As we near the release of the 2019-20 Boston College men’s basketball schedule, the fields of assorted in-season tournaments and challenges have begun to trickle out—and the Eagles have found themselves among those. While the details of the season opener, Nov. 6 against Wake Forest, were released in mid-March, BC has added two more dates to the schedule in the past day alone.
On Thursday, the Eagles announced that they would host Northwestern on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Later that day, BC revealed that it would head West on Dec. 21 to face California in the first Al Attles Classic, scheduled to take place at the Chase Center—the brand new home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Both matchups come against teams that are coming off shaky seasons.
The first, Northwestern, made its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance two years ago, but has followed with consecutive sub-.500 seasons. Last year, the Wildcats managed just 13 wins—less than half that of their 2016-17 total—and were bounced in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The matchup is an interesting one, as it’s a return to Chestnut Hill for small forward A.J. Turner, who transferred from the program after his sophomore year to head to Evanston. Turner started 20 games for Northwestern last season, averaging 8.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in nearly 30 minutes per game. He’ll be leaned on even more this season after the graduation of Vic Law and Dererk Pardon.
Despite finishing six games under .500, the Wildcats still slotted in at 74th in Kenpom.com’s rankings. This was the product of the difficult Big Ten, a conference that BC has had plenty of success against—it’s 7-4 in the annual challenge since arriving to the ACC. Northwestern will face the Eagles with a pair of incoming four-star recruits in Robbie Beran and Jared Jones.
The second team, California, recorded just eight wins for the second straight year in 2018-19. It’s been rough sledding in Berkeley since Cuonzo Martin departed the program to coach at Missouri, as Wyking Jones went 16-46 in his first two years on campus. That resulted in Jones being given the quick hook and sent on his way, with the Golden Bears turning to Mark Fox. He spent the last nine years heading up the SEC’s Georgia, so it should be interesting to see if Fox can bring his success on defense—the Bulldogs finished 27th in defensive efficiency in 2018-19—to a team that ranked 286th in the same category.
The actual event the Eagles are a part of is an exciting one. BC will play one of four games at the Warriors’ impressive new home, joining the likes of Stanford, Arizona, Saint Mary’s, and Nevada. Al Attles, who the quadruple-header is named after, is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 and has long been associated with the Warriors.
Further updates will follow as the rest of the BC schedule is released.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor