|Any chance BC beats up on Duke next year?|
Advantages: The most obvious advantage that next year's team will have is time. The team will be one year older, stronger, and quicker. The rotation might change a little with incoming recruits, but I think that Donahue has a good feel for what he has with the current class of freshmen. That will mean tighter rotations earlier in the year, and more out of conference wins. This might allow the team to build some continuity and momentum coming into ACC play. Again, the keys here are strength and maturity.
Additionally, the team will add two key recruits in Hanlan and Rahon. I'll have more on these two later, but the addition of a point guard and a shooting guard to the rotation means more competition for Daniels and Jackson if Donahue wants it. My initial thought is that although Jackson has the inside track on the starting shooting guard job, he will need to step up his game a little in order to hold off Rahon. If Rahon picks up the offense quickly and shows up to camp in shape, anything is possible. We ran with three guards for most of the year, often getting thin enough on the guard front that we were trotting out Cahill for a few minutes per game. These new guys will add depth and challenge for starting positions.
Finally, we will be playing two more ACC games next year, which means two more opportunities for wins.
Disadvantages: The ACC had a really down year this year, and will likely be stronger at the top next year. I don't know how much this will effect BC because we are not looking to score wins against the likes of Duke and UNC yet. There's no question that our strength of schedule will increase, trading in WF, Ga. Tech, and N.C. State with Duke, FSU, and Clemson. I don't know that it would be unrealistic to expect a split from Clemson and FSU but a sweep at the hands of Duke. Not exactly ideal, but not killer either.
Additionally, we do lose John Cahill, who, despite being maligned by BC fans, was not a terrible role player for this team. He played good defense, made someone put a hand in his face, and helped the younger guys keep focused on the floor.
Overall: Overall, I predict 8 ACC wins for this team next year, twice the amount the Baby Eagles put up this year. I don't think the addition of Hanlan and Rahon will make much of a difference in the end, but I do think that this team was so far undersized this year that they will see marked results with just 10 more pounds of muscle across the board. I think this will be enough to put BC into post-season play, albeit not the NCAA tournament.
At a minimum, I think ACC teams will need 10 ACC wins to make the NCAA tournament next year, which would leave us two conference wins short of that benchmark. Still, I think the NIT is both an attainable and respectable goal for this group. Any type of postseason play would be a step forward, and would prep this squad of an at-large bid for the 2013-2014 season.