Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Penn State 62 BC 54

BC lost a winnable game to Penn State tonight.  You have to like the effort and the improvement that the team showed, but they just couldn't keep it together down the stretch.  This team is clearly getting better on both sides of the floor, and frankly the game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate.  Even though we didn't win tonight, watching this group of guys for the next four years is going to be a lot of fun.

Evaluating Men's Basketball

I will be able to attend my first basketball game of the year tonight, taking in the BC-Penn State game at Conte.  The ACC-Big 10 Challenge always brings a lot of excitement to the two conferences, although it's probably safe to say that the ACC won't need to depend on a BC win this year.  Penn State will represent a difficult challenge for the Baby Eagles, and with another loss likely coming tonight, I think we've reached the point where looking simply at wins and losses will not be helpful in evaluating progress.  With that in mind, I've come up with a tentative way to track the progress of the Baby Eagles over the course of the year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mailbag Time!!!

Time to reach into the mailbag and see what comes out.  This week there is more talk about mustaches, Spaz, GDF, and a possible athletic department shakeup at the end of the week.  Don't forget to keep sending in your questions to!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Spaz to Return: Named Best Coach in History

Well, not exactly, but GDF did say that Spaz is the best coach BC has had since he was hired as Athletic Director.  First, as to Spaz returning...  I understand that we ended the year on a stronger note and that our guys clearly improved as the season went along.  There is no debate on that.  However, the fact remains that this team was grossly out of shape and ill-prepared at the start of the season for Northwestern, UCF, and subsequent ACC play.  Coaching is about preparation and game management, and Spaz failed on both fronts this season.

I think that this defense will get better next year, but I just don't see how the offense improves without a top-notch coordinator, which we will not get with Spaz.  Rettig showed Ryan-like potential today, but his window to improve is starting to close.  There's only so many more changes on the offensive front that he can take.  I don't think Brock is the answer.  I know Brock isn't the answer if he had anything to do with putting Bordner in today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Movember Update!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers out there!  BC students and alumns have a lot to be thankful for today; the newly reconstructed Gasson Hall, plenty of friends, a great hockey team, and the Jesuit tradition of Boston College to name a few...

I want to take this opportunity to give everyone an update on Movember, a charity which raises money for prostate cancer research.  As I explained earlier in the month, this is a cause which has hit close to home for me, which is why I am so thankful for the support the BC community has given me in this endeavor.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Putting the UMass Loss in Perspective

BC lost to UMass by the atrocious score of 82-46 last night in front of just over 4,000 fans at Conte Forum.  Obviously the loss was very disheartening to BC fans who thought that the freshmen experiment would be ahead of schedule.  It is always frustrating when a BC team just isn't competitive, but I'm still optimistic about this season and the direction of the program overall.

Monday, November 21, 2011

ACC to Dominate Men's Basketball?

It's still early in the year, but the latest USA Today poll throws some water on the idea that the ACC will dominate men's basketball once Pitt and 'Cuse make the jump.  Best basketball conference in the country?  Yes.  Dominating the competition?  Perhaps not.  Here's the latest Top 25 listed by conference affiliation (Pitt and Syracuse are grouped in with the ACC, Missouri and TAMU with the SEC).

Weekly Stock Report

It's hard to find a lot of positives in what has been a tough week for BC athletics.  The usually dependable hockey and soccer teams have had some uncharacteristic let-downs, which have only magnified the down years that football and basketball are having.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BC Drops Another to ND

First, let me say that I'm really proud of how our guys fought through the ND game on Saturday.  They brought some good energy to a hostile environment, and really stood tough for Boston College.  I think most BC fans were really nervous about a potential blowout, and we can definitely credit the student athletes for turning in a good performance on national TV.  The defense has definitely improved over the course of the year, which is important given that a tough D has been the identity of the program since Matt Ryan left.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Head Coach Power Rankings

I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that Spaz will be back for a fourth season.  There are just too many factors pointing to BC keeping him on right now; the contract extension, the loyalty from the athletic department, the strong home schedule next year, etc.  Anyway, we'll cross that bridge when we get there, because in the mean time, we have some head coach power rankings, which I promise will make you feel like a kid in a candy store.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BC Steals Recruit from BYU

LB recruit Bobby Wolford has switched commitments, going from BYU to BC.  Wolford is a Florida product, which is exciting for BC, because we don't usually challenge for recruits south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  In addition to an offer from BYU, Wolford also held offers from Princeton, Harvard, and Navy.  That doesn't sound too impressive, but consider that Wolford also had interest from Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Boise State.  The little I can find about Wolford on the internet says that he plays well against both the run and the pass, and that he uses both strength and speed (literally as unspecific as you can get in a scouting report).

Monday, November 14, 2011

BC Defeats UNH, 67-64: Quick Thoughts

I wasn't able to see this game live, but I divided my thoughts into positives and negatives based on following the game online and looking at the stat sheet. If any of my observations clash with what actual observers of the game saw, let me know in the comments.

- Eagles Get the W: As fellow BC blogger Soaring to Glory tweeted earlier, the most important thing for this team was simply to build confidence and get a win under its belt—even a close win against a bad UNH team. Ideally, Coach Donahue will be able to build off of this win while still harping on the litany of things this team needs to improve going forward.

- Ryan Anderson: Anderson was BC's top-rated recruit coming into this season and he played like it against UNH, recording a double-double with 10 rebounds and 13 points. He wasn't the top scorer (see below), but he was the most consistent and didn't turn the ball over. He only took eight shots, so he probably needs to be a little more willing to take his shot going forward, but all in all it was a good debut for the freshman.

- Patrick Heckmann's Energy: Without a doubt Heckmann was the most electric player on the floor for BC, and not just because he hit a buzzer-beating three to end the first half. He also showed a willingness to drive to the hoop and more generally, judging from Twitter reactions, was the most energetic player whenever he was on the court. His overall shooting percentage wasn't great (6-of-16 from the floor for a total of 19 points) and he gave up the ball three times, so he'll need to be a little more consistent. Still, if this game is any indication, BC fans should expect the Anderson-Heckmann duo to be the central scoring presences on this team most nights.

- John Cahill's Intangibles: "Intangibles" are probably the most overrated part of any athlete's game, but Cahill continues to show he possesses them. Despite starting the game and playing 28 minutes, Cahill scored only three points—but they were the three biggest points of the game, as the fifth-year student hit a three-pointer to put the Eagles up by four with less than a minute left in the game. More importantly, Cahill was the leading assist-giver on the team (with 3) on a night where BC did a pretty poor job spreading the ball around. These little things, plus his experience, are the reasons Donahue continues to start Cahill over some of the more inexperienced freshmen.

Weekend Ramblings

A very eventful weekend of BC sports is in the books.  Basketball kicks the year off in just over an hour against the University of New Hampshire.  I have a cousin who goes to UNH and if my mom thinks I'm going to attend the family Christmas get together if BC loses this game, she's got another thing coming.  This is as much of a must-win as a November basketball game can be for me...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Round Table

For our Friday Round Table, we're going to poll the guys to see how many games they think BC basketball will win this year.  After reading the interview with Donahue, will they be more bullish than Pomeroy's 9-19?  After reading each blogger's predictions, vote for who makes the most compelling case in our blogger poll, located to the right of the screen.  Let the predictions begin...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

JoePa Fired: Occupy Penn State?

JoePa was fired last night over the phone.  I guess winning a couple of national championships doesn't get you very far when your former defensive coordinator is headed to jail.  When I turned on ESPN this morning, I was surprised to see that Penn State students were rioting in protest of the firing last night.  This just goes to show that even though I'm only two years out of undergrad, I don't get students these days.  I mean seriously, how stupid do you have to be to protest what's probably one of the most obvious decisions in the history of college sports?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BC Basketball Preview Part III: Freshmen

Last week I took a look at BC's two returning players and two transfers. As I noted, those players will be somewhat important to the team's success this upcoming season—but the main focus for the foreseeable future will be on the huge recruiting class Steve Donahue and his assistants brought in for this year. It will be very interesting to see which freshmen emerge as stars and which ones sink to the bottom of the depth chart. Obviously, it's too early to tell who will fall into each category, but I've attempted to sum up the conventional wisdom on each of the incoming freshmen as a starting point for where BC fans' expectations should be going into the season. Those previews begin after the jump.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chalkboard Tuesday: Spread Offense Basics

This version of Chalkboard Tuesday brings you the basics of the spread offense.  When BC begins its new head coach search, the spread offense controversy will almost surely be rehashed.  Most of the recent national champions have run some version of the spread offense, and some coaches on BC's radar, including Dan Mullen and Kevin Sumlin, are innovators of the trend.  For a complete list of NCAA teams that run the spread, click here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Updated New Coach Power Rankings

FSU got you down?  Cheer up with a dip into the fantasy land of prospective coaches...You didn't think these would die out did you?  No, after giving Spaz a reprieve for a win against lowly Maryland, these are back and better than ever.  Things are slowly becoming more consistent on the big board, and I don't see any of the first few guys taking a step back anytime soon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekly Stock Report

We used to do this feature a fair amount, but I haven't written one in several months.  I think that this will become a regular Saturday post around here, recapping the week's events in BC athletics.  This week, we take a look at Gene Defilippo, Sean Devine, and others.

Stock Up
  1. Gene Defilippo: Stay with me on this one.  Somehow Defilippo has maneuvered the disastrous Spaz situation so that Super Fans are convinced that we're going to see another year of this debacle.  This is a quietly brilliant strategy, because when he does fire Spaz, BC fans will be so relieved that the Athletic Department is not that out of touch with reality that the narrative will be about how the department took more aggressive action that what was predicted.  I'm convinced that this has become a scenario of lowering public expectations to the point that it's impossible not to exceed them.  On another note, how does one justify firing Al Skinner but not Spaz?
  2. Steve Donahue:  Donahue's interview with Around the Res was honest, clear, and direct.  This is the best look that we've had at a program at BC in years.  I think we all know what to expect out of the team this year and what types of kids BC will be recruiting in the future.  This is the most excited I have ever been for a BC basketball season and I wonder how many other BC fans feel the same way.
  3. Josh Bordner:  Somehow Bordner is creating some quarterback controversy on the heights.  While his passing skills looked suspect, Bordner's mobility and ability to find seams along the defensive line are impressive.  I'm not sure that this will work against opponents who gameplan for him because teams will start putting eight guys in the box until Bordner can prove that he can rifle it down-field once in a while.  I see a lot of Tim Tebow in his style of play, but I just don't think he has the size or the speed to make that type of play work here.  He's definitely going to be getting some snaps next week though.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Recap of BC-FSU

Recapping only the remarkable events on the evening from Alumni...

Morning Coffee with Steve Donahue: Part III

This concludes our series with Coach Donahue.  To be honest, this third part is probably my favorite in the series, even if it is the least substantive.  I would say that his answers to the questions about recruiting shed the most light on what Donahue is all about, namely hard work and fitting in with BC. 

I really want to publicly thank the coach again for sitting down with us for so long.  Honestly, there's no telling how long he would have let me sit there in his office if I didn't cut myself off.  It's just becoming more and more apparent that Donahue was a home run hire here...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BC Basketball Preview Part II: Transfers

If you missed it, go check out Part 1 of this series dealing with the two players returning to the Eagles from last year. In this part, I'll be looking at what BC fans can expect from the two transfers coming to the Heights for 2011-12.

Matt Humphrey, Guard: Matt Humphrey transferred this summer to BC from Oregon, where he saw little playing time coming off the bench his freshman and sophomore seasons. As you might expect for a Donahue recruit, Humphrey's best skill seems to be his 3-point shot, as he averaged about 33% from beyond the arc each season. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of the only things he actually excelled at in his first two years. From everything I've read, he's very inconsistent and content to stand at the three-point line and wait for open shots. In this respect, he actually sounds a lot like a taller, more athletic version of Danny Rubin—for better or for worse. Humphrey has a chance to be one of the better players on this team, but he also has a chance to be a Josh Southern-like frustration where the effort doesn't match the natural talent. Here's hoping for the former.

Deirunas Visockas, Guard: Visockas is two grades ahead of Humphrey—he graduated Lafayette College last year but has one year of eligibility left—but has actually seen less playing time, thanks to injuries that kept the Lithuanian out all of the past two seasons and much of his first two seasons as well. Apparently he still has lingering issues in his feet, which likely means his role this season (if any) will be quite limited. Still, he might at least be able to hit a few jumpers off the bench, and he should bring some upperclassman leadership to a team desperately in need of it. Besides moral support, though, I really wouldn't expect too much out of Visockas unless he possesses talent we just haven't seen yet.

To sum up my previews so far, we have two inconsistent three-point shooting guards who can't do much else, a sophomore point guard who struggles with decision-making, and an oft-injured, somewhat limited grad student. Fortunately, all four of those guys figure to be mostly peripheral players this season: the core of this team will be the eight(!) freshmen that I'll preview next week.

Morning Coffee with Steve Donahue: Part II

Welcome to part two of our three part interview with Coach Donahue.  One of the things that really strikes me about this section is the coach's ability to recite statistics from memory.  You can tell that he spends a lot of time obsessing over statistics and game film.  This guy is clearly a hard worker, and that makes me even more confident that he's going to will this program to success over the next few years.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Morning Coffee with Steve Donahue: Part I

Steve Donahue was nice enough to sit down with Around the Res last week in order to field a few questions about his experiences at BC, his expectations for the year, and where he sees the program going in the long haul.  After meeting Donahue, I can say that he is probably one of the toughest guys I've ever met, and he definitely brings a new intensity to our program.  Special thanks to Dick Kelley at the athletic department for helping to set this up.  As always, we're going to publish the transcript in parts.