Two games on the schedule for Monday night, with a bonus game due to the continued brutal winter in the Northeastern United States. Will Pitt pick up a huge win to stay on the bubble? How about Clemson, what do they have in store for you on Monday evening? Can they avoid a let down? Everything you need to know right here with my Monday preview.
Miami (FL) (15-9, 5-6, RPI: 65) Vs. Boston College (9-14, 1-10, RPI: 142), 3:00 PM ET Monday, ESPNU—-Rescheduled from Sunday due to Northeast Snowstorm
- Miami is living up to their moniker as the most inconsistent-sometimes-good-sometimes-pull-your-hair-out-bad-team in the ACC. They have lost five out of their last seven since upsetting then #4 Duke on January 13th. It would take two wins vs Duke to countermand the loss at home to Eastern Kentucky who we watched struggle in conference last weekend.
- Boston College continues their struggle to find wins, although their leading scorer Olivier Hanlan has scored 15 points or more in his last four games. Aaron Brown does his best to play 2nd fiddle but is nowhere near the efficient producer that Hanlan has developed into, and is famous for the dreaded 7-of-16 shooting performance decried by so many analytical minds in the game today.
— ACC Men’s Basketball (@accmbb) February 13, 2015
- Miami finally saw the old, better Angel Rodriguez against Wake Forest. Rodriguez, who has struggled mightily of late, tallied 15 points in the loss to the Demon Deacons, which is the first time he has been in double digits in the last three weeks, when he scared UVA to death in that Overtime tilt in Coral Gables.
While Miami has been up and down for the better part of the last month or so, Boston College has been consistently bad for the entire season. That is reason alone to pick against the Eagles, even though they’re at home. Angel Rodriguez needs to show up and play well defensively at the very least to contain Olivier Hanlan, who as I’ve said in every Boston College game preview, will be the only factor in keeping the Eagles in it. Hanlan will get his points, but Jim Larranaga’s squad should have enough in the tank on the road to get the win.
Keeping in mind that the smallish quick backcourt of Miami might pose problems for BC defenders. Any penetration and Center Tonye Jekiri is going to capitalize over Dennis Clifford. Jahlil Okafor got the BC big man into foul trouble, frustrated BC into a flagrant foul and shot 17 free throws by himself. It would be smart for Miami to employ that physical style. Also the ball-screens that worked vs Duke were infallible. If they get that kind of execution, BC will have a bad afternoon. Not that they have many great ones to compare to this year.
Miami 68 Boston College 61
Pittsburgh (17-9, 6-6, RPI: 54) Vs. #2 Virginia (23-1, 11-1, RPI: 3), 7:00 PM ET, ESPN
- Pittsburgh will be traveling to Charlottesville for the first time since 1976 on Monday night when they square off against the second-ranked Cavaliers.
- Virginia squandered away a sizable lead, before using their pack-line defense to swallow up Wake Forest’s Codi Miller-McIntyre in the closing seconds, narrowly escaping with a 61-60 home win over the Demon Deacons.
- Pittsburgh added a huge home win over #12 North Carolina on Saturday, defeating the Tar Heels 89-76 to improve their home record to 14-2 on the season.
- Jamel Artis continued his hot streak for the Panthers on Saturday, although this time he turned in a terrific all-around game, scoring 11 points and adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Since laying a proverbial overtime egg nearly three weeks ago against Virginia Tech, the Pittsburgh Panthers have been on fire, upsetting #10 Notre Dame and #12 North Carolina, while falling to #9 Louisville in a five game stretch where they have gone 5-1. A win on the road against #2 Virginia would do wonders for their NCAA Tournament chances, although their last two ranked wins put them back in the bubble conversation. Jamel Artis has led the charge for the Panthers of late, scoring nearly 19 points per game and doing a little bit of everything, from rebounding to dishing out assists.
Wow, impressive performance from Pitt today in their 89-76 win over UNC. Crazy total of assists from both teams. http://t.co/EioqvNpHkc
— Jon Pence (@scacchoops) February 14, 2015
Meanwhile, #2 Virginia has been able to hold on by the skin of their teeth in their two wins since the Justin Anderson injury, and if Saturday is any indication, they really need his scoring punch back by March. The Cavaliers of course, are a lock to make the Big Dance, but are still fighting to ensure that they retain their potential #1 seed in the tournament. No matter what their seed may be, Anderson will need to be a part of their run if they want to win a National Championship so the team is hoping his hand heals soon.
It’s really hard not to love the way the Panthers are playing right now, although they are an unproven commodity on the road, where they have yet to notch a signature win. The Cavaliers are tough wherever they play, but especially at home, where they have won every big time game they have played sans Duke two weeks ago.
This is perhaps the toughest pick of the year for me, because Jamie Dixon will have his guys ready to play and Virginia no longer looks invincible as Justin Anderson is on the mend. The chances of Pittsburgh picking up a road win against a top five team could not be any higher than this, and I’ll take them in an upset over the ‘Hoos, perhaps cementing their chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
Pittsburgh 65 Virginia 62
Clemson (15-10, 7-6, RPI: 80) Vs. Georgia Tech (11-14, 2-11, RPI: 118), 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU
- Clemson made quick work of Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon, opening up both the first and second halves with five straight threes to sink the Hokies. Clemson entered the game as the ACC’s worst 3-point shooting team at 29% from beyond the arc, before going 11-29 (37%) against Virginia Tech. They were 11-20 at one point, but missed their final nine attempts after the game was already well in hand.
- Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 17 points, but the Yellow Jackets kept on losing, as they fell to Florida State on Saturday 57-53.
- Georgia Tech’s 250th ranked scoring offense will be going up against the 34th ranked scoring defense in the country in Clemson.
Clemson's Jordan Roper: 6th double-digit scoring game in 7 games since being named starter (1 in 1st 18 games this season).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2015
Both of these teams are heading in opposite directions. Clemson has been battling to stay in bubble territory for the NCAA tournament, while Brian Gregory’s job is absolutely in jeopardy for the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech has struggled to find offense at times this season, and their task won’t get any easier on Monday night as they face one of the best defenses in the ACC and the entire country in Clemson. Look for Jaron Blossomgame and Jordan Roper to have huge nights for Clemson, as they will rout the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.
Clemson 77 Georgia Tech 59