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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  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    Looking forward to it!

    I think IU will have to play a very good game to beat BC on the road. (They would have to play a near perfect game to beat pUKe on the road so they got a chance)

    Hoo HoO HOO HOOSIERS!!!

  • HoosierFromCT

    I’ll be at that game 11th row. Gotta see the Hoosiers at least once a year for the rest of my life.

  • Anonymous

    This should be a very interesting game. I’m not going to rehash most of the things said previously, but this should be the first exposure that these kids have to players close to their caliber (Kentucky will show them players of an even better caliber). It should be interesting to see how they respond to the challenge at hand. I personally won’t expect a win, but to show any hint of progress, Indiana has to show they can at least keep up and not drought themselves to a large deficit, a major problem last year.

    And also, Mr. Donahue looks like he just had some intense Mexican food. Not the most flattering picture I have ever seen. 🙂

  • Casey B.

    The weaknesses in this team are obvious to those of us who have been watching closely through the first six games. But, I think it’s important to note that for every team – not just IU – it’s very easy to play down to the competition. Look at the scoreboards through three weeks or so. You’ll see a lot of unexpected upsets and too-close-for-comfort victories, even by the some of the elite teams.

    This marks the first game for which IU can truly “get up.” I think we’ll see a very methodical, calculated and more intelligent approach to the game than we’ve seen all season when the Hoosiers lace up for Wednesday’s affair. I’m not guaranteeing a win, but I think this game will be closer than many believe.

  • I’d love for IU to be one of the deciding wins in the challenge (and all the ESPN “experts” got the Minnesota/Virginia game wrong, so maybe most of ’em will get to be wrong about IU too).

  • JerryCT

    It appears to me we rebound better and shoot the 3 marginally better. Trapani is like Hummel so he will be key to stop. We can match up w Trapani but he will get points.

    It comes down to whose guards play their game the best.

    + do they turn us over ? shoot well ? bother our offense ?

    + do we force contested 3’s, take care of the ball, get to the FT line, outrebound them

  • JerryCT

    Also I look for JR and Elston to camp in the middle post to collapse their zone then kick to wings for quick 3’s. I see VJ getting turned over if he attempts the lane

  • millzy32

    Was rooting for Minnesota last night just because I want to see Big Ten win the challenge but they ran into a team that couldn’t miss last night (at one point nine of ten from behind the arc, not sure what it finished at). Hard to beat a team that doesn’t miss.

    Mbakwe for Minnesota looks like a beast inside. I am thinking this is what Hanner Perea will look like when he gets to Bloomington. Hoffarber is a lights out shooter from anywhere. Minnesota will be tough.

    IU can play with BC we just need to give it our best game and show the kind of effort that got us a win last year vs Pitt. This BC team is very beatable if we play well.

    Go Hoosiers.

  • BaseballBuc

    We have got to score in this one. No 5 min. scoring droughts or we’re done.

  • GFDave

    Based on what I saw of BC in the Wisky game I think that neither Hulls or Jones are real good matchups with Jackson. I’m thinking Rivers should be assigned to guard Jackson, but JR will have to play a lot more minutes than he has been for that to work. Should be interesting to see what CTC does.

  • Anonymous

    I like our Hoosiers in this game, the reason being the length that we have and the experience of our underclassmen. Normally, if we were walking into Boston College for the ACC/B10 challenge with this kind of youth, we would be scared because we would be inexperienced. All but two of the players on our roster have now played BIG minutes for this team in hostile environments (think Breslin, Kohl, etc..). I like our chances because we are playing excellent defense. We don’t have the offensive firepower of a juggernaut, but we play hard defense with a bunch of kids with long arms that get deflections. We can match Rivers up on their best player and let Jordy/VJ3 move over and guard a wing. Our new found depth will be important because we can then get Vic and Sheehey in the game and their length will cause matchup problems for BC’s guards and has already proven that they can get deflections. It’s important that we win the game on the defensive side of the ball and let our shooters get comfortable on the wings. If we get even one shooter hot against BC and continue to play the tough defense we have been this year, I could genuinely see us walking out of there with a win by 10 points or more. I have been known to be a bit optimistic but that’s a luxury we have since we are 6-0. After all, it’s okay to dream big

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I think that IU is well positioned for it’s first road test and good opponent-but Butler may dispute the “experts” who dismissed the win over Evansville as a “cup cake”! This game is going to be FUN! GO IU!

  • Anonymous

    Why only JR? Victor and Will have shown that they are just as good defensively, just as good at rebounding, as good or better in assists/TO, even more talented athletically, and possess great offensive production! Let the KIDS PLAY!

  • jcopey

    It appears we are going to have to stop their guard Reggie Jackson. We’ve got two guys made for just that purpose in Rivers and Oladipo. Got to guard the 3, play tough D and be opportunistic.

    Also, we literally go 10 players deep this year, and I think that may help us in games like this. If the turnover bug continues, we are done. We will need to hang around and make it to the last 2 minutes of the game, then steal one! GO HOOSIERS!

  • Plane1972

    I think everyone on here has missed a major facet of this game. Reggie Jackson is Mr. October, not Mr. November. IU wins a squeaker with Jackson going 0-3 with three Ks and a base on balls.

  • Anonymous

    This game will be very interesting! I have a feeling we will have to play while being down on the scoreboard. I have not seen anything this year that shows we will not have scoring droughts. But I do believe that our hard-nosed defense will be our best asset. I would love for us to be undefeated going in to Rupp, but this is going to be a really tough game.

    On a different note, every game and every article I read about pUKe makes me more optimistic for December 11. You can’t underestimate chemistry… and we finally have it!

  • We like to try and have a little fun with the photos, when possible.

  • GFDave

    As far as my comment is concerned, I’m so sorry I didn’t specify the exact rotation and minutes each player should get. dws

    As far as your comment is concerned, I don’t appreciate the all caps yelling/shouting. Nothing I wrote comes anywhere near the need for a shouted response. Thanks in advance for not doing that anymore.

  • Walt

    Should IU play both halves as they have played the 2nd half this season, no question, IU wins. A lot sound cautious, this is IUs game to win.

  • Anonymous

    nor is he Mr. December. The game is tomorrow night, right?

  • HoosierFromCT

    It would be nice to have GMM for this game.

  • GFDave

    Yeah, its starting to take longer than one would hope. If they find that he should sit a few games, I hope that they consider his sitting out now as time served.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t think Loop was yelling at you Dave. Just being excited about the freshmen. Loop is a cool dude.

    I think Rivers does get the assignment. The FR really give it up on D but the quicker guards have gotten around them a few times.

    We very well may zone to see if they can shoot it. We need to play within ourselves. We we will find out if the team has matured and doesn’t give up like they did last year when they got down. No deer in the headlights boys!

  • MillaRed

    I will add TP and Capo need to chill on the fouls. If we give these guys too many free points its over.

  • Anonymous

    This game scares me. First time playing at someone else’s place, better talent than previous teams, and they have experience returning. I don’t really know much about BC, but those points alone give me concern. Our TO’s have been bad at home against subpar teams, and if this doesn’t improve on the road against better talent it probably will affect the W/L column. I still have concern about our post height/strength and that will be tested.

    With that said Go IU – it is a winnable game, but there are many things that they HAVE to do to win this game, the discipline will be tested on the road. I will be extremely happy when they execute enough throughout the whole game and win it!

  • This game scares me a bit. I watched BC play against Cal on Sunday and they played a pretty swarming and athletic 1/2 court trap that fell back into a 1-3-1 zone. It gave Cal fits and it worries since IU is extremely turnover prone and that might be heightened early on being the first time in a hostile environment.

    IMO a key is going to be the first 5-10 minutes. If they come out trapping us, forcing early turnovers and turning those into fast-break dunks and threes it will get the crowd into it and IU could find themselves down 10-15 at the 10:00 minute mark.

    I we can weather the first several minutes then I think it’s a ballgame and we have a good chance to win.

  • Anonymous

    ESPNU.

  • Anonymous

    I’m hoping this game turns out more like last year’s Pitt game (Big road test against a favored opponent) than last year’s Big Ten/ACC game against Maryland. That Pitt game last year was really a pleasant surprise, the first really “signature” win for Crean & Co. If we come out strong and keep it close, I think we have a chance to grind a win out at the end. But then again, this team has shown that it doesn’t let falling behind necessarily kill our chances. We’ll see. I’m really looking forward to it.

  • HoosierFromCT

    Anyone know what time Yogi is on 1070 today?

  • kentuckyhoosier

    totally agreee about our turnovers and their traps. We have to get that turnover issue under control or it will kill us all year !

  • kentuckyhoosier

    Why hasnt there been any word on Guy Michel ? Dosent anyone even have a date when the ncaaa will have an answer ?

  • JerryCT

    Your are right about the trap……very scary. Since we almost never deploy it I wonder how well we can prepare for it.

    Idea# 1 to Defeat the Trap: I guess in my mind TP usually is first to recognize and may as always come out to relieve pressure vs the expected pass to a wing who will be denied the pass.

    Idea#2: Better yet would be if Elston can recognize and get a high post pass from where he could be lethal passing to a back door from JR or VO ( since they would be overplayed to deny the wing pass ) ………………. so easy a caveman could do it

  • Anonymous

    Who does #2 work for?

  • JerryCT

    My big question is whether Crean prowls and screams or continues his Wooden impersonation. I have to say I like a little bit of both.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I don’t fear pressure teams as much as I fear solid half court defensive teams this season. When IU has played teams that are trapping, pressing teams, they have moved the ball right down the floor and had their best offensive games. Teams that sit back in a half court 2-3 or man-man defense and play it tough are the teams that are turning IU over because we get impatient and make a stupid pass or try to force the ball in the lane instead of moving the ball and letting the lane open up.

    It’s just my opinion, but I think a team that traps and presses out away from the basket is the type of team this young team can beat.

    I hope I’m right.

  • Anonymous

    I think that’s the idea in sitting him now, in case he is determined to have to sit some games those will count and he will be there for the Big Ten season. Maybe he’s already been cleared and we’re not telling anyone so he can all of a sudden start warming up at Rupp and scare the crap outta the UK fans….

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I thought they had to rule 45 days after he started practicing by either suspending him from practice or giving him an extension? That’s what the NCAA guideline says. Didn’t IU start practicing October 15th? So, if they start from the time they start practice it would stand to reason that it should come at any time now, but if they start the day they launch the investigation then it’s 45 days from 11/3 which wouldn’t be good because he wouldn’t be eligible (if that’s the decision they make) for more than two more weeks.

  • On Sunday it wasn’t a full-court trap, it was a 1/2 court trap that fell back into a 1-3-1. They let Cal cross the timeline, then extended the zone into a 1/2 court trap. They were extremely athletic, long and active in the zone and it caused Cal fits.

    I just know that while watching them deploy this trap/zone I was just thinking “crap”.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    I thought that checking ITH ten times a day would stop after the Yogi and Zeller commits. Now I am on total Guy watch. Is anyone one else doing this too? I wonder what nickname we will have for this debacle next year? “Guy-gate?”

  • Anonymous

    6:30 I believe.

  • Clinton Mills

    I think we should play this team just like old Bobby would have. We need to start
    Jordy Halls
    Derek Elston
    Daniel Moore
    Kory Barnett
    Jeff Howard

    Sincerely,
    Don Jellison

  • millzy32

    I think one or both of his Brother in Laws were used last year to motivate in either pregame or halftime speeches. Maybe Jim will be available tomorrow night. The Ravens don’t play until Sunday night.

  • Steve Donahue looks like he’s about to take a dump on the floor.

  • millzy32

    My schedule says ESPN regular. I will double check.

  • millzy32

    My schedule says ESPN regular. I will double check.

  • millzy32

    Schedule was wrong it’s the U

  • The Streakmaster says IU

  • Walt

    What is the deal with Guy?J. Wilkens at Illinois State has already served his suspension for playing with the pros in Holland? What is the NCAA trying to find? Guy would be great to have NOW.

  • Anonymous

    I still want to see my starting line-up this game:
    Jordy (drops the 3 – BC is not the best in 3 pt defense thus far)
    VJ3 (penetrates)
    VO (shuts down Reggie)
    CW (mid range jumpers)
    TP (JerryCT knows)

    I will be utterly disappointed if we do not win this one. This team is ready for a challenge, and I predict a 15 point win (but I won’t be disappointed if it is 1 – so long as it is a win.) That last part was a bit of Hysterical Hoosier optimism.

  • Anonymous

    The only teams I actually “fear” are MSU, OSU and Duke.