Upheaval seems to be the most apt descriptor of Boston College men’s basketball since 2011. When a large class of seniors exited, a new batch of freshmen came in, with predictably bad results. The 2011-12 season was officially a throwaway, but hopes for 2012-13 were a bit higher. If they weren’t, they should have been, as there is no practical excuse for winning less than 20 games in two seasons with the same group. The 2012 portion of the slate has seen its ups and downs, but entering 2013, many questions are left to be answered.
Before 2012 is closed, however, the Eagles must play two more non-conference games against Holy Cross and Dartmouth. After a nice win against Providence, Boston College must win these contests. Providence is not a great team, but they are a decent one; losing to low-major squads like the Crusaders and Big Green would be a setback, illustrating that the Friars win was a fluke and that the Eagles have not turned the corner.
In the event BC wins those games, and they will be favored, they would enter 2013 at 8-5 before they get thrown into the 7th Level of ACC Scheduling Hell. Given its high difficulty level, January will be a hugely informative month as to where the Eagles stand. At this moment, there is not a great deal of optimism that Boston College will bust through conference play with a respectable showing, though it is what the fans would like. As a matter of fact, many don’t know what to believe. They would like to think that this basketball team will improve upon losing 13 of 17 games against ACC opponents from last year, but accounting for BC’s inconsistency, there is understandable doubt.
The plain truth is that as Boston College basketball enters 2013, this group has yet to accomplish anything. A win over a ranked Florida State team in February 2012 was nice, but they did not build off of it. Beating a decent Providence team in December will likewise count for nothing if they cannot establish any momentum. Games like that become flukes; the exception rather than the rule. Providence does not have to be a fluke for the Eagles, but in 2013, they must start making their move.
When it was originally assembled, the idea was not that this team might be a contender by the time the core are all seniors: it was that they’d be doing so by their junior year, with a leap forward to set them up in their sophomore year. It is quite possible that by the time we’re assessing this team’s progress heading into 2014, about one year from now, we will be able to reach some determinative conclusions as to whether or not they will reach their goals. If we sit here in a year and are still uncertain as to this team’s abilities, disappointment will mount. Steve Donahue did not put this team together with the intention of perhaps making the NCAA Tournament with them just once, but if 2012-13 is as unsuccessful as 2011-12, the odds of a big jump next season will become most unfavorable.
As we approach 2013, nobody knows the answer to the most burning question about BC basketball: How far will this team ultimately go? They are almost certainly not going to go from losing 22 last year and possibly 20 this year to winning 20 next year, so the obvious remedy is for them to not lose 20 games this season. What they do in 2013 will give us a deep understanding of this team’s capabilities as more seasoned, veteran ACC players. The feeling about this program right now is not necessarily optimism or pessimism — rather, anxious waiting to see if this team will finally take off.