Today we play a game of good cop / bad cop and discuss the latest and greatest in Boston College basketball.
Let's get our first suspect ...
Suspect #1 - The Seminoles losing Wednesday night's game (as opposed to the Eagles winning the game)?
Brian as Good Cop: I will play the good cop on this one. Florida State ended up committing 18 turnovers on the night. Orlando Sentinel FSU blogger Andrew Carter calls this "self inflicted wounds" on the part of the Seminoles. Florida State's Toney Douglas played one of his worse games of the season (4 turnovers, 3 fouls despite his team-leading 19 points). Early on in the game, somewhere around 9-4 Seminoles ... and which quickly ballooned to 16-4 Seminoles ... I wrote you an quick email with the subject "We are going to lose this game and it is going to be ugly." The Eagles absolutely did not belong in the game in the first half but due to the slew of FSU mistakes, went into the half trailing by 1. A better team would have put the Eagles away early and led the Eagles by 10-15 at half. Instead, the Noles left the door open and the Eagles took advantage.
Jeff as Bad Cop: How can you say Douglas had a bad night scoring 19 when Rice only scored 11. Douglas clearly won the battle of the superstars. Turnovers are either given up or forced, and after the first ten minutes of the game the Eagles played with a lot of intensity and forced many of those turnovers rather than them simply just being given up. And finally, you need to make shots in order to win the game and down the stretch the Eagles did just enough of that including Rice's big 3 to put them up 4 with 20 seconds to play.
Suspect #2 - Florida State as a tournament lock?
Brian as Bad Cop: FSU is now 21-7, 8-5 in conference with three regular season games left to play. The Seminoles have an impressive RPI but a not so great SOS. At first glance, you would think they are a tournament lock at this point regardless of the team's setback in Chestnut Hill. But not so fast, my friends. I'm here to tell you the boys from Tallahassee still have work left to do. FSU has three regular season games left - at home vs. Clemson, on the road in Durham and finish at home against Virginia Tech. Assuming the Seminoles' kenpom predictor to be correct for a second, FSU will lose to both Clemson and Duke but beat Virginia Tech in the regular season finale. 1-2 in their last 3 games gets them to 9-7 in the ACC and in the tournament. But let's say that FSU drops to the Hokies as well? That would make FSU 0-4 in their last 4 and drop them all the way to 8-8 in the ACC. This is starting to smell of a bubble team. Then, if the Noles draw a Maryland or an NC State in the first round of the ACC Tournament, this becomes virtually a must-win. So are the Noles a lock? No. Given the slight chance that they finish the season on a five game skid, this team will have to beat the Hokies or win their first round tournament game, otherwise the Seminoles could be N. I. T.ing it.
Jeff as Good Cop: Since really no one is a lock right now with 3 conference games yet to play and conference tournaments, FSU is the closest thing there is. All FSU needs to do is either win one of their remaining regular season games or win 2 games in the ACC tournament which this team is very capable of doing. The Eagles and FSU are both sitting with 8 conference wins and if the tournament started today, the Seminoles would get the higher seed.
Suspect #3 - Poor Conte Forum attendance for the next-to-last home game against a Top 25 opponent?
Brian as Good Cop: Hard to do, but I will give it a shot anyway. I will play the good cop on this one. Last night's game against No. 23 Florida State was attended by only 4,968 fans. Back of the envelope math tells me that Conte was only about 58% packed last night. Sounds pretty terrible at first, but this is certainly understandable. Last night's game had a lot of factors working against it ... 1) it was a 9:00pm tip 2) the last week before spring break 3) exam week and 4) it was Florida State and we weren't playing football. Even though Florida State came into Conte Forum as a ranked opponent, I'll bet most students and casual Superfans didn't even know that fact. Florida State is a football school, not a basketball school. With no real basketball history and a lack of name brand college hoops recognition, students would rather get better grades on their exams than watch another game where Tyrese Rice doesn't score a point in the first half. Plus it's not like students are going to storm the court after the win, even if we beat FSU on a buzzer beater. Finally, students are showing their opposition to GDF's dumb student ticket policies (half-season ticket plans) by not attending the games.
Jeff as Bad Cop: Florida State is a football team and nothing to get excited about when it comes to basketball, the economy still sucks, and a 9:00 Tuesday night game means you are not getting home until midnight or later, but c'mon people, where are ya!? This poor team deserves better support than they have gotten at home this season. The first few games following the UNC victory had good attendance but then attendance has slacked off again outside the Duke game. BC fans need to come out and take advantage of their chances to watch some great ACC basketball action and the student attendance is the most disappointing of all since they should be least bothered by the 9:00 pm start.
Suspect #4 - Joe Trapani as this year's team MVP?
Jeff as Bad Cop: Is this question a joke? Have we forgotten that Tyrese Rice is a member of this team. MVP doesn't just mean guy who scores the most points or guy who plays the most minutes - even though Rice would be MVP is that were the criteria averaging 17.5ppg in 33.1 min. Rice is our team MVP because he is our team leader and has taken all those Sophomores we've had and helped to turn them into decent players and people. He is also our team MVP because he is the man on the floor that the opposition has to worry about the most and sometime's throw 2 defenders at opening up shots for others like your boy Joe. Finally, Joe is in no way the team MVP because he threw away an inbounds pass late against FSU nearly costing us the game.
Brian as Good Cop: Since he's my boy, I will play the good cop. Joe Trapani is this year's team MVP. He's averaging 14.1 points per game, more than anyone other than Rice (17.5). He leads the team in rebounds (6.6 per game) and blocks (1.0 per game). He is the second best three-point shooter (.369) and free throw shooter (.778) of our starting five. Not to mention, he is forced to make up for our lack of height when Southern gets in foul trouble. At this point, this is where Raj leaves a comment about how Trapani hasn't hit a clutch shot or anything. But last time I checked, you didn't have to hit a clutch shot to be the most valuable player on your team. With Trapani, you don't have to worry about him getting shut out of the scoring column in the first half (like Rice), and he doesn't decide to have horrible games against good Top 25 competition (see: Rakim Sanders vs. Wake x2). Just how much more consistent has Trapani been compared to Sanders? Looking at both of their individual game lines, Sanders scored less than 10 points in 11 games this season compared to only 6 games for Trapani.
Simply, without Trapani, this team would have only marginally improved from last season's 14-17 record.
Suspect #5 - ACC ass clowns that work for a certain NC newspaper campaigning for the ACC to contract back down to 10 teams
Brian as Good Cop: To everyone's surprise, I will play the good cop on this one and go along with this idea. Sure, let's pair down the ACC back to 10 teams so Coach K, ACC sportswriters and others of their ilk can stop waxing poetic about the beauty of the round-robin basketball schedule. But why would you get rid of BC and Miami? Well, forget Miami for a second, why would you want to get rid of BC? In our four years in the league, BC has only posted the third best record in ACC play behind only Duke and North Carolina. But apparently, we still aren't a good enough "fit" for the conference since we are a small, Northeast school. And football? Ha. Without BC football the last four years, the ACC is Conference-USA, or worse yet, the MAC. So let's play nice and go with this idea of trimming the ACC back down to 10 teams. The question is, however, which 2 teams to contract?
You keep Virginia Tech because, as much as it pains me to say, they have been the flagship football program for the conference post expansion (and meh in basketball). You can't contract North Carolina or Duke because even though their football programs are mediocre / suck, respectively, their hoops are first-rate. Florida State and Miami (FL) have to be great in football again at some point, right? ... Right? Georgia Tech and Wake Forest have more than held their own in football since the Great Expansion of 2005. You keep Clemson around for the comedic value of the annual collapse of their overhyped football teams (and who would have figured?! suddenly have a decent hoops team). And Maryland, while irrelevant in football, at least have had recent success on the hardwood. So all signs seem to point to Virginia and NC State as the ACC's Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals. Honestly, what have either of these teams done post 2005?
Virginia had one great season in hoops and football two years ago, but otherwise has gone 7-9, 5-11 and 3-9 (this season) in basketball. They don't make much noise in the ACC Coastal in football, playing second fiddle to Tech in the state. While UVA is great for the conference in other sports, for the ones that count, the Cavaliers are easily forgettable.
And don't get me started on NC State. Complete this sample SAT analogy. Duke : ACC Coastal :: _________ : ACC Atlantic. If you guessed NC State football, you'd be correct! NC State would like to thank their Tobacco Road buddies over in Durham for diverting attention away from their horrible football seasons since 2005. 3-5 ... 2-6 ... 3-5 ... 4-4. 4-4 in their second year under TOB. Ooo! Progress.
For a large state school that underachieves in college football and basketball and likes to poke fun at Boston College, you bring basically nothing to the table in football or basketball. Get out of my conference and go join Conference USA. You can set up a nice, little in-state rivalry with ECU.
So go ahead, ACC purists. Contract away. But why don't you go ahead and contract away teams that have actually been irrelevant in the post-expansion ACC rather than teams that don't fit your little North Carolina-centered basketball conference?
Jeff as Bad Cop: ACC purist? I understand the term baseball purist but how can anyone be an ACC purist? It wasn't too long ago that the conference was born(1956) and then even more recently Florida State was was added in 1991. There are no retired men sitting around talking about how their fathers took them to ACC games as a child since their fathers had taken them as a child so how can we even have these purists and historians? Lastly, why would they contract to ten teams since the ACC started as 8 teams, lost South Carolina to become 7, gained Georgia Tech to become 8 again, and finally added FSU to become 9. The ACC has had a varied membership over the years but never ever was it a ten team conference.