One question that has been on the minds of BC fans since before the season started is a simple one: How many games will this young team win?
Clearly, that is a question that can’t definitively be answered now. We can try to make educated guesses, though that assumes one can even assume at all, given how inexperienced this team is.
Here’s what we do know: the Eagles have won three games in a row and are 5-7. They had some particularly brutal early-season losses — some of the worst BC fans have seen in many years — but have at least righted the ship to a degree. One never wants to read too much into three games against lesser opponents, but the Eagles beat Stony Brook, Bryant, and Sacred Heart the way an ACC team should beat them — which is to say, by double digits. Sure, a team like North Carolina would have won by 40-50, but keep in mind that these were the non-conference, lesser-opponent games BC was LOSING by big margins early in the season.
The non-conference slate concludes with Harvard and Rhode Island coming to Conte Forum. Simply because of the team’s struggles, it is hard to envision two more wins coming from the Eagles, and not only for the fact that the Crimson are quite good this year. By no means is that game completely unwinnable, however, because of Harvard’s low point totals and mediocre rebounding. As for Rhode Island, they’re having a worse season than BC, if you can believe it. The Rams are 1-11 and have dumped eight games in a row; in that stretch, their losses include Brown, Maine, Georgia State, and Yale. The Eagles should win at least one, and it would be a tremendous disappointment if they can’t.
Then it gets really fun with the ACC schedule. Without even looking at it — yeah yeah, anything can happen, yada yada yada — you can pretty much give BC 10 losses as a base. Frankly, if BC went 6-10 in the conference, Eagles fans would be amazed and very pleased, but it’s not likely they will, because that loss column number is almost certainly going to be higher.
The possibility of BC going 0-16 in the ACC regular season has been discussed in BC fan circles, and while you can’t rule such a thing out, it probably won’t happen. It appeared to me last year that Wake Forest was going to go 0-16 in the conference — until they didn’t. Virginia played a good game that night, but didn’t make their free throws and that was the difference; Wake, for their part, rose their game and played decently. Chances are BC is not going to be a no-show sixteen games in a row and lose each and every one by 30-50 points, though that in itself is not a guarantee that they’ll get wins.
An ACC basketball schedule is never for the weak, but this is not the worst one they could have gotten all things considered. For example, BC played UNC twice last year, got Duke at Cameron, and faced Clemson at Littlejohn (which is pretty much a guaranteed BC loss given recent history). This year, the Eagles only play North Carolina once and get Duke and Clemson at home. Further, the double-dip with UNC has been replaced by Wake Forest and outside of the top few teams, nobody in the conference looks invincible. Now, are they beating UNC or Duke, I wouldn’t bet on it, but this schedule is not a hopeless endeavor if this young BC team continues to learn.
Winning one more non-conference game seems quite possible, and given the mediocrity of the ACC outside the usual conference leaders, it is not impossible for Boston College to find a way to win two or three games there. It therefore appears to me that the Eagles will win about three or four more times this season, but of course we all want that to be higher.