Considering the stark discrepancy between Boston College’s last two performances, even coach Al Skinner doesn’t know what to expect from his team this weekend.
When his 17th-ranked Eagles return to ACC play Saturday against Miami, Skinner is hoping Boston College looks more like the team that beat the nation’s top-ranked club on the road Sunday than the one upset at home by an Ivy League opponent three days later.
“I don’t know,” Skinner said. “What do you expect?”
The Eagles’ 10th straight victory was undisputedly their most stunning—and perhaps the most impressive by any team in college basketball this season. North Carolina had been the unanimous top-ranked team since the preseason, but BC ended the Tar Heels’ unbeaten run with an 85-78 win in Chapel Hill on Sunday.
As good as the Eagles (13-3, 1-0) looked in their ACC opener, they seemed like a different team Wednesday, suffering a major letdown and losing 82-70 at home to Harvard. BC allowed the Crimson to shoot 50.0 percent from the field, racked up 16 turnovers and trailed by as many as 16 points before their late comeback fell short.
“I tried to pre-warn them,” Skinner said. “We were capable of being this team and capable of being another team.”
“I told them its a short trip from the main house to the big house to the out house,” the coach added.
BC is in its coach’s doghouse after losing for just the second time in its last 17 meetings with Harvard. Star guard Tyrese Rice scored 25 points against North Carolina, but he managed only 14 against the Crimson, also matching a season low with three assists while committing five turnovers before fouling out.
Rice is the Eagles’ only senior, with four of BC’s seven sophomores joining him in the starting lineup. After going 4-12 in the ACC last season, the young Eagles were originally picked to finish 11th in the 12-team league in the ACC’s preseason poll.
Miami (11-3, 0-1) was slotted fourth, but the Hurricanes are still without a signature win, dropping their first two games against ranked teams. That includes a 91-72 loss to then-No. 25 Clemson in their ACC opener on Dec. 21.
Since then, however, they’ve won four straight games by an average of 29.3 points, holding all four opponents under 40 percent shooting. Junior Dwayne Collins had 24 points and nine rebounds while senior Jack McClinton added 20 points in Monday’s 85-69 win over Florida Atlantic.
McClinton, a preseason all-league guard, leads the Hurricanes offensively, averaging 17.3 points and shooting an ACC-best 46.9 percent from 3-point range.
Miami will bring a 9-23 road record in ACC play into its conference road opener. Coach Frank Haith’s team went just 2-6 away from home in league games last season.
The Hurricanes have lost six straight at Chestnut Hill, but they ended a 13-game overall losing streak to BC with a 74-61 home win last March 5. The teams used to be Big East rivals before both switched conferences.