Virginia Tech (15-6, 4-4) vs. Boston College (13-8, 3-5)
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 31
Time: 9 p.m.
TV: RSN (Click here for local listings)
Virginia Tech will look for a third consecutive victory when the Hokies head to Chestnut Hill to take on the Boston College Eagles on Wednesday night. Boston College is 13-8 and 3-5 this season, and while they aren’t an NCAA Tournament team, they have certainly taken a big step forward as a program.
Here are BC’s results over the last two seasons…
2015-16: 7-25 overall, 0-18 ACC
2016-17: 9-23 overall, 2-16 ACC
2017-18: 13-8 overall, 3-5 ACC
The upward trend is obvious. Then again, there was nowhere for the Eagles to go but up.
Boston College has had plenty of success in ACC home games this year.
89-84 win vs. Duke
74-70 loss vs. Clemson
77-71 win vs. Wake Forest
81-75 win vs. Florida State
That win over Duke came in the first ACC game of the season, and it make the rest of the league sit up and take notice that Boston College has improved by leaps and bounds.
Meanwhile, they’ve yet to win an ACC road game, though they did come within one point of taking Virginia to overtime in Charlottesville. With this game being played in the Conte Forum, the Hokies will be playing in front of one of the smallest crowds they’ll see all season, so they must take care to stay mentally engaged.
The biggest issue isn’t the crowd, or the lack thereof, but the fact that Boston College is a much improved basketball team than they’ve been the last few years. Even if they don’t win another ACC game for the rest of the season, they’ll still finish the year with one more ACC victory than they’ve had in each of the last two years combined.
The main reason Boston College has improved is because they have better players. Here’s a look at their projected starting lineup for tonight’s game…
G Ky Bowman (6-foot-1, 188 pounds, So.): Averaging 16.6 points per game and 6.9 rebounds, and has a team high in assists (102) and steals (22). Bowman is BC’s best player. He’s a 6-foot-1 guard who averages nearly seven rebounds per game. He had 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in their win over Duke. Bowman isn’t a great shooter, and he turns the ball over too much at times, but he’s a tough guy who knows how to play. He is originally from Havelock, N.C.
G Jerome Robinson (6-foot-6, 191 pounds, Jr.): Averaging 18.3 ppg and 3.5 rpg. Robinson is a 45.2 percent three-point shooter and a big time scoring threat. Like Bowman, he is a North Carolina native, originally from Raleigh.
G Jordan Chatman (6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Jr.): Averaging 13.3 ppg and 2.3 rpg. Chatman is BC’s third leading scorer, and he’s a 44.4 percent three-point shooter.
F Steffon Mitchell (6-foot-8, 222 pounds, Fr.): Averaging 6.9 ppg and 7.7 rpg. Mitchell was inserted into the starting lineup when Deontae Hawkins was lost for the season with an injury, and he’s done well for the Eagles. He has range out to the three-point line.
F Nik Popovic (6-foot-11, 243 pounds, So.): Averaging 9.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg. Popovic is a skilled European player. Like Mitchell, he has range on his shot, and he’s a 75.6 percent three-point shooter.
BC’s problem is depth, particularly in the backcourt. Here’s a breakdown of their minutes per game for the starters…
Jerome Robinson: 34.9
Ky Bowman: 36.9
Jordan Chatman: 34.9
Steffon Mitchell: 31.2
Nik Popovic: 24.2
Both Robinson and Bowman played all 40 minutes in BC’s most recent game, a loss at Syracuse. Popovic played 35 minutes as well, which shows his minutes are increasing. Overall depth is not Virginia Tech’s strength either, but they appear to have a little bit more than Boston College.
Virginia Tech has played much better defense over their last two games. It will be important for them to continue that trend on Wednesday. Boston College has a backcourt that is capable of lighting the Hokies up if Tech isn’t dialed in defensively. Bowman and Robinson in particular can be very dangerous players.
If the Hokies win on Wednesday night, it would be their third ACC road win of the season. They had just three all of last season.