Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Round Table: Beating FSU

BC's win over 17th ranked FSU was certainly surprising.  In fact, it was the first ranked opponent BC basketball had beaten in the past three years, and the first win over a ranked team in the Donahue era.  All of our bloggers graduated in 2010, and so we wondered where the win sits on the short list of big-time BC victories since we showed up as freshmen at BC.

Where does BC's win over FSU stand in the program's list of 'signature victories' over the past six years?

Nick: Higher than you might think. To put it in perspective, this is only BC's fourth win over a top-20 team in the past five years. It's especially impressive because the team has been struggling so much this season - at least now we know the team has these types of wins in them (and will only be getting better for the next four years). This win wasn't as impressive as beating #1 UNC on their home floor or edging out Duke and having the students storm the court (both of those happened in 2009), but, amazingly, I'd have to rank this win as the third-best in the last five years.

Mike:  It really depends on what you consider a signature win to be.  For example, while the '08-'09 wins against Duke and North Carolina (in the same year nonetheless) were objectively better wins, I'm hard pressed to consider them "signature wins" because they really weren't "program defining" or the culmination of some part of a building process.  There was a real sense that the '08-'09 team was really the last gasp of the Skinner era, and that the team wasn't really going anywhere come tournament time.  Rice really carried that team the whole year, with occasional help off the bench from freshman Reggie Jackson.  Sure enough, we got a 7 seed in the tournament and were pretty much run out of the gym by USC.  So while the two wins those years were nice, they weren't necessarily signature wins.  Meanwhile, the Va. Tech win in '06-'07 seemed great at the time, but I think most of us thought that team could make it to the Sweet 16 before Williams got tossed off the team.

So, to answer the question, I really think this is the only true "signature win" I've seen at BC.  It sounds crazy, but this is the only win over the past six years that we can point to and say, "hey, this was a critical moment for our program, almost a coming-of-age event."  From here on out, we can expect Donahue's guys to compete with any team in the country, and if nothing else, this proves that the rebuilding project is working.  These guys are improving, working hard, and most importantly, have the talent to compete and win in this conference.  While this team won't make the tournament this year, there's no doubt that the expectations for the coming years are building higher and higher, in large part because of this win.

Mike C: Certainly below both of the huge '08-'09 season wins.  However, other than that there hasn't been much else in the past 5 years.  Skinner had two pretty poor years in his last three, and Donahue had a season last year where he won a bunch of games but never really had a signature win.  For the record this FSU team is really pretty good and will probably end up with a top 5 seed in the NCAA tourney.  Hopefully, this win gets BC on another nice little roll as there are some winnable games coming up on the schedule and 5-6 ACC wins isn't out of the question yet.

Ralph:  This is a tough one for me. As Nick points out, both wins against UNC and Duke were more impressive due to the aura of beating the always "highly touted and highly ranked ACC leaders."  There is no doubt the ACC is having one of its worst years in quite a while and beating the 17th ranked FSU in a down year doesn't sound so impressive at its face.  But I'm actually buying this win as a big, signature win for our Baby Eagles.

With no postseason aspirations this year, our playoffs are against any ranked team in the ACC and to win one will do wonders for the confidence of this team.  There is hopefully an ancillary benefit to all this as it could help bring the students back to the game and help restore the passion they once had.  I'm probably dramatically overstating this, but one can hope.

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