Sunday, January 2, 2011

Major announcement on the future of STG

No, I'm not closing up shop.  You could only wish you were so lucky.

Instead, I'm announcing today that like the other great, tenured BC blogs before me, I am moving on up and expanding my operation.  I have been offered the opportunity to move Soaring to Glory to a sports blog network, and after a few days of deliberating, I have accepted.  BC Interruption has SB Nation, ATL and BCDraft have Eagle Insider, and now I have FanSided.

So, you may be wondering, when will this move take place?  Faster than you might imagine.  Starting Monday, I could be blogging over there, but coming to this present site will redirect you to the new URL,  Update your bookmarks accordingly.

I have spent nearly 2 years here on Blogger, and it has been a good ride.  It's time to move on, however, and I hope BC fans will follow me there.  Of course, you can always still read my hysterical ranting on Twitter, @SoaringtoGlory.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eagles bomb South Carolina to start 2011 right

After such a disappointing loss to Rhode Island, many of us wondered how the Boston College Eagles would respond on the road in South Carolina.

Didn't take us long to find out the answer.

The Eagles took the Gamecocks to the woodshed on New Year's Day, beating SC on the road by a final score of 85-70, and even that was not truly indicative of how well BC played.  Outside of maybe the first ten minutes of the game, Boston College completely outplayed South Carolina in nearly all phases of the game.  The lead in the second half ran out to as many as 29 points before the Cocks scored some garbage-time points against the walk-ons to narrow the margin.

Joe Trapani led the Eagles with 23 points, with Biko Paris collecting 18 and Corey Raji with a double-double off the bench, a total of 16 points and 12 boards.  This strong victory came on a night where Eagles reclamation project Josh Southern had essentially a no-show game, garnering twice as many turnovers (4) as points (2) in only 13 minutes of action.

Texas A&M is perhaps BC's best win of the year, but tonight was almost certainly the Eagles' best-played game so far.  The Gamecocks aren't a horrible team but they're far from the elite, with their only win that comes close to resembling quality being over Clemson.  They should not end up being much of a factor in the national tournament picture in March, but that should not take away from BC's accomplishment tonight.  They went on the road to a major-conference school and beat the stuffing out of them, coming off of a loss.  It was exactly what the Eagles needed to get back on track.

With the win, as I mentioned on Twitter, BC has now beaten a team in each of the power conferences, whether they end up being good or bad teams: the ACC (Maryland, with hopefully many more to follow), Big East (Providence), Big Ten (Indiana), Big 12 (Texas A&M), Pac-10 (California), and now the SEC with South Carolina.  Outside of the Yale loss, the Eagles are putting together a respectable, well-rounded resume that I hope glistens in March.

Boston College sits at 11-3 and comes back home on Wednesday to face a REAL test: why yes, it's Harvard, the doom-bringers from Cambridge who have tarnished our program the last few seasons.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

I thought the jersey to the left was quite apropos.

I want to extend best wishes for 2011 to all of the Boston College and ACC folk who have visited and been a part of the blog this year. I'll be entering my third year of doing this site and I've enjoyed every minute of it, and I hope for big things regarding both this blog and BC sports in 2011.

I have hope that it will be a great sports year for us. We might not get everything we'd like, but at least I'm fairly certain that BC won't start 2011 off in sports any worse than it did in 2010.

Speaking of Eagles sports, we have BC hockey tonight at 7pm in the Ledyard National Bank Classic championship, right as you start your New Year's Eve plans for this evening, and basketball tomorrow at 5:30pm against South Carolina.  I expect that game to be at about the same difficulty level as Rhode Island, but those turnovers are going to be critical.  BC can't turn the ball over 18 or more times and expect to win, especially given that Biko's injury status is in question.  All this and more coming up in 2011.  Enjoy the festivities. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BC at Rhode Island: A little more challenging

Believe me, I recognize that the Bucknell Bison gave BC everything that they could handle, but the Rhode Island Rams out of the A-10 are more than capable of giving a good performance.  Those Rams will be BC's opponent tonight, as the Eagles take their three-point shooting contest down I-95 to Kingston for a 7pm tip.

First, a look at Rhody.  To this point, the schedule they've played hasn't been particularly competitive overall.  Their first game was against Pittsburgh, and since then, their only two decent opponents were College of Charleston (win by 9) and Providence (lose by 13).  Without the Pitt game, however, their #51 strength of schedule would be a hefty chunk lower.  What has this schedule gotten them?  8-4, with two consecutive wins heading into this game over squishy opposition.

They appear to be a little less of a shooting team than the Eagles, as they've taken more shots but made fewer, though they're about as good at the three as BC.  Also like the Eagles, they've been outrebounded by opponents this season and are on the plus side of the turnover margin.  On that subject, however, the Eagles have actually done a very good job of protecting the basketball so far this year, as BC averages fewer than 10 turnovers per game, whereas Rhode Island is over 13.

The man to watch on the Rams will most certainly be Delroy James, who averages 20 points per game (with the next closest guy on the team just under 11). He's also the team's leading rebounder and is second in blocks. He, then, will be BC's public enemy #1 on the basketball court tonight. Others to watch out for, particularly on the perimeter, will be two young men by the names of Nikola Malesevic and Akeem Richmond. Malesevic has only shot 37 three pointers this year, but has made 57% of them. Richmond has made the most threes on the team, but only because he shoots a ton of them -- 21 more than Delroy James, who has the 2nd-most three attempts.  Just like we saw against Bucknell or any other team this year, leaving three-point shooters unguarded will make BC's work very difficult, and Rhody is the kind of team that can hit this shot about as well as BC can, and they appear to defend it fairly well (although that may be more of a function of the teams they've played).

For Boston College, who take a 7-game win streak into this game, we know who the key players are and what they must do.  Reggie Jackson must continue to be the leader of this team, Biko Paris must continue his hot shooting, and Josh Southern must continue his renaissance under Donahue and be a force inside.  Speaking of, from what I've gathered through scouting reports and the good old box score, Rhody's inside presence isn't the scariest BC will face all year, so hopefully that bodes well for another strong game for Southern. 

Rhode Island beat Boston College last year at Conte Forum -- practically ran them out of the arena, in fact, in a game that wasn't as close as the score -- but the Eagles were a worse team then, and I'd think the Rams were a better one then also.  I go into this game expecting a narrow Eagles win, though this is on the road, and you never know what you're going to get.  Rhode Island is a decent team, but I do not at this point believe they are a better team.  We will learn tonight.

Twitter coverage picks up at 7; see you folks there.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A little more respect for BC men's hoops

The AP poll for Week 8 was released today, and the Eagles have now gained 17 votes.  This is up from 2 last week, and one the week before.  Those who cast their ballots for the Eagles are as follows:

Kevin MacNamara, Providence Journal (20)
Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (21)
John Feinstein, National Public Radio (23)
and Michael Rothstein, (23)

MacNamara ranked Boston College 24th on his ballot last week, and this week, he was joined by three more writers.  Right now, the trend is our friend.  Some more solid wins and the Eagles may be able to crack the rankings.  Of course, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports snuck the Eagles into his power rankings at #20.  Furthermore, as of two weeks ago, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, a man who makes a lot more than I do for something I wish I could do, had the Eagles safely in the field of 68 as an 8 seed.  This is part of a growing trend we are seeing lately of the Eagles getting some respect by the media.  It certainly isn't coming from all corners, however, as we do see the national beat writers who use BC's early surge in the standings (relative to the rest of the conference) as a sign of how bad the ACC is.  I would like to think that the Eagles are one of the bright spots in the conference so far, having won 9 out of 10 since the Yale disaster.

This "ranking" the Eagles have -- which is somewhere in the 30s -- makes them the second-highest rated ACC team by the AP.  Duke, of course, is number one, and North Carolina and Florida State are next behind with six votes a piece.  About the only thing it means is that Boston College is having a better than expected season, for which they deserve credit (oh yes, and that the rest of the ACC...not so good). 

In the coming week, BC will have road games against Rhode Island and South Carolina -- neither of whom are all that scary, but they're not roadkill either.  If the Eagles should come out of both games with wins to climb to 12-2 (1-0), I suspect the case for Boston College being in the rankings will get a little more steam.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Boston College Christmas loot

My family were big supporters of the Boston College Bookstore this Christmas season (as should we all be -- and please note this ad was not paid for or endorsed by the BC Bookstore).  Here's what I added to my vast array of Eagles merchandise:

New UA Boston College Basketball jersey (the only thing missing is the "ACC" on the top of the back as in the real thing)
UA Boston College football long-sleeved shirt

Boston College sweatpants
Boston College alumni license plate frame (sorry for the quality of the picture; it's very shiny and flash or not, it's hard to get a decent image)

Boston College basketball coffee mug (the basketball is metallic and embossed; my mother assures me it is dishwasher-safe)

Boston College thermos coffee cup

And last but not least...
Boston College alumni t-shirt

I hope you folks cleaned up this Christmas; if you got any BC stuff, feel free to share your joy with the rest of us.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

May you find some nice Boston College merchandise under your tree (I know I will; I specifically asked for it) and may we have a prosperous year of athletics in 2011.

The next Boston College sporting event is on December 29 (BC/Rhode Island in men's basketball); we'll see you then, although I might be happy to share some photos of the BC gear I'm getting.

Oh, and the picture above is not my work.  I'm not talented enough to create something like that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BC comes from behind to clip Bucknell

In the first half, the Boston College Eagles had us thinking it was Yale, The Sequel.

This game against Bucknell, however, ended the way I think most of us hoped that one would: with the Eagles fighting back and taking a close win at home.  Boston College won their seventh straight game by taking down the Bison 84-80, in a game where the Eagles fell behind by 16 points early on and let Bucknell bomb threes all night.  The Eagles' perimeter defense was lifeless and uncontested three-pointers ballooned the Bucknell lead.  Unlike the Yale game, however, Boston College fought back at a much earlier point in the night and started to contest shots.  As soon as that happened, the deficit began to slim until eventually, in the second half, it was gone.

Big shots were hit tonight by Reggie Jackson, Biko Paris, and Josh Southern -- some behind the line, some under the hoop, and some at the stripe.  Reggie led the Eagles with 22, but the game's leading scorer was Bucknell's Bryson Johnson with 23 (21 of those on the three).  Three other Eagles made it to double figures: Joe Trapani and Josh Southern (16) and Biko Paris (14).

It was an ugly win for sure, and had the feel of a WTF loss, but the Eagles persevered.  Even though it looked like the game was getting away from them early, they ratcheted up the intensity on both sides of the ball and made sure this one didn't get away.  There will be plenty of lessons to be learned from this game but I would think it will be good for their confidence: they fell behind by a large margin but still found a way to win, which is ultimately what matters most.  If this win wasn't satisfactory enough, remember that it could be worse: this wasn't the Yale game, Virginia lost a cupcake game to Seattle, and Georgia Tech fell to Siena.  At least this one is in the win column.

BC is now a 10-2 basketball team and are going to take the week off for Christmas before heading to Kingston, Rhode Island on December 29.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BC basketball thru 11: A comparison

The Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team is sitting at 9-2, having won six in a row following their loss to Wisconsin in Orlando.  The Eagles are getting votes in the AP poll and some “bracketologists” have slotted BC into the newly-expanded field of 68 at this early juncture.  But we’re at just that, an early juncture.  I decided to look at previous years and figure out where we are now compared to then, and how those seasons turned out.

Boston College Through 11 Games
Best win(s) in 11 games
Texas A&M & Maryland
Michigan & Miami
22-12, NCAA 1st
Maryland & Michigan State
21-12, NCAA 2nd
Oklahoma State
28-8, NCAA S16
25-5, NCAA 2nd

As you can see, there are recent years where the Eagles didn’t start as strongly as this year but finished that way, while other seasons saw a strong start and a bad finish (2007-2008 stands out, where the Eagles blasted through their OOC schedule only to lose a total of thirteen conference games). 

This is mostly the same personnel as last season, however, so let’s take this season and last side by side.  Boston College’s two best wins so far this year are the #25 team in the country on a neutral court and a team on the road which beat the crap out of them in Boston last season.  In 2009-2010, BC’s best wins to this point were an overrated Michigan team on the road and the last-place Miami Hurricanes.  While we don’t know how this season will end, I am reasonably assured in saying that there’s reason for optimism that this year can be different.  Despite the fact that the Eagles already have their annual Ivy League loss, their resume to this point looks a lot better than it had last season through this stage.  With the #15 strength of schedule (as of Monday evening – dropped 11 spots from Sunday after playing Bryant), the Eagles have faced mainly competitive opponents and have done well against them for the most part.

Last year, it was becoming clear fairly early that the season was going to be a rollercoaster ride, but it was not until the 14th game of the year that we would learn what a disaster it would be.  Through 11 games, BC is doing well in 2010-2011, but there are many potential pitfalls ahead.  On the flip side, there are many potential triumphs.  Everything we’ve seen so far indicates that these Eagles will be better than last year’s, and that they just might be able to rack up some real accomplishments if the wheels don’t fall off like in 2008.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bryant vs. BC: Not much, but it’ll do, right?

The Boston College Eagles come back after 11 days since their last home game, including their annual break for finals, to face the Bryant Bulldogs. The Eagles are 8-2, while the Bulldogs are 1-8 and are also the worst team BC will face this season, with a KenPom rating in the 300s. There is no betting line for this game, but I will set it at BC -1 jillion. Yes, one JILLION. If you feel the need to throw down money on BC/Bryant in basketball, which I don’t condone anyway, then I think you should seek professional help. A loss in this game is so incomprehensible that I can’t even talk about it; needless to say, BC will most likely win by a wide margin.

Still coaching Bryant is BC alum and former two-time Eagle assistant Tim O’Shea, as he continues to guide the Bulldogs in their Division I transition phase. The statistical tale isn’t good for his bunch as you might imagine: Bryant can’t shoot, they can’t rebound, and they can’t make free throws. That, my friends, is a recipe for complete disaster.

Boston College, on the other hand, has been one of the most efficient offenses in the country, led by Reggie Jackson and Biko Paris, with Josh Southern coming on strong in his senior season and significant contributions from others like Corey Raji. Of course, I’m leaving out several key players, but I think I’ll give them a blanket compliment by saying that I don’t think there’s one player on this team that isn’t playing his ass off.

Eagles take it to 9-2 in this one [sarc] which I’m sure will draw a large crowd at Conte Forum [/sarc] and come back for Bucknell on Wednesday night. The tip is at 3pm.