BC introduces its new coach

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BC introduces its new coach

Associated Press

BOSTON -- After thrusting Cornell into the national spotlight with three straight Ivy League titles and a trip to the Sweet 16, Steve Donahue has an even tougher task at Boston College.

He needs to make the Eagles relevant in their hometown.

The former Cornell coach was introduced at BC on Wednesday - first to the media, and then at a campus pep rally to students who've yawned through seven NCAA tournament berths in nine years and a switch to the Atlantic Coast Conference that was intended to bring big-time college basketball to Boston.

"We'll do everything we can to make everybody feel good about Boston College basketball," Donahue said. "I believe that's my job."

Donahue led the Big Red to a 29-5 record this season - the most wins in Ivy history - and the school's first ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 in 59 years. Cornell beat favored Temple and Wisconsin in the NCAAs - its first NCAA wins ever - and was the first Ivy team to reach the Sweet 16 in more than three decades. Cornell lost to No. 1 seed Kentucky 62-45 in the East Regional semifinals.

"While we are all saddened to lose Steve as our head coach, we wish him and his family terrific success at Boston College," Cornell athletic director Andy Noel said. "Under his leadership, Cornell basketball has reached unprecedented heights."

Donahue replaces Al Skinner, who in 13 years in Chestnut Hill was the winningest coach in BC history. But he was fired after two losing seasons in three years, while attendance at Conte Forum declined in each of the past four seasons.

Donahue thinks he can change that.

"It's the most passionate sports region in the country. We play in the best conference in the country," Donahue said. "We want everyone on board. ... I find it hard to believe if we play (an exciting) brand of basketball, and do it in the ACC, that we won't fill the building."

For the second straight season, an ACC team won the national championship, with Duke's win on Monday night following North Carolina's title in 2009.

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

After a 3-0 start, the Ravens dropped a 28-27 decision to the Raiders in Baltimore. That started a four-game skid for Baltimore which included back-to-back losses at the Jets and Giants. But they got back on track against the Steelers and have won four out of five with their only being to the Cowboys. It’s hard to get a clean read on who they really are. 

They had narrow, early-season wins over crap teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville. They had a narrow loss to an outstanding Raiders team and were close with the Cowboys but got run over late with Dallas scoring on its last five possessions. They are coming off their most impressive team win, a 38-6 triumph over the Dolphins. 

This game is a big one in the AFC race not just because it’s a divisional leader but also because it will be a common game between the Patriots and Raiders. The Raiders already beat Baltimore. 

The Pats need to keep pace in a tiebreaker they currently trail. Weird schedule quirk? The Ravens have had only one road game that required a long commute since September. That was the game at Dallas. They just played six of their last nine and four of their last five at home.

LAST 5

Ravens 21, Steelers 14
Ravens 28, Browns 7
At Cowboys 27, Ravens 17
Ravens 19, Bengals 14
Ravens 38, Dolphins 6

OFFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

More than half of Joe Flacco’s 323 completions have gone to three players: tight end Dennis Pitta (61 catches), wide receiver Mike Wallace (57) and wide receiver Steve Smith (54). Those players are 31, 30 and 37 respectively so it’s a veteran group.
Flacco is 114 of 159 (72 percent) with nine touchdowns and three picks in Baltimore’s last four games. He has 15 TDs and 11 picks this season.

The Ravens don’t run it much: 502 pass attempts, 287 rushing attempts. Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon are the lead backs. West has carried more than 15 times in a game on three occasions this season.

Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been playing very well as has the rest of the Ravens offensive line in recent weeks. Still, Baltimore is just at 34.1 on third down conversions.

DEFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

The Ravens have allowed 207 points this season, tied with the Patriots for lowest in the AFC and just behind Seattle (194) overall.
Baltimore’s allowing just 33.3 percent conversions on third down and only 3.4 yards per carry.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing 64.1 percent of their passes and have 21 touchdown passes and 14 picks against the Ravens defense. Ten of the Ravens 14 picks came against the Browns, Jaguars and in last week’s rout of Miami.
 
WHERE ARE THEIR HEADS AT

"I just think they've got a great team. They've got Tom Brady. They've been the best team in the conference, and it's going to be our toughest challenge of the year." – John Harbaugh, Ravens coach, on Monday night’s matchup

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

The Boston Celtics are used to this playing without a key starter thing, so tonight’s game at Orlando won’t be all that different than most of their games this season.
 
Isaiah Thomas will not play tonight against the Magic due to a right groin injury he suffered in Monday’s 107-106 loss at Houston.
 
Thomas flew back to Boston Tuesday night.
 
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters he is leaning towards having Marcus Smart, who filled in earlier for an injured Jae Crowder, start in place of Thomas.
 
The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Rockets game, but Thomas continued to play on as he knocked down a 3-point shot just moments after he first began grimacing while holding the groin.
 
Following the loss, Thomas acknowledged the injury did bother him for the rest of the game as he finished with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting.
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” Thomas told reporters. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who was named to his first all-star team last season, has been even more dynamic offensively this year.
 
He leads the Celtics with a career-high 26 points per game and has been ranked among the NBA’s top 10 scorers most of this season.
 
It is too soon to tell if the injury will sideline him for one game, or whether he’ll be out for an extended period of time.