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men's college basketball notebook

An awful loss to North Carolina aside, all is not lost for Boston College men’s basketball

BC coach Earl Grant is trying to settle on a rotation and find some rhythm for his team.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Perhaps it was a good thing the Boston College-North Carolina men’s college basketball game conflicted with a Patriots home game Sunday.

For BC fans, it had to be unwatchable, a 91-65 debacle that was worse than the score indicated, if that’s possible. The Eagles shot 16 percent in the first half, falling behind by as many as 30 points. Even Mac Jones couldn’t have helped them.

The Eagles have problems and will finish near the bottom of the ACC, but they are not that bad. Except for one person, the entire team and coaching staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few weeks, according to coach Earl Grant. They hadn’t played since Dec. 13 and had three practices to prepare, and that’s exactly what it looked like.

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Grant did not offer any excuses, which is a positive attribute despite what anyone says.

“We’ve told them, ‘Don’t make excuses because you’ve been off,’” said Grant. “We’ve got to have a mind-set that nobody cares that we’ve been off for the last couple of weeks.”

Grant is hopeful that there will be no more pauses since everyone has already been positive, and with everyone practicing and playing consistently, that will give him a chance to “find a rotation, some rhythm.”

And despite the North Carolina result, there are winnable games ahead. The next three scheduled games are at Pitt Saturday, vs. Georgia Tech at Conte Forum Jan. 12, and at Clemson Jan. 15.

Hopefully for BC fans, those games will prove to be a lot more watchable than Sunday’s.

Murphy’s Law applies: What could go wrong has gone wrong for Northeastern.

Playing without one of their best players, Shaq Walters, the Huskies lost twice on a CAA Southern road trip, falling to Elon and William & Mary. The Huskies never got going against Elon, then basically threw the W&M game away.

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Up 2 with four seconds remaining, NU committed a blocking foul that allowed W&M to tie the game. Then the Huskies threw the ball away on the inbounds pass. W&M could only get a 3-point heave from the corner off its inbounds play, but a phantom foul was called on the Huskies, which allowed the Tribe to win.

Then, with the Huskies facing an NBA-like schedule — home games Monday and Wednesday — COVID problems with Charleston and UNC Wilmington forced the postponements of those games. The Huskies have to live with all the painful memories until Saturday, when they’re scheduled to host Drexel.

The upside down: The CAA had a strange few days, including Northeastern’s nightmare road trip. William & Mary, picked to finish last in the preseason, won both of its games. Hofstra, which had an impressive win at Arkansas, was W&M’s other victim. Delaware, the preseason top team, lost to UNC Wilmington, picked to finish ninth. This league will be impossible to predict.

UMass just waits … and waits: The Minutemen haven’t played since Dec. 19. They had hoped to play Fordham Sunday but found out at 5 p.m. Saturday that the game was postponed. That’s three postponements/cancellations.

Coach Matt McCall says his team has had a couple of positives, but not enough to stop them from playing. The problem is with the opponents. He also has tried to schedule another game but hasn’t been able to do it.

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So, the Minutemen just practice — McCall says they’ve done some fun activities, too — and, hopefully, will play at Richmond Wednesday.

What we know about Harvard: Not enough, especially since the Crimson’s game against Princeton last weekend was postponed. We’ll know a lot more after they host Brown and Yale this Friday and Sunday.

Tales from the transfer portal: Sy Chatman, UMass to Illinois State. McCall felt Chatman would be a key player for the Minutemen but it never happened. He wasn’t doing much at Illinois State, where he landed in June 2020, either until this season. The 6-foot-8-inch forward has emerged as the Redbirds’ second-leading scorer at 15.5 ppg and leading rebounder at 6.5.

Joe Sullivan can be reached at josephsullivan1974@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan.