Entering the season with expectations of possibly making a move up the ACC standings, things haven’t gone as planned for Boston College. The combination of a rugged non-conference schedule and some porous defense resulted in Steve Donahue’s Eagles missing on multiple opportunities for quality wins, and at 1-3 in ACC play the Eagles find themselves in the lower portion of the conference standings.
One big reason for Boston College’s defensive struggles is the absence of center Dennis Clifford, who despite playing in 30 games was hampered by a knee issue and played in just two games this year due to a slow recovery from offseason knee surgery. The hope was that Clifford, who averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2011-12, would be able to return and give Boston College some needed size in the middle.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and four days after tweaking his ankle prior to the Eagles’ game against No. 2 Syracuse on Monday night Donahue announced that Clifford will miss the remainder of the season according to Tom Layman of the Boston Herald.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers the Eagles are dead last in the ACC in adjusted defensive efficiency (297th nationally) by a wide margin, and that’s after ranking 11th (out of 12 teams) in the ACC in that category a season ago. Defense has been an issue during Donahue’s tenure from an efficiency standpoint, with Boston College ranking no better than tenth in the ACC (2010-11) in defensive efficiency in any of his three-plus seasons at the helm.
The hope for Clifford is that with rest he’ll be able to get back to full strength for the 2014-15 season, and according to Layman the school will apply for a medical redshirt.