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Next Up - Boston College

And if you don't think the Eagles are dangerous, you’d better think again

Notre Dame v Duke
 DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 07: Caleb Foster #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 07, 2024 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 71-53.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Date 2/10 || Time 2:00 || Venue Cameron Indoor Stadium || Video ESPN

You might look at Boston College and think, well, they’re 13-9 and in 12th place in the ACC. Why should I worry about them?

To which the correct answer is: you are misreading the situation badly. First, let’s look at where Boston College has been the last several years.

  • 2022-23: 16-17
  • 2021-22: 13-20
  • 2020-21: 4-16
  • 2019-20: 13-19
  • 2018-19: 14-17

Just listing the records doesn't begin to explain the rot.

Boston College fired Al Skinner in 2010, replacing him with Cornell’s Steve Donahue who lasted four seasons, finishing 54-76.

Jim Christian was even worse, with a career record of 78-132 and there was some fairly open dissent on his last team.

So far, Grant is 42-46 at BC and the Eagles have some opportunities down the stretch. After Duke, Boston College gets Louisville and Miami at home, then FSU and NC State on the road. Virginia will be a home game as will Pitt and the Eagles close out with Miami and Louisville on the road.

Oddsmakers don’t decide the games, but BC should have good odds against Louisville home and away. Win those two and they’re at 15 wins. If they win two more, they’ll have 17 for the season. They’ll get at least one more shot in the ACC Tournament too.

So a winning season is within this team’s reach and BC hasn’t had a winning season since 2017-18. And before that, it was 2010-11. And before that it was 2008-09.

So a winning season, even barely a winning season, is a big deal for this team. It hasn’t happened often lately.

Since taking over in 2021-22, Grant, fully aware that he can’t yet attract top-flight talent, has essentially emulated Gary Williams when he coached at Maryland. Williams, you may recall, inherited a disastrous situation at his alma mater. He too could not get top-flight talent and looked for guys who played hard as hell and who fit his system.

Which is what Grant has done. Look at his core group: Jaeden Zackery, Quentin Post, Claudell Harris, Devin McGlockton, Prince Aligbe, Mason Madsen, Chas Kelley and Donald Hand.

We might be missing some data here, but our guess is that the highest rated player in that group was probably Donald Hand and he was a four-star recruit.

But all of them play very hard, and they play together.

We always look at the guys who get the most minutes as the starters, at least functionally, and that’s Zackery, Post, Harris, McGlockton and Aligbe.

These are the schools that were after Zackery out of high school and after his one year at a JUCO: Central Connecticut State, Coppin State, Wagner, Maine, North Texas, Sam Houston State, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee

He’s not a phenomenal talent but he’s averaging 11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 apg. He’s very solid.

Post is 7-0 and 235 and while he’s a solid big man, he’s an excellent three point shooter, hitting 43.3 percent, which means you can’t leave him alone outside - which also means that Kyle Filipowski may not be able to hang out inside defensively. He’s getting 16.4 ppg and 7.8 rebounds.

Harris is a 6-3 junior who transferred from Charleston Southern. They brought him in hoping he would score well at BC too. Well, so far so good. He’s getting 14 ppg and 3.1 boards. He seems to be a good fit.

McGlockton is a 6-7, 230 lb. sophomore who is getting 10.8 points and 6.4 boards.

And Aligbe isn’t particularly good on offense but he’s got the potential to be a great defender. A 6-7 sophomore, he was a high school teammate of Chet Holmgren and Jalen Suggs.

Mason Madsen is a transfer from Cincinnati. He is playing a little less this season than he did last season but he’s a very dangerous three point shooter (44.4 percent).

Chas Kelley is a 6-3 sophomore from Texas who doesn’t shoot particularly well but who has become a starter. Like Aligbe, he’s got the potential to be a great defender.

The final rotation guy is Donald Hand, Jr. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because his father played at Virginia. Hand sat out last year after an injury so he’s really just gotten started. BC has high hopes for him but it may take a little longer for him to get back to who he was before the injury.

We’ll say this about Boston College. We thought that if Notre Dame was a little better than they are this season that, well, Duke gave them chances to get back into that game.

Notre Dame couldn’t do it.

Boston College? Boston College could do that.

They’re not an immensely talented team but they keep coming. They don’t give up. And when they find a seam, they know how to exploit it.

If Duke doesn’t match the intensity that Boston College is likely to bring, this could be a long night.

We’ll add links as we find them.