Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BC’s ACC hoops chances: How high can we go?

In case you haven’t noticed yet, the ACC in basketball this season is Duke and the Eleven Dwarfs. You have one team, the defending national champions, who are far and away the best team in the country, pretty much annihilating every team in their path. What’s left in the other eleven slots, however, you ask? Why, eleven teams (of which Boston College is one) with varying levels of success, but none are close to Duke in terms of completeness and domination. I think we can separate this conference out into three tiers of teams, and assess from there just where exactly BC’s place is at this juncture. Of course, this could change mightily once conference games get into high gear, but this is my evaluation as of right now.

ACC overlords

The Middle
Boston College
Florida State
North Carolina
NC State
Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech
Wake Forest

And even the two teams I have in “yikes” aren’t necessarily that far behind some of the teams in the middle. That’s a big middle, though, and the last time I checked, the top four teams in the conference get byes into the second round of the ACC Tournament. Could Boston College get one of those byes, even though they were picked in the preseason to finish 10th in the conference?

The answer, if the Eagles continue to play reasonably competitive basketball for the remainder of the season, is yes. Four teams have to get them: we know Duke is one, and the other three will be out of that muddled middle. The Eagles are playing about as well as anyone else in that group right now, so why not us? I’m not saying BC is going to cut down the nets or anything crazy like that, but the opportunity exists this season for BC to far exceed their expected ACC finish and put together a surprisingly good season, possibly culminating in an NCAA Tournament bid. Such a season would be a tremendous accomplishment for Coach Donahue in his first year at BC, following a bad 2009-2010 and the loss of several recruits and players, but it is important to remember that there is still a long way to go and much basketball to be played. It is clear, however, that with no obvious #2 (and so on) in this conference, the rest of the ACC’s top spots are up for grabs. Boston College can slide up and surprise the college basketball world.

Now, will BC get credit for any of it, or will people just blame a down ACC for such a “bad” team finishing in a high position? The jury is out on that one. I tend to think the latter, because the so-called conventional wisdom is that BC isn’t supposed to be playing well this year. Whatever the case, though, this team is well-coached and a lot of fun to watch, so enjoy the ride, hopefully up into one of those top four slots in the ACC.

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