|BC’s Reggie Jackson: ‘I believe it’s all of our fault’||03.13.11 at 8:15 pm ET|
The last three days have been a roller coaster of emotions for Boston College coach Steve Donahue.
On Friday in Greensboro, N.C., the Eagles were hammered by Clemson in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, a crushing blow to their NCAA tournament hopes.
On Saturday, Donahue headed over to Boston University’s Agganis Arena and watched his old friend Patrick Chambers engineer a dramatic comeback against Stony Brook in the America East championship game, punching BU’s NCAA tourney ticket in Chambers’ second season as coach there.
On Sunday, Donahue’s team was passed over for the NCAAs before accepting an NIT bid. Donahue wasn’t surprised, but the finality of the situation brought some disappointment.
“We got what we deserved. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “We’ve got to work harder, we’ve got to do things better.
“Unfortunately for the older guys, which is the majority of the guys, they don’t get that opportunity. That’s where my real disappointment lies, in Joe [Trapani] and Biko [Paris] and Corey [Raji] and Josh [Southern] and all the seniors. I would hope that the other guys in the locker room and the future guys, we’re going to have to do a lot of things to get into the NCAA tournament. This isn’t just for a couple, if you’re a little bit better than everybody else. You’ve got to be exceptional.”
|BC misfires vs. Clemson, tourney hopes take shot||03.11.11 at 5:57 pm ET|
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Following his team’s 70-47 rout of Boston College on Thursday afternoon, Clemson coach Brad Brownell talked about how BC is difficult to defend.
“Most teams don’t have five 3-point shooters,” he said. “We’re lucky if we have three on the floor. They can put five on the floor. It presents a challenge.”
However, when all five of those players can’t find their range, the problem is BC’s. And it’s a big one. That’s what happened in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, as the Eagles missed 11 of their first 12 shots, fell behind 17-3, and after closing to within six, were blown out of the Greensboro Coliseum in the second half.
Joe Trapani scored 20 points to lead BC. Reggie Jackson scored 11 but was 1-for-6 from 3-point range and had six turnovers. Corey Raji struggled with 1-for-10 shooting.
Demontez Stitt led the way for Clemson with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
As if there were any signs before the game that BC was not at its best, Jackson tried to find some humor in a quiet BC locker room. “The only foreshadowing was we hit too many shots in warmups,” he said. “Because we shot poorly in warmups yesterday [before shooting 53.7 percent in a rout of Wake Forest]. Obviously, it seemed like we were getting our misses out yesterday. [Friday] we got our makes out of the way and it hurt us throughout the game.”
BC finished at 34 percent overall and 25 percent from 3-point range. Clemson, meanwhile, hit 45.1 percent from the field and 47.1 percent behind the arc. The Tigers also outrebounded the Eagles 39-26, which is not that big a surprise considering how many shots BC missed.
|The Three-Pointer: Eagles’ patience pays off vs. Wake||03.10.11 at 7:04 pm ET|
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The keyword for the Boston College basketball team is patience.
Patience in the offense. Patience if you’re sitting on the bench waiting your turn. Even patience with the media.
Following Thursday’s impressive 81-67 victory over Wake Forest in the opening round of the ACC tournament, coach Steve Donahue was asked for the 1,000th time what he thinks of his team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament. He calmly gave the same answer he’s given 999 times before.
“I always wondered when coaches were in these conference tournaments — this is my first — that they were worrying about the NCAA tournament,” he said. “This is the ACC. It’s such a great tournament. That’s our focus. … I love a clear mind. That would really bother me, thinking about those things.”
Donahue won’t be reading this story, so we can tell you that BC’s stock continues to rise and and the Eagles (20-11) now appear to be solidly in line for an NCAA berth. A win over Clemson — a fellow bubble team — in Friday’s quarterfinals would just about lock it up.
The Eagles, playing Wake Forest for the second time in five days, were on target right from the opening tap in building a 16-point halftime lead. They got the margin to 21 points before Wake made a late run to get within 12, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Reggie Jackson led the way with 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting. He also had six assists and five rebounds. Joe Trapani hit 8-of-12 shots and scored 22 points. Biko Paris continued his hot stretch by hitting 7-of-12 shots — including 6-of-10 treys — and finished with 21.
|BC’s Steve Donahue third in ACC Coach of Year voting||03.08.11 at 8:39 pm ET|
Duke’s Nolan Smith and North Carolina’s Roy Williams ran away with Player of the Year and Coach of the Year in the ACC. The results were announced Tuesday after balloting among 75 media members. Boston College coach Steve Donahue finished third with six votes, two behind Clemson’s Brad Brownell.
North Carolina also had the Rookie of the Year in Harrison Barnes and the Defensive Player of the Year in John Henson.
To read more, including the full voting results, click here.
|Tourney talk: BC coaches confident about preparing for first ACC tourney||03.08.11 at 11:02 am ET|
When it comes to conference tournaments, Boston College’s first-year coaching staff hasn’t had much experience.
Steve Donahue spent the previous 20 seasons in the Ivy League — the first 10 as an assistant at Penn and the following decade as head coach at Cornell. His top two assistants, Joe Jones and Nat Graham, also came to BC after stints in the Ivies — Jones was Columbia’s head coach for seven seasons; Graham assisted Donahue at Cornell the past five years.
The fact that the Ivy League does not have a conference tournament, however, does not mean this staff doesn’t know how to prepare its players for the rigors of playing up to four games on consecutive days, Donahue said Monday. Fifth-seeded BC opens ACC tournament play Thursday against 12th-seeded Wake Forest.
“I think my 20 years in the Ivy, in all honesty, we had six conference tournaments every weekend,” Donahue said, referring to the league’s scheduling of back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the conference season. “When I was in there, I think 13 times the Ivy League was won by one loss or zero losses. You couldn’t afford a loss in the Ivy League. You still can’t.
“I approached every weekend — and we played back-to-back every weekend. We did this situation that I have every year right now, where we played a team, had to come and play our travel partner, like we’re going to do with Wake. I think those experiences enabled me to focus on what you have to do with your team, not get overwhelmed with the things you could tend to talk about in this situation.”
With his team coming off an 84-68 rout of the last-place Demon Deacons on Sunday, Donahue said he also must confront his players’ natural tendencies to be overconfident heading into the rematch.
“I think your biggest concern as a coach is human nature,” he said on the ACC coaches teleconference. “I told you those times we played Columbia, Joe Jones seven of those times, back to back. Human nature, when you beat somebody, to make sure you understand how difficult this game is going to be. Just because you beat them is wonderful, but what I will stress to the guys is, my experience is the games are going to be totally different in every aspect. Even though the same teams are playing four days later, the games are totally different. You have to expect it. As a coach I expect it. I know it’s going to be a difficult game. I know there’s going to be different challenges. There’s going to be things that did not even occur in this game.
“I think if you go in with that mindset, understand that, I think you’re ready to coach that type of game. I don’t expect anything less.”
|Tourney talk: Harvard’s Ivy playoff would be Saturday in New Haven||03.07.11 at 6:47 pm ET|
The Ivy League announced Monday that if Harvard and Princeton end up tied atop the league standings, a one-game playoff will be held at Yale on Saturday at 4 p.m. to determine the league’s representative in the NCAA tournament.
The game would become necessary if Princeton wins at Penn on Tuesday night. Harvard already has clinched a tie for the title with its win over the Tigers on Saturday night. If they had to play in New Haven on Saturday, the Crimson would return to the site of their only league loss outside of Princeton, as Yale pulled out a one-point decision on Feb. 26.
|Tourney talk: BC’s Steve Donahue goes way back with the bracketologist||03.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
The Monday update from ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Boston College as one of the last four teams making the NCAA tournament — as an 11th seed and participating in one of the four play-in games.
BC coach Steve Donahue has said repeatedly — and he’s often asked about it — that he pays no attention to such prognostications, even though Lunardi has proved to be accurate (he correctly predicted 64 of the 65 teams last season).
The ironic thing is, Donahue and Lunardi are old pals from Philadelphia.
“I’m probably the least informed about those kind of things,” Donahue said Monday on the ACC coaches teleconference. “Joe Lunardi’s a friend of mine since probably seventh grade, and I don’t read his stuff. I just think for me it’s not conducive to me producing a good practice and having my head clear about what I’m doing.
“I imagine my players, like all kids, are on the Internet and doing those things, but it’s not something that we focus on [as] the team. We try to do certain things each and every day based on how we’re playing, what we can do better, how we can work on our skills, and try to attack it that way, rather than worry about all the things that could be going on in college basketball. Because it’s got to be so fluid, especially this year with so many teams going for it at this point in the season. I just think for me, my life is a lot easier, coaching my team’s a lot easier if I just block it out.”
Lunardi’s day job is assistant vice president of marketing communications at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and Donahue has a number of family members who attended and/or work at the school as well. That helped cement the relationship with Lunardi, who sat on press row for a BC game earlier this season.
“It’s so funny that he got this spot,” Donahue said. “He does such a great job. It’s amazing what it’s come to. When he first started doing it years ago, I used to call him and joke with him. But now, it’s like everyone listens to him. I’m like, ‘You’re an important guy. I’m not going to mess with you any more.’ ”
Now, certainly Lunardi isn’t going to do BC any favors in his bracketology reports, because he’s trying to predict the brackets as accurately as possible and he has formulas in place that don’t leave room for personal bias. But it is interesting to note that Lunardi was one of three ESPN experts (out of 15 polled) who listed Donahue as their choice for ACC Coach of the Year. (Nine experts chose Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, two went with Clemson’s Brad Brownell and one had North Carolina’s Roy Williams.)
If Lunardi’s bracketology prediction for BC turns out to be correct, he might be on to something with Donahue. The first-year BC coach took a team predicted to finish 10th in the ACC and led the Eagles to a tie for fourth place, and that should get him some votes. It’s unlikely he’ll win the award — which will be announced Tuesday — but it will be interesting to see if he gets overlooked by the Carolina-heavy ACC media.
|Tourney talk: Bentley to host D2 regional; Four New England teams alive in D3||03.07.11 at 10:20 am ET|
Bentley University in Waltham earned a No. 1 seed and will host a regional in the NCAA Division 2 tournament starting Saturday. The brackets were announced Sunday night. Coach Jaw Lawson‘s Falcons will play C.W. Post in their opener on Saturday and then face the winner of UMass-Lowell and Saint Rose in Sunday’s regional semifinal.
The other half of the regional bracket has Stonehill playing Adelphi, and American International facing Bloomfield, with the winners of those games playing Sunday.
The regional final is scheduled for Tuesday night. The regional champion advances to the national quarterfinals in Springfield the following week. Bentley reached the national semifinals last season before losing to eventual national champion Cal Poly Pomona.
DIVISION 3 UPDATE
As in Division 2, there are four New England teams remaining in the NCAA Division 3 tournament. Those left standing after this past weekend’s opening two rounds are NESCAC powers Middlebury, Amherst and Williams, along with Rhode Island College.
Middlebury, which got a bye and then routed Western Connecticut behind Ryan Sharry‘s 16-point, 13-rebound night, meets host Rochester in Friday’s sectional semifinal.
Williams (27-2) edged Husson in overtime in its opener behind 30 points from James Wang, who had seven of his team’s 10 points in the extra session. The Ephs then ended Becker’s run with a convincing win in the second round
“I told our guys that toughness and intelligence would help us win this game,” Williams coach Mike Maker said in a story on the school’s website. “They’re physical, extremely athletic and very well coached and disciplined. I thought our toughness was the difference in the game.”
|Tourney talk: Eagles jelling at right time||03.06.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
It would be easy to dismiss Boston College’s 84-68 victory over Wake Forest as an expected win over the last-place team in the ACC. However, for a BC team that was picked to finish 10th in a preseason poll, not much was expected to come easy this season.
Instead, the Eagles managed to tie for fourth place in the league, and Sunday’s rout earned them the fifth seed in the ACC tournament and a rematch with the Demon Deacons in Thursday’s opening round.
BC has been on a roll since a disappointing home loss to Miami on Feb. 23. After that game, coach Steve Donahue inserted senior walk-on John Cahill into the starting lineup and gave him big minutes, and it’s paid off with three straight wins to close out the regular season.
On Sunday, BC’s offense again was incredibly efficient. The Eagles shot a season-high 58.2 percent from the field and had 23 assists on their 32 baskets. Reggie Jackson led the way with seven helpers, followed by four each from Biko Paris and center Josh Southern and three from Joe Trapani.
“I thought we did a very good job of attacking their defense, making them overreact, and then sharing the ball,” Donahue said. “That’s kind of what I preach every day. And then once we get the defense chasing us, to make the extra pass. I thought we did a great job.
“And the other thing is I think we’re now ready to shoot the ball every time we catch it. Sometimes there we’re trying to do too much, where Biko is not ready to shoot it and he’s passing up shots. which I think hurts you as well. That’s not being selfish, that’s being smart. And I thought we did that today.”
|Tourney talk: ACC pairings released||03.06.11 at 9:08 pm ET|
Fifth-seeded Boston College will play 12th-seeded Wake Forest on Thursday at 2 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C., to open the ACC tournament as the Eagles attempt to secure a berth in the NCAAs. If they beat Wake, the Eagles would face fourth-seeded Clemson in Friday’s second round, with the winner of that game getting the winner of top-seeded North Carolina vs. either Virginia or Miami.
North Carolina grabbed the top seed by virtue of its victory over Duke on Saturday night.
Here is the complete ACC tournament breakdown. All games are at Greensboro Coliseum. Seedings are in parentheses.
First Round — Thursday
Game 1: Virginia (8) vs. Miami (9), noon
Game 2: Boston College (5) vs. Wake Forest (12), 2 p.m.
Game 3: Maryland (7) vs. NC State (10), 7 p.m.
Game 4: Virginia Tech (6) vs. Georgia Tech (11), 9 p.m.
Quarterfinals — Friday
Game 5: North Carolina (1) vs. Game 1 winner, noon
Game 6: Clemson (4) vs. Game 2 winner, 2 p.m.
Game 7: Duke (2) vs. Game 3 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Florida State (3) vs. Game 4 winner, 9 p.m.
Semifinals — Saturday
Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 3 p.m.
Final — Sunday
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.