When Boston College men's basketball returned to campus following a promising preseason trip to the Bahamas, they were greeted with the release of the schedule for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. The slate for the new season features some new opponents and a lot familiar rivals as the Martin Jarmond era of BC basketball begins.
The most notable omission from BC’s early season schedule is the annual game against cross-river rival Harvard. This will be the first year since 2007 in which the Eagles and Crimson don’t play. Harvard is always a good early season test for BC, giving them the chance to play a solid team outside of the Power 5 before tip-off tournaments and conference play begin. Without Harvard, the assortment of programs like Maine, South Caroline State, and Colgate make much of this year’s non-conference schedule very weak.
Looking at the beginning of the season, the Eagles will participate in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, instead of playing in the Barclays Classic. In the first round of the tournament BC will play Texas Tech, its first Power 5 test of the year. Last year, BC lost to another Big 12 team, Kansas State, in the opener of the Barclays Classic. The Red Raiders are a tough team led by Zach Smith, who removed his name from the NBA draft pool after deciding to stay on for his senior year.
Game two in the tournament could put BC up against last year’s NCAA tournament Cinderella: Northwestern.
After sitting out last year, BC will also get the chance to return to the ACC/BIG 10 challenge. The Eagles will travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska. In what might be the premier non-conference event of the season, BC will have the opportunity for a statement win before the grind that is the ACC conference schedule.
SuperFans should be sending thank you letters to the ACC scheduling committee as this year’s slate doesn’t have any of BC’s premier games during winter break. Clemson and Wake Forest are the only two conference foes that come to Chestnut Hill while the students are away. In the past three seasons Syracuse, Duke, and Notre Dame have all come to campus over school break at least once.
When BC hosts Duke on Saturday, Dec. 9 it will be the first time that students get to see the Blue Devils up close and personal since the 2013-2014 season.
Other marquee home games include the Saturday, Feb. 17 showdown against Mike Breen and rival Notre Dame, and the final home game of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 28 versus Syracuse.
Some easier competition early in the season should give BC’s high-flying backcourt of Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson a chance to put a few tallies in the win column and carry momentum into one of the better set up ACC schedules the Eagles have had in recent memory. Hopefully the exciting talent and favorable schedule will begin to address the attendance issue Conte Forum has seen in recent years.
The countdown to the Nov. 10 tip-off against Maine is underway. Basketball will be back on the Heights before we know it.