Wednesday, August 28, 2013
BC, Harvard gear up for hoops season
By Jack McCluskey
It’s not quite September yet, but fall is in the air.
Students are streaming back onto campuses across the region and the football season is about to kick off.
Need another sign of the changing seasons? The college basketball schedules for 2013-14 are being released.
Boston College announced its schedule this past Thursday -- with highlights including a matchup with UMass at TD Garden (part of a tripleheader that also includes Harvard-Holy Cross and Boston University-Northeastern) and two games at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic (the first versus New England rival UConn) -- and Harvard followed on Monday.
Highlights for the Crimson include the program’s first trip to the Great Alaska Shootout (which they’ll likely be favored to win) and a nationally televised trip to Storrs, Conn., to take on UConn.
There is one game that stands out on both schedules: Wed., Jan. 1, Boston College at Harvard.
Wait, BC at Harvard?
After his Crimson won their fifth straight game against the Eagles at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill in December, Tommy Amaker talked about what the matchup means for his team:
“It’s been very meaningful for us,” he said. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to play Boston College. We’ve been fortunate. But the outcome is not indicative of us wanting to maintain this game. It’s about us having an opportunity to play an ACC team -- it’s always gonna be a road game, they’re not gonna, I’m sure, come over to play us, which certainly I understand that.”
Oh, how things change.
While BC has endured a downswing since the switch from former coach Al Skinner to current coach Steve Donahue, Harvard has been ascendant. Amaker has stocked the program with talented, hard-working players like Wesley Saunders and Siyani Chambers, taken the Ivy League by storm (winning at least a share of the title in three straight seasons, going to the NCAA tournament in two straight seasons and winning the program’s first NCAA game in 2012) and made Harvard into a potential Top 25 team to start 2013-14.
And so the ACC team (Conte Forum capacity: 8,606) will go to the Ivy League team (Lavietes Pavilion capacity: 2,050) and play as a likely underdog (though ACC Rookie of the Year Olivier Hanlan and players like Joe Rahon, Ryan Anderson and Dennis Clifford give the Eagles hope that good times are just around the bend). It’ll be the Eagles’ first visit to Cambridge in more than 20 years, with the last such trip coming in 1991.
Won’t that be a sight to see?
The college hoops season can’t get here quickly enough.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.