Boston College: ACC Outlook

Head coach Steve Donahue (right) has to find a way to get Matt Humphrey (left) going.

Record to date: 5-9

Strength so far: Um…their opponents aren’t getting to the foul line much? Boston College’s defensive free-throw rate (FTA/FGA) is 27.8, 26th in the country. If Boston College can keep teams off the foul line and start to shoot better themselves, they could sneak out a few wins in league play.

Needs improvement: Perimeter shooting/shooting in general. Boston College is last in the league easily in field goal percentage (41.4%; next-closest is Clemson at 43.4%) and 9th in three-point shooting (33.9%) despite attempting more three’s per game than any other ACC team. The Eagles have plenty other areas that they need to improve on, but for Steve Donahue’s offense to work at all, this has to get better.

Most important player: Matt Humphrey. The junior Oregon transfer is leading Boston College in shot attempts (10.0) and three-point attempts (5.9) per game, averaging 9.6 points. The problem is, he is shooting 30% from the floor and 29% from three. The 6-5 swing man has shot 50% or better just twice this season and yet, he is still taking 28.3% of BC’s shots. Taking him out, BC has shot 44.7 percent. He takes it down to 41.4. He came off the bench for the first time this year against Rhode Island, and the result was only his second 50% shooting game this year (and he made 2-of-4 three-pointers). There are only two other non-freshmen who play (Gabe Moton and John Cahill). Humphrey has to be a source of stability for this team.

Reason for optimism: It can’t get any worse. In all seriousness, the Eagles have turned in their top four offensive performances this year in the last five games, not to mention their top two defensive performances. Plus, there are plenty of guys on this team that can shoot three’s. At some point, they’re going to start falling.

Reason for pessimism: Dreadful offense. Three-pointers aren’t falling, two-pointers aren’t falling and in low-possession games, BC is turning it over too much. The number – 14.8 per game – isn’t terrible, but from a tempo-free perspective, BC’s slow pace makes that a 19.9% loss of ball, second-worst behind FSU at 21.6 percent.

Surprising stat: Of 25 ACC players ranked in scoring average, no Boston College player made the cut. Every other ACC team has at least one.

Most likely wins (2): Wake (1/21), Ga. Tech (2/29)

Most likely losses (11): @UNC, Virginia Tech, @NC State, @Virginia, NC State, Miami, Florida State, @Virginia Tech, Duke, @Maryland, @Miami

Toss-ups (3): Clemson, @Georgia Tech, @Wake Forest

Best-case scenario: 5-11. Steve Donahue would get Coach of the Year if this happened.

Worst-case scenario: 0-16. With offensively-challenged teams like Georgia Tech and Clemson on the schedule, it’s not likely.

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