On Thursday, Boston College men’s basketball’s young team will experience the awe and wonder of the 2012 ACC Tournament. Unfortunately, even if by some divine miracle they make it to Friday, the ride is almost certainly going to end in Atlanta this week, and quite possibly with a crash and burn.
That is not the outcome for which BC fans are hoping, but nevertheless, the reality is that the Eagles are the #12 seed for a reason. Still, it is (probably) worthwhile to examine their draw and see if there is any chance at all of victories.
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Boston College will be substantial underdogs in their first game against the NC State Wolfpack. The first time these two teams faced each other in Raleigh, BC was barely competitive. The second time at Conte Forum, where the Eagles went 4-4 against ACC competition, Boston College lost by a respectably-close margin. Given this team’s propensity to play poorly outside of Conte Forum, however, it is unlikely that they will get beyond this round. It did not make much difference who the Eagles drew in this game, as they would not have been close to favored in any potential 5/12 matchup.
The only possible source of inspiration for BC fans is to remember the first round in 2008: the Eagles played Maryland, who were on the bubble at the time. 4-12 Boston College beat the Terps that night and wrecked their season (they then followed that game with a loss against Clemson that had to rank amongst BC’s most embarrassing defeats of the 2000s, but we don’t need to talk about that). It is March Madness after all, and perhaps the Eagles saved the best for last.
Should BC be fortunate enough to make it that far, they would play Virginia in the quarterfinals. Boston College actually managed about 33 good minutes against the Wahoos when they visited in Charlottesville, but again, it ended up being a lopsided road loss. Virginia is probably somewhere in the ballpark of an NCAA #8 seed right now, and a loss to Boston College here — if present in this contest — would shave quite a bit off of their standing. Regardless, the Eagles would be heavy underdogs in this game as well, and it would take a full 40 minutes of effort to make the game competitive.
It is not even worth evaluating the latter portions of the draw, because let’s be honest, BC is not getting that far. As a matter of fact, it will take one of their best efforts of the season (if not their best) just to escape from Thursday. Getting through Saturday and Sunday would require the direct intervention of a supernatural being, as well as a bunch of guys growing up very quickly.
This season was always supposed to be a learning experience. These young guys have had a full season of ACC play and now get to experience the ACC Tournament, where hopefully they will do a lot of winning in the years to come. Few will be disappointed if that winning does not begin now, but Steve Donahue will doubtlessly make good use of whatever game time he has left with him team in teaching them how to win at this level. Whether the season ends on Thursday against NC State or some other day, they will at least be able to get their feet wet.