Boston College isn't a team that's exactly been on my radar this season, tucked away as they are 400+ miles from the next nearest ACC school, and boasting a losing record. So in advance of tomorrows game, I turned to the folks at BC Interruption to fill me in, and here's what they had to say. (Similarly, I answered a bunch of questions for them as well, which can be found here.) My questions are in bold, their answers in plain text.
So I realized today I could only name one BC player - Reggie Jackson, whose name kept popping up in my Twitter feed. I was surprised to see that he really doesn't lead the Eagles in any statistical category, and although he has the most court time on the team, his minutes have been falling since the conference season got in full swing. So what's the deal? Is the offense going more through Trapani now, or was Jackson never the centerpiece social networking led me to believe he was?
One of the problems with this Eagles team is there really is no go-to guy who the offense runs through. On any given night, that guy can be Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani, Rakim Sanders or in most cases, no one at all. Unlike past seasons where the Eagles had a true scoring threat - a Troy Bell, Craig Smith, Jared Dudley or Tyrese Rice-type player - this year no one player is head and shoulders above everyone else.
Your timing for this question is impeccable as we were just having this debate over at BC Interruption. I feel like Trapani has been the Eagles' most valuable player while others think it is Jackson. Trapani scored almost 16 points per game in non-conference play (missing the Wake game), but has only averaged 12.5 in ACC play. This stat is flipped when you look at Jackson, where he averaged 12.9 in non-conference play and has scored at a clip of 14 in ACC play. While Trapani leads in most statistical categories - including all four factors - but Jackson has done a bit more in conference play. At the end of the day though, it doesn't matter who the offense is running through because it's clearly not working.
The Eagles play slow basketball. Big East slow. Hell, Big Ten slow, almost. They used it to great effect in their near upset of Duke, but the teams that have blown the doors off of UNC this season have been pushing the tempo quite a bit. Is BC likely to try to control the pace, or take advantage of the Heels' poor shooting with their own fast breaks?
Since we are 25 games into this season, I think everyone knows that they are going to get when they play BC: slow, methodical offensive play that attempts to control the pace of the game. The few times that the Eagles have gotten away from the Flex offense have been met with disastrous results. In the loss to Maine, BC was chucking up bad 3 point attempts very early in their offensive possessions. The Eagles have let other games get away from them from being impatient and getting away from the Flex offense.
If the Eagles open it up and try to run with the Heels, it might get ugly pretty quick for BC.
If UNC has one thing going for them, it's their height. (They lead the conference in things gotten of the top shelf.) How does Boston College combat that?
Great question. I wish I had an answer. BC's big men - Josh Southern and Cortney Dunn - have had less than stellar seasons. Southern's numbers are down across the board from last season and Dunn usually comes in only when Southern gets in foul trouble, which he undoubtedly will (he's averaging 6.3 fouls per 40 minutes). 6'8" Trapani and 6'6" Corey Raji will try to help out Southern and Dunn covering UNC's big men, but it might end up being a futile effort.
BC's forward and center play has been a weakness of this team for a few years now. If there's one place where the Eagles' can get exploited, it's down low.
How much success in any given basketball season does BC have to achieve to make up for not winning the Beanpot in that particular year? A conference championship? A Final Four? Is there a tradeoff?
I wouldn't really say there's any inverse relationship between the basketball team and the hockey team's success in the minds of BC Superfans. BC fans typically demand success in both of our winter sports and success in one usually doesn't make up for a lack of success in the other. There is probably a minority of fans that will bounce back and forth between following basketball or following hockey based on each team's success.
To be clear though, the Beanpot isn't the biggest event for BC fans. While winning that tournament is nice for inter-city bragging rights and all, Eagles fans would gladly defer the Beanpot to BU if it meant that BC would win the Hockey East title and/or a National Championship. If we were having a particularly bad year in hockey, I think making a trip to the Final Four for the first time in program history could go a long way towards easing the pain of Eagles hockey fans.