Saturday, January 2, 2010

The WTF loss: A staple of BC basketball

I'm so mad about BC's loss to Maine today that I'm going to write a second article.  For one thing, they should be ashamed of themselves for how they played, and for another, it's pretty clear to me now that this team is playing up or down to their level of competition.  Get up for South Carolina, Miami, and Michigan, but lose to Harvard, Maine, and St. Joe's.  I see a team that shows nothing more than spurts of brilliance; the rest of the time, they are flat, lazy, and sloppy.  This team is underachieving so badly right now that it's making my head spin.  I can't remember a BC basketball team that played this poorly in their OOC schedule.

We have all come to accept these last few years that while Al Skinner is coach, BC will lose WTF games.  A WTF loss, for those of you who are blissfully unaware, is a game that your team loses to a team it shouldn't lose to, therefore causing you to say "WTF."  For the most part, these losses come in non-conference play against mid-majors.  This year, we have been handed more WTFs than any time in Skinner's recent tenure.  Today's loss to the Black Bears was about as bad a loss as Harvard last year, and certainly the worst yet this season, where BC had already lost some horrible games.


2009-2010: 5 (St. Joe's, UNI, Harvard, Rhode Island, Maine)
2008-2009: 2 (St. Louis, Harvard)
2007-2008: 1 (Robert Morris)
2006-2007: 2 (Vermont, Duquesne)
2005-2006: 0
2004-2005: 0
2003-2004: 0

As you can see, we've had a big spike this season, and a loss to NJIT next week (which, at this point, I can't rule out anymore) would be the coup de grace to top it all off.  I wouldn't normally ask questions like this, but since I watch the New York Giants and it's been a topic of debate, I have to ask: does this team have any pride?  I know the Giants don't, and I see some of the same things in this BC basketball team as I do in that football team, at least as far as level of effort and execution go.  Good teams with guts don't let Maine, Harvard, and Rhode Island walk all over them on their home court in the span of a month, and yet, they have.  The talent is there, but for a multitude of reasons, they cannot figure out how to beat certain teams against whom they are clearly superior.

Ultimately, when your team plays gutless, and this team did (in a general sense, not just today), the head coach has to take responsibility.  Taking into account the level of talent on all of the teams to whom BC has lost so far this year, BC should win all five of those games a majority of the time.  There have been some absolutely inexcusable losses in there so far, with Maine now the worst.  When your team is listless and has a poor gameplan (and it was quite poor today), the man in the big chair must accept some of the blame.  Yes, the players are dogging it, too.

BC scored one point in the last six minutes of the Maine game.  It's not like they were playing great defense on Maine's end, either: BC chucked up 3-pointers all game and went one-and-done early in a number of possessions.  Maine is not a good team, and for losing to them, BC probably isn't either.  They should be, but they're not.  ACC play could get real ugly around here.  For all intents and purposes, this loss just ensured that BC has next to no chance at an at-large bid now, so short of divine intervention, we can look forward to next year.  Maybe.

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