2019-20 Boston College Men's Basketball Season: Three Intriguing Road Games

Jackson Thompson

3. Notre Dame, Dec. 7 (Sat)

The Eagles came close to finally defeating the Irish in conference play last season, as close as they’ve come since the first ACC meeting between the two schools ended in a 76-73 overtime victory for Notre Dame back in February of 2013.

That first meeting was the first in a 12-game winning streak for the Irish in this matchup, dominating the Eagles with double-digit victories twice a year until last year. Boston College krept up their newest conference rival in both matchups last season with a 69-66 loss at Notre Dame and a 79-73 loss at home. It was the closest meetings between the two since the first game in 2013 when Notre Dame joined the ACC.

This season, Notre Dame is expected to finish around the middle of the conference while Boston College is expected to place near the bottom. Can the Eagles close that gap and finally pull off a win victory over this conference foe?

History shows that the Eagles play better at South Bend for this matchup than when hosting the Irish. The first game, a nationally televised road matchup on ESPN, may be the Eagles best chance for a win in this one-sided rivalry. But, they will also get another shot at home in a late-season meeting in February.

2. Duke, Dec. 31 (Tues)

Graduate transfer guard Derryck Thornton will get his first action against the team that originally recruited him as a freshman when the Eagles travel to Durham, North Carolina on New Year’s Eve. Thornton, a Los Angeles CA native, played alongside Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram on Duke’s 2015-16 team that reached the Sweet Sixteen, but not in the role who originally expected according to a 2016 Sporting News article by Mike Decourcy.

After a less-than-gracious transfer process following his senior year, one that culminated in hostile social media exchanges between Thornton’s uncle Mark Edwards and the Duke coaching staff, Thornton had to sit out a year after the NCAA waived his eligibility to play for USC in his return home to Los Angeles.

Now, four years after his freshman season with the Blue Devils, and after two years at USC, Thornton is back in the ACC and will make his return to Durham to face his former team as a Boston College Eagle.

It will also be a homecoming of sorts for Jairus and Jarde Hamilton, both natives of North Carolina. Boston College last defeated Duke by famously delivering the No. 1 Blue Devils their first loss of the season back in December of 2017. It is a matchup with recent history that has been recognized on the national landscape and Thornton will have his chance to make his mark in that matchup on New Years Eve.

1. California, Dec 21 (Sat)

The Eagles’ longest road trip of the season will send them to San Francisco California to take on the Golden Bears in the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame Al Attles Classic. Boston College will also get the opportunity to play in the newest NBA arena as their matchup with California will be the second of a four-game set at the Chase Center, the newly constructed home of the Golden State Warriors.

It will mark the third meeting between the two programs in history, as Boston College will look to stay undefeated against the Golden Bears. The last time the two met was in 2010, a consolation game in Orlando Florida that saw the Eagles earn a 68-46 victory to close the season.

USC’s first-year head coach Mark Fox will look to turn around a program that has ranked near the bottom of the PAC-12 for years now, similarly to how BC head coach Jim Christian is looking to lead the Eagles out of their recent struggles.

The meeting in San Francisco will mark the first between Fox and Christian, two coaches that began their careers only a year apart in 1990 and 1991 and who have seemingly stayed on opposite ends of the college basketball landscape ever since. Now they will finally meet as opponents on opposite coasts of the country for an event in an event and road trip that is sure to be memorable for Boston College coaches and players.