Inside Enemy Territory: UNC vs. Boston College


I sat down with Joe Micik editor of Soaring to Glory the Fansided Networks Boston College site to discuss tonights match up between the Tar Heels and Eagles.  To see my answers to Joe’s questions click HERE.

Jan, 07, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Dexter Strickland (1) shoots as Boston College Eagles guard Lonnie Jackson (20) defends in the first half at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Key: KIH=Matt from Keeping it Heel JM=Joe from Soaring to Glory

KIH: For UNC fans that have not watched BC play yet this year; talk about the style of play, what tempo they like to run etc

JM: Last year, I don’t even think they knew the kind of system they ran, but it’s becoming a little clearer this year.  Steve Donahue brought the “motion” offense to BC which of course is more up-tempo and reliant on good shooting.  That said, BC still isn’t that much of a quick pace team, though they are quicker than last season.  BC still depends heavily on the three and they do find ways to create space and get their open looks – with the problem being lately that they often miss those open looks.  (For no apparent reason, they’ve also had a serious problem lately with making free throws.)

On the other end of the floor, defense has been an issue.  At times BC’s perimeter defense has been a major problem, though they have on occasion looked alright.  Transition defense hasn’t even been that good.  That in general is the Eagles’ biggest weakness at the moment.  BC is turning it over less than last season and doesn’t make as many unforced errors as they used to.

KIH: Who’s the one player UNC fans should be afraid of Tuesday night?  

JM: I would say Olivier Hanlan.  The two freshman guards BC brought in this year really sparked some life into this team, and Hanlan is the more dynamic of the two.  Don’t be surprised to see him end up as ACC Rookie of the Year.  He has a nice move to the basket and is more than capable of hitting the three.  Offensively, he’s an all-around solid player and is a big part of what we hope to do at BC for years to come.

KIH: With a 9-10 (1-5) record thus far this season, what’s the goal for BC this year?

JM: The goal for this season was always going to be improvement, not necessarily making a postseason tournament.  I feel reasonably confident that they are better than last year, but the goal for next year will be much different.  In 2013-14, BC is probably going to be thinking NCAA Tournament bubble at a minimum; we were essentially sold a notion that it would take a year and a half to two years for this team to put it all together and nobody thinks being a .500 team in the third year of a rebuild is acceptable.  If anything, that’s more like where we should bethis year.

KIH: Three of the team’s last four losses have been close contests; why has this Eagles team struggled to win tight games?

JM: It could be a couple of things – inability to close out games, running out of gas at the end of games, being overwhelmed at crunch time, etc.  I’m not entirely sure what it is myself but I have often likened it to Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.  They’ve missed a bunch of free throws lately and in their last few games have gotten off to extraordinarily slow starts (to the tune of 6 or 7 points in the first ten minutes).  Had BC made those foul shots and not been comatose for long stretches, some of those losses might have been wins; the idea is that there’s no one reason why BC hasn’t been able to win these games.

KIH: Talk about the future of BC basketball; how are things looking on the recruiting front?

JM: Right now, BC has one recruit locked in: Garland Owens from Virginia.  We’re also targeting two guys named Rashard Kelly and Travis Jorgenson.  It seems like BC is in the lead for Kelly (who happens to be a teammate of Owens at Massanutten) but he’s not committing until after his team’s season is over, but he might also reclassify to 2014.  Jorgenson is a three-star who has other high-major offers but BC at least has a shot, though interestingly enough he goes to the same high prep school in New Hampshire that Olivier Hanlan attended, New Hampton.  I like what I’ve seen from all three. Remember also that BC has a Notre Dame transfer, Alex Dragicevich, joining the team next season.