Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Boston College vs. North Carolina Recap. Well, That Was Brutal

Boston College-74 UNC-106. Yes, you are reading that score correctly. UNC dropped triple digits on BC last night in Conte Forum. UNC came up to Boston in the middle of a snow storm at 9 PM and made the Eagles look like complete fools on the basketball court. Everyone knew this Tar Heels team had talent. Harrison Barnes, John Henson, and Tyler Zeller are three of the best players in the country in terms of pure athleticism, but they hadn't put it together to play winning basketball this year. Luckily for UNC, one of the best cures for lackluster basketball is going up against the Eagles' defense, and last night BC did everything they could to make sure that UNC had one hell of a night. It seemed as if almost every defensive possession at least one BC player lost their man and allowed the Tar Heels to get an open shot. Don't believe me? Not only did North Carolina shoot 57.4% from the field, but they shot an insane 52.4% from beyond the arc. Yes, you read that right, UNC came into Conte and shot well over 50% from 3 point land. You know when the last time BC gave up that much offensive production from beyond the arc? Their loss to Yale when the Bulldogs shot an insane 57%.

So let's get into some specifics of what went wrong last night (with hilarious plays on famous movie quotes).

1. O Reggie, Where Art Thou?
Has anybody seen Reggie Jackson lately? You know, that guy who was averaging 19 PPG and 4.5 APG in ACC play and had many analysts thinking he was a darkhorse ACC Player of the Year candidate. Anybody seen him lately? Because ever since that FSU game some other guy has been putting on his uniform and pretending to be a basketball player. Seriously, look at his statlines the last few games.
FSU- 13 Points, 7 Assists. Not bad, you can live with the lack of points due to the huge assist production
Duke- 7 Points, 6 Assists. Not good. Not good at all. 6 assists are nice, but Reggie is a scorer, and the team depends on him to be just that. Reggie is the dynamic slasher this team needs so opposing defenses can't afford to completely focus on the outside shooters. If Reggie isn't threatening to drive the hoop, our long-range shooters suddenly become a lot easier to defend.
UNC- 6 Points, 3 Assists. Wow. Just awful. 6 points, and anyone who watched the game realized what an incredibly quiet six points this was. Reggie is in a definite funk right now, and the entire team is suffering because of it. He needs to break out of it in time for Saturday's home game against Virginia Tech.

2. Defense? We Don't Need No Stinking Defense
Actually, contrary to popular belief, defense can be relatively helpful to basketball teams. It can prevent, oh I don't know, an opposing team coming into your building and drop over 100 points on you! BC scored 74 points last night, which normally would be plenty of point to get a win in a conference game. But BC's defense (I use that term loosely) made sure that UNC was able to get an uncontested shot off almost every single possession down the floor. Granted, it didn't help that North Carolina was absolutely shooting the lights out from the floor, but BC did not help their cause by getting mixed up every possession and sometimes looking downright lazy on the court. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't one of Gene DeFilippo's main hiring points for Donahue the efforts that his teams made on both ends of the court? Because I think all us Eagle fans are still waiting on delivery of the defensive end of that bargain.

3. Frankly my Dear, I Don't Give a Damn (about a coherent player rotation)
Now, don't get me wrong. I like a deep bench for my teams. I'm a Knicks fan, and I'm friends with a Suns fan, so I've seen how D'Antoni's short benches can really hurt players in the long run. But last night's rotation from Donahue did not make any sense to me. Two huge examples:
1. Why was Kowalski on the court so early? This seemed absolutely crazy at the time and is still just as insane now. Kowalski is a serviceable player, to be sure, but it's baffling that he should be on the court so early in a huge in-conference game against an opponent with hugely athletic big men. Kowalski got burned by Zeller and Henson on both ends of the court and as soon as Kowalski got subbed into the game it started a huge 22-3 run for the Tar Heels that completely put the game out of reach in the first half.
2. I'm pretty sure Courtney Dunn deserves a little more than 1 minute. Dunn hasn't been a great player all year, but even still, we know from past experience that he can at least hold his own in ACC play and maybe be a spark off the bench. Donahue, inexplicably, left him on the bench as the rest of the team got burned on the offensive and defensive teams.

I don't think there are many positives to take out of this game. One obvious one, however, was the effort of Joe Trapani. Traps had a huge game last night, going for 25 points and 15 rebounds, and single-handedly kept this game from being one of the worst losses in decades. Trapani was the only Eagle who really showed up to play last night, and he deserves his props.

The Eagles have Virginia Tech coming to town on Saturday and that game is now an absolutely gigantic must-win. Not only from a resume perspective, but just from a team-confidence standpoint. BC just got blown out and exposed in 3 straight games and they need a win to fall back on and remind themselves that they are a good team. Here's to hoping they are.

I'll have my official game preview for the Virginia Tech game up by Friday, when hopefully some of the negative vibes from last night's debacle had dissipated. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter at DShaw31.

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