Boston College Basketball: The Young and The Defenseless


Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Those who might not be acquainted with the chatter on Boston College blogs and message boards may have missed why some fans call Steve Donahue “Coach Onahue.”

No “D.”

It’s sad that our appraisal of Donahue’s tenure has turned so overwhelmingly negative, but these recent teams have not played a lick of defense. After almost three years, there’s no reason to think that will suddenly change. If they do exhibit any competence on that side of the basketball, it is usually for a finite stretch.

How bad has it really gotten? We now turn to the numbers:

What’s interesting to note is that Steve Donahue’s first team at Boston College was the senior-heavy group which included Reggie Jackson (a junior on his way to the NBA), Joe Trapani, Biko Paris, and Corey Raji, amongst others. Despite not having been great in Al Skinner’s final season, they were at least somewhat competent. Under Donahue, however, they crashed into the 200s in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive rankings. The coach’s roster reboot improved slightly the following year, but has gotten worse each of the last two.

Now, Boston College basketball’s defense is statistically one of the worst in the nation according to these rankings, and definitely the worst in a major conference because the second-worst isn’t even close (counting the American as a major conference, the Eagles are 54 spots worse than Temple). Some other teams Mr. Pomeroy ranks as better defensively than Boston College include Lipscomb, Houston Baptist, NJIT, and UMass-Lowell, the latter of which just entered Division I.

But wait, there’s more. Here’s the rest of the bad news this season:

• 278th in scoring defense (74.8 papg); last in the ACC by almost four points

[side note: the Eagles are -5.3 in scoring margin and are the only ACC team under water in that category]

• 297th in field goal defense (46.4%); last in the ACC
• 279th in three-point defense (36.7%); 14th in ACC
• 280th in blocks per game (2.7); last in ACC
• 341st in steals per game (3.7); 14th in ACC

So, in essence, the Eagles do not defend the three – or the two – cause turnovers, or block shots. What precisely do they do defensively, you ask? That’s a good question. Unfortunately, the team probably doesn’t know, either.