Previewing Boston College

2010 Scouting Report / 2010 Game Plan / 2011 Scouting Report / 2011 Game Plan
2011 Stats (pdf)
2011 Roster
2011 Schedule

Boston College Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.1 152
Turnover Rate 19.6 123
Off Reb Rate 37.8 26
FTA/FGA 30.5 314
Boston College Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 57.5 4
Turnover Rate 17.0 19
Off Reb Rate 31.3 224
FTA/FGA 33.7 263

 

 

 

 

 

Donahue spent the last 20 years in the Ivy League, 10 as an assistant at Penn, 10 as the head coach at Cornell.  It was a slow build, but he eventually made Cornell into the class of the Ivy League, and the Big Red won the conference in each of his final three seasons.  The culmination of that outstanding work came last season as the team breezed to a 13-1 league record and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  They did that as a lethal three-point shooting machine that could bury mid-major and major programs alike.

Unlike Jeff Bzdelik, Steve Donahue was fortunate enough to step into a stable situation.  All of Boston College's key contributors are back in 2011, which gives Donahue a nice opportunity to show progress in year one and achieve early Da Man status.  Early Da Man status is always a pivotal thing for new coaches, though mileage may vary.

So the uncertainty about his first Boston College team hasn't much to do with the parts but rather with a major stylistic adjustment.  A relatively painless transition and Boston College would be an easy bet to exceed last year's record.  On that score, so far so good.  Sure, the Eagles still can't beat Harvard for some reason and still don't bother to play much defense, but some things are too ingrained to be changed right away.  The lethal three-point shooting machine thing, though--that's going quite well.  Better than I would've guessed.

BC Offense 3FG% (rank) 3FGA/FGA (rank)
2010 32.6 (234) 27.3 (294)
2011 40.1 (21) 43.2 (14)


Five players have taken at least 40 three-pointers and three of those are shooting better than 40%.  Two of them are shooting better than 48%, which is terrifying.  BC's improvements are far more wide ranging than that, which is why the team rates as one of the five most efficient offenses in the nation.  Honestly it's a little absurd how much better these kids are playing.  Not just Reggie Jackson or Corey Raji, who could thrive in any environment, but Biko Paris and Josh Southern as well.  Jackson came into the season a career 28% three-point shooter.  He's at 48.6% this year, and not for a lack of attempts.  Paris didn't seem to have a clue last year but now sports an effective field goal percentage approaching 60%.  Josh Southern, a career 50 percenter, is shooting 69% in the paint.  In every case, they're better despite bigger workloads.

Now, you might think Steve Donahue is about the luckiest coach alive to have these career years happening all at once.  Certainly good fortune and coincidence have conspired to some extent.  But plenty of credit has to go to Donahue's system, which is encouraging good, patient possessions and putting the players in a position to succeed.  If the 79 points BC scored in 69 possessions against a very good Maryland defense is any indication, conference play isn't going to slow them down.

Starters

Reggie Jackson (6-3, 208) --  In addition to his fantastic three-point shooting, Jackson is making 58% of his twos.  He's dishing out lots of assists while also keeping his turnovers down, which is nothing new.

Biko Paris (6-1, 194) -- Paris's turnaround is the real stunner so far, as he had a dreadful 2010.  Poor shooting and a high turnover rate made him a huge liability.  Like Jackson, he entered the season as a sub-30% three-point shooter, and like Jackson, he's well over 40% in 2011.  There may be more fluke to Paris's numbers than to anyone else's, but it's hard to say for sure.  This improvement  despite his becoming a much bigger part of the offense suggests otherwise.

Corey Raji (6-6, 218) -- Raji has pretty much always been awesome and terribly overlooked; this year he's just taken that awesomeness up a level.  Throughout his career he's combined a low turnover rate and excellent offensive rebounding with a strong ability to finish.  His diverse skills make him one of the league's most efficient high-usage players.  Love this kid.

Joe Trapani (6-8, 232) -- Timpani Roll is the significant exception to all of this improvement business, perhaps because he's stretched too far with a possession usage around 28%.  That's higher than Jackson's.  Both his 2FG% and his 3FG% are career lows.  He's still a good player, he just might be better served to be more deferential.

Josh Southern (6-10, 263) -- Boston College needs Southern, who is a two-time Impressively Short Tall Guy Award nominee, to be stronger on the boards.  Other than that there isn't much to complain about.  The turnover rate is a little high, but he's more than making up for that with efficient shooting in the lane and at the free throw line.

Bench

Danny Rubin (6-6, 170), Dallas Elmore (6-5, 210), Gabe Moton (6-2, 170), Cortney Dunn (6-8, 238).  Rubin is a three-point specialist; he's the other Eagle shooting over 48% from outside.  Elmore and Moton don't mind shooting the three either, though they're not likely to be big factors.  Dunn, who averages a field goal attempt every 11 minutes, is as invisible as ever.

Boston College Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.8 122
Turnover Rate 17.8 305
Off Reb Rate 32.2 156
FTA/FGA 31.0 45
Boston College Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.4 215
Turnover Rate 17.6 310
Off Reb Rate 33.4 199
FTA/FGA 26.2 11

 

 

 

 

 

It's pretty obvious what's going to carry Boston College this season.  It's also what gives them a lot of fun potential.  They've allowed 1.1 points per trip nine times this year and actually won five of those.  They beat Indiana despite allowing 1.25 points per possession and Bucknell despite a 1.33 defensive "effort."  See?  Fun.  They score it efficiently and they don't mind that their opponents do as well.  Hey, somebody's got to cancel out Florida State.

In recent years BC has routinely finished near the bottom of the ACC in defensive efficiency.  That's not about to change.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes BC by 8.

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