Virginia Tech Travels to Boston College Looking for Important Win

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Tech fans are anticipating an NCAA Tournament berth this year. (Ivan Morozov)
Tech fans are anticipating an NCAA Tournament berth this year. (Ivan Morozov)

Date: February 25, 2017
Time: 4pm
TV: RSN (click here for local affiliates)

Virginia Tech can reach the 20-win mark for the second season in a row when they take on Boston College in the Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon.  The Hokies finished 20-15 last year, but they didn’t win their 20th game until their first round victory in the NIT.  This year, they have a chance to do it in the regular season.

Boston College is 9-19 on the season with a 2-13 mark in conference play.  The Eagles were 0-18 in the ACC last season, so they have shown improvement in 2016-17. But, this is still a team and program that has a long way to go.  They have not won a basketball game since January 11 when they defeated NC State 74-66 in the Conte Forum.  They also beat Syracuse at home on January 1.

Virginia Tech did not play well in the first meeting with Boston College, knocking off the Eagles 85-79 in Blacksburg.  Eagles backup guard Jordan Chatman, who averages eight points per game, lit up the Hokies for 30 points.  He was 9-of-11 from three-point range, but he started the game 9-of-9.  It was one of the most amazing performances you’ll see by a player, but ultimately it did not cost the Hokies the game.

Tech beat Boston College 71-56 in the Conte Forum last season during the middle of the Hokies’ six-game winning streak to end the season.  Last year’s Tech team got hot at the end, and it appears this year’s team is doing the same, though the manner in which both teams won/are winning is different.  Here are the scores from last year’s six-game winning streak…

  • Florida State: 83-73
  • at Boston College: 71-56
  • at Wake Forest: 81-74
  • vs. Pitt: 65-61
  • vs. No. 7 Miami: 77-62
  • Florida State (ACC Tourney): 96-85

Virginia Tech won four of those six games by double digits, and no win was closer than four points.  This year, it took Tech until the last second to knock off Virginia and Clemson at home, and they beat Pitt on the road in a game which they led just 1:53 of a possible 40 minutes.

This year’s Tech team does not have the depth of last year’s team. Last year’s team had Kerry Blackshear, Chris Clarke, Jalen Hudson, Devin Wilson and Shane Henry playing major minutes down the stretch.  The Hokies don’t have any of those guys this year, for reasons that vary from graduation to injuries.  They did get Ahmed Hill back, and they added Khadim Sy to the mix, but Buzz doesn’t have as many options as he did last year, which makes it all the more remarkable that the Hokies are 19-8 and 8-7.

Still, this is a game this team needs to win for NCAA Tournament purposes.  Tech is the much better team and should win, though road games in the ACC this year have been dicey for just about everybody.  Here’s a statistical comparison between the two teams…

Offensive Efficiency: VT No. 34, BC No. 253
Defensive Efficiency: VT No. 204, BC No. 230
Effective FG%: VT No. 11, BC No. 124
Effective FG% Defense: VT No. 171, BC No. 232
Offensive Rebound %: VT No. 314, BC No. 281
Defensive Rebound %: VT No. 235, BC No. 4
Total Rebound %: VT No. 254, BC No. 129
Turnovers per Possession: VT No. 74, BC No. 295
Opp. Turnover per Possession: VT No. 274, BC No. 279

Here’s how the teams compare in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings…

Offense: VT No. 29, BC No. 184
Defense: VT No. 111, BC No. 141

As you can see, the numbers aren’t all that different for the most part.  Tech is the much better offensive team, while the Eagles are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country (which doesn’t matter very much, because the Hokies don’t crash the offensive glass).  However, those numbers show that if the Hokies have an off night shooting the basketball, they will be in a lot of trouble no matter what team they face.

Virginia Tech doesn’t play good defense and they can’t rebound.  They do a pretty good job of protecting the basketball, but they don’t force turnovers on the other end.  In short, if Tech has an off-night offensively, what strength do they have to fall back on?  Do they have the ability to grind out a defensive win in the lower 60s or upper 50s?  The numbers indicate that they don’t.

Here’s Virginia Tech’s three-point shooting the last three games…

Pitt: 10-of-23 (43.5 percent)
Louisville: 17-of-26 (65.4 percent)
Clemson: 12-of-22 (54.5 percent)
Total: 39-of-71 (54.9 percent)

Despite those incredibly hot numbers, Virginia Tech only managed to defeat Pitt by three points and Clemson by one point.  They are going to have to continue to shoot the ball well, though it will be difficult to replicate that shooting clip over the final three games of the season.

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2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Great points, McH… 2-11 @ BC is a stat that long-time Hokie hoops fans are well aware of. I have faith that Buzz will have our boys ready, especially given a decent prep period. It’s obviously not a must-win in the grand scheme of things, but dropping this one could effectively put us back on the (albeit soft) bubble and requiring another win over a tougher team. I think it’ll be closer than we want, but I think if we shoot anywhere near how we’ve been shooting we should be able to seal our bid with a W. 9-9 we’re in, but a late-season loss @ BC might require two more conf wins without relying on the ACC tourney.

  2. The one thing that made me sit up and take notice was the fact that Tech has better defensive efficiency and fg% defense than BC. Just imagine how bad BCs numbers would be if Chatman had played against someone else on Jan. 29! ; )

    I dread our games at BC. Small crowds, no energy in the building, and regional TV coverage (I wouldn’t touch it if I was ESPN). Motivation usually seems to be in short supply. A 4 PM start isn’t going to help. Maybe playing at the end of February with an NCAA bid on the line will change the motivation.

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