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How 'bout dem Eagles?

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  February 15, 2009 08:11 PM

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Harvard 82, Boston College 70

Go ahead. Find a weirder result in all of Division 1 for the entire 2008-09 season

It came only three days after BC had beaten North Carolina at Carolina. At the time I was surprised -- who wasn't? -- but not totally gobsmacked because I had seen Harvard twice and thought they were pretty good. So good, in fact, that I thought they were capable of making a run at the Ivy League title. They came within one defensive rebound and one stop of an in-bounds play of beating Northeastern, and that would have been a notable W, for sure.

But now that the Eagles have defeated Carolina and Duke in the same season for the first time in school history, they have an even more amazing distinction. They are the first team in the recorded history of mankind to defeat both Carolina and Duke while also losing to Harvard, who, since that glorious Wednesday evening at Conte Forum, have gone 2-6 in the Ivies.

Give BC that W and they'd have 20 already.

I thought going into the Duke game that BC needed to come up with three more wins in order to secure the NCAA berth. A 20-win team could be ignored in a crazy year, but I could not possibly imagine an ACC team winning 21 and not getting in. And I was counting a W, if possible, in the first round of the ACC tourney as one of those 21.,

Now they only need two. Understand it's still not a lock. BC could win at Miami or NC State or lose at home to Florida State or Georgia Tech. You'd like to think they'll get those two before the ACC tournament begins, but after what we've seen from this wacky and wonderful BC team, who knows?

I've been watching BC teams for 45 years, but I can't recall a squad as unpredictable as this one. It sounds so cliche-ish, but this is a bunch that really can beat anybody, or lose to anybody. Consider how alternatively dangerous and vulnerable them looked during the final seven minutes of the Duke game, when they interspersed some gruesomely ugly possessions (slpppy passes, mostly), with some exquisite play. How'd you like that superbly executed alley-oop from Josh Southern to Joe Trapani coming out of that time out, for example?

Once again I give you two words: Reggie Jackson. Al Skinner had better hire a valet. Make sure this kid goes to class, Make sure he eats right. Make sure he never, ever thinks about going, you know, clubbin'. Just make sure he stays healthy and eligible so he can keep doing what he does to the Carolinas and Dukes of the world for the next three years.

There are oodles of talented basketball players in the land. But there are only a few who've been blessed with the moxie and guts to treat the biggest moments as pick-up games. Reggie Jackson may never be All-ACC or get to the next level. But he has an unteachable knack for rising to occasions. What a recruiting coup for Al Skinner & Co.

Oh, and speaking of Al, maybe just a teeny-weeny little Mona Lisa grin at game's end? Would that be asking too much? I'm tellin ya'. In all of Division 1, there is nobody -- nobody -- like Al Skinner.

Miami is next. Good. Anybody but Harvard.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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