Head to favorite sports bar near the TD Garden or elbow up to your favorite Fenway establishment and you’re more than likely to find a game of interest on. Whether the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots or Red Sox are playing, there is timeless interest from Boston fans for their pro teams.
The college sports scene, at least to my knowledge, has always been on the backburner in the Hub.
Perhaps that speaks to the sheer number of institutions in the city itself (35), the success of its pro sports teams and the fact that the city’s college hoops teams have rarely been dominant.
With March Madness right around the corner and games scheduled at the TD Garden, might we soon see a Boston-based team play at 100 Legends Way?
Boston College has long been at the forefront of the college sports “scene” in Boston, with its top-of-the-line facilities and its placement in a major conference. Although Al Skinner brought a level of respect to the program, it has been nearly a decade since his departure, and the Eagles haven’t exactly flourished since (one season over .500 since).
Might head coach Jim Christian and Co. be on the track to relevance in the ACC?
Some good takes on BC basketball about 40 minutes in https://t.co/5xXJyQDkfd
— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) March 4, 2018
“I think Jim Christian has done a solid job,” ESPN Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman said on Bob Ryan’s Podcast. “We’re [Goodman and Bob Ryan] both on the same page with Al Skinner, when we both wrote something about it when he left, and it was the right move.”
The team has been paced by a couple of guards from North Carolina, Jerome Robinson – who could be a late first-round pick, according to Goodman – and Ky Bowman. Robinson has averaged 20.8 points with 51/44/83 shooting splits this season, while Bowman has been a more than solid play-maker, leading the team with 4.8 assists and second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per game.
Outside of a miracle run in the ACC Tournament (the Eagles upset North Carolina State, and take on Clemson today in the ACC Quarterfinals), the Eagles will likely end their season on the outside looking in. Nevertheless, with a 17-14 overall record and a 7-11 conference mark (with wins over Duke and Miami), Boston College has righted the ship from its last two disastrous seasons (2-34 conference record).
Head from the hilltops of Chestnut Hill to the narrow streets of Huntington Ave and you’ll find a familiar face patrolling the sidelines at Matthews Arena.
“We’ve known Bill Coen for a long time – we know that he can evaluate with the best of them,” Goodman said to Ryan during the podcast, which was shot live on location by CLNS Media.
Coen was a longtime assistant under Skinner at BC, and was known, among many things, for bringing in top talent and individual player development. Craig Smith, Jared Dudley, Reggie Jackson and Sean Williams were some of the elite talents Coen had a hand in bringing to Boston College during his tenure there.
“I say it all the time, ‘who’s going to be your guy?’ Because there’s always going to be somebody that this dude finds, and again, he’s done it again,” Goodman said of Coen.
“The dude” that Goodman is referring to is Vasa Pusica, a 6’5 Serbian guard who leads the team in scoring (17.6) and assists per game (5). He’s also shot 51% from the floor and 42% from three-point.
Northeastern has the disadvantage of playing in a mostly southern conference (Colonial Athletic Association). The conference’s tournament was held in North Charleston, SC, which is the home to College of Charleston (who bested Northeastern in overtime of the conference’s championship game on Tuesday).
Middlesex County’s finest college basketball program, the Harvard Crimson again find themselves in contention for a dance come tournament time.
The Ivy League now has a four-team tournament, helpful given the Crimson lost its only game to the University of Pennsylvania (who shares the conference’s best record with Harvard). Unfortunately, in a similar situation to Northeastern, Harvard will have to win in enemy territory, as the Ivy League tournament will be played at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
— Harvard Basketball (@HarvardMBB) March 6, 2018
“Now that the Ivy League has a four-team tourney, all you got to do is get hot at the right time,” Goodman mused. “They got Bryce Aiken back, Seth Towns is really good and Chris Lewis is, too. They’ve done a really good job of recruiting, taking advantage and getting top-100 kids that understand the value of a Harvard education and the fact that Harvard has gotten plenty of attention over the last few years.”
Tommy Amaker, who has now been the head coach for the last decade, has guided the Crimson to four NCAA Tournament appearances, but has missed out the previous two seasons.
“When I go to watch a Harvard practice, I walk away really impressed with the fact at how Tommy Amaker communicates with his players,” Goodman said of the former Michigan and Seton Hall coaches approach to teaching. “So many coaches these days – especially college – they want to jump these kids and they kind of want to show how much they know and get up in them. Tommy Amaker keeps his composure and actually Bob – he teaches.”