Colleges

Eagles more prepared, confident heading into ACC play

Posted January 3, 2013

— Despite coaching a team full of freshmen and sophomores, Boston College head coach Steve Donahue said Thursday that he's confident his Eagles can be competitive in an Atlantic Coast Conference race that may be as wide open as any in recent memory. 

Much of that confidence likely stems from the unique circumstances Donahue and his staff have endured since he arrived in Chestnut Hill in 2010. After guiding a talented team led by NBA guard Reggie Jackson during his first season, he started from scratch a season ago, welcoming an entire team of new faces into a league many of them weren't prepared for.

The result wasn't all that surprising, as the Eagles struggled through a 9-22 regular season that included eight league losses by at least 15 points. Now, however, his "young team" has several sophomores who have started close to 50 games. 

"It gives them a chance to be experienced at this point in their development," Donahue told Mike and Mark on 620 The Buzz Thursday morning.

"It's a good advantage going forward, and it's going to be something we look back on and think that it really helped them."

After an up-and-down start to the regular season, the Eagles come into Saturday's league opener against NC State on a five-game win streak.

Donahue said his sophomores and two talented freshmen – guards Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon – have been steadily improving throughout the first six weeks of the season. 

"We're trying to put together a championship program, but it's not going to happen overnight," he said. "Each and every game, I think we're getting better. Our freshmen guards were a little more ready to play than I anticipated, and they have actually pushed the sophomores to a different level."

One of the sophomores that every ACC opponent will have to scout for is Ryan Anderson, who is averaging 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds through Boston College's first 13 games. 

"He's done a terrific job over the last month of practicing hard and learning how to take his game to the next level," Donahue said. "He's learned a lot of things, not just scoring, that can help us win basketball games."

As for opening up against NC State, Donahue said it will be a good reminder that his team needs to score more than 68 points per night if it wants to win consistently in the ACC. N.C. State Logo More NCSU Stories

The Wolfpack, still leading the country in field goal percentage 13 games into the season, average 81.5 points a game.

"I don't know if I've faced as efficient a basketball team as NC State," Donahue said. "Not a lot of weaknesses on the offensive end. We're going to play gritty, scrappy defense, but to win a game like this you have to score. Going forward, you have to average 75 to 80 points a game to win in this league, and this game is a good example of that."

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  • VT1994Hokie Jan 3, 2013

    Duke. Their weakness is in rebounding. Davidson held a 3 RB edge overall. Offensively Davidson beat them 12-3. Teams will hit them hard in the ACC. If Davidson can do this, I know that State, UNC, MD, FSU, UVA, and others will work on this. Mason was doubled up last night and he had 6 TO's alone. Davidson held a 33-30 edge in rebounding.

    After VT beat Iowa and OK State, I thought they were moving onward to something really good. Nah. After losing to Georgia Southern and getting a beatdown from Colarado, I knew then they are totally inconsistent.

  • VT1994Hokie Jan 3, 2013

    Duke is the front runner, and they should be. When was the last time any ACC team went undefeated in the ACC? It hasn't been that many. Loads of people lose in the ACC tourney that should win. One off night is all that it takes.

  • 903 mens national championships Jan 3, 2013

    Duke is not going to walk thru the ACC. You see it year after year. One team comes out of the preseason undefeated and overwhelmingly favored and then when the ACC starts, they will lose at least one and possibly even 2 or 3 times before the end of January. This happens because no one is more familiar with Coach K (or UNC, State, MD, etc) than the ones that have to hear about them everyday for 6 months of the year. The familiarity with the coaches and styles allows them to prepare better for them than the non-conference opponents that are still trying to get their teams functioning as a unit in Nov and Dec.

  • VT1994Hokie Jan 3, 2013

    ^^^^ I believe that BC could surprise a few teams this year, but watch out for next year with these young guys growing up. No one mentioned Maryland except me. They have talent and a solid coach. They may be the biggest surprise. Just an opinion though.

  • swray001 Jan 3, 2013

    Do not over look BC,they have some good young tallent.

  • VT1994Hokie Jan 3, 2013

    BC will be the 10th or the 11th team in the ACC. They still have a young team. They will be pretty good at home. Duke, State, UNC, Maryland, FSU, UVA, and Miami is what I see right now. Maryland has only lost 1 game, and that was early to Kentucky. They should be in the top 4 in the ACC at the end. Maryland is averaging 50% FG's. This is 10th in the Country right now.

  • lec02572 Jan 3, 2013

    BC will not be in the top half of the ACC. Duke is an awesome team but the lack of consistent rebounding will get them a couple of times in the ACC probably. State is starting to click better than they did early, gave MI a good game, beat Stanford and UCOnn. As a matter of fact I think there was only 1 team with a losing record that State played (UNCG). Carolina will be Carolina especially latter in the year. They will take a few lumps along the way especially in the first half of the ACC, but come the second half it should be fun to watch Duke, State, Carolina, Florida State, and maybe even Miami going after eachother.

  • mike honcho Jan 3, 2013

    I agree with uncblue, BC will have to beat NC State for me to even consider them a contender. The Wolfpack have the talent on paper, but havent shown me they can play with the big dogs yet, if Gotfried can get all that talent playing as one unit, State will be tough for anyone in the country.

  • uncblue Jan 3, 2013

    Not sure why they consider the ACC to be wide open, Duke has done a good job thus far shutting down other teams. Even as a UNC fan, I see Duke as the team to upend, other wise they run through the division and finish the season with maybe one or two losses at most. Carolina will have to mature a lot just to win half of their ACC games at the rate they are playing and State has talent but hasn't congealed yet. We'll see what pans out, but I don't see BC as being a big contender.

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