Saturday, January 5
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Virginia Tech will look to move to 2-0 in ACC play when Boston College comes to town for a Saturday afternoon game in Cassell Coliseum.
The Hokies (12-1, 1-0) will play their second consecutive conference home game after knocking off Notre Dame 81-66 on Tuesday. Boston College (9-3, 0-0) will play their first ACC game of the season after picking up a couple of nice wins in their non-conference schedule, though they were also upset twice as well.
The Eagles knocked off Minnesota (No. 49 Ken Pomeroy) and Loyola-Chicago (No. 69 Pomeroy) back in November, which shows that they are capable of knocking off good teams. Minnesota is a potential NCAA Tournament team, and Loyola-Chicago made a magical run to the Final Four last season. However, BC also lost to IUPUI (No. 201 Pomeroy) and Hartford (No. 188 Pomeroy, in their most recent game).
Had former Eagle Jerome Robinson returned, the Eagles would have one of the most dynamic backcourts in the country. Instead, he departed for the NBA Draft, where he was selected No. 13 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. With Robinson gone, the burden has shifted to the shoulders of Ky Bowman, who himself is a projected second round pick.
Bowman is one of the top all-around guards in the ACC. He averaged 14.3 points per game as a freshman two years ago, moved up to 17.6 points last year, and is averaging 20.9 points per game as a junior, second in the ACC behind Duke’s R.J. Barrett. Bowman shoots 82.4% from the free throw line, and he can get to the basket. With the loss of Robinson, Bowman has had to take on more of a scoring role. He scored 44 points in the loss to Hartford, and 38 against Wyoming earlier this season.
As such an important player for his team, Bowman hardly ever leaves the court. He has played 36 minutes or more in 11 of BC’s 12 games this year, and he’s played 40+ minutes in six of his team’s 12 games.
Boston College head coach Jim Christian hasn’t had a starting lineup that is set in stone this year. Nine different players have started at least one game. Only Bowman has started all 12 games. The Eagles have had some injury problems that have led to the lineup shifts.
6-5 senior guard Jordan Chatman is another player to watch. He is capable of tearing it up from the outside, as he recently dropped 28 points on a solid Providence team. However, that performance was bookended by a 2-point performance against Sacred Heart and another 2-point game against Hartford. Robinson has had some good games against the Hokies as well…
January 31, 2018: 32 points
February 25, 2017: 13 points
January 29, 2017: 30 points
Despite his efforts, Virginia Tech was able to win all three of those games, and in fact have defeated Boston College four times in a row.
Here are some key stats for Boston College, per Ken Pomeroy…
Adj. Off. Efficiency: No. 112
Adj. Def. Efficiency: No. 107
Effective FG%: No. 175
Def. Effective FG%: No. 42
Turnover %: No. 98
Opp. Turnover %: No. 291
Here’s how Virginia Tech compares…
Adj. Off. Efficiency: No. 3
Adj. Def. Efficiency: No. 33
Effective FG%: No. 1
Def. Effective FG%: No. 58
Turnover %: No. 89
Opp. Turnover %: No. 5
The Hokies are better in every metric, with the exception of defensive effective field goal percentage. However, they’ve made up for that by being fifth nationally in opponents’ turnover percentage.
Virginia Tech will see the BC game as another key step in getting off to a good start in ACC play. The schedule sets up well for such a start:
- vs. No. 68 Notre Dame: 81-66 W
- vs. No. 107 Boston College
- at No. 98 Georgia Tech
- at No. 2 Virginia
- vs. No. 153 Wake Forest
If the Hokies play up to their metrics, they are expected to begin ACC play with a 4-1 record, but they’ll have to take care of the Eagles first.