Season Will Only Get Tougher For Struggling Eagles

For the first time since 2009, Boston College men’s basketball began the season on a roll. The Eagles went 3-0, taking down St. Francis Brooklyn in the season opener 75-49, Central Connecticut 82-57 and Harvard 69-56. However, as the season drags on, it seems that this year might not be as successful for the Eagles as the early rounds of competition might have suggested.

In recent history, the Eagles have not fared well playing in arguably the best conference in college basketball. During former head coach Steve Donahue’s inaugural 2010-11 season, the Eagles went 19-11 and 9-7 in the ACC, but in the seasons that followed, the wins continued to become fewer and further between. The 2011-12 season was definitely a rough one. The program struggled throughout, finishing 9-22 and 4-12 in the ACC, getting blown out against UMass and Holy Cross. It did not get any better from there, and after a lackluster 2013-14 season with an 8–24 record (4–14 in the ACC), coach Donahue was fired as the head coach, despite an upset victory over then–undefeated #1 Syracuse. 

There is no bright side.

New head coach Jim Christian certainly had his work cut out for him to try and turn the program around. The 2014-15 season did not bring him much luck. The Eagles concluded the season 13–19 (4–14 in ACC play) to finish in 13th place. They advanced to the second round of the ACC Tournament where they lost to North Carolina.

Looking to the current 2015-16 season, the average fan likely was not expecting much from the Eagles. Surprisingly though, the team had a great initial start. However, despite a quick and unexpectedly good start, things rapidly went downhill for the Eagles, who are now on a six game losing streak.

Shannon West / Gavel Media

Shannon West / Gavel Media

Despite initial success against St. Francis, Central Connecticut and Harvard, BC struggled on the road in the Wooden Legacy Tournament in California, going 0-3 against Michigan State, UC Irvine and Santa Clara. Following the tournament, things have not been much better for the Eagles, as they faltered against Penn State, UMass Lowell, and most recently, Providence.

In other unfortunate news, several players have fallen victim to the recent norovirus outbreak. It seems men’s basketball can’t catch a break. The virus has affected at least ten players, which caused several key players to miss the UMass Lowell game on December 6th (maybe that’s why they lost?!) This health scare left the players’ status in limbo for the Providence game, and just further contributes to the depleted roster of BC basketball players. Eli Carter is still recovering from an ankle injury, which made it 11 BC players who were unable to practice earlier this week. 

"Regardless of that, we've still gotta execute and play," said coach Jim Christian of the team's current health. "There is no bright side."

The back end of the 2015-16 schedule does not get any easier for the Eagles, as they will face teams like Duke, Syracuse, UNC and Pitt in upcoming weeks. Hopefully once the team is restored from injury and illness, the Eagles will regain some traction and mend their now-lackluster record. Fortunately, BC has some very talented underclassmen, so fans can remain optimistic for a winning record sometime in the near future.

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