Spread: VT by 2. Click here to watch the VT at bc game live online courtesy of TheACC.com.
On Saturday in front of a smattering of family and friends, the Hokies will play the boston college eagles at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill. I’ll tell you right now – there are plenty of good seats still available. The eagles are drawing just 4,800 fans per game at the 8,600 seat Forum. That’s about 1,500 fewer fans than they draw on average for a bc hockey game in the same building! It will look like an ACC tournament Thursday noon game.
The Hokies must ignore all the empty seats and lack of enthusiasm on Saturday and find their own energy and motivation. This is a huge game for Tech. Early in the year, for every positive step forward VT took, they’d take took steps back. Lately, it has been the opposite. Based on that, the Hokies would lose this game (they lost at georgia tech a week and a half ago in a half-empty arena). But with a win, Tech moves two games ahead of the eagles (with a head-to-head win) and stay in sole possession of fourth place (the last ACC Tournament bye spot). A loss and the Hokies fall into a tie for fourth with at least the eagles, and possibly three other teams.
This will mark the third straight game Tech plays a team on a severe losing trend. miami had lost three in a row and five out of six before VT beat them Sunday, and n.c. state had lost five out of six before the Hokies took them down on Wednesday. The eagles are really leaking oil right now. Since starting 4-1 in the ACC, they have lost three in a row, all by woodshed beatings:
- @fsu 67-51 (though it was close at the half)
- @duke 84-68
- unc 106-74 (ouch!)
boston college’s star, Reggie Jackson, has been a shadow of himself lately. He averaged 22 ppg through their first five ACC games (including 8/9 shooting against ga tech and 9/13 versus n.c. state). Since then, he’s averaged just under nine ppg in their three consecutive losses. Reggie was benched for the start of both halves at duke, reportedly for loafing in practice. And he scored just six points on 2/10 shooting against unc.
Meanwhile, the Hokies’ Jeff Allen has been on a tear. He has three straight double-doubles, averaging 17 ppg and 11 rebounds in the last three contests. He’s had at least 10 rebounds in five straight games, the longest such stretch of his career.
Much like at n.c. state, VT has not done well historically at boston college. Tech is just 1-8 all time there, with the lone win a gutty 81-73 overtime affair in 2008 without a suspended Jeff Allen (JT Thompson’s coming out party).
- All-Time: bc 11-7
- In ACC Play: 5-5
- At bc in ACC Play: bc 4-1
- Last Year: VT 63-62 in Blacksburg, bc 80-60 in Chestnut Hill
|Position||Virginia Tech||boston college|
|Guard||11 Green 6-4||0 Jackson 6-3|
|Guard||23 Delaney 6-3||5 Paris 6-1|
|Wing/Guard||1 Bell 6-7||11 Raji 6-6 or 30 Elmore 6-5 or 31 Rubin 6-6|
|Forward||0 Allen 6-7||12 Trapani 6-8|
|Forward/Center||14 Davila 6-8||52 Southern 6-10|
I wouldn’t be surprised to see first year coach Steve Donahue make some alterations to the lineup considering they just lost by 32 to unc and have lost three in a row. If anyone, like Jackson, is slacking in practice they may start on the pine.
|Virginia Tech||boston college|
|Scorer||Delaney 18.3||Jackson 18.0|
|Rebounder||Allen 9.6||Trapani 7.4|
|Assists||Delaney 4.5||Jackson 4.9|
|Steals||Green 2.0||Jackson 1.1|
|Blocks||Bell 1.2||Trapani 0.7|
Random Stat: VT has led at the half in 13 straight games (11-2 record) and had a double-digit first-half lead in eight of nine games.
INSIDE THE eagles’ NEST:
- Offense: They LOVE to shoot the three. They’ve attempted 522 on the year, most in the ACC. And they do it well — they are second in the league at 39 percent. They have five guys averaging more than one made three-pointer per game. You basically have to defend everyone behind the arc except Josh Southern, Dallas Elmore and Gabriel Moton. Jackson is the only guy that scares you off the drive. Biko Paris is OK, but he’ll look to dish.
- Defense: I would expect to see some 2-3 zone from the eagles to force the Hokies to shoot from deep, along with man. But that would open up a big weakness of the eagles…
- Rebounding: bc is 10th in the ACC in defensive and offensive rebounding percentage (the Hokies are only slightly better). Whichever team does a better job on the boards will have an unexpected advantage. Against the wolfpack, Tech dominated the glass in the first half with 14 offensive rebounds. Considering how many three-pointers bc shoots, it is surprising their offensive rebounding percentage is so bad. I like the Hokies here, especially the way Allen and Davila are playing. Corey Raji is very good on the offensive glass, so Tech needs to get a butt on him.
- Best Player: Reggie Jackson – hands down. He’s the only guy in their starting lineup I’d take over one of ours (though I’m not sure who I’d sub out for us). Reggie is very athletic, is shooting 43 percent from deep (third in the league and ninth in makes). And he’s a solid defender… when he tries. He’s looked like a space cadet the last few games and Tech hopes that continues.
- Most Improved… Joe Trapani’s rebounding. Trapani still isn’t going to win any bodybuilding competitions. In fact, if they ever came out with a Girls of ACC Basketball calendar, he’d be in it along with Kyle Singler (and that wasn’t meant as a compliment). But he’s gotten much more aggressive on the glass this year, not afraid to bang inside.
- Worst Player: Josh Southern (who looks exactly like Tracy Smith of n.c. state). Josh isn’t that bad, he just doesn’t do anything. He’s a space-eater, a goon if you will. He scores 7.4 ppg but grabs just 4.2 rebounds and gets .4 blocks per game. That’s not enough for a 6-10, 263-pound “big man” (we use that term lightly).
- Most Distracted Player: Corey Raji is flying to the Super Bowl right after the game to watch his brother, B.J. play for the Packers. (hula hoop dance, anyone?)
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
- Go Nuts, Big Donut: Jeff Allen will have an advantage over whomever is guarding him when bc is in man defense. Southern is too slow, Trapani or Raji too small. Jeff needs to be aggressive. He should dominate this team but we’ve seen him disappear in other games like this. Even against n.c. state, after 10 early points, he barely scored the rest of the game.
- Defend the three-pointer… smartly: Tech must defend the perimeter well. Thirty-seven percent of bc’s points come from behind the arc, 32nd most in the nation. VT must take this aspect away from them. The eagles get just 17 percent of their points from the foul line, 317th in the land. Don’t foul three-point shooters and give them free points. Bell must be careful – he twice fouled a jump-shooter behind the arc against n.c. state.
- Tempo: bc is slow in terms of tempo (286th in the nation), but very efficient on offense (sixth best in D1). bc turns the ball over the least in the ACC, but also creates the least. In other words, there won’t be many fast break opportunities for either team. And bc is fine with that for the most part as they are a half court team other than Jackson and somewhat Paris. VT is more athletic than the eagles. Push the ball on misses and makes (inbounding) to try and look for easy buckets where possible.
- Debnam: Hey, the Hokies need to come out with some life in this game right at 1 p.m.. Paul, you gotta get these guys motivated! Do the Dougie or something, but get everyone pumped. VT needs to create their own adrenaline in an empty arena.
- Second Half Swagger: VT has gotten abused in second halves of late by bad teams. Are they tired with just The Ocho? Or is VT too busy playing not to lose with big leads (Tech has had a 10+ point lead in the first half of eight of their last nine games)? The Hokies have been outscored in the second half three games in a row. Even if they are ahead, they have to come out with that killer instinct and bury the eagles.
BORING FACTS ABOUT boston college:
- Established in 1863
- Type: Private – Jesuit
- Undergrad: 9k
- Postgrad: 4.5k
- Location: Chestnut Hill (just west of downtown Boston)
- Mascot: Baldwin the eagle (get it? Bald eagle… win games… Baldwin)
- bc participates in the Beanpot Tournament – a hocket tourney of bc, bu, northeastern, and harvard at the Boston Bruins (and Celtics) arena.
- Their football stadium seats just 44.5k (and they still don’t sell it out for big games)
- ACC Football and Basketball Titles: 0 (lost to VT in the 2007 and 2008 ACC Football Championship Game)
- Ed McMahon (Yes!)
- Chris O’Donnell
- Leonard Nimoy (no relation)
- Amy Poehler
- Elisabeth Hasselbeck
- Tip O’Neill
- John Kerry
- Mike Lupica
- John McLaughlin
- Bob Ryan
- Lesley Visser
- Jared Dudley
- Bruce Pearl
- Matt Ryan
- and of course, Doug Flutie – Flutie Hail Mary against miami