Boston College lost this afternoon to Auburn, 77-67. Auburn isn’t a very good basketball team, and it is safe to say that Boston College isn’t a good team, either. Many seemed to hold out hope that the Eagles would figure it out as the non-conference schedule moved along, but they haven’t. Not even close.
The difference between these two teams is that Auburn’s expectations were low heading into the season, Boston College’s were not. In fact, many thought that the Eagles were primed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Al Skinner was the coach, and had the talent to make some noise in the ACC.
Steve Donahue is in his fourth year at BC. He has his players and his offensive system in place. Yet, none of that has translated to results. After today’s loss to Auburn — their worst of the season, by far — BC is now 4-8 on the season. They haven’t beaten a Division 1 team since November 26th against Sacred Heart in overtime.
Against the Tigers, they trailed 37-24 at the half and never were able to recover. The story all season has been the much maligned defense, which is among the worst in the country. Steve Donahue coached teams are seemingly always offensive juggernauts, dating back to his years at Cornell, but the defense leaves much to be desired.
Entering today’s game, BC had a defensive efficiency ranked 303rd by Ken Pomeroy. They are allowing the opposition to shoot 40% 3PT and 50.8% 2PT. Auburn’s shooting numbers held true to the aforementioned percentages in today’s game: 45.5% 3PT and 50% 2PT. Regardless of how strong their offense is, they will struggle if they continue to be allergic to playing defense.
Ultimately, the question becomes: Are Boston College’s issues, especially on the defensive end, a scheme or personnel problem?
They have talented players. Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan are two of the ACC’s best. Yet, given Donahue’s track-record of trotting out poor defensive teams, one has to assume this is schematic. Those talented two aside, it’s hard to see Boston College turn things around when ACC play begins. Perhaps they were over-hyped in the preseason and simply are not the team many believed.
Until they get better on the defensive end, they are going nowhere.