Boston College-Virginia Preview
Virginia should feel good about things following its most decisive ACC victory of the season.
Looking for a fifth consecutive win, the ninth-ranked Cavaliers could be in for another lopsided triumph Wednesday night against a visiting Boston College squad that's lost all eight league games by double digits.
Heading into Saturday's visit to then-No. 16 Louisville, Virginia's previous seven league games were decided by eight points or fewer and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer was needed to win at Wake Forest the game before. So, the Cavaliers (17-4, 6-3) were somewhat surprised, yet grateful, with how dominant they were in the 63-47 victory over the Cardinals.
Virginia shot 57.8 percent - its second-highest performance of the season - and held Louisville to season lows for points and shooting (32.7 percent).
''We were complete on both ends of the floor,'' coach Tony Bennett said. "We're capable now, let's continue on."
The Cavaliers have shot 53.9 percent during their four-game winning streak. Perhaps more importantly, they displayed the defensive form that's been a staple during Bennett's tenure in Charlottesville but slipped at times this season, like allowing a season-high 53.5 percent shooting to Wake.
"I said at halftime (Saturday), 'You did it for 20, will you try to do it again? You're capable,'" said Bennett, whose team ranks seventh allowing 44.3 percent shooting in league contests.
"I think defense is a hard one to figure out for us. It just takes such a commitment to it. We've had a lot of teaching moments because of the defense this year to be honest."
Virginia is still stingy at home, where it's 10-0 and allowing 60 points per contest.
That doesn't bode well for Boston College (7-14, 0-8), which has failed to score more than 64 or shoot better than 46.9 percent while losing all its ACC games by an average of 21 points. The Eagles' closest margin of defeat in the league came in a 72-62 loss to Florida State last Tuesday, but they allowed second-ranked North Carolina to shoot 53.7 percent during Saturday's 89-62 road defeat.
Boston College was without second-leading scorer Jerome Robinson (11.6 points per game) because of a wrist injury and backup guard Darryl Hicks, who sat with a concussion. It's uncertain if either will be available as the Eagles try to end their worst conference start since going 0-9 in the Big East in 1998-99.
"We've got to keep emphasizing different things," coach Jim Christian said. "We've just got to keep working."
Senior Eli Carter ranks among the ACC's top scorers at 17.3 points per contest, and had 19 against the Tar Heels. However, he committed seven of Boston College's season-high 23 turnovers and his 3.4 average is the second-highest in the league.
Virginia, which has won four of five against Boston College, forced 18 at Louisville.
Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon (17.3 ppg) had his string of three straight games of at least 20 points end with 13 on Saturday. The senior has totaled 37 points in the last two against the Eagles.
Boston College has dropped 13 straight against ranked opponents since winning at then-No. 1 Syracuse on Feb. 19, 2014.