2009-2010 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Boston College

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(home games)
  • Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2010
  • Time: 7pm
  • TV: ESPNU



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With their five game winning streak snapped against Duke on Sunday night, the
Hokies will look to start a new streak tonight at Boston College. A victory over
the Eagles would give Tech another important road win, and they would be one
step closer to the NCAA tournament.

This will be the second meeting between these teams this season. The Hokies
won the first game 63-62, when a loose ball bounced to Dorenzo Hudson under the
basket and he put in the game winner with just seconds remaining.

Virginia Tech didn’t play particularly well in that first meeting, but they
won the turnover battle and that was the reason they won the game.

VT
vs. BC, First Meeting
Team Points FG% 3Pt% FT% Reb. TO’s
VT 63 38.6% 25% 78.9% 23 9
BC 62 55% 37.5% 93.8% 29 20

The Eagles out played the Hokies in nearly every phase of the game in that first
meeting. However, Tech got enough extra possessions due to turnover margin that
they were able to win the game. In fact, the game ended with Reggie Jackson
losing the ball and Jeff Allen coming away with the steal. It was a fitting end
to a very sloppy game.

BC is just 13-13 overall and 4-8 in the ACC, but they are a capable
basketball team. They are also a confident team after beating UNC this past
Sunday. It doesn’t matter that the Tar Heels are down. Any time you beat the
baby blue, it’s a confidence builder.

The Eagles have struggled on the road, but they are a tough out at home.
They’ve defeated UNC, Clemson and Miami in the Conte Forum, and they’ve also
lost very close games to Duke (66-63) and Florida State (61-57).

BC has no seniors in their starting lineup, so their best basketball is
probably coming next season.

BC
Starting Lineup
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G
Reggie Jackson
6-3 200 So. 13.5 5.7
G
Rakim Sanders
6-5 228 Jr. 11.2 3.3
F
Corey Raji
6-6 218 Jr. 11.5 6.3
F
Joe Trapani
6-8 228 Jr. 14.2 6.6
C
Josh Southern
6-10 248 Jr. 4.8 3.3

Boston College is a very big basketball team. They have good size at every
position, and each player is very strong for his size and position. Seth
Greenberg claimed earlier this week that this game would be more physical than
the Duke game, and he could be right.

Reggie Jackson is rapidly developing into the best player on this BC team. He
doesn’t start every game, but he is BC’s top scorer in conference games. Jackson
has good size, and though he’s not a great shooter, he’s a natural scorer. He
had 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first meeting with the Hokies, despite
playing just 24 minutes.

However, he also had five turnovers in that game. BC’s other point guard,
Biko Paris (6-1, 200, Jr.) also had five turnovers. The Eagles’ lead guards let
them down in that game, and they’ll have to play better this time around.

Rakim Sanders is a big 2-guard, and he actually looks bigger than his listed
weight. He missed part of BC’s non-conference schedule with an ankle injury, and
he struggled with his shot after returning from the injury. Sanders has been
playing well recently, and he’s shooting at a higher percentage now.


Sanders can step up and hit three-pointers, but his brute strength for his
position is his greatest attribute. He can rebound and overpower smaller guards
to score inside. Fortunately the Hokies also have a big 2-guard in Dorenzo
Hudson. Hudson needs to play a physical basketball game against Sanders.

Cory Raji is a solid player who is a good fit at small forward in BC’s tight
flex offense. In the tight flex, the small forward finds himself posting up
quite a bit. Raji is effective when posted up against wings who aren’t as big or
as physical. However, he doesn’t have great perimeter skills. He has not even
attempted a three-pointer in conference play this season.

Joe Trapani is a quality athlete who can post up on the inside or shoot from
the outside. He is shooting only 23.6% from three-point range in ACC games, but
he’s capable of much better than that. The Hokies have to step out on him and
defend, because he could get in a rhythm from the outside.

You could make the argument that Trapani is BC’s best overall player. He only
scored six points in the first meeting with Tech, but he is a very dangerous
player.

Dallas Elmore (6-5, 210, So.) will be an interesting player to watch in this
game. He plays just 15 minutes per game, but he played 29 minutes in the first
meeting with the Hokies. He scored 10 points (he averages just 3.5), but it was
his defense that made the big impact on the game.

Elmore was assigned to Malcolm Delaney, and he’s the exact type of defender
that gives Delaney problems: big, physical players. Delaney hit his first two
three-pointers against BC, but then Elmore came off the bench and held Tech’s
top scorer to just seven points the rest of the game.

Since Delaney’s first two three-pointers against the Eagles, he’s hit just
nine more outside jumpers. Think about that for a moment: that’s nine
three-pointers for Malcolm Delaney in his last 358 minutes of basketball, after
drilling the two against BC in the first two minutes of the game. That’s almost
hard to believe.

The Eagles could come right back with Elmore on Delaney in this game. He’ll
be facing a physical defender no matter who guards him, so Delaney will have to
be ready to play a tough basketball game.

Stats
Comparison, ACC Games Only
Category BC VT
Stat Rank Stat Rank

Scoring Off.
64.3 11 69.7 4

Scoring Def.
69.9 8 67.3 5

FG%
42.5% 6 40.2% 10

FG% Def.
46.4% 12 40.2% 4

3Pt%
29.5% 9 28.4% 12

3Pt% Def.
28.3% 4 27.5% 3

FT%
71.5% 6 75.8% 2

Reb. Margin
-0.5 7 -2.7 10

TO Margin
-1.75 9 +3.25 1

Assist/TO Ratio
1.0 4 0.8 8

Average

 

7.6

 

5.9

The Eagles have a solid group of basketball players, and they aren’t as bad as
their record indicates. Their overall statistics are better than those of a
regular 4-8 ACC basketball team.

For the most part, you can throw those numbers out the window. Both of these
teams are physical, perhaps the two more physical teams in the conference. This
game will be a battle between a couple of junkyard dogs.

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Road wins are hard to come by in the ACC, particularly the second road game
in a two-game stretch. Tech has played back-to-back road games 11 times since
joining the ACC, and they’ve won that second game just four times. The
percentages are not in their favor, and that’s why the Eagles are a 1-point
favorite in this game.

Win or lose, it’s a solid bet that this game will go down to the wire. The
last two Tech-BC games have been decided in the closing seconds. Dorenzo Hudson
won it for the Hokies last month in Cassell Coliseum, and Rakim Sanders tipped
in a missed shot at the buzzer to give BC a 67-66 win in Chestnut Hill last
season.

A win would be huge for the Hokies, who would then likely only have to win
one of their final three regular season games to get an invitation to the NCAA
tournament.

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