Skinner's Flying On

By Josh Herwitt - September 04, 2007

When Boston College first made its lofty move from the Big East to the ACC, one of the biggest questions standing in the way was how the Eagles would fair in what many consider to be the country's toughest and most talented basketball conference.

But after spending the last two seasons against the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Georgia Tech, Al Skinner won't be flapping his wings away from Chestnut Hill anytime soon.

After all, the Boston College coach agreed to a contract extension Tuesday that will keep him with the Eagles all the way through the 2012-13 season.

While the Eagles aren't expected by many to contend with the Tar Heels or Blue Devils for this year's conference crown, it's a move that Skinner is certainly deserving of.

"Al Skinner has led our basketball program to a level of consistent excellence," Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo said in a release issued by the school. "He has established himself as one of the top coaches in all of college basketball. Our program is in very good hands, and we are pleased to have him continue as our head coach."

Between his 196-120 overall record and six appearances in the NCAA Tournament, there's no denying that Skinner has accomplished a lot since arriving at BC from his previous coaching stint at Rhode Island.

Just look at what he's done over the past three seasons.

In 2005-06 during his final season in the Big East, Skinner left his mark on the conference with a 20-0 start and a trip to the Sweet 16 in March.

A year later, Skinner was garnering just as much success against a different batch of opponents, as BC claimed a school-record 28 wins in its first season in the ACC.

And this past season, the UMass alum guided the Eagles to a 21-12 record and No. 7-seed in the Big Dance, where they were ousted in the second round by Big East champ and eventual Final Four participant Georgetown.

So with first-round draft selections Jared Dudley and Sean Williams now enjoying life in the NBA, it'll be up to Skinner and point guard Tyrese Rice, Boston College's' second-leading scorer last season at 17.6 points, to prepare the Eagles for its conference slate after going up against Michigan, Providence and Kansas in the preseason.

Tipping Off In Puerto Rico

One of the most diverse lineups will grace the floor in November at the 2007 O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off, as eight conferences will be represented at the state-of-the-art Coliseo de Puerto Rico.

Miami, Providence and Arkansas headline the three BCS schools that will be playing in the Tip-Off, while Temple, Southern, Houston, Marist and last year's Cinderella story VCU round out the three-day competition, which concludes Nov. 18.

With so many other preseason tournaments going on at the same time, this is one that could easily get lost in the shuffle. But with VCU guard Eric Maynor returning to Richmond, it's worth keeping an eye on the Rams, who -- not to forget -- finished off Duke with a shocking two-point upset in one of the best games of last year's NCAA Tournament.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 11:28 PM on September 04, 2007

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