. In February I'll post a preview for the second half of the ACC slate. (By the way, I'll be using Ken Pomeroy's extremely helpful website to look at some key stats of the opposing teams).
December 12th (previously played) @ Maryland: This was the game for me when it became clear the Eagles' early season victories might be more than just flukes. On the other hand, Biko played probably his best game ever at BC and the other starters all played solid and we still only won by four. While Maryland is a good team, the Eagles will need to improve to consistently challenge the best teams in the ACC this year. Result: Win, 1-0 ACC
January 8th vs. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have some ugly losses on their schedule so far and shoot the ball extremely poorly. Even more importantly, they are one of the worst D-1 teams in defending the three-point shot. In other words, they won't be able to score very easily and BC should have no trouble finding open three-point looks. Unless the Eagles have a team-wide shooting slump in this game, they should come out ahead. Prediction: Win, 2-0 ACC
January 11th vs. NC State: NC State rebounds the ball much better than BC (and this gap will only widen once the Wolfpack's star forward Tracy Smith returns from knee surgery). Their defense has also been strong for them so far this year, including the ever-important (for BC, anyway) 3-point defense. Ken Pomeroy sees us easily handling the Wolfpack at home, but if Tracy Smith can be even somewhat effective down low I take a more pessimistic view of this game and see us going down in a close one at Conte. Prediction: Loss, 2-1 ACC
January 15th @ Miami: Miami has been solid all-around this year, but look at their schedule so far and you'll see they've only beaten two teams ranked by Pomeroy in the top 100 (West Virginia and Mississippi). BC, on the other hand, has beaten SIX top 100 teams (Texas A&M, Cal, Indiana, Providence, Maryland, and South Carolina). I see Miami as more of a pretender than a contender in the ACC this year, and think BC will take their talents to South Beach and steal one. Prediction: Win, 3-1 ACC
January 19th vs. Virginia: Theoretically, BC should easily win this game, as Virginia is simply not a very good team undergoing something of a rebuilding year. In the past, however, the BC players have tended to overlook games like this and come out sluggish and looking like they'd all rather be [insert lazy activity here]. I'm still going to predict a win for this one, but don't be surprised if this one is way closer than it should be. Prediction: Win, 4-1 ACC
January 22 @ Florida State: Warning sign for BC: Pomeroy has the Seminoles ranked as the 19th best team in the nation when defending 3-pointers (and even better against 2-pointers, for that matter). On the other hand, like a bunch of other teams in the ACC this year they turn the ball over a lot and aren't fantastic at scoring. As such, I see this as an ugly, low-scoring affair that I'll give to Florida State because they are at home. Prediction: Loss, 4-2 ACC
January 27 @ Duke: As much as I'd like to be bold and take the BC upset in this game, I can't do it. Duke looks primed for another very deep run in the NCAA tournament and could very well be undefeated coming into this game. With the added advantage of the Cameron Crazies to support them, I see Duke blowing out the Eagles. Prediction: Loss, 4-3 ACC
February 1 vs. North Carolina: This UNC team is much improved from the one BC beat at home last year and is looking to get back on the radars of the national media with a strong start to their ACC schedule. On the other hand, the normally library-esque Conte Forum should be rocking for this one and, if the games go as I've predicted, the Eagles will be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak. Due largely to three-point ability but also to the heart this team has showed so far under Donahue, this team strikes me as the kind that will pull off at least one big upset this year, so I'm going to go out on a Josh Southern-sized limb here and predict a BC upset at home that gets BC back into the national spotlight. Prediction: Win, 5-3 ACC
While my predictions have BC finishing the first half of ACC play with a winning record, I wouldn't be the least surprised to see them end up at 4-4 or even 3-5. This team lives and dies with the three ball, and has something of an erratic defense to say the least, so anything is possible this season. With a few bounces going BC's way, I think the Eagles have a chance to be a surprising team in the first half of ACC play. With the Yale and Harvard losses on BC's resume, they'll have to be to have any chance of making the NCAA Tournament.