Look Out For Boston College

Matt DohertyContributor IMarch 18, 2009

As time expired in Boston College's 66-65 heartbreaking loss to eventual-champion Duke in the second round of the ACC tournament, you couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had BC coach Al Skinner drew up a decent play. 

The terrible, off-balance three-point shot thrown up by sophomore Rakim Sanders was inexcusable in a game of that magnitude. If they score on that possession (which they should have; 5.5 seconds remaining on the clock and the ball on the Duke sideline,) Duke is no longer the ACC champ and everyone is talking about BC.

What remains to be seen, however, is the damage BC can do in the NCAA tournament. 

They have already proven they can beat the nation's best, with a win over then undefeated No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and a win over then-No. 5 Duke in Chestnut Hill. They have fared well against ACC competition, and their 10 losses have been by an average of merely 9.8 points. 

But, they have also already proven they can lose to any team in the country, with losses to Harvard and St. Louis. 

So which team will show up? 

If recent performance is any indicator, the former Eagles team seems to be on tap.  They have been rolling since the Duke upset and are 4-3 in their last seven games, with two against Duke. 

The team has been gelling, and with increased contributions from Sanders, the scoring burden has been eased off the shoulders of superstar guard Tyrese Rice. 

The Eagles are seeded seventh in a relatively weak midwest region and take on Pac-10 champ USC in the first round, a game which most think should go BC's way. 

A second round matchup looms with two-seed Michigan State.  Sure, State has the vaunted program, high seed, and respected coach Tom Izzo, but they certainly are beatable.

Michigan State was spanked by North Carolina by 35 points at Ford Field in their home state, a team that BC handly defeated on Tobacco Road, 85-78. The Spartans were also blown out by eventual Big Ten champ Purdue on the road by 18. 

Clearly, the caliber of play of the ACC is much better than the Big Ten.

So maybe, just maybe, Skinner, Tyrese, and Rakim could make this a sweet, sweet March for the Eagles.