#145 R.P.I. Boston College @ #137 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
TV coverage: ESPN3 7pm
Vegas line: VT-3
$-line: bet $1.55 on VT to win $1, or bet $1 on B.C. to win $1.35
Boston College comes into Blacksburg at an apparently beatable 8 up and 6 down while being picked by most pre-season magazines somewhere in the bottom quatrain (bottom-3) in terms of Atlantic Coast play. Or so we hope as there is currently no or limited defense in what has suddenly be come a rather user-friendly Blacksburg Va men’s basketball squad.
Now we attend to the science-fact that Coach J’s guys are not only getting beat of late –having only won two basketball games since December 1st. That’s not good, and this just in, rain is rumored to be wet. As the bloom is off the 2012 inaugural James Johnson rose down in the New River Valley. This is what happens when you allow an N.B.A. ‘esque 93 points per game since Christmas. And yet if I were a betting man –which I am- I’d wager that E.Green and company have been clicking their O&M heels and repeating the phrase: “…there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” As Virginia Tech has not played inside its very own Cassell Coliseum in 25 odd days and we are not in Kansas anymore either Toto. Where we are is uncharted J.J. era territory, as we’ve never seen how coach J’s and he senior thin 2012-2013 hoops squad will respond to adversity and that forgoes any historical analysis, line-of-best-fit, four-squares or any other version of regression analysis. This is virgin territory as the next time we snap outta a 2-5 seven-game funk will be our first.
Flying Eagles at a glance: (5 starters back)
- B.C. is 39th in FT percentage (74%)
- B.C. has the 61st fewest turnovers per game (12.2)
- B.C. is 85th in number of made 3-pointers per game (7.2)
- B.C. is 246th in 3-point defense (allowing 34.8%)
Boston College Frontcourt:
N.B.A. pros= 1 (Mr. Anderson can play in Europe or somewhere else abroad)
It may not bee too much of a stretch of the imagination to nominate 6`8“ 22o lb. sophomore power-forward Ryan Anderson as the heat-n-soul of the Flying Eagles basketball club. A team leading 16.8 ppg, a team leading 9.8 rebounds per game, a teaming leading 78 FTA’s per contest and a second best .8 blocks per game said so. Did I mention that Mr. Anderson leads Boston College in a whole buncha categories yet? Ok. His FT shooting may only be 65%, pre se; however, Mr. Anderson leaves it all out on the court and just like Mr. Scott of Star Trek fame this kid is “…giving you all he gots.” Anderson is primarily a lane-scorer and if you take his 3-point attempts away he suddenly becomes a 50% plus shooter. As of right now, Mr. Anderson is only an 18% shooter from beyond the arc –not that that stops him from attempting such. That being said, if he is not careful, Mr. Anderson is likely gone pry open and scrap his way to a second or third team all-Conference spot when March rolls around.
Dennis Clifford, he of all 6`12“ in height and a right-set 25o lbs. of bulk, pitch in and help out up front from the Center spot for the Eagles. Dennis is in his second season and is known for his decent enough scoring and sub-decent rebounding down low. Unfortunately, Dennis’ scoring is down this year to only 5.3 points per game or less than ¾ ers of a point per foot of height! That’s not what you want outta a legitimate 7’er in the post who likewise underwhelms with a relatively mere 4.8 rebounds per contest. Dennis does lead Bee.Cee in blocks with 1.3, though his 52% FT shooting leaves a lot to be desired. Or in other words, there is so much that tends to say so little regarding this Five who appears to be in regression this year compared to last…
Association pros= zero
Oliver Hanlan is a 6`4“ 185 lb. rookie year combo guard who can both score and distribute at the rim; all the while bringing some measure of physical toughness to the lead-Guard spot. The rap on Hanlan is that this N.A.F.T.A. savvy import from Quebec needs to work on his J and increase his range to round out his north of the boarder game. Hanlan is giving you 12.9 ppg, 4.2 boards and 2.2 assists. This out of a 41% freshman year shooter from the floor who occasionally dabbles in what can only be called liberal shot selection as confidence is something that Mr. Hanlan does not want for. Joe Rahan is Oliver’s twist of a running mate in the Boston College backcourt. Joe is a 6`2“ 195 lb. rookie baller giving the Flying Eagles a combined backcourt age of 36 or a backcourt that will have to wait to buy beer until 2016 rolls around. Joe is something of a less flashy Steve Nash drive-n-kick point-guard who sets others up via penetrating forays of his own. Joe does enjoy a good burst off the dribble and he does lead the way with 4.1 assists while placing third in scoring at 11.8 ppg. This does all however suggest that the Boston College backcourt should be pretty damn experienced and worked-up in four years time. Of course that is predicated upon Joe’s knee holding up after what was considered to be a “violent” knee-injury from which he is still recovering during his sophomore year of high school. Joe does have a nice stroke from the outside (36%) and you have to wonder where a player of this caliber would have gone on two good wheels? Patrick Heckman is the other Chestnut Hill backcourt operative who goes 6`5“ 205 lbs. who can sprechen sie deutsch while hailing all the way from Mainz, Germany. He can also shoot the rock as his 9.9 ppg and team leading 39% from downtown and a sizzling 90% from the FT-stripe suggest. Patrick is a skilled player who needs to cut back on mental errors in his sophomore campaign. At times Patrick has been a turnover machine although he does appear to have a slightly better handle –pun intended- on things this year.
Boston College Bench: (1-man bench, with 2 guys playing spot minutes)
Dennis Clifford has been the one true Flying Eagle sub of late; so you got the goods on him up above. Also chipping in sparingly have been 6`7“ 210 lb. sophomore year Eddie Odio and 6`2“ 185 lb. freshman Drew Jackobs. Eddie is a swing S/F who is a coaches son in search of some D-1 caliber strength to his game. Eddie gets you 3 points and 3 boards off the bench and he has a nice touch around the basket. Eddie also had offers to play volleyball in college so you know he can jump at least a little bit. Drew was not even listed in my Lindy’s pre-season magazine; although his website bio’ suggests that he was prone to scoring outbursts in high school although he did not receive a formal scholarship offer and is therefore that rarefied walk-on gym rat kinda kid that every program needs.
Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
Couple of things I noticed on film when breaking tape on these Flying Eagles whom most expect to be grounded this post-season. First of all, this Boston College hoops squad is not afraid to bust a long 3-pointer; or at least attempt to do so, and we all know that long 3’s tend to lead to long rebounds or easy fast-breaks. I also observed what I will call a lack of inside-out passing from the Boston College low-post; as the Flying Eagle bigs can be turnover prone at times. Ditto the lack of quality close-outs from the Boston College perimeter defenders, even when playing man-to-man as there should be at least a little room for Coach J’s boy’s to bomb away from downtown. Ergo, I’m hoping that a less than epic Boston College Flying Eagle hoops squad might be just the medicine that slumping Vah.Tech needs to get well soon sweeten things back up; spoonful of home-cooking or not.
Neither one of these two hoops teams is really good and yet I doubt that either one of them is really that bad. Such presents two very middled (or less) basketball squads in my estimation. Bee.Cee had been on a nice run of late however, and they are clearly entering this contest with the better Forum of play as textbook Recency Effect goes. The Eagles had won 5 in a row before getting beat by nationally ranked NC.State; whereas Vah.Tech has slumped and dropped 4 of their last 5 and gotten pumped good and hard in their last three. On the other hand, Virginia Tech is 7-1 inside their very own home sweet home, and the home team has won just over 70% of all A.c.c. hosting dates over the last decade. Accordingly, one might even argue that Virginia Tech is due to have a good shooting night and snap outta this funk.
That being said, this is a very slippery Virginia Tech men’s hoops team to get a handle on. They have showcased a much higher ceiling than most expect; which lead (unintentionally) to quite a lowered floor of late. Don’t believe me? Just ask OK.State and Iowa, and then double-check with Colorado State, B.Y.U. and Maryland, respectively. My one true hope is that after 25 days away from Cassell Coliseum that we (finally) feel right at home and right this leaky O&M ship before it founders in Duck Pond. I’ve been studying these most recent 5-game trends and the Home/Away splits questing to find that magical “lightbulb” moment whereby everything else simply clicks; searching for that always real, yet sometimes well camouflaged edge, or a peg upon which to hang my OPT hat. What I can tell you is that neither team is all that; although it is Boston College who has been a little better of late. And yet Virginia Tech has been much sharper at home and that pretty much cancels all of that out and even this one up nice and tight. The one thing that that does connote to me is the potential for an extra period of play or some overtime action in this one; and that means that it is about time that Coach J’s boys caught a good break.
Virginia Tech=77, Boston College=73 in OT