The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team will look to climb out of the bottom of the ACC bracket this Sunday, as the Boston College Golden Eagles come to town with the same mission.
Both teams are struggling to make something out of the remainder of their seasons, as they have recently found success, with Tech downing Clemson and BC upsetting Florida State.
The Eagles (8-16, 3-7 ACC) snapped a six-game losing streak with their win over FSU and will look to piece together their first winning streak since Jan. 14 of this year. That last win, before the Eagles went on their six-game skid, was against Tech, in which they edged out the Hokies 61-59.
With its recent upset of FSU and hopes of sweeping Tech for the season, BC will bring a newfound confidence to the court on Sunday. The Hokies (13-10, 2-6 ACC) will need to deflate the Eagles early and set the tempo for the remainder of the game.
Fresh off a recent home victory against Clemson, in which they put together an all-around solid game, with the exception of the last five minutes, the Hokies should be able to carry this momentum forward by continuing the trends that brought them success.
One such trend is the statistically quiet players on the team, such as Marquis Rankin and Dorian Finney-Smith, beginning to step up their game.
Finney-Smith, a freshman who has struggled in ACC play this season, finally exploded against Clemson. He helped cage the Tigers by scoring 12 points, hitting two field goals from beyond the arc and bringing down eight rebounds.
Rankin, who missed the first seven games of the season due to knee surgery, returned against Kansas State but has been quiet all season until recently. With starts against Duke and Clemson, the freshman point guard has shown a growth in confidence, contributing eight points in both games.
With continued development from Finney-Smith and Rankin, big things could be in store for the Hokies as they continue to mature.
Looking to the immediate future that is Boston College, Rankin and Finney-Smith will try to keep up with Jarell Eddie, who led scoring against Clemson with 15 points, and Erick Green, who still holds his streak of scoring 10-plus points in every game this season.
If the Hokies can put together an offense that is running on all cylinders Sunday, the Eagles could be in for a long night, as they have struggled defensively all year.
BC’s struggling defense means Tech’s offense has a fantastic opportunity to shine, as the Eagles are ranked 322nd in rebounds per game and yield more than 67 points per game to opposing teams.
The Hokies will look for Victor Davila to take advantage of the Eagles’ troubles on the boards by staying aggressive, being disciplined, and letting BC make mistakes that have them ranked so low in this category.
In contrast to Tech’s offensive woes throughout the season, one area where the Hokies have generally had success is on defense.
If Tech can shut down BC, much like Clemson, by getting physical and throwing off its shot percentage, it could turn out to be a nice night for the team.
More specifically, the Hokies will need to get back on defense quickly in transition and harass players like Matt Humphrey, who scored 15 points against FSU, including two from down town. One of the Eagles’ key ingredients in their victory over FSU was their ability to move the ball, get open and shoot the three, making
If the Hokies can keep their legs moving and energy up, the Eagles’ stats should suffer as they have all season.
With the memory of their heartbreaking loss to BC still haunting them, the Hokies will be looking to replace it with a much happier one. Both of these teams finally have something going for them and will look to build upon their recent successes. The only question is: Who will be sent back to the drawing board?
Tip-off is at 6 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum.