By Chris Moore
It’s been a bad year for Boston College. The Eagles are, perhaps, the most disappointing team in college basketball.
The NCAA Tournament was a realistic possibility for Steve Donahue’s club before the season began. The Eagles seemingly built momentum for the program’s future at the end of the 2012-13 season, when it won its final three games of the regular season and took No. 9 Miami down to the wire in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Boston College returned a budding star in ACC Rookie of the Year Olivier Hanlan, who exploded for 41 points in an ACC Tournament win against Georgia Tech.
The ACC media took note of the Eagles’ potential. They voted Boston College eighth in the preseason poll, and the Eagles were expected to make a notable splash on the college basketball landscape for the first time in five years.
It didn’t take long for those hopes to drift away. Boston College began the season with losses to Providence, Massachusetts and Toledo. More disappointing losses followed, and they never really stopped. Now, the Eagles are sitting at 7-21 and 3-12 in the ACC, which places them 14th in the league standings.
It may not be an exact or fair practice to hold teams to a standard that media set for them in the preseason. But it is a common way to judge the type of year a team is having. It’s often the process we use to deem which coaches who are worthy of Coach of the Year honors, for instance.
By this measure, only five ACC teams in the past 20 years have had as disappointing of a season as Boston College. The Eagles dropped from eighth in the preseason poll to 14th in the standings — a six-spot fall from grace.
Two other teams since 1994 also finished six places back from where they were projected: Duke in 1994-95 and N.C. State in 2010-11.
Three teams in the past 20 years had more disappointing seasons. North Carolina, in 2009-10, and N.C. State, in 2007-08, both finished eight places back from their projections. The title of most disappointing season, by this measure, goes to Wake Forest in 2005-06, who was predicted third but finished dead last.
The Eagles’ downfall this year ends a streak of generally outperforming expectations. The Eagles had finished better than their projection the last five seasons, thrice finishing four-plus spots ahead of their preseason ranking. Boston College hadn’t finished more than three spots below their projection since it joined the ACC in 2005-06 until this year.
BC does have company this season; Notre Dame is technically having an even worse go of it — the Irish were projected to finish fifth, and they’re currently sitting at No. 12 in the ACC. Of course, that comes with a bit of an asterisk, as Jerian Grant has been suspended since Dec. 23.
Boston College, though, has no excuses. The Eagles were primed to build their program into a somebody in the ACC. Instead, they’ve become an even bigger nobody, with no good fortune to carry over into next season.