Play continues this weekend in the 2017 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament as Texas Tech travels to Uncasville, CT to take on the Boston College Eagles on Saturday. The Red Raiders will look to continue their hot start to the 2017-18 season.
Boston College Eagles
Boston College come from the Atlantic Coast Conference and are led by fourth year head coach Jim Christian. Some Tech fans may be familiar with Christian as he was head coach at TCU from 2008-2012. Boston College is 29-67 overall under Christian which includes a 9-23 campaign in 2016-17 and have eight players returning from last years team including guards Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman.
Robinson is a 6’6” junior who finished fifth in the ACC in scoring last year at 18.7 points per game and was named to the All-ACC Honorable Mention. Robinson is off to a bit of a slow start as he is only averaging seven points in 26 minutes per game this year.
Bowman is a 6’1” sophomore who averaged 14.3 points per game in conference play last year. He was named to the All-ACC Freshman team last year and was the only ACC freshman to rank in the top 10 in seven different categories in conference play. Bowman is leading the team in points and assists at 14 and five per game respectively.
Robinson and Bowman combined to form one of the top scoring backcourts in the country last year at 35 points per game. The duo’s points per game average in league play ranked them fifth in the ACC.
One of the new players to keep an eye on is 6’8” forward Deontae Hawkins. Hawkins is a graduate transfer from a strong Illinois State team that lost in the second round of the 2017 NIT. Hawkins was a strong part of that team as he led in points and rebounds at 14 and 6.5 per game respectively. He also led the team in three point shooting, connecting on 44 percent of his attempts from three. For the Eagles, Hawkins is the leading rebounder at 11 per game and is second in three point percentage at 45.
Possibly the most intriguing player on the Eagles is 6’8” freshman forward Steffon Mitchell. Mitchell is the protypical sixth man. He hasn’t started a game and is fifth on the team in minutes. The production is what gets your attention. Mitchell leads the team in field goal percentage (73), three point percentage (66), steals (6), and free throws attempted (18). He is also third in scoring at 12 points per game. The glaring weakness for Mitchell is free throw shooting as he only shoots 55 percent from the line.
Boston College plays in a tough conference. They play against tough competition. Same applies to the Red Raiders as both teams are undefeated this year and have played only home games. Both teams were woeful away from home last year and not much better at neutral sites.
The starting five for Boston College, along with Mitchell off the bench, will provide much tougher competition than starting fives from the first two opponents. The question will be, “What do the Eagles have after the top six?”
The Red Raiders will have a significant advantage in depth. Tech has 11 players that average 10 minutes per game or better. Boston College has seven.
The difference in quality of players eight through 11 seems to be a significant advantage for Tech. This figures to be a close game early in which Tech will eventually pull away and make it a lopsided win.
Tip off for this game is 11 a.m. CT at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN3. The radio broadcast will be available on the Texas Tech Sports Network radio affiliates, online at www.TexasTech.com and the Tune-In Radio app.