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Tall task at hand for Trapani-less Eagles

02.08.10 at 8:01 pm ET
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Corey Raji and the Eagles are hoping to improve their standing in the league to give them a less-challenging road in the ACC tournament. (AP)

Boston College’s chances of playing in the postseason are dwindling with each loss it suffers. While that news may be grim, the idea that the players aren’t giving a solid effort has been thrown out the window. Since the humiliating loss to Maryland at Conte Forum Jan. 16, the Eagles have gone 2-3 but have not lost a game by more than four points.

This past Saturday, the Eagles were very close to pulling off one of those wins that look great on a team’s resume come Selection Sunday, but a Joe Trapani 3-pointer that would have forced overtime failed to fall at the buzzer vs. Duke.

When asked after the game what the chances of a postseason berth were, coach Al Skinner didn’t seem interested in talking about the tournament. However, he did not provide the kind of panic or great sound bite that Jim Mora did when talking about his Colts.

“Right now I can’t even think about or worry about the postseason because we haven’t really put ourselves, in my opinion, in a position to consider that,” Skinner said after his team fell to 12-11 overall and 3-6 in the ACC. “We’ve got to get ourselves some wins before we can start entertaining anything like that.

“That’s the bigger picture, and we’ve got to be focused on the smaller picture, which is Wake Forest in our next game.”

Tuesday night’s game vs. Wake became a bigger challenge when Trapani, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, was forced to skip the trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., because, according to a release, he is sick.

The Demon Deacons (16-5, 6-3) are coming off consecutive wins over Miami and upstart Virginia, and they swept the two-game series with BC last season. Before that, the Eagles dominated the series by coming away victorious in the first seven meetings, and Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said the Eagles always are a tough matchup.

“They have some hard-nosed, tough guys that play hard, and when you have that, you’ve got a chance in this league to beat anybody,” Gaudio said Monday during the ACC coaches teleconference. “Last year they won at [North Carolina] and they were right there with Duke on Saturday. I just think they have tough, hard-nosed guys that take on coach Skinner’s personality.”

The Eagles need to win and be competitive in their remaining seven games to set themselves up for a better seed in the ACC tournament. The winner of the tournament gets an automatic bid for the NCAAs, and that may be the only way the Eagles get to put on their dancing shoes.

After Saturday’s loss, Corey Raji said he was happy with the way the team was competing and looked ahead to the task at hand.

“If we play with this effort we will put ourselves in a good place for the ACC tournament,” Raji said. “We just got to go down there and play well and hopefully that will be enough to get us in.”

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