After a rough game in Miami on Thursday night, the Hokies return home and face Boston College in a very winnable game on Sunday evening.
This will be the second meeting between Tech and the Eagles this season. Boston College upset the Hokies 61-59 in Chestnut Hill earlier this season. The Hokies played a poor game against a team with nine freshmen on the roster, and the contest wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
Since that meeting on January 14, the Hokies have won just two games, while BC has won just once. The Eagles lost six consecutive games before knocking off #17 Florida State on Wednesday. Steve Donahue’s team is capable, but they are one of the youngest teams in the country, along with St. John’s, who is also struggling.
Donahue and Greenberg have met three times, and it’s been BC who has come out on top each time. In their last three meetings with the Eagles, Tech is shooting just 38.5% from the field and averaging only 58.7 points per game.
Tech will have to be more efficient offensively this time around against BC, who has one of the youngest lineups you’ll ever see in college basketball.
John Cahill (6-1, 170, r-Sr.) is the only senior on the roster, and he is a former walk-on whose only strength is his outside shooting ability. Leading scorer Matt Humphrey is the only junior in the playing rotation. Everyone else is either a freshman or a sophomore, which means major trouble. Virginia Tech is going through similar struggles right now, though they don’t have quite as many freshmen as Boston College.
Besides the freshmen in the starting lineup, BC also plays Eddie Odio (6-7, 195, Fr.), Patrick Heckmann (6-5, 196, Fr.) and K.C. Caudill (6-10, 279, Fr.). Heckmann has struggled a lot recently and has found himself on the bench, though some suspect that he has some lingering injury issues that are slowing him down.
BC obviously has good size on the inside, but in the past they have killed the Hokies with some timely three-point shooting, offensive rebounds, and dominating defense. The Hokies need to limit the open looks of John Cahill, Lonnie Jackson and Gabe Moton (6-1, 177, So.). Those guys are all outstanding outside shooters.
BC doesn’t have a standout player, as you can see from the table above. Matt Humphrey barely averages double figures, and nobody else has stepped up around him. Virginia Tech has an issue with finding a secondary scorer. Every game it seems as if Erick Green leads the team in scoring, but a different player each game is right behind Green. Nobody is playing consistently, which makes it very difficult for Seth Greenberg to know exactly what he’s going to get out of his players from a game-to-game basis. Steve Donahue has the same issues at Boston College.
Virginia Tech generally plays with a nine-man rotation, while BC uses a 10-man rotation. Of those 19 players, 10 are freshmen (11, if Patrick Heckmann plays for BC), four are sophomores, and one is a walk-on (John Cahill). That’s a recipe for losing basketball games, and the Hokies and Eagles have lost plenty this season.
Right now there are three groups of teams in the ACC. The top six teams are all within one game of each other in the loss column. Maryland sits by themselves with a 4-5 conference record. The last five teams – Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech – are all between 3-6 and 2-8 in league play. The Hokies could conceivably find themselves as high as the #8 seed in the ACC Tournament, or as low as the #12 seed.
Head-to-head matchups with teams such as Boston College, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Clemson are critical. The Hokies have lost to BC and Wake thus far, and they’ve defeated Clemson. They’ve got games remaining with BC, Clemson and Georgia Tech. The matchup on Saturday could be very important for ACC Tournament seeding.
Sunday’s game is set for a 6pm tip-off, and it will be televised by ESPNU.