Today we sit down with Arthur Bailin of BC Interruption for a Q&A about Saturday’s matchup in Chestnut Hill.
Q: Earl Grant is a former Clemson assistant so let’s start with him. He is in year one at BC and while they are just 11-16, they have shown improvement from the past two seasons. How is the BC fanbase feeling about Coach Grant?
I think that there is a healthy bit of skepticism about Coach Grant, through absolutely no fault of his own. The team has just been bad for so long. I remember when I was college in the press room for every game it was just depressing. Jim Christian seemed like a good guy and he was always honest about the team, but he didn’t really get the program out of the rut the way we were hoping. Save for one year when Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman really shined and BC had a bit of a run in the ACC tournament, it was all just a lot of bad and the program just never got off the ground. When Christian left, there was a whole lot of attrition, so Grant inherited quite a mess.
With that said, I don’t think that there is any question that Grant has exceeded expectations. This was a year where if he got the program leveled out to the point that they could build, that would have been a mark of success. Grant has done that, and then some. The Eagles are competitive in-conference, and there is optimism. I think the overarching attitude is a healthy dose of optimism for the Grant administration, and I hope that he continues to build on it.
Q: Clemson fans likely haven’t watched much of Boston College this season. What is player or general style we should be looking out for from the Eagles?
The Eagles tend to be a lower tempo team (though no one would ever confuse them for Virginia) that has a tendency to be very streaky when shooting. That’s the rub on the Eagles, frankly. When the Eagles are shooting well, they can compete with anyone in the league. When the Eagles can’t find their stroke, it can be absolutely brutal to watch.
Q: Not that Clemson is a NCAA tournament regular, but we generally have a little more to play for this time of year than we do now. Since we’re in the same boat (essentially eliminated from even the NIT), what are you looking for down the stretch from your team?
We’re looking for a strong finish to the season. The tournament was never an expectation for the Eagles this year, but we’d love to see the Eagles finish the year strong and add to all of the progress they made this year. I’d like them to win two of three to finish off the season and make it out of the first day of the tournament. That would be a fantastic end to the season, and if you look at the two teams BC is playing, it is not out of the question.
Q: BC has already won in Clemson. The Tigers had their two best players — PJ Hall and Hunter Tyson — for that contest. Now BC is at home and Clemson will be without at least one if not both of their post-players. Still, Clemson has the better record and the higher KenPom ranking. How are you feeling about this contest?
I will say that on Kenpom, BC is a 45% underdog at home, so while I think Clemson, deservedly so, should be considered a favorite, I expect this to be a very tight game, particularly since the Tigers could struggle in the post. I think a 65-64 BC win is in order. I think BC has shown to be a far better home team than away, and the Eagles have not only beaten the Tigers this year, the Eagles have also beaten teams better than the Tigers this year. With that said, BC is very streaky, and there is no rhyme or reason to when they’re hot and when they’re not. Couple that with Clemson being a very tough team to play, and it’s hard to say exactly what’s going to happen. I expect this to be a close game.