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Back In The Black

Struggling is never easy. Breaking out of it is always sweet.

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 01 Syracuse at Boston College
Meet BC’s Ky Bowman, the ACC’s newest star.
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Several of the ACC’s downtrodden have gotten off to good starts in league competition, most notably Georgia Tech and Boston College.

The Yellow Jackets jumped on a lethargic North Carolina squad and opened coach Josh Pastner’s ACC career with a double-digit win over a top-10 team. Not exactly what was expected from the Jackets, about whom Pastner used the age-old trick of suppressing expectations and enhancing successes by repeating endlessly that no one thought Tech could win a league game.

Yet, Pastner’s protestations notwithstanding, BC and not Georgia Tech was overwhelmingly predicted to finish last in the ACC. After all the Eagles were coming off a winless 2016 conference campaign with no big-name reinforcements joining the ranks.

That finish may be still be in the works. But, after routing Syracuse 96-81 to open the ACC season, the Eagles already are ahead of last year, and then some.

They broke a 20-game ACC losing streak. They scored the most points of Jim Christian’s 3-year tenure. They beat former Big East rivals Providence, now competing in another version of the Big East, and Syracuse in consecutive home outings.

Freshman Kyle Bowman of Havelock, NC, made seven 3-pointers, one short of the school record at Conti Forum. He had made 10 threes in the preceding 13 games.

Now the Eagles take to the road, visiting North Carolina for games at Wake Forest and Duke.

Only six teams in ACC history, five prior to last year’s BC squad, went through a season without blemishing their record with a victory.

Of the five besides Boston College, two really were a long run-on sentence of defeat. Clemson dropped 28 straight at the very dawn of the league across more than two years, until the Tigers finally beat Virginia in their fourth game of the 1955-56 season.

Other than that Clemson group, three of four seasons without an ACC win were followed by a victory in the team’s opener the following year. In Georgia Tech’s case the losing streak ended when the program changed coaches. Bobby Cremins won his first ACC game, a standard Pastner matched on the last day of 2016.

Losses in Row by Programs That Went Without A Win For Entire ACC Season
(ACC Tournament Losses Included in Annual Totals)
Row School Season(s) W-L Year by Year Date Won Result
28 C 1954,55 0-10, 0-15,0-3 12/16/55 75-73 v. V
20 BC 2016 0-1,0-19 1/1/17 96-80 v. Syr
19 WF 1986 0-1,0-15,0-3 1/20/88 71-67 v. NS
18 GT 1981 0-3,0-15 12/23/81 45-43 @ M
15 M 1987 0-15 1/2/88 93-76 v. WF