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So explain how this works to me. Boston College goes into Chapel Hill for their ACC opener and thoroughly outplays North Carolina, the No. 1 team in the country that was supposed to go undefeated, en route to an upset that vaults them from unranked to No. 17 in the land.
Three days later, BC takes the court at home against Harvard, a school from the Ivy League...and loses? Wait, wait, wait, hold on a second. BC lost to Harvard? After beating UNC? Damnn...
You know how people always talk about how one win can turn around a struggling program? Just that little bit of the national media's spotlight that comes with a big-time upset can get recruits to take notice of your school and say, "If I go here, then I will be ESPN and SportsCenter."
Well, I hate to be the one to say this, but BC right now? They are a struggling program. And UNC? That was their win.
BC was really good in the early 2000s, when they had the Troy Bells and the Craig Smiths, even the Jared Dudleys. So while they have struggled in recent years, there is still some name recognition when you hear Boston College.
Now pretend you are a recruit, and a good one at that. You know that BC was good when you were, like, 11. But recently they haven't been. You also know that their coach is a good coach, and you could see yourself playing for him. Then you see BC beat North Carolina.
That gets you thinking—maybe this team is back on their way up to prominence? They have a good core group of guys coming back next year that I would fit in well with. And they are losing Tyrese Rice, which means that I will have the opportunity to shoot and score a lot more (everyone wants their points). Maybe if I go there, I'll be one of the guys that will always be remembered with the resurgence of the BC program.
Sounds pretty enticing, right?
Now imagine that you have almost made up your mind to go to school there, but then you hear that they lost to Harvard. An Ivy League school. At home. The game after UNC.
Now you start thinking maybe this is really just a terrible program that happened to play great on the same night UNC played terribly. Losing to Ivies isn't going to get you interviewed on First Take.
A little less appealing, no?
The bottom line is that this loss to Harvard is, all in all, not that big of a deal for this year. One loss isn't going to make or break whether or not you reach the NCAA tournament, no matter how bad the loss is. It could mean that they lose a tiebreaker with another bubble team, but if BC is really worth their salt, they will get enough wins during ACC play that it shouldn't affect them.
The long-term damage could be a little worse. Let's say that BC makes the tournament but loses as a 12-seed in the first round (not exactly a banner year for an ACC program). Now let's say that the loss to Harvard sticks in the mind of some recruits, scaring off a couple of them, meaning BC doesn't land the guy you had planned on using to replace Rice's production.
Without Rice or the recruit to replace him, BC struggles mightily next year, making it even tougher for Al Skinner to recruit. Two or three years like this, and BOOM, Skinner gets Jagodzinski'd.
Doomsday scenario? Yes.
Has something like this happened before? Absolutely.