When Boston College men’s basketball hired head coach Jim Christian back in 2014, the former Kent State coach was tasked with rebuilding a disjointed program in an unforgiving conference. Naturally, he was given time to rebuild. But after three years, 67 losses, and a handful of outgoing transfers, the pressure is on for Christian to start winning.
With a nationally renowned backcourt, a bonafide graduate transfer, and a slew of young talent, BC has a chance to finally be competitive in the ACC again. Whether or not that happens is to be determined.
On Thursday, the team released its full schedule for the 2017-18 season.
The Eagles have 31 games—13 nonconference and 18 ACC—on tap for this year. Unlike last season, BC will play its first ACC opponent before finishing its non-conference slate. And for the first time in eight years, the Eagles will open up conference play in the first week of December.
BC will kick off the season with nine consecutive non-conference contests. For some Power Five teams, November is a time to pad the win column. That hasn’t been the case for the Eagles. During the Christian era, BC has lost 16 non-conference games—an average of close to 5.5 per season.
The Eagles will host the first three games of the season, starting with Maine on Nov. 10. After taking a one-year hiatus, the two New England schools will meet again in the season opener. The last time out, BC torched the Black Bears by 31 points. And that was the infamous 2015-16 team. BC will finish out the home stretch with games against North Carolina State and Sacred Heart.
The following weekend, Christian and Co. will travel to Uncasville, Conn. for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament—the Eagles’ only early-season tournament. On Nov. 18, BC will take on Big 12 foe Texas Tech. The last time the Eagles played a team from the Big 12—Kansas State in the 2016 Barclays Center Classic—they lost by 18 points. Then, one day later, BC will suit up against either Lasalle or Northwestern. If it’s the latter, the Eagles will get a look at former teammate A.J. Turner’s new squad.
BC will return home for a game versus Colgate on Nov. 22. But immediately after that, the Eagles will get back on the road for another three games. On Nov. 25, BC is set to play Providence in the annual rivalry matchup. The two teams have split the last four meetings, but the Eagles currently own bragging rights. Last year, Robinson’s near double-double carried BC to an eight-point victory over the Friars.
The next week, the Eagles will visit Nebraska for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. In 2016, BC was the only ACC team left out of the annual inter-conference competition. A couple days later, the Eagles will fly back east. They’ll have an opportunity to avenge last year’s two-point loss to Hartford on Dec. 2.
A week later, ACC play begins. And the stakes couldn’t get any higher. BC will face off against Duke in a nationally televised game in Conte Forum. Last year, the Eagles gave the Blue Devils a run for their money. After falling into a deep hole in the first half, BC worked its way back to within six, with less than a minute to go.
After that, the Eagles will get a two-week break from the ACC. BC will host Columbia (Dec.12), Central Connecticut State (Dec. 17), and Richmond (Dec. 23) before hitting the road again. Christian will most likely use this time to assess his team. By playing Duke so early in the 2017-18 campaign, BC will be able to gauge its development prior to facing the brunt of its conference. Essentially, it can make adjustments before it’s too late.
On Dec. 30, the Eagles will make the trip to Charlottesville, Va. to play Virginia. Last season, the Cavaliers embarrassed BC in front of its home crowd. The Eagles were held to just 54 points and 38.5 percent shooting. Then, on Jan. 3 and Jan. 6, BC will have a pair of home games against Clemson and Wake Forest, respectively.
As soon as the Eagles play North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Jan. 9, they’ll once again pause ACC play. Just like last year, Dartmouth will travel to BC to wrap up the Eagles’ non-conference schedule. From that point forward, every game will be played within the ACC.
In the last month and a half of the regular season, BC will play Florida State, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Miami twice.
The final stretch begins on Jan. 15 with a home game versus FSU. Last year, the Seminoles poured on 104 points in the teams’ only meeting. About a week later, the Eagles will make the trek to Louisville, Ky. to play a sans-Donovan Mitchell Cardinals team. And then a few days after that, on Jan. 24, BC will travel to New York for its first of two games against Syracuse.
As February approaches, the Eagles will venture back to Chestnut Hill. They will play Virginia Tech on Jan. 31 and Georgia Tech on Feb. 4. Despite ultimately falling, BC fared decently well against both of these teams in 2016. In fact, it even led Georgia Tech by seven points at halftime in last year’s matchup.
The Eagles will play Notre Dame in two of their next four games (Feb. 6 and Feb. 17). In between those matchups, BC will host Miami on Feb. 10 and play at Pittsburgh on Feb. 13. Three days after the Eagles’ second bout with the Irish, BC will fly south for a game against North Carolina State—one of the two teams in the conference that the Eagles have defeated over the course of the past two years.
BC will stay down south for its next game, as Christian’s group will play at Miami on Feb. 24. The Eagles’ final home game will be against Syracuse. The last time BC hosted the Orange, Ky Bowman scored 30 points, the Eagles shot 16-of-26 from 3-point land, and, most importantly, the team broke its two-year ACC winless streak.
BC will return to the state of Florida once more before the season’s end. The Eagles will close out their home-and-home series against FSU on March 3 to conclude the regular season.
For the second year in a row, the ACC Tournament will be held in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The date of BC’s first postseason game is dependent on BC’s regular season performance.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor