Boston College at Virginia
Boston College (7-12, 2-3) at Virginia (15-3, 2-2), 9:00 PM, ESPNU
Both of these teams thrive in low-scoring affairs: Boston College is 4-3 when holding opponents under 60 and Virginia is 14-2 in such games. The From Old Virginia blog sums up best what this game means to the Cavaliers after their ugly loss at home to Virginia Tech:
That was so bad I don’t even wanna talk about the (Georgia Tech) game any more. It’s like that happened in October. That’s how quickly you go from “on a roll” to “oh man, I know Boston College is terrible and we really should win, but actually we have to otherwise everyone will be legitimately questioning this team’s ability to do anything right.” In other words, don’t lose to Boston College.
Stat to watch: Virginia’s runs. Or lack of runs. Or lack of scoring. Every team to beat Boston College this year (comfortably, at least) has gone on some sort of a run as the befuddled Eagles can do little to stop them. When the Eagles have been able to keep it close is when they have been the most dangerous. On the road at Virginia, an excellent defensive team, this shouldn’t be an issue. But it could be as the Cavaliers might play excellent defense, but lately just cannot score in bunches. Against Virginia Tech, they went on stretches of 4:57, 4:04, 5:44 (spanning both halves) and 4:00 without a field goal. Those were all separate stretches. In a 40-minute game. From the 8:22 mark to the 0:50 mark of the second half, the Cavaliers had just four points and one field goal in a 7:32 stretch. They had five different stretches without a field goal totaling 18:41 (nearly half the game). Virginia kept it close because of its defense. But ultimately, it has to score too. And stretches without field goals are not uncommon: even in a 70-point outing against Georgia Tech, they had a 4:56 stretch and a 3:18 stretch with a field goal. At Duke, they had five stretches of at least three minutes without a field goal that totaled 17:37. Against Boston College, they shouldn’t have much trouble but if they can’t score, they might.
Most important players: Mike Scott, Virginia and Jordan Daniels, Boston College. Mike Scott was harassed into a very un-Scott performance on Sunday night, 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting (his lowest percentage and point total since the Towson game). Virginia Tech doesn’t have a ton of size, but without Assane Sene, the Hokies weren’t worried about anyone else on the interior besides Scott and sold out to stop him. It worked. A lot of people doubted Virginia because of their near-miss against Towson (a team that is still winless) at home, and Scot had a season-low seven points in that one. Virginia needs him to score, but opponents know that. The question becomes whether Boston College is good enough to take advantage of it. Probably not, but this will be a problem at least until Sene returns.
In his weekly teleconference Monday, Boston College head coach Steve Donahue admitted he might have pulled point guard Jordan Daniels from the North Carolina game a bit too early. It appears to have worked: since then, he has averaged 9.5 points on 41% shooting (50% from three) and has added 3.0 assists. He was the lone bright spot for BC against Wake as he scored an ACC-high 12 points, adding a season-high five assists and committing no turnovers for the first time in a full ACC game. He will be in yet another tough road environment, and he did hit 3-of-6 three’s at N.C. State in his most recent road game, so it will be interesting to see what the freshman can do against a very tough defense.
Random stat: Per Ken Pomeroy, Boston College was the 29th-most experienced team in the nation last year (average age 2.31 years). This year, the Eagles – not surprisingly – have dropped to 343rd (out of 345 teams), with their average equalling 0.59 years. The two teams with less experience? Nicholls State (344th) and St. John’s (345th). The bottom five teams have a combined 41-59 record.
Prediction: Virginia 65, Boston College 53
Last week: 7-5
Season: 82-31 (19-12 ACC)