January 22, 2010

BC @ Virginia Tech : The Preview

The Eagles may have had their spring thaw a few months early, as they had their best shooting day in ACC play so far this season last time out against Miami.



Rakim Sanders has been struggling of late, averaging seven points a game in his last four contests (six points off last season's average), but thank goodness Reggie Jackson has been there to pick up the slack.


Virginia Tech started the season 12-1, but has since had some rough outings on the road against UNC and Florida St. Tech's Achilles' heel is their propensity to turn the ball over, with 44 turnovers their past three ball games. If BC continues to step up their pressure with their half court trap, that trend could continue as Tech doesn't have too many ball handlers.



Virginia Tech Leaders


PPG Delaney 19.9


REB Allen 8.1


AST Delaney 4.2


FT Delaney 84%


BLK Allen 1.1


BC Leaders


PPG Trapani 15.2


REB Raji 6.8


AST Paris 5.0


FT Trapani 79%


BLK Dunn 0.9


Why Virginia Tech Will Win


Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen are going to create some matchup difficulties for the Eagles on both ends of the floor. Delaney is leading the ACC in scoring at 19.9 points per game, but his greatest asset may be spreading the ball around to his teammates and getting them more involved. He draws so much attention after he beats his defender, his low-post mates are usually left open for easy buckets.


Jeff Allen is in the top five in the ACC in rebounding (5.8), and has the agility to get around guys on the block. On one play against UNC a few weeks ago, he sealed his defender on the block, and as Ed Davis came over to block his shot, he dribbled by Davis on the baseline for a reverse layup. The Eagles will need a team effort with boxing out in order to keep Allen from getting easy second-chance points.


Why BC Will Win


If the Eagles protect the ball like they did against Miami (5 turnovers) and can keep Tech to one-and-done, the odds are in their favor. Tech has the lowest field goal percentage of any team in the ACC (43.5%) and the Eagles are coming off a great shooting effort (49.2% FG, 33% 3-pt) against Miami.


Look for the momentum of their come from behind victory, plus an increased confidence in their outside shooting as a catalyst to the Eagles getting their offense back on track.



Reggie Jackson is just the man for the job on offense, as he's been in double digits in points in his past five games. Reggie might be one of those guys who are more effective off the bench, rather than starting, and if he allows his scoring to come in the flow of the offense, look for him to have a big day. Jackson had a bigger second half at Miami because he was running with starters instead of leading the second unit. He's at his best when he can get free off the ball, which allows him the room to create at the top of the key.


Someone also needs to convince Joe Trapani that he has an inside game, and can score against bigger defenders below the foul line extended. He had the awareness to understand his outside shot was not going down last game, and started to pound the ball inside, which opened up dribbling lanes for Jackson to maneuver.


Lastly, if BC is quick to get back on defense and keep Tech from scoring the quick points or are able to get Allen in foul trouble then they stand a good chance to win.



Matchup to Watch


Malcolm Delaney vs. Biko Paris


Biko Paris had his lowest minute output of the season against the Canes Tuesday, and he just never seemed to get into the flow of the game. Biko will have his hands full with Delaney, who is floor general that has a great first step, and can get to the hole in a hurry. Once in the lane, the Eagles do not have an inside presence to alter his shot, and Delaney is always looking for when defenders leave their man to help out. Paris should try to overplay Delaney and force him to his left, where he is less effective attacking the basket.


Final Analysis


BC is going to be over-matched again in the length department, and we'll get a chance to see Corey Raji show if he can outrebound Allen. Virginia Tech has averaged 13 offensive rebounds the past three games, with Allen and 6-8 forward Victor Davila doing much of the damage.


The major turning point in the Miami game was the Eagles turning up their defensive intensity, and they had some key turnovers down the stretch which helped them put the game away.


It should be interesting to see if Al Skinner has a quick hook for Paris, and inserts Reggie Jackson for some instant offense. None of this will matter, however, if they can't contain Delaney from taking the game over. In the end, the Eagles won't have an answer for his floor vision and quickness.


Prediction


Virginia Tech 75, BC 70


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