It appeared briefly this past season that Boston College was making significant progress in Jim Christian’s rebuilding project in Chestnut Hill. But despite the emergence of backcourt talents Jerome Robinson and Kyran Bowman, the Eagles endured a demoralizing 14-game losing streak to close out the season.
The Eagles, who in mid-January stood 9-9 and a promising 2-2 in ACC play, finished the season 9-23. Once again, BC found itself in the ACC cellar.
Anything was an improvement over BC’s 2015-16 season, in which the Eagles went winless in ACC play. And BC did improve considerably in some statistical categories in 2016-17. The offensive numbers, in particular, should give the coaches and fans hope for optimism. But BC has to improve significantly on the defensive end in 2017-18 if the Eagles expect to make any real movement up the standings.
The 2016-17 Eagles ranked No. 185 nationally in KenPom.com’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings — a dramatic jump from the dreadful 2015-16 campaign. The ’15-16 Eagles ranked No. 320 in adjusted offensive efficiency.
After scoring just 61.2 points per game in 2015-16, the Eagles averaged 72.5 PPG this past season. However, after allowing 70.5 PPG the year before, the Eagles gave up 78.4 in 2016-17. The defensive issues resulted in the Eagles ranking dead-last in the ACC in scoring margin (-5.9).
Some of BC’s drop-off in points allowed per game can be attributed to tempo. Boston College played at a tempo much more favorable to Christian’s style of play this past season. After ranking 253rd nationally in tempo in 2015-16, this past season the Eagles ranked No. 46, per KenPom. More possessions generally lead to more points on both ends.
But that doesn’t excuse BC’s atrocious post defense. The Eagles ranked last in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense (47%). BC also ranked last in the ACC in blocked shots.
With Robinson and Bowman both returning, along with marginal attrition this offseason, the Eagles should be better in 2017-18. They are getting closer to realizing Christian’s vision of game-by-game competitiveness.
With a new athletic director on the way, the Eagles need to be much improved in 2017-18 to take the pressure off their head coach.