Georgia Tech just got a thrilling win on Tuesday to make it 3 in row. The Jackets are playing as well as they have all season and have finally gotten some good luck to go along with it. Boston College on the other hand is losing games and losing them bad. On Sunday, the Eagles didn't just lose to Wake Forest, they got slaughtered. With three minutes remaining in the first half, they were down 37-4. That's not a typo. They scored two baskets in 17 minutes. All in all, BC's defense isn't bad, but their offense is 342nd in the country. Out of 351. They have two players that score in the double digits; Jerome Robinson, who has not played for the last several games, and Eli Carter who shoots 35% from the field in part because they rely on him so much. They have not even come close in most games. The only single digit loss was the inexplicable three point loss to UNC.
Keys to the Game for Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech cannot overlook this game. Boston College is going to be hungry for this win and has capable players. The offense in particular cannot let up. They need to keep pushing the ball inside and try to get a big lead early. Jacking up a lot of poor threes could lead to an upset. Adam Smith finally snapped out of his funk against Clemson and hit some key threes so hopefully he keeps his rhythm going. Quinton Stephens has been playing great lately. He's been hitting his shots and has really been hitting the boards hard. If he could be a consistent contributor, that would bode well for the postseason as well as next year. Georgia Tech played some odd rotations against Clemson, including several with Stephens at the 4. Without anyone on Boston College who is a matchup nightmare, I expect to see two big men on the floor at all times. They will probably start without a point guard, but Josh Heath and Travis Jorgenson should play if Tech can take a big lead.
Keys to the Game for Boston College
This game is all about defense for the Eagles. The goal should be to play tight on that end of the floor, hope the Yellow Jackets miss some shots and try to eke out a win in a low scoring game. They are capable on defense, but play quite a bit of small ball which could hurt them. Without Robinson, they are going to really rely on Carter to carry the offense. Then they would need a big game from a role player, like Dennis Clifford, or Sammy Barnes-Thompkins. If they can pack the paint, and Georgia Tech's shots stop falling, they certainly have a chance at the upset. If the Yellow Jackets are hot, it is hard to see the Eagles scrounging up enough offense to pull it out.
Meaning of This Game
The Yellow Jackets are actually hot. If they win this game, that would be the first time since 2007 that they have won 4 conference games in a row. With a very outside chance at the tournament and the NIT still in play, this team is going to come out plenty motivated. A win won't help them much, but a loss would kill them. Boston College is running out of chances at a conference win and they are going to certainly come out fighting. With post-season play out of the picture, ruining another team's season can serve as a good motivator.
KenPom has the Jackets favored by 8 and I think the line will be a little bit higher, either 9 or 10. While BC has played only one close conference game all season, the Jackets have trouble holding onto big leads. I think the Jackets will pull it out, but I have no idea whether they're going to pull it out. I'm wary of a Brian Gregory team over-performing, so I'm going to predict a way too close win for Georgia Tech.
This game will take place at the Conte Forum at noon on Saturday. Go Yellow Jackets!