To this point, the Boston College Eagles basketball team has managed nine wins, three better than at this point last season. Nevertheless, as they continue their rebuild which started last season, they’re not playing for much of anything aside from (1) pride and (2) practice with the goal of improvement. The ACC schedule has so far featured three games for the Eagles, one of which was a relatively comfortable win, and the other two were games that BC had realistic chances of winning in the second halves but did not.
When the Miami Hurricanes come to town tonight to face Boston College, the Eagles are going to face a better class of conference opponent. Who knows how many people would have considered them to be as such given that Reggie Johnson is out with an injury, but the Hurricanes have continued to roll in spite of their big man’s absence. Media “bracketology” segments would put them at about a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament as of now, and why not? They’re 12-3 (3-0) without one of their star players, and despite two bad losses to Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State, Miami has acquitted itself well. Not to mention, two of those three ACC wins were on the road.
The Hurricanes allow less than 60 points per game (58.4 to be exact; 4th in the ACC) and are one of the best teams in the conference in terms of turnover margin. They don’t force quite so many compared to other teams, but they have the fewest per game. Regardless of their success in keeping their opponents to lower point totals and holding onto the ball, Miami is not what one would call a great offensive team — as a matter of fact, BC averages more points per game than they do — nor are they good defensively across the board. Miami is a good team, not a great one, that happens to be efficient and can close out games more often than not. Jim Larranaga has done a good job of coaching so far as well, but though they are making a case for themselves, they aren’t quite ACC elite yet.
Boston College, on the other hand, is not in the discussion for being a tournament team, an ACC elite team, or anything other than a potential spoiler along the way. The Eagles hit a real bump in the road down at Wake Forest, despite the final score being close. Now, this team that has fought hard but only has one ACC win to show for it gets to come home and face a solid team.
The schedule isn’t going to get much easier for BC, and they need to recapture some momentum before heading back out onto the road to play Maryland and Virginia. The Eagles lost to this team twice in 2011-12 by significant margins, but now, they need to prove that they’re better than they were back then, even as Miami is also better. This ACC slate could get away from BC quickly this month, so at some point, they will need to take a stand and not just keep losing games they could have won. Tonight against Miami could easily be another one like NC State and Wake Forest, or it could be worse, but someday, they will have to beat above-average teams like the Hurricanes to prove their worth.
Is that now? Find out at 7pm on ESPN3.