2011-2012 record: 9-22, 4-12 in the ACC

Head coach: Steve Donahue

The bottom-dwelling team in the ACC preseason coaches’ poll, Boston College appears to have a grim outlook in the upcoming season. Hopeful that his team can silence its doubters this year, Donahue disagrees with the pessimistic projections, saying his players are “light years ahead” of last year in terms of experience and physical maturity.

Last season, though, the Eagles notched the fewest wins of all the programs in the conference. In those wins, 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Patrick Heckmann showed flashes of brilliance, erupting for a season-high 32 points against UC Riverside. As he adjusts to the American style of play after coming to the U.S. from a German high school, he could begin to combine his raw talent with increased consistency and emerge as a threat in the ACC. It will also help him to be healthy in 2012-13, as he missed much of conference play last year with mononucleosis.

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Fellow sophomore Ryan Anderson will also have to bear a heavy load in his second season after leading the team with 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a freshman. Other members of last year’s nine-man recruiting class will get ample opportunities to step up. California native Jordan Daniels showed point guard potential while leading the team with 2.6 assists per game in under 30 minutes of action per contest, and Lonnie Jackson showed off his long-range shooting ability by draining 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip. Seven-foot center Dennis Clifford showed potential as an interior defender and will have every chance to develop an offensive game to match.

One thing that needs to go right: Boston College, which featured five freshmen starters last season, will need to improve its chemistry on the court to avoid the conference cellar.

One thing that could go wrong: The youngest team in the ACC for the second straight season, the Eagles might be doomed by their Achilles’ heel—their lack of experience and talent.

The starting five: small forward Patrick Heckmann, power forward Ryan Anderson, center Dennis Clifford, shooting guard Lonnie Jackson and point guard Jordan Daniels.

Projected finish in the ACC: 12th