Boston College men's basketball needed to get off to a quick start this year if they had any hope of making it to the NCAA tournament. However, they need sit at 1-4, and with two disappointing close losses under their belt, the year is slipping away from the Eagles. The team has been competitive for all but one of their matchups, but an inability to hold leads and close out games has been a major problem for this team.
Against Villanova the Eagles played good aggressive basketball and built a lead that they held for eleven minutes. But the Wildcats were able to whittle away, and their defense clamped down, holding BC without a bucket in the final four minutes of the game. It was a bit of a different story against St. John's as BC played good for the first five minutes, then the Red Storm's offense took over the game. The Eagles were able to claw back, but again were not able to close it out.
Florida was the one game this year where Boston College was truly blown off the court. BC couldn't match their athleticism, and looked sloppy on both ends of the floor. And finally on Tuesday evening, Jim Christian's squad jumped out a 15 point lead in the second half that vanished against Minnesota. "When we had to be sounder, keep doing what we did to get the lead," Christian said after the loss. The third loss this season that could have easily been won by the Eagles.
So where do they go from here? This is a season that most likely has head coach Jim Christian's job on the line. Depending on what you read, what he has to do to save his job varies. Some may say that Boston College just needs to improve. While other pundits may say it's tournament or bust for the seventh year head coach. Either option, after the tough start to the season, Boston College is not heading in that direction right now.
On Saturday, the Eagles will take on Syracuse in their ACC opener. The Orange feature the 2-3 zone, a suffocating style of defense that can expose sloppy play. It's only the sixth game of the season, but it feels like this is a must win game for the Eagles. If they want to have any hope of finishing with a winning record, or competing in the ACC, they can not drop to 1-5.
The pressure is only going to escalate for this team. After playing what should be a winnable game against California, they start the real meat of their ACC schedule with games against NC State, Louisville, Duke, UVA and Miami all coming up. They have to improve if they want to win these games. Something is going to need to take a jump whether it is their perimeter shooting, defense, or careless errors. The Eagles can not go into that stretch of games playing like they are now.
Because if they do, the season is going to completely slip away. Boston College is teetering, it's not a lost cause yet, but they need to figure it out soon. Otherwise, 2020-21 could be another lost season for the Eagles.