What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Boston College

boston collegeBoston College opened ACC play with a 2-0 mark, and if you wanted to put an asterisk beside that, OK, but still, 2-0 in the ACC is 2-0 in the ACC.

The Eagles opened the season, as everybody else did, with a conference game, defeating Wake Forest at home, then went to Notre Dame in early December and nipped the Irish by a point.

In between: a 15-point home loss to Belmont, a 20-point road loss at Richmond, in which BC scored just 44.

And then the 2-0 record in ACC play went away last week with an 88-49 loss at Duke.

Back to reality, indeed.

It’s Year 6 of the Jim Christian era at Boston College, and you have to figure that it’s going to be somebody else’s turn soon, probably at the end of this season.

Christian, who won big in the MAC at two stops, Kent State and Ohio, struggled in between at TCU, has managed just one winning season to this point in Chestnut Hill, the modest 19-16 finish in 2017-2018 that concluded with a one-and-done appearance in the NIT.

BC then slid back to 14-17 in 2018-2019, even with Ky Bowman and Jordan Chatman putting up big numbers in the backcourt.

Both are gone: Bowman in the NBA with Golden State, Chatman in Romania.

Roster Breakdown

The Eagles’ rotation includes a couple of familiar names.

Grad transfer Derryck Thornton is at the point and leads BC with 13.3 points and 3.4 assists per game, though he isn’t the most efficient guy you’ll see (3.5 turnovers per game, 39.1 percent shooting from the field, 25.0 percent shooting from three-point range).

Thornton, on his third stop in D1 (Duke, Southern Cal), did go for 19 on 9-of-12 shooting in the win at Notre Dame and 23 on 7-of-14 shooting in the win over Wake back in November.

The other familiar name is 6’11” senior Nik Popovic (11.8 ppg, 5.9 rebs/g, 44.3% FG, 32.0% 3FG), who had a nice outing in BC’s 83-56 loss to Virginia last January (16 points on 7-of-12 shooting).

Popovic’s status for Tuesday night is uncertain. He hasn’t played since the Dec. 3 loss to Northwestern with a back injury.

There is no word on his expected return date as of this writing.

Steffon Mitchell, a 6’8” junior (6.7 ppg, 8.7 rebs/g), and 6’10” junior Luka Kraljevic (0.9 ppg, 0.9 rebs/g), have been filling the minutes at the five in his absence.

Jay Heath, a 6’3” freshman, a three-star DMV product (Arlington, Va., Woodrow Wilson), has been a pleasant surprise for Christian (12.0 ppg, 42.8% FG, 37.7% 3FG).

Four other guys to watch out for:

  • Brothers Jairus Hamilton (9.1 ppg, 37.5% FG, 29.7% 3FG) and Jared Hamilton (8.4 ppg, 46.0% FG, 41.4% 3FG). Jairus, a 6’8” sophomore, was a four-star recruit whose offers included Duke, UNC and Kansas, though he hasn’t come close, yet, to living up to that hype.
  • CJ Felder (5.9 ppg in 19.7 mins/g), a 6’7”, 230-pound freshman, was a three-star with offers from Auburn, Clemson and Georgia Tech.
  • Julian Rishwain, a 6’5” freshman three-star, is putting up 3.3 threes a game off the bench (5.3 ppg, 35.5% FG, 34.8% 3FG).

Inside the Numbers

Numbers from KenPom.com

  • Tempo: 71.2 possessions per game (106th)
  • Offensive efficiency: .966 points per possession (250th)
  • Defensive efficiency: .947 points per possession (81st)
  • Average height: 77.7” (56th)

Numbers from Hoop-Math.com

  • Percentage of shots at the rim: 34.9% offense (137th), 37.7% defense (246th)
  • Percentage of shots that are two-point jumpers: 29.5% offense (202nd), 23.4% defense (93rd)
  • Percentage of shots that are three-point jumpers: 40.2% offense (198th), 38.8% defense (206th)

Story by Chris Graham

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