Know Thy Opponent: Boston College Eagles

  • 11/29/2010 11:24 pm in

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25: Head coach Steve Donahue of the Cornell Big Red reacts against the Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 25, 2010 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)After a 15-16 season, an eighth-place finish in the ACC and failure to reach the postseason in 2009-2010, Boston College parted ways with Al Skinner and hired Steve Donahue from Cornell.

Donahue, who led the Big Red to the Sweet Sixteen in last year’s NCAA Tournament, returns four starters and six of BC’s top nine scorers from a season ago.

Donahue’s run in March was impressive not only because of the teams he was able to¬† knock off — No. 4-seed Temple and No. 5-seed Wisconsin — but also because it was the first time since 1979 that an Ivy League team played in the second weekend of the tournament.

(You might remember Donahue, Ryan Wittman and the Big Red from the 2008-2009 season, when the eventual Ivy League champions fell to the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall for one of IU’s six wins.)

But back to the task at hand. The cupboard, unlike the mess inherited by Tom Crean in Bloomington, is not completely bare in Chestnut Hill.

The centerpiece of the returning group is junior guard Reggie Jackson, who is averaging 17.7 points through six games. (Jackson, by the way, is being cited by many of the experts over at ESPN as the reason BC will beat IU on Wednesday. Only Andy Katz and Dana O’Neil are going with the Hoosiers.)

Senior forward Joe Trapani, a third-team All-ACC selection a year ago and the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, is also back to help anchor the frontcourt.

With the season still in its infancy, the results are what you’d expect from a program in transition: BC is 4-2, including a head-scratching home loss to Yale and wins over Texas A&M and California in last week’s Old Spice Classic. The Eagles also played Wisconsin tough in the Old Spice Classic before allowing the Badgers to reel off an 18-0 run in the second half.

A quick glance at the Pomeroy page for Boston College, which we’ll dive into more in a later post, reveals one statistic worthy of mention in this space: The Eagles have a turnover percentage of just 14.5 percent, good for fifth in the country. IU, by comparison, is at 24.4 percent, which ranks 289th nationally.

Wednesday’s game, as Ryan wrote in The Minute After on Friday, will be the first true test for a team that made relatively easy work of it’s first six home games. While the game is certainly winnable, it’s not one the Hoosiers will be favored in by those making the odds.

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