I just watched Providence trounce UConn at Storrs, which was very satisfying on a couple of fronts. First, it's always good to see the Huskies go down. Their fan base is replete with only-game-in-town yahoos, and Jim Calhoun is a certifiable a-hole. He took a number of shots at BC when they left the conference, and loudly proclaimed that UConn would never play the Eagles again. Fine with me, Jim, see ya at the World's Fair. Second, the win is good for PC, and what's good for PC is good for BC given the Friars upset of the Eagles in November at the Dunk. I know, I know, UConn is not what they were a year ago, but UConn is now college basketball royalty (much as I hate to admit it), so a win over them at their place is big for anyone, no matter the circumstances.
The PC game got me thinking: how ugly are the BC losses? The out-of-conference setbacks really aren't that bad when you take a close look. PC is 14-6 overall (4-3 in the Big East), with wins over Marquette, UConn and BC. Very much in the hunt for an at-large NCAA bid in other words. Kansas? The Jayhawks are 17-3 with an RPI of 12, 'nuff said. Vermont? Not as bad as you would think. The Catamounts have a Top 100 RPI (98), are currently 14-6, and lead the America East Conference. Duquesne is the most unsightly. The Dukes are 6-11 with an RPI of 210. However, BC was seriously undermanned when they played Duquesne, with Jared Dudley, John Oates and Akida McLean in streetclothes nursing injuries. And BC is not alone, the Dukes have put it together and upset a couple of other decent teams like Dayton (RPI 73) and St. Louis (RPI 97) in Atlantic 10 play.
In the ACC, the Eagles have only lost at Clemson, a Top 25 team most of the year and probably a lock for the NCAA tourney barring a collapse. The rest of the ACC schedule is so strong that BC really can't have a bad conference loss. Other than Miami (RPI 167), every ACC opponent the rest of the way is in the RPI Top 50.
So right now, it's all about the numbers. If the Eagles can somehow get to 19 or 20 wins, they have a pretty good argument for getting into the dance. They're at 14 right now, and should pick up the last out-of-conference W next week when they host Hartford (now THAT would be a bad loss).