ACC Basketball: Commonwealth Monday Preview

It’s a Commonwealth Monday here at Inside The ACC and we have everything you need to know about our two ACC match-ups on Monday night featuring Virginia Tech and Virginia in action on the ESPN family of networks. Without further ado, let’s get started.

#2 Virginia (27-1, 15-1, RPI: 4) Vs. Syracuse (18-11, 9-7, RPI: 60), 7:00 PM ET, ESPN

After decimating the undermanned Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday afternoon, the Cavaliers will be taking the floor once again on Monday without star wing Justin Anderson, who is expected to miss his seventh straight contest after surgery on his left hand. Although the ‘Hoos will love to get him back for March, they haven’t missed a beat during his absence, as they have compiled a record of 6-0 and have a winning margin of 12.5 points per game. They should look to try to exploit the Syracuse zone defense by using wing Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon has the slashing ability to get to the rim, similar to Duke’s Justise Winslow in that regard, and has the inside-out game that has caused the Orange defense problems all year long.

Syracuse is going to try to bounce back after getting housed by the Blue Devils on the road Saturday evening. It’s senior night for the Orange, and they will try to send Rakeem Christmas out on the right note, as they welcome the nation’s second ranked team. While Virginia’s Anthony Gill has been able to play solid defense against bigs with similar body size, a rather important question for this match-up is whether or not he can stay in front of Rakeem Christmas. Christmas, who is averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, is a load down low and will have the size and skill advantage over Virginia’s frontline.

This is going to be a close, low-scoring affair, as neither of these two teams score a ton of points. Virginia, while known for their top ranked scoring defense, only averages 66.1 points per game, which is 205th in the country, which has been a cause for concern by many who question whether or not they are capable of winning a national championship this season. Syracuse, at 68.7 points per game, ranks 148th nationally, and the parity is why this game will be interesting from the tip. While I think Syracuse is capable of beating Virginia, I’m not sure they will have the motivation, especially since they are playing out their schedule under the cloud of a postseason ban. I like Virginia to narrowly escape the Orange on the road Monday night.

Virginia 62    Syracuse 56


Boston College (10-18, 2-14, RPI: 166) Vs. Virginia Tech (10-19, 2-14, RPI: 214), 9:00 PM ET, ESPNU

It’s the battle for last place in the ACC, and it’s on TV! What more could you possibly want?

In all seriousness, BC’s Olivier Hanlan continues to play at an All-ACC level, as he singlehandedly boosted the Eagles to an upset win over NC State on Saturday afternoon. Hanlan, who leads the ACC in scoring at 19.6 points per game, managed to pour in 24 points on 7-11 shooting on Saturday, and has averaged 29.2 points per game over his last five games. He has been the lone bright spot on an otherwise poor Boston College squad.

Virginia Tech has been doing their best in the quest for relevance this season, but like BC, the Hokies are undermanned and short on true ACC talent. While they took #2 Virginia down to the wire at the end of January and lost to #4 Duke in overtime this past week, their lack of true frontcourt talent and depth puts them at a major rebounding disadvantage (last in the ACC). While guard Adam Smith has been a consistent shot-maker for the 10-win Hokies, inconsistency on the part of the rest of the roster has plagued the team for much of the season.

It’s a 9 o’clock start in Blacksburg, and chances are it’ll be a disappointing crowd considering the circumstances surrounding the season, coupled with the fact that both teams are cellar-dwellers in the conference. I’ll take Virginia Tech in a close game, but only if they play like they did against the top five opponents that they have faced this season.

Virginia Tech 64   Boston College 60


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