Boston College basketball is to play 31 regular-season games during their 2012-13 campaign. We currently know the identity of 29 of those opponents, which is more than enough for us to be able to analyze the full schedule. If Boston College is going to improve, it’s these teams they’ll have to find a way to beat.
First, the schedule itself. A text explanation appears below the infographic. Click to enlarge.
The road begins at home on November 11 against Florida International. Then, Boston College’s next three games will be at a neutral site in Charleston, South Carolina as they play in the 2012 Charleston Classic. We only know the first opponent the Eagles will face: #19 Baylor. Prepare yourself for all sorts of mentions about Brady Heslip and the circumstances upon which he left BC. If BC finds themselves losing, expect those announcer mentions to be of negative connotation towards this team.
The following two opponents are not determined. The second game will either be against Dayton or Colorado, two respectable teams from last season. To round out the Classic, BC will play one of Auburn, St. John’s, Charleston, or Murray State. The Murray State Racers had a very good season last year, but this is not the same team. In the one-in-four chance that BC plays Auburn, they would get to achieve something quite rare in modern college basketball: playing consecutive non-conference games against the same team.
This is because BC has scheduled Auburn at Conte Forum for November 21. Following that, the schedule lightens up with a home game against Bryant. The Eagles will not play their first true road game until the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, where they will again face the Penn State Nittany Lions. BC lost this game last year in a battle between young teams.
On December 4, the Eagles will look to stop their losing streak against Harvard, which is now at four-straight games. The Crimson were an NCAA Tournament team last year that has lost a few seniors, one of whom (Andrew Van Nest) is now playing for BC. Following that, the schedule lightens up for BC considerably, as their next two games are against St. Francis and New Hampshire. Providence at home on December 22 should be an interesting challenge for the Eagles; BC played well but lost that game last year on the road, but at home, this is one the Eagles could take. Boston College will round out 2012 with home games against Holy Cross and Dartmouth. Aside from Penn State and the Charleston Classic, the Eagles will play every other game in 2012 at home.
The ACC schedule begins with the coming of 2013, and BC will be thrown into the pit immediately as they get to face ACC favorites NC State at home. BC’s second road game of the year will be in Blacksburg, VA against the Virginia Tech Hokies, as BC looks to avenge their bitter loss there last season against a rebuilding Hokies team with a new coach. The Eagles will stay on the road to face Wake Forest on January 12; the Deacs beat BC twice last year, and if BC intends to improve, that is something which cannot stand.
BC briefly returns home on the 16th to play Miami, another team that beat them twice last season, before heading back out on the road for Maryland (22nd) and Virginia (26th). When Boston College returns to Conte Forum on January 29th, they’ll have two big games in front of them: North Carolina and Clemson. By this point, one would think the Eagles have figured out what kind of team they intend to be this season, and we’ll see just how they stack up against these two good teams.
On February 5, the Eagles head to Miami for their second game against the Hurricanes, but when they return on the 10th, Duke will be waiting for them. That game will get the attention of even the most fickle BC students who normally can’t be bothered to walk five minutes to see the team play. Following this contest, Wake Forest comes to BC for their second meeting.
The Eagles then get to face Florida State in Tallahassee, the 2012 ACC champs and the team that the Eagles took down for their best win of 2011-12. Then, on February 19th, the improved Maryland team will face BC once again, but this time at Conte Forum. In late February, BC goes back out on the road to Duke and NC State for an extremely difficult Triangle swing.
In March, the Eagles play two home games and one road game. First, they host Tony Bennett’s Virginia, then go to Clemson (where they never win), and then close out the season against Georgia Tech at home before shuffling off to Greensboro for the ACC Tournament.
The non-conference portion of the schedule seems doable and, on balance, does not seem to be that challenging. By far, the best team on it is Baylor, though if Dayton and Colorado are as good as last year, those will be nice SOS boosts as well. Otherwise, there is not much meat there at all. Any Boston College team worth a damn would win a majority of the contests scheduled through the end of 2012.
BC’s ACC schedule is, as expected, treacherous. With 18 conference games instead of 16, that could help boost the overall strength of schedule because of the higher level of competition they’ll be facing for two extra games from now on. The Eagles double-up with seven teams this year: NC State, Duke, Virginia, Maryland, Miami, Clemson, and Wake Forest.
A lot depends on the quality of teams BC faces as the season progresses, but generally speaking, the schedule does not look more difficult than the one they faced last year. Yes, they will contend with two extra conference games now, but the non-conference schedule is as manageable as it was before. It will then be up to Boston College to do something about it and actually win those games they’re supposed to win.
Talk about expectations comes on Thursday, but just what would be a good year for this team? This schedule, weak as it is in non-conference, probably would not yield much in terms of resume, even if BC were to have a good season, but that’s almost not the point. What we need to see is improvement — as in, some of these games BC lost last season turning into wins. Before January, the Eagles will not be running the gauntlet by any stretch. That’s where they have to start proving to us that they’re better, because if they struggle out-of-conference again, it could be another long season.