Boston College returned its top six scorers this season. Among them are guard Olivier Hanlan and forward Ryan Anderson -- respectively the 2013 ACC Rookie of the Year and a third team All-ACC pick. The squad was toughened by the bitter experience of 2012, when an overwhelmingly young group, almost wholly populated by freshmen, took it on the chin in a 9-22 season.
And, in Steve Donahue, the Eagles have a smart, offense-oriented coach accustomed to crafting success at a small, private school.
So BC was a savvy pick to fight its way to its first NCAA berth since 2009, particularly as part of an expanded ACC whose coaches boast of bounteous prospective tournament bids.
But, three games into the 2013-14 season, BC's chances of an NCAA appearance were dead, if 60 years of ACC precedent are any guide.
Teams playing as members of the league have earned 201 NCAA invitations, from one each by South Carolina in 1971 and Virginia Tech in 2007 to 42 by North Carolina through 2013. Of those 201 squads, exactly zero made the NCAA field with an opening record to match the 0-3 start incurred by BC in losses to Providence, UMass, and Toledo.
Let's say that again: 201 ACC teams in the NCAAs. None started 0-3.
Not too promising for Boston College.
Among the clichés that come to mind: There's always a first time.
BC also has been saddled with injuries to key supporting personnel that handicapped its chances. But that doesn't change the sobering nature of ACC precedent for Donahue's Eagles, who finally defeated Florida Atlantic 82-79 on Nov. 17 to record their first win of the 2014 season.
Making matters worse, most of the league's most challenging nonconference schedules awaits Boston College.
The Eagles are in rare company in their poor start. Of those 201 NCAA teams from the ACC, a mere eight got out of the blocks as poorly as 1-2.
One was Gary Williams' 2001 Maryland squad. Not only did the '01 Terps make the NCAAs despite starting 1-3, they advanced to the ACC Tournament final and to the Final Four. Williams and Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins the only ACC coaches to pilot a pair of 1-2 starters to NCAA berths.
OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT
|School||Year||Two Losses In |
|BC||2007||2nd, 3rd||Al Skinner|
|D||2000||1st, 2nd||Mike Krzyzewski|
|GT||1987||1st, 3rd||Bobby Cremins|
|1988||1st , 3rd||Bobby Cremins|
|M||1996||1st , 3rd||Gary Williams|
|2001||2nd , 3rd||Gary Williams|
|NC||1983||1st , 2nd||Dean Smith|
|WF||1961||2nd , 3rd||Bones McKinney|