Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
Slowly, but surely, Virginia Tech (10-7, 2-4 ACC) seems to be getting back on track on the hardwood.
There’s no time to relax, however. The Hokies still have some work cut out for them.
Currently sitting just on the outside of the 2022 NCAA Tournament picture, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the maroon and orange still can’t afford to falter.
The Hokies are in good shape, according to the NET and Ken Pomeroy rankings. Keep winning the games it is supposed to win, and Virginia Tech will secure its fifth straight tournament berth.
That’s why taking care of the Boston College Eagles (7-9, 2-4 ACC) is ever so important on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies look to secure another stepping-stone victory up in Chestnut Hill.
Game Day Information
When: Saturday, Jan. 22, 12 p.m. ET
Where: Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA
TV: Regional Sports Network
PXP: Tom Werme
Analyst: Mike Gminski
Series History: Boston College Leads 20-13
Last Meeting: Boston College Won 77-73 on Feb. 8, 2020
Line: Virginia Tech -5.5
Last Time Out
All can exhale in Blacksburg after Wednesday evening in Raleigh.
When Mike Young’s squad made the trip south to take on NC State, it desperately needed a victory to make up for a surprising loss to the Wolfpack earlier this season.
After quickly jumping out to a 15-0 lead, and eventually a 35-21 halftime advantage, it seemed as if Virginia Tech was going to do just that. Alas, it’s never ever easy against any of the Hokies’ ACC counterparts.
As a result of a whopping five turnovers in the final two minutes of play, the Pack had dwindled Virginia Tech’s lead all the way down to one. Hearts were racing, palms were sweating, fans knew the maroon and orange couldn’t hand this one away.
Finally in the nick of time, Storm Murphy buried a massive triple from beyond the arc, and true freshman Sean Pedulla knocked down two clutch free throws, sealing a 62-59 victory for the Hokies.
With one more contest set to take place towards the waning moments of a vastly winnable stretch for Virginia Tech, it’s crucial the Hokies leave Chestnut Hill with a victory.
The always physical North Carolina Tar Heels are lurking Monday evening.
Scouting Boston College
For a team that was picked to finish in the bottom cellar of the ACC, Boston College has made a good bit of progress under first-year head coach Earl Grant.
No, the Eagles may not still be ready to fully compete in the league. But Boston College seems to be heading in the right direction under the former College of Charleston head coach, especially for a program that hasn’t qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2009.
Both sophomore DeMarr Langford Jr. (10.6 points per game) and freshman Jaeden Zackery (9.9 points per game) are solid pieces to build around. Providence transfer Makai Ashton-Langford, Langford’s older brother, provides an immediate threat as well, averaging 12.9 points per contest.
Drexel transfer TJ Bickerstaff also adds a post presence down low, averaging 7.5 rebounds. That stat alone should set up a fun matchup in the paint against Keve Aluma.
Sure, Boston College may not be ready to make the jump yet to a top-tier team in the ACC, but it is off to a solid start.
The Eagles have been relatively competitive as well, so don’t expect this one to be a cake walk for Virginia Tech.
That’s happened one too many times this season across the college basketball landscape.
This has a chance to be a huge trap game with the Tar Heels looming in Chapel Hill on Monday night.
With the sleepy Conte Forum atmosphere, and with how close the Eagles have been the majority of the year, it very well could be a fun matchup.
At the end of the day though, Boston College doesn’t have the athletes or manpower to keep up with Virginia Tech.
The Hokies will win a close one up in Chestnut Hill and will fly home happy with two more huge matchups on the horizon in the next five days.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 70, Boston College 59