It may be hard to believe with football season having consumed most of our bandwidth and hockey season also underway, but Boston College basketball’s season begins tomorrow night at Providence. This is a big year for Steve Donahue and his Eagles as they look to put the rebuild behind them and finally take a step forward. Will they do it?
Yesterday, we established our minimum expectations for the Eagles: be no worse than an NCAA Tournament bubble team. One would figure with this schedule, which is about as difficult as one will find given that it’s in the ACC and has a tough non-conference slate, that about eighteen wins will put them on the bubble. That is only two more wins than they received last season.
Some would say that’s not good enough, and it’s not difficult to see that point of view. After all, the Eagles increased their win total by seven last season and by all accounts, this team is deeper and more ready than it has been in years. Then again, the schedule this year is absolutely tougher.
The most winnable of the non-conference games would appear to be Florida Atlantic, Sacred Heart, and Philadelphia. All three are at home against not-so-great teams and have to be victories. Games in the moderate tier include Providence, UMass, Toledo, Purdue, USC, Auburn, and the team the Eagles can’t beat, Harvard. The remaining look three like the toughest tests: UConn, Indiana or Washington, and VCU.
The conference schedule will be brutal and we all knew that already. The double-ups for this season are Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, and Notre Dame.
Without itemizing individual games (that’s a dangerous game for bloggers to play when certain games won’t happen for several months), this is our outlook:
Non-conference schedule (13 games): 9-4
Conference schedule (18 games): 10-8
TOTAL (regular season): 19-12 (10-8)
ACC Tournament: 2-1
TOTAL (on Selection Sunday): 21-13 (10-8)
NCAA Tournament qualifier (9 or 10 seed); advance to Round of 32
Given the schedule, the Eagles could open the conference slate at 3-0 before their big meeting with Syracuse on January 13.
So, there you have it: we’re calling this a tournament season for the Boston College Eagles with a weekend push into the ACC Tournament and a decent seed in the NCAA Tournament. With 21 wins on Selection Sunday, considering that the Eagles would have a strong SOS and RPI, that would be potentially worthy of a single-digit seed. Right now, we’ll be conservative and call it a 9 or a 10.
I expect that on Selection Sunday, especially with approximately 20 wins and some damage done in the ACC Tournament, we will feel relatively confident that we’re in the big dance. With any luck, that will be the case.
We should be looking at a tournament berth this year, and if they can get there having played some of the nation’s tough teams, we could be set for a little fun come March.
Cross your fingers and gear up for the opener.
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