As Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond gives away free Snack Attacks to put students in the seats, Boston College men’s basketball (13-8, 3-5 Atlantic Coast) will be searching for a performance that will keep them there for the duration of the game. Fresh off a rough 81-63 road loss to Syracuse (15-6, 4-4) at the Carrier Dome last Wednesday—the Orange shot a scalding 60.4 percent from the field—the Eagles return to Conte Forum to take on Virginia Tech (15-6, 4-4) looking to halt their recent skid and improve upon their excellent 11-1 record at home.
Although the possibility of a berth in the NCAA tournament has faded quite a bit over the last week, the Eagles will forfeit their remaining odds if they fail to protect home court on Wednesday night. The game also gives BC an opportunity to add a win over a surprisingly competitive Hokies team—Buzz Williams’s squad beat North Carolina at home last week—to their resume.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 9 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to Watch:
The game will be broadcasted locally on NESN. Nationally, the game can be found on ACC Network Extra and will be livestreamed on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1.) The Eagles are now the worst offensive rebounding team in the ACC during conference play, snaring rebounds after just 19.8 percent of their missed shots per KenPom.com. It isn’t the worst statistic for a guard-driven team reliant on the 3-pointer, but it does leave the Eagles with a much slimmer margin of error in their half court offensive execution. Even against Syracuse last Wednesday, BC only grabbed five offensive rebounds, despite the fact that many teams thrive on the offensive glass when their opponent goes to a zone defense.
2.) BC is shooting a league-high 39.2 percent from beyond the arc during conference play, driven by the play of junior guard Jerome Robinson. The junior star has canned 48.9 percent of his 3-pointers in ACC play, after shooting just 29.4 percent in ACC play last season. The team’s long-range shooting numbers jump up to 43.5 percent in home conference games. Scintillating shooting is a major reason why the Eagles have scored at least 70 points in each home ACC game this year, while failing to crack that mark even once in any of their road ACC games.
3.) Ky Bowman is averaging 4.5 turnovers per game in conference play. The sophomore point guard has totaled 18 turnovers and just 11 assists over his last three games and has turned the ball over at least four times in nine games this season. While his turnovers have increased partly with his expanded role as the main facilitator in the Eagles’ offense, this recent stint in ball security is still something that should concern head coach Jim Christian.
1.) The Hokies are shooting an incredible 56.1 percent inside the 3-point line in ACC play, the best mark in the conference. Williams’s team excels at getting the ball to the rim, aided by an up-tempo offensive approach.
2.) On the other hand, Virginia Tech is one of the conference’s worst defensive teams. They have allowed opponents to shoot a league-worst 42.3 percent from 3-point range in conference games and rarely block shots—the Hokies rank last in the conference with just nine blocks across eight games. While the shot blocking issues are attributable to a lack of size—among rotation players averaging over 10 minutes per game, only Kerry Blackshear Jr. stands taller than 6-foot-6—3-point defense is a huge concern for Williams.
3.) Ahmed Hill—the Hokies’ top scorer at 14.6 points per game—is shooting 47.1 percent from downtown this season on 5.7 attempts per game. An effective high volume gunner, Hill uses the threat of his shot and a strong frame to also score effectively around the rim. He ranks 11th nationally with a 69.1 true shooting percentage.
BC wins if…
It uses its league-best 3-point attack—spearheaded by Bowman, Robinson and Jordan Chatman—to torch the league’s worst 3-point defense. The Eagles are 7-2 in games where they hit at least 40 percent of their triples. Additionally, BC must greatly improve its perimeter defense from the Syracuse loss to avoid overly taxing Nik Popovic at the rim.
Virginia Tech wins if…
The Hokies take advantage of the Eagles’ lack of shot blocking in the paint to continue their tremendous success at the rim, running up the score and forcing BC to jack up a lot of ill-advised 3-pointers in a frantic attempt to stay in the game. If the Eagles’ perimeter defense doesn’t step up, this game could turn into a layup line for VTech, very similar to the one seen in the Syracuse game.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor