Virginia men ready for Boston College
No. 20 Cavaliers chase Syracuse for ACC supremacy
After emerging from a crucial road victory against No. 25 Pittsburgh, the Virginia men’s basketball team will return home Wednesday night seeking to extend its winning streak to six games after versing Boston College. Having strengthened a second place ACC position with the last-second win, the No. 20 Cavaliers will face an opponent struggling to rise above an opposite spot in the standings.
Despite the team’s satisfaction of new AP Poll recognition, Virginia coach Tony Bennett remains focused on the consistent play that has brought his team its recent success.
“I’m not even aware of our ranking,” Bennett said. “It’s all about playing well and positioning yourself to have a chance at winning. If you bring the right kind of quality, solid offense and battling defensively, all of the results will take care of themselves.”
A win for Virginia (17-5, 8-1 ACC) would keep the pressure on conference leader and No. 1 Syracuse to remain undefeated. Boston College (6-15, 2-6 ACC), meanwhile, will hope to leapfrog Miami in the standings with an upset at John Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia will look to standout redshirt sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon — who sank the game-winning three against Pittsburgh — to continue his impressive play of late. Now the Cavaliers’ scoring leader, Brogdon has eased the responsibilities of sharpshooting senior guard Joe Harris. Bennett lauds Brogdon’s contributions as a multi-dimensional threat for the team.
“[He’s] a complete combo guard that handles the ball well and is showing his completeness on both ends of the floor,” Bennett said.
The Eagles are coming off of a tough overtime loss to Notre Dame, a hard-fought effort led by junior forward Ryan Anderson. The big man finished the game with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists, leading his team in each category.
Boasting the staunchest scoring defense in the nation at 55.5 points per game allowed, the Cavaliers will provide a tough test for an Eagles team scoring 70 points per game this season — especially at John Paul Jones Arena, where Virginia has not dropped an ACC decision this year.
Boston College used a narrow home victory against Virginia last season to begin a stretch that saw the Eagles win four of their last five regular season games. Virginia senior forward Akil Mitchell will be seeking vengeance for a half-court winner waved off by officials in the closing moments of that game.
Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.