Q&A With BC Interruption

Here is everything you need to know about Boston College but were afraid to ask. So I asked for you. Here are the guys at BC Interruption with the answers. My responses to their questions are over at their site.

1. BC fired Al Skinner and brought in Steve Donahue. How satisfied are you with Donahue at this point? Is he an upgrade or downgrade over Skinner?

I think Donahue has shown enough to keep us Superfans moderately happy. The fact that there is still talk of the NCAA Tournament at this point in the year is an upgrade from this time last year, when the Eagles were just 12-10 (3-5 ACC) and fighting for any kind of postseason tournament. Donahue has gotten the players that stuck around to buy into his system. His new offensive philosophy has given the Eagles' a surprising boost in offensive efficiency, despite the losses of Rakim Sanders and Evan Ravenel, who transferred out of the program to Fairfield and Ohio State, respectively. BC currently ranks 6th in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, so the Eagles are certainly doing something right on the offensive end of the floor.

For all the things that are different with this year's team, some things remain maddeningly the same. BC's defense is much worse than it was last year, and defense was one of those nagging problems with Al Skinner's teams. I will say that this year's team has an extremely thin bench, and lacks a strong interior presence, but for the defense to slip even farther in less than a years' time is a bit concerning.

Still, Donahue has gotten the team to respond and owns quality non-conference wins over Texas A&M, Indiana, Cal and Providence. But along with those quality non-conference wins over major conference opponents come frustrating losses to Yale and Harvard. More embarrassing losses to Ivy League teams have unfortunately become the norm rather than the exception the last few seasons.

As for whether Donahue is an upgrade / downgrade over Skinner, it's far too soon to tell. To compare the two would be a bit unfair, considering everything Skinner did to build up the BC basketball program and the fact that Donahue, with the exception of Gabe Moton and walk-ons Danny Rubin and John Cahill, is getting things done with players recruited by Skinner.

2. Under Skinner BC used the flex offense (which drove UNC crazy). I noticed against Duke there were a lot of backdoor cuts with the floor spread. How has the offense changed under Donahue?

Skinner and Donahue's offenses vary widely. They are almost at complete opposite ends of the college basketball offensive philosophy spectrum. Where Skinner's tight flex offense relies almost exclusively on short bounce passes, cuts and down screens, Donahue's is a more fluid, spread offense where you can see anywhere from three to four guys positioned around the arc looking for an open look from three.

Donahue's offense has been compared to Beilein's motion offense, which tries to exploit the offenses' quickness and neutralize any size advantage of the defense, which almost always is the case with BC against ACC opponents.

With this change, the game has really opened up for players like Reggie Jackson, who despite a single-digit points performance against Duke, is still over 5 points more per game this season. Biko Paris has also responded well. He's handling the ball better and has become a much improved long-range shooter. You'll see other BC players who are more than comfortable shooting the three -- Corey Raji and Joe Trapani -- and even newcomers Danny Rubin, Gabe Moton and Dallas Elmore will take open looks from three.

3. People know about Reggie Jackson but who are some other Eagles who could prove important in this game?

Joe Trapani is going to be incredibly important to the Eagles' success tonight. Over much of the season, he hasn't been shooting the ball all that well, but he can create shots down low and beat you off the dribble. If he gets hot from beyond the arc, Trapani becomes just another shooter you have to cover from the perimeter, opening up looks for other guys like Biko Paris, Danny Rubin and Corey Raji.

While Josh Southern doesn't provide a bulk of the Eagles' scoring, he'll also be important in this one if the Eagles have any hopes of pulling out the W. Southern and Cortney Dunn are the lone true big men on defense, and will have their hands full when they try to post up and guard guys like Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller.

4. What do you make of Boston College's NCAA chances at this point?

It's a tough call. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say BC is squarely on the bubble at this point. They have good numbers in terms of RPI (38) and SOS (25), but a middling record at this point of 14-7. Combine that with a fairly unforgiving slate of games coming up -- North Carolina, Virginia Tech, at Clemson, Maryland, at North Carolina, all projected losses at this point, according to kenpom -- and it's hard to see the Eagles making the Dance this year.

Now, turn a couple of those projected losses into wins -- say, a regular season sweep of Virginia Tech and Maryland, and a split with North Carolina, and with a record of 20-10 (10-6 ACC), I think that would be enough to get BC in despite bad non-conference losses to Harvard and Yale. BC would probably need to avoid going one-and-done in the ACC Tournament and they are in with 21 regular season wins.

I think we'll know whether BC will make this year's NCAA Tournament over our next four games. Win two of those four, and finish strong with winnable games over Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, and they are in. If our ACC slide grows to three to five games though in the next five, it's probably game over.

5. Give me a prediction and a score.

If BC shoots the ball well, I think they can win tonight. I'm cautiously optimistic that the Eagles can earn a regular season split with the Heels, and the home game is the one that BC needs to win to achieve that.

As for a final score prediction, I'll say 75-74 with BC hitting a timely three in the game's final minutes.

1. BC fired Al Skinner and brought in Steve Donahue. How satisfied are you with Donahue at this point? Is he an upgrade or downgrade over Skinner?

I think Donahue has shown enough to keep us Superfans moderately happy. The fact that there is still talk of the NCAA Tournament at this point in the year is an upgrade from this time last year, when the Eagles were just 12-10 (3-5 ACC) and fighting for any kind of postseason tournament. Donahue has gotten the players that stuck around to buy into his system. His new offensive philosophy has given the Eagles' a surprising boost in offensive efficiency, despite the losses of Rakim Sanders and Evan Ravenel, who transferred out of the program to Fairfield and Ohio State, respectively. BC currently ranks 6th in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, so the Eagles are certainly doing something right on the offensive end of the floor.

For all the things that are different with this year's team, some things remain maddeningly the same. BC's defense is much worse than it was last year, and defense was one of those nagging problems with Al Skinner's teams. I will say that this year's team has an extremely thin bench, and lacks a strong interior presence, but for the defense to slip even farther in less than a years' time is a bit concerning.

Still, Donahue has gotten the team to respond and owns quality non-conference wins over Texas A&M, Indiana, Cal and Providence. But along with those quality non-conference wins over major conference opponents come frustrating losses to Yale and Harvard. More embarrassing losses to Ivy League teams have unfortunately become the norm rather than the exception the last few seasons.

As for whether Donahue is an upgrade / downgrade over Skinner, it's far too soon to tell. To compare the two would be a bit unfair, considering everything Skinner did to build up the BC basketball program and the fact that Donahue, with the exception of Gabe Moton and walk-ons Danny Rubin and John Cahill, is getting things done with players recruited by Skinner.

2. Under Skinner BC used the flex offense (which drove UNC crazy). I noticed against Duke there were a lot of backdoor cuts with the floor spread. How has the offense changed under Donahue?

Skinner and Donahue's offenses vary widely. They are almost at complete opposite ends of the college basketball offensive philosophy spectrum. Where Skinner's tight flex offense relies almost exclusively on short bounce passes, cuts and down screens, Donahue's is a more fluid, spread offense where you can see anywhere from three to four guys positioned around the arc looking for an open look from three.

Donahue's offense has been compared to Beilein's motion offense, which tries to exploit the offenses' quickness and neutralize any size advantage of the defense, which almost always is the case with BC against ACC opponents.

With this change, the game has really opened up for players like Reggie Jackson, who despite a single-digit points performance against Duke, is still over 5 points more per game this season. Biko Paris has also responded well. He's handling the ball better and has become a much improved long-range shooter. You'll see other BC players who are more than comfortable shooting the three -- Corey Raji and Joe Trapani -- and even newcomers Danny Rubin, Gabe Moton and Dallas Elmore will take open looks from three.

3. People know about Reggie Jackson but who are some other Eagles who could prove important in this game?

Joe Trapani is going to be incredibly important to the Eagles' success tonight. Over much of the season, he hasn't been shooting the ball all that well, but he can create shots down low and beat you off the dribble. If he gets hot from beyond the arc, Trapani becomes just another shooter you have to cover from the perimeter, opening up looks for other guys like Biko Paris, Danny Rubin and Corey Raji.

While Josh Southern doesn't provide a bulk of the Eagles' scoring, he'll also be important in this one if the Eagles have any hopes of pulling out the W. Southern and Cortney Dunn are the lone true big men on defense, and will have their hands full when they try to post up and guard guys like Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller.

4. What do you make of Boston College's NCAA chances at this point?

It's a tough call. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say BC is squarely on the bubble at this point. They have good numbers in terms of RPI (38) and SOS (25), but a middling record at this point of 14-7. Combine that with a fairly unforgiving slate of games coming up -- North Carolina, Virginia Tech, at Clemson, Maryland, at North Carolina, all projected losses at this point, according to kenpom -- and it's hard to see the Eagles making the Dance this year.

Now, turn a couple of those projected losses into wins -- say, a regular season sweep of Virginia Tech and Maryland, and a split with North Carolina, and with a record of 20-10 (10-6 ACC), I think that would be enough to get BC in despite bad non-conference losses to Harvard and Yale. BC would probably need to avoid going one-and-done in the ACC Tournament and they are in with 21 regular season wins.

I think we'll know whether BC will make this year's NCAA Tournament over our next four games. Win two of those four, and finish strong with winnable games over Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, and they are in. If our ACC slide grows to three to five games though in the next five, it's probably game over.

5. Give me a prediction and a score.

If BC shoots the ball well, I think they can win tonight. I'm cautiously optimistic that the Eagles can earn a regular season split with the Heels, and the home game is the one that BC needs to win to achieve that.

As for a final score prediction, I'll say 75-74 with BC hitting a timely three in the game's final minutes.

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