Boston College basketball has refined the concept of “close but no cigar” to a fine art.
Two teams that would arguably be #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament if it happened today, Miami and Duke, won at Conte Forum by a single point each. Further, BC dropped close, winnable games to NC State, Maryland, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. CJ Harris (29 points in the first meeting) and Wake Forest head to Conte Forum tonight to try to hand the Eagles yet another defeat, whether tight or a blowout.
The first meeting was a 75-72 loss for Boston College, a game in which the Eagles fell behind in the second half and made a credible comeback, but could not cash in on their prime opportunities to finish it. The Eagles gave up a 51% shooting percentage while also allowing Wake to convert on 39% of their shots from beyond the arc. What kept BC in that game was Wake’s poor free throw shooting (55.6%) and the massive imbalance in fouls called — the Eagles took 33 free throw attempts (75.8%), while Wake only earned 18. BC did not play particularly well in that January 12 contest but neither did the Deacs, a team that could hardly be called great itself.
If the Eagles play as well against the Demon Deacons as they did against Duke on Sunday, then there is a reasonable chance that BC will win, but one cannot compare Wake Forest and Duke. One also cannot assume that Boston College will string together back-to-back consistent efforts, since that has been more of the exception instead of the rule this season.
Getting wins on the board is a department in which Boston College basketball has been sorely lacking this year, despite whatever debates observers have had about the team’s visible progress in the middle of games. At 2-8 in the ACC, the Eagles have very little to show for whatever efforts they’ve made, and it’s entirely conceivable that they could lose as many conference games as last year (12, especially given the expanded schedule). Wins and losses did not matter quite so much in 2011-12, but in 2012-13, they’ve been in greater demand yet have not been forthcoming.
Sooner or later, Boston College is going to have to start winning. Losing every close game on the planet this season plus getting a year older next year plus a Starbucks gift card will get you a grande latte macchiato. Coming up short now doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the future, nor can anyone predict how seasons to come will be. BC basketball can only control the here and now; this is no time to kick the can down the road and say “we’ll just start over next year so give us another mulligan.” Boston College would do well to take some pride and win games like Wake Forest at home.
Tipoff is at 7pm.