Northwestern is set to play Boston College early tomorrow morning. Because of that I had to really hop on the 5 Questions and Brian from Boston College blog BC Interruption was kind enough to oblige. He did it even after answering questions for Sippin' On Purple, so be very thankful. Hopefully our questions were a bit different (there is some overlap).
5 Questions with Brian from BC Interruption
CCB: What do you think kept BC out of the NCAA Tournament and forced them into this game in the first place? How much did that blowout loss to Clemson in the ACC Tournament hurt? Do you think the perception that the ACC was down this year hurt teams in the postseason?
BCI: The last dozen or so teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble had nearly indistinguishable resumes. You could certainly make the case that both Boston College and Virginia Tech should have been included over, say, USC and VCU. But it is what it is. I think the Selection Committee had a hard time putting Virginia Tech into the tournament because BC swept the regular season series, and had trouble putting Harvard in the tournament, since they beat both BC and Colorado. As they were trying to calculate all the possibilities, I think they just gave up and decided to exclude VT, BC, Colorado and Harvard.
The blowout loss to Clemson certainly hurt, but you'd hate to hear that one game cost a team a spot in the Dance. Should be about the entire body of work, no? Clemson presents all sorts of matchup issues for BC.
The perception that the ACC was down also hurt a bit, but BC finishing with two games against ACC cellar dweller Wake Forest also hurt a lot. BC's RPI went from 40 to 57 by playing Wake twice, and SOS took a bit of a hit as well.
BC had bad losses to Yale and Rhode Island, but I don't think they were any worse than some of the losses of teams that made the Tournament. Similarly, BC had just one quality win this year -- Texas A&M -- but teams like UAB and Clemson went a combined 0-8 against the RPI Top 50.
CCB: From looking at the numbers it seems like BC is really good at offense, there only appear to be two regular players under 100.0 Offensive Rating according to Ken Pom. What's the basic system? How is it so effective?
BCI: The basic system is constant motion, lots of passes and open looks from three, which is very different from Al Skinner's tight Flex offense. Forty-four percent of BC's shots were from beyond the arc this year. It's basically a three-pointer by committee system, which is why only two players are under 100. Josh Southern will touch the ball a bit in the paint, but he plays the role of facilitator more than scoring threat, finding the players around the arc for a open look from three.
CCB: It looks like we're in for a pretty high-scoring game, even if it might be slower than normal. Is that a game that BC will be comfortable playing?
BCI: I think BC is comfortable playing a game like this if there aren't very significant matchup issues. I don't think there will be on Saturday. Against taller, more athletic teams like North Carolina, the Eagles tried to slow the tempo of the game to minimize the impact of mismatches on defense.
CCB: Put these three players in order in their importance to BC: Reggie Jackson, Corey Raji, Joe Trapani. Why?
1) Reggie Jackson 2) Joe Trapani 3) Corey Raji. Jackson is clearly the most talented of the group. If Reggie doesn't get going, it will be a long day for the Eagles. Trapani is second. While he can have a great game and go off for 20+ points, he doesn't have the same playmaking abilities that a player like Trapani has. Raji is third. He's a scrappy player who can score in punches and pulls down a bunch of rebounds. And oh by the way, did you know he's the brother of Green Bay Packers DT B.J. Raji? You will hear this point of trivia at least twice during the broadcast, and it's become a bit of a running joke among us BC fans.
CCB: This is a very veteran team, so how do you feel about the future that Steve Donahue has put in place in his first season on the job?
BCI: I think because Donahue was able to take a bunch of players that don't fit his offensive system and have us in position for an NCAA Tournament berth is only reason for optimism. BC won more games this year against a tougher schedule with a less talented roster, so the future is bright. When Donahue finally brings in his own players that fit his system, I think he can be success in the ACC. Only time will tell though.
A big thanks again to Brian for doing this Q&A. Hopefully everyone learned something.