On Saturday, the Boston College men’s basketball team will travel to Charlottesville to take on the highest-ranked ACC team, the #7 Virginia Cavaliers.
When: Saturday, January 28th at 12:00 pm ET
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
How to Watch: The game will be broadcasted live on ACC Network
After losing three of five games while junior guard Reece Beekman dealt with injuries, Virginia has now extended their winning streak to five with wins over Virginia Tech and Wake Forest last week. This recent stretch can be attributed to Tony Bennett’s critical adjustments that have his team playing even better than when they rose to #2 in the nation at the start of the season. The Cavaliers have a new look with 6’8 Ohio grad transfer Ben Vander Plas starting at center. Since being inserted into the starting lineup, BVP has opened up the offense with his passing and ability to knock down the three-point shot. Bennett has increasingly gone to small-ball lineups with Vander Plas at the 5. This has helped Virginia eliminate stagnation on offense, giving leading scorer Armaan Franklin and others more room to operate and be aggressive in the triangle offense.
UVA continues to boast their slow-paced and low-scoring brand of basketball as they rank 358th in D1 in possessions per game, and 12th in the nation in points allowed per game, giving up a minuscule 60.3 points per contest. The Cavaliers gritty defense will be a very tough challenge for the Eagles, as BC has often struggled at times in their half-court offense this season. Earl Grant’s squad must work hard to generate open looks for Mason Madsen and Jaeden Zackery who both seemed to find their stroke late in Wednesday’s contest.
While the Eagles have often played down to their competition this year, they have also fought hard against very tough opponents, losing close ones to Duke and UNC. In order to hang tight in this one, they certainly can not come out as sluggish as they did on Wednesday night, when they fell behind abysmal Lousiville 19-7 midway through the first half. Instead, the energy has to be high and the offense should run through the “Masked Mamba,” Quinten Post, who has elevated everyone around him since returning to the squad.
Boston College has lost 9 of their last 10 against Virginia and has not won in Charlottesville since 2011. If the Eagles can pull off the unlikely upset, they will play spoiler to Tony Bennett, who is looking for his 400th career victory as a head coach. Here’s to that.