BC Basketball: Better Than You’d Expect


Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Call me a hopeless optimist. Call me an idiot. But by season’s end, I think this year’s version of the Boston College Basketball team will end up better than any of us expected.

Now before I explain why, I lay out this disclaimer: this is not as much of a reflection on how great I think this team is (they most definitely are not), but much more so how poor (and unlucky) last year’s team was.

We Won’t Shoot As Many 3’s
Last year’s offensive production was completely predicated on shooting the 3 pointer. BC put up 702 3-point shots last year, good for 47th in the nation. And out of the 46 teams ahead of them, only a handful were NCAA tournament teams. Some teams like Duke and Arizona have built long-term offensive juggernauts based on hitting the 3. But unless you are recruiting shooters of the highest caliber, it tends to not be as sustainable as an every day offense. This is also why last year BC defeated the #1 team in the country but also lost to Toledo. They embodied the phrase: live by the 3, die by the 3. This year’s team so far has been shooting the 3 at a far lower clip and their offensive efficiency will improve because of it.

Olivier Hanlan is Still Really Good
Although he has struggled percentage wise from the field through the first couple games, Olivier Hanlan is still an NBA-caliber talent which is more than most teams can say about their star player. In the off-season, Hanlan committed himself to becoming more of a court leader, especially defensively and it should pay dividends. BC’s perimeter defense was atrocious last year but should improve under Coach Christian’s zone scheme. I’m not expecting ACC Player of the Year numbers, but Hanlan should be good enough to ensure we beat the teams we are supposed to beat and upset a couple we shouldn’t.

Our Schedule Is Much Easier/We Aren’t Going To Lose As Many Close Games
Last year BC played one of the hardest schedules in college basketball. In addition to the ACC, BC played a slew of tournament teams in their non-conference schedule including eventual National Champions UConn and local tournament teams UMass and Harvard. This year, BC has 6 relatively easy non-conference games compared to maybe 2 or 3 last year. I also have a hard team believing BC will be as bad in close games as we were last year. Given Dennis Clifford’s supposed bill of health and the emergence of Aaron Brown, I am hopeful our late game defensive lapses become much fewer and farther between.

All-in-all I don’t think it’s out of the question for this team to win 6-7 non conference games while winning 7-8 in conference, especially given the weakness of some of the ACC’s lower echelon. That gives us 13-15 wins. Not great, but definitely not as bad as last year. I’m not sure Coach Christian is the next Steve Addazio but he can’t be as poor and ineffective as Coach Donahue was.