For most of the 2012-13 season, the Boston College Eagles basketball team has done respectably at Conte Forum. Sure, there have been more than a few missteps, but Chestnut Hill has been far more kind to the maroon and gold than other venues.
On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles will try to win their fourth-straight home game as they play their regular-season finale against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season, but possibly not the last if they are destined to face one another in the 8/9 game in the ACC Tournament next Thursday afternoon.
As the hockey team finds itself in the unfamiliar position of not being the top dog this weekend, the basketball team is also in somewhat of new territory: on an ACC win streak. The Eagles defeated Virginia at home and then Clemson on the road to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since late December, but now they look to make it three games in a row.
If Boston College wins on Saturday, they will be the #8 seed in the ACC Tournament, assuring them a spot in the first game of the first round at noon Thursday. A loss would ensure that they are not the 8-seed, but one place we know they cannot be is 12th, the last-place spot they inhabited in the 2012 ACC Tournament.
Georgia Tech is an improving basketball team that looked like it would be a suitable victim for the Eagles based upon its poor road record, until they beat Miami in Coral Gables on Wednesday night. The Hurricanes are the ACC regular-season champions (at least, they’ll own a share of it) but are starting to slow down, while BC is arguably playing its best ACC ball of the season. They can in part thank Olivier Hanlan, the freshman guard from the Ottawa metropolitan area who has sparked life into the Eagles all season long.
The Jackets will pose some challenges for BC defensively, but on the offensive end, it has been a struggle. Georgia Tech manages just 64 points per game and has the worst shooting percentage in the conference at an even 42%. Boston College has two players in the ACC’s top ten in scoring (Hanlan and Ryan Anderson); GT has none in the top 25. What Georgia Tech does somewhat well is collect offensive rebounds and control things on the defensive end of the floor. To that latter end, they also have the conference’s best blocker in Daniel Miller, a junior.
Nothing comes easy in this conference, and it certainly won’t next season with two or possibly three ranked programs about to join, but this is all about carrying momentum into the ACC Tournament and 2013-14. Losing to Georgia Tech would be a bit of a letdown for the Eagles, but it is a winnable game against a beatable team.
Tipoff is at 12pm; it will be broadcast on local Boston television and ESPN3.