The Boston College Eagles may, in some form, play defensive basketball, but whatever it is that they do, they’re not very good at it.
In light of allowing 88 points in a loss to the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday night, the Eagles sit at 3-5 to start the 2013-14 season and have some very serious questions to ask themselves. On the outside, we too have things to ponder. The key questions are what’s causing it and how can it be fixed? Also, more gravely, what happens if it doesn’t get fixed?
Boston College went into their game in the state of Indiana this week having allowed approximately 80 points per game and rebounding at a particularly weak clip. What we collectively witnessed during this year’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge was not an isolated incident of poor play by the Eagles. In eight games, they have played perhaps one decent game (Washington), but in none of them was the defense acceptable.
That makes eight games now in which the Eagles have looked overmatched on the other end of the floor. They are soft and they make numerous, repeated mistakes. Other teams muscle the Eagles around and getting Dennis Clifford back soon might not be a cure-all elixir given just how bad the team has looked in that department.
At this point, one has to acknowledge that there is plenty of blame to go around: this is an issue of personnel and coaching. These players cannot execute and lack the toughness to succeed, and whatever it is the staff is trying does not work.
We knew what we were getting with Steve Donahue: a team philosophy predicated largely on hot shooting bringing the Eagles over the hump night in and night out. The problem is that when that fails, this team has no fallback position. The Eagles can’t grind out wins if they can’t play competent defense; right now, the one-dimensionality of this team is helping to defeat them as they’re not even great at the only thing they attempt to do.
With a team mostly composed of upperclassmen, the bottom line is not acceptable.
The feel would be different if they were losing but playing well. Unfortunately, this basketball team is the opposite of the trifecta associated with the football team this season: they are underachieving, they aren’t playing hard, and they are not fun to watch. Every game is a struggle for survival and a sense of urgency only exists in finite pockets. The Purdue game was an embarrassment and just eight games in, it’s not the only one they’ve served up.
Already, Boston College’s road for the 2013-14 season looks pothole-replete at best and Florida sinkhole-abyss at worst. Their chance at doing something substantive this season is already passing them by, and as long as they continue playing this way, it will be a difficult year.