Boston College vs. #19 University of Virginia: Preview and Predictions
Boston College kicks off the new year tonight as they face off with the defending national champions, the University of Virginia Cavaliers. The "'Hoos" are off to a strong start again at 11-2, and sit atop the ACC with a conference record of 3-0. Tony Bennett's squad is lethal on defense, and the Eagles struggle scoring buckets. Will this game be another blowout against a good team?
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA
TV: ACC Network
Radio: WEEI 850
Current Line: UVA -8.5
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Virginia has a 74.7% chance of winning
Projected Staters: CJ Felder, Jarius Hamilton, Jay Heath, Derryck Thornton, Steffon Mitchell
Injuries: Nik Popovic (Back)
Ken Pom Rankings: Boston College (145) Virginia (25)
Key Matchup: Mamadi Diakite vs. Steffon Mitchell
Boston College really doesn't have an inside presence now that Nik Popovic is out for the game, and that spells major problems against Diakite. The 6'9 forward from Guinea is a force on the boards, and Mitchell is going to have to keep Diakite from taking over the game on the glass. If UVA's forward can give the 'Hoos multiple second chance opportunities, Boston College will be in big trouble in this game.
Opponent Preview: Check out our Virginia Preview with Will Ojanen from earlier today
Three Questions Heading Into This Game:
1. How will BC score points? Virginia is top in the country in points allowed (55), and BC can't score. How will the Eagles find buckets against a team that plays elite defense?
2. Can the Eagles limit turnovers? UVA is so crisp on defense that the Eagles are going to need to be careful with the ball, and careless turnovers will doom them. Turnovers are inevitable, but if BC can limit them and eliminate unforced errors they could increase their odds of staying competitive in this.
3. Can the Eagles get hot from three point range? The Eagles shot 3-18 from beyond the arc against Duke, a percentage that isn't going to win many games. If BC could hit a few threes against the 'Hoos maybe they could keep it close?
AJ's Fearless Prediction: UVA 64 BC 40. This is just another nightmare matchup for the Eagles. Virginia's suffocating defense, paired with BC's weak offense probably will spell another blowout for the Eagles.