Virginia-Boston College Preview
Unbeaten Virginia will try to use a favorable stretch in the schedule to prepare for a much more daunting one that begins later this month.
Already off to their best start since 1980-81, the second-ranked Cavaliers will try to secure their first 5-0 start in the ACC since that same season Saturday against Boston College.
Virginia (16-0, 4-0) remained one of the nation’s two unbeaten teams with a 65-42 rout of visiting Clemson on Tuesday. The Cavaliers pulled away with a 29-6 run to start the second half and shot 62.5 percent in the final 20 minutes after missing 16 of 26 shots while taking a six-point lead into intermission.
"You know the first half we were a little out of sorts offensively and we have to clean that up. We have to come out of the gate better," said guard Malcolm Brogdon, who had a team-best 16 points and teamed with Justin Anderson for 31 of the team’s output.
Virginia will next face three consecutive opponents that are winless in the ACC before taking on No. 4 Duke, No. 15 North Carolina and No. 6 Louisville. That challenging stretch starts Jan. 31.
"I think we have so much to improve on," Brogdon said. "I don’t think we’ve peaked yet, but I think we have a lot to improve on and we have to keep staying humble and hungry."
While working on its game, Virginia will try to improve to 5-0 in the league play and 6-0 on the road for the first time in 34 seasons. With eventual three-time national player of the year Ralph Sampson leading the way, the 1980-81 Cavaliers won their first 23 games, their first 12 in league play and first 10 on the road.
They would appear to have a good chance to reach that mark with Boston College owning one of the least prolific offenses in the conference.
The Cavaliers are allowing 50.6 points per game to match No. 1 Kentucky for the nation’s best mark, while their 33.8 opponent field-goal percentage ranks second. The Eagles (8-7, 0-3) are averaging 59.3 points and shooting 40.0 percent in their three conference games.
Virginia also ranks third in the country in rebounding differential at plus-10.9 while Boston College has the ACC’s third-worst mark at 1.4.
Boston College is off to its worst conference start since joining the ACC in 2005-06. It hasn’t had a worse start to league play since opening 0-9 in the Big East in 1998-99.
The Eagles took a break from conference play Wednesday to beat Harvard 64-57, snapping a season-high three-game skid. Leading scorer Olivier Hanlan had a team-leading 17 points for Boston College, which shot 51.9 percent.
Hanlan is averaging 19.0 points and 5.5 assists in his last four games.
The Cavaliers held a 21-point lead around midway through the second half in last season’s only meeting Feb. 5 at Virginia and used that cushion to withstand an Eagles rally in a 77-67 victory. Boston College’s leading scorer, Ryan Anderson, is now at Arizona.
Brogdon registered one of his two career double-doubles in that win with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Virginia is 1-4 all-time at Boston College, losing the last three meetings there.