Date: Tuesday, March 2
Virginia Tech will host Boston College tonight in Cassell Coliseum. These two teams, along with Georgia Tech, are going to be the final three seeds of the ACC Tournament. The only question is what order will the teams be in come next Tuesday?
The Hokies are locked into playing on Tuesday in the ACC Tournament no matter what, but they are shooting for something other than the last place seed. If Tech beats BC, they will ensure themselves of finishing out of the cellar for the first time since 2010-11. A win would give the Hokies three ACC wins (BC has two, and GT has three), and they would also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles and Yellow Jackets.
As a result, the Hokies could still finish as high as the #12 seed. That still gets them a Tuesday afternoon game in an empty Greensboro Coliseum, but I think we can all agree that it would be a step in the right direction.
BC’s starting lineup is expected to look like this…
G Olivier Hanlan (6-4, 190, Jr.): 19.6 ppg, 4 rpg, 117 assists. Hanlan is one of the best players in the ACC, but nobody talks about him because he plays for Boston College. It will take a big time effort from the Hokies tonight to slow him down.
G Dimitri Batten (6-3, 205, r-Sr.): 6.7 ppg, 28 steals. Batten is from Newport News, VA, and he is a graduate student transfer from Old Dominion. He is a mediocre shooter, but he brings plenty of experience to the BC lineup.
G Aaron Brown (6-5, 215, r-Sr.): 15.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg. Brown is another graduate transfer. He played two years at Temple and one year at Southern Miss before arriving at BC. He’s not a shooter, but he’s a big bodied guard who serves as BC’s second scoring option.
G Patrick Heckmann (6-5, 205, Sr.): 8 ppg, 4.4 rpg. Heckmann is a very experienced ACC player who has been in the starting lineup since his freshman season.
C Dennis Clifford (7-0, 250, Jr.): 7.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg. Clifford is BC’s top inside threat, and he has a ton of playing time under his belt.
The fact that Virginia Tech has to help in the post defensively against every opponent they face has negatively affected their perimeter defense. Tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tech try to play Clifford one-on-one until he proves he can beat them. BC’s experienced guards pose a threat, especially Olivier Hanlan, but that threat won’t be as large if the Hokies aren’t forced to double the post.
Here are the advanced stats…
Offensive efficiency: VT #183, BC #190
Defensive efficiency: VT #278, BC #225
Rebounding rate: VT #342, BC #254
Turnovers per possession: VT #139, BC #189
Opp. Turnovers per possession: VT #157, BC #147
For the first time since the non-conference portion of their schedule, the Hokies will get to play in a basketball game that is an even matchup. BC is better defensively and on the boards, while Tech turns the ball over less and is a bit better on the offensive end.
The Eagles are just 1-7 on the road this year, with their lone win coming 64-62 at Georgia Tech back on January 25. Playing at home, the Hokies will have an advantage. However, they must come out and play as hard as they did against Duke and UVA, or else that homecourt advantage will evaporate.