Monday, February 19, 2007

Tar Heel Loss

I'm sure everyone saw the game on Saturday (I attended), so I won't go into detailed analysis. I think the reason the Eagles lost was pretty simple, UNC was far more talented. There's probably 6 or 7 guys on that team that will play in the NBA, and their frontcourt (with Hansbrough and Wright) is absolutely sick. Going into the game, all I realistically hoped for was a chance to steal it at the end, and in that sense, BC came up big. They just didn't seize the opportunity when they got there.

What's disappointing is that BC blew their chance at the stripe, where the obstacles are the same as when they're playing Sacred Heart. You just cannot shoot 50% from the line at home and expect to beat a team the caliber of UNC. And the free throw shooting down the stretch was godawful, especially from the seniors. First, Sean Marshall clanged 2 freebies (no surprise there), and then Jared Dudley missed all three free throws with a chance to tie in the waning moments (huge surprise there). Dudley in particular looked like he rushed his FTs, especially the first one, and then lost confidence.

Marshall had a good game for him, but in my view he was involved in the one sequence that really hurt BC when he bricked those free throws, because he fouled Reyshawn Terry on the ensuing fast break for a potential 3 point play. Terry missed the free throw, but BC was down 70-65 instead of 68-67 with 5 minutes to go, and it was tough sledding the rest of the way.

A little credit to John Oates. He's been getting blasted here and elsewhere, but he submitted probably his best game of the season against the best competition. I wouldn't say it was a command performance, but he was a factor on the glass (6 boards), chipped in some points (7) and played with fire. And when Skinner played him with Blair, the tandem was surprisingly effective on defense. Ty Rice had a great offensive game (20 points, 5 assists), and Dudley and Marshall, other than the free throws, delivered. So all in all, a pretty good showing against a loaded team. I'm not really into moral victories, but if BC were to lose, they really needed to acquit themselves on national TV after the disgusting Duke debacle, and at least they did that.

Looking ahead, the Eagles have a very very tough game at Blacksburg Wednesday night against VTech. The Hokies I'm sure will come out doubly angry after BC smoked them a while back, and NC State embarrassed them on Sunday. If BC can take this game, it will be huge, and make an NCAA bid a certainty.

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