Beating the Duke Blue Devils is apparently more hazardous to your team’s NCAA Tournament bubble health than once thought. Boston College Eagles basketball has made sure of that twice.
On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 53-52, in a last-minute comeback by the home team. With the win, BC is now 13-16 (5-11) on the season. Boston College has now won three games in a row at Conte Forum.
The script seemed the same as in many other Eagles games this season: an ice-cold start for Boston College, a scoring run later in the first half, and eventual cooling in the second half. As Virginia got out to an 11-point lead, it certainly looked like BC was on their way to another loss, but the Cavaliers went cold and the Eagles kept pounding away. Eddie Odio and Patrick Heckmann, amongst others, helped get BC back into the game late, but with only eight seconds to go, it was all Joe Rahon. Down 52-50 at the time, the freshman guard for the Eagles hit a three-pointer with mere seconds remaining and drew a simultaneous foul. Rahon missed the ensuing free throw, while Virginia made the half-court shot that would have won the game — it only came a half-second too late.
While the officiating was questionable at times, and that is certainly nothing to celebrate, give credit to the Eagles for persevering. This is the sort of game that Boston College has been keeping close but ultimately losing, especially on the road. There is a different dynamic at Conte Forum, however, and the Eagles play much better at home than they do anywhere else. BC hardly played a stellar game, but today it was good enough.
The contest means little in terms of anything relative to this season’s end result, but as far as the ACC Tournament is concerned, the Eagles have the potential to sneak into either the 7-10 game or the 8-9 game in the first round. Given how BC does not play well away from Conte Forum, the odds would probably be stacked against them, but either one of those matchups would be more favorable than having to play a five or six-seed.
As for Virginia, their loss to Boston College has likely put them on the wrong side of the bubble again. Beating Duke several days ago appeared to have set them on the right path, but not for long. If nothing else this season, the Eagles may be able to say that they had a role in knocking two conference foes out of the tournament running.
BC returns to the court on Tuesday for their road finale in Clemson. The regular-season finale is at Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech.