2010-11 Basketball Game Preview: Boston College at Virginia Tech

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(home games)
  • Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
  • Time: 9 pm
  • TV: ESPNU

Virginia Tech is coming off a huge win against Duke, but the Hokies still
have work to do. They have an opportunity to pick up another top 50 win against
Boston College tonight, and they could lock up a first round bye in the ACC
Tournament as early as Wednesday, depending on what Clemson does against Duke.

The Hokies lost a heartbreaker at Boston College earlier in the season,
58-56. Erick Green missed a last-second three-pointer that would have won the
game, and overall Green went 0-of-8 from the field that day.

Tech will look to have a better offensive performance at home against the
Eagles, who are 17-11 overall and 7-7 in conference play. Ranked #43 in the RPI,
Boston College is squarely on the bubble, and a road win at Virginia Tech would
enhance their NCAA Tournament resume.

VT still has work to do as well. They need more quality wins, and finishing
in the top 50 of the RPI would make everyone feel much better about their
chances of earning an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.

If the Hokies defeat Boston College on Tuesday, and Clemson loses at Duke on
Wednesday, then Virginia Tech will clinch a first round bye in the ACC
Tournament. (Click
here for ACC standings
.)

Boston
College Starting Lineup
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G Reggie Jackson 6-3 208 Jr. 18.4 4.4
G Biko Paris 6-1 194 Sr. 9.7 2.2
F Danny Rubin 6-6 170 Fr. 4.6 1.7
F Joe Trapani 6-8 232 Sr. 14.6 7.5
C Josh Southern 6-10 263 Sr. 6.7 3.8

Reggie Jackson is BC’s best player, and one of the top all-around guards in the
ACC. He scores around the basket, and he is a good outside shooter (41.5%). He
has good size for a guard, he’s an active defender, and he’s one of the most
prolific scorers in the ACC. (Click
here for ACC stats leaders
.)

In the first meeting, Virginia Tech held Jackson to just 10 points, but that
didn’t stop the Eagles from picking up the hard-fought home victory. Joe Trapani
finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and the Eagles also got a very
productive game from Josh Southern with seven points and five rebounds. (For
Southern, that’s productive in an ACC game.)

Biko Paris is a solid, experienced senior guard who is capable of playing
either backcourt position. Paris has developed a solid outside jumper, hitting
57 three-pointers this season after connecting on only 36 in his entire career
heading into his senior season.

Boston College brings Corey Raji (6-6, 218, Sr.) off the bench. Raji is the
younger brother of former BC defensive tackle B.J. Raji, and he averages 12.2
points and 6.5 rebounds off the bench. Though technically a reserve, Raji
averages 28 minutes per game.

Raji and Trapani are versatile players who can play multiple positions, and
they can also score near the basket and out on the perimeter. Along with Reggie
Jackson, they make Boston College a very difficult team to defend.

The Eagles also bring Dallas Elmore (6-5, 210, Jr.) and Gabe Moton (6-2, 170,
Fr.) off the bench on a regular basis. Cortney Dunn (6-8, 238, Sr.) also sees
action. Overall, the Eagles have good size, and they have solid depth off the
bench.

Stats
Comparison, ACC Games Only

Category
Boston
College
Virginia
Tech
Stat Rank Stat Rank
FG% 42.7% 9 45.5% 1
FG% Def. 45.4% 9 42.3% 5
3Pt% 36% 3 37.6% 2
3Pt% Def. 34.3% 8 31% 2
FT% 71.4% 6 73% 4
Reb. Margin -2.5 10 +3.1 4
TO Margin -1.21 10 +0.57 6
Assist-TO 1.2 3 1.0 7
Scoring Off. 67.9 6 71.6 4

Scoring Def.

70.1 8 65.1 5

Average
7.2 4

On paper, Virginia Tech has the better basketball team. The Hokies shoot better,
they defend better, they rebound better, and they do a better job of protecting
the basketball. On their homecourt in Cassell Coliseum, Tech should be the
favorite in this game (statsheet.com lists the Hokies as an 8.5 point favorite),
despite what happened in the first meeting between these teams.

However, this is a game where you can throw the numbers out the window.
Boston College is on the bubble with a 17-11 record, 7-7 in the ACC and #43 in
the RPI. They have one top 50 win over Texas A&M (#29), and that’s it.
Though the Hokies aren’t in the top 50, a road win in Blacksburg would boost the
Eagles into the top 40 and put them in a better position for the ACC tournament.
BC has a bad loss to Yale. (Harvard, who also beat BC, is #45 in the RPI,
believe it or not.)

Overall, it seems as if Boston College has to win at Virginia Tech tonight to
stay in the picture. They close the regular season against Wake Forest, which
could actually hurt them in the computer numbers, so unless they face major
competition in the ACC Tournament, tonight is BC’s last chance to make a major
move in the RPI.

Tonight is also Senior Night for Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen and Terrell Bell
(Paul Debnam was honored last season), and they know they still have work to do
to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Tonight’s game should be very
entertaining, because both teams have so much to play for.

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