The only thing cooler the midseason premiere of a current program is the series premiere at midseason.  This weekly installment will try to be a primer for the upcoming weekend…not to be confused with the early in the week appearance of the Beltway Basketball Bonanza.  Could this technically be a spinoff?  I only hope it’s as well received as Sheriff Lobo.

Saturday:

NOON–Virginia Tech (8-6, 1-1 ACC) hosts Boston College (4-11, 0-2) as the Hokies try to move past a 20-point loss to #2 Syracuse.  Thank goodness the Eagles are the worst team in the conference (the only to post a losing non-conference record).  With wins over FIU, Philadelphia, Sacred Heart and Washington.  How did they beat a 10-6 Huskies team?  But before the Cassell Coliseum gets too confident, this VT club lost two of three to wrap up non-league play…and got crushed on the glass by SU 41-25.

2PM–American (7-7, 3-0 Patriot) visits Colgate (6-8, 0-3).  Who would have thought the Eagles would be tied for first three games into conference play?  All three wins by double figures?  Sophomore swingman Jesse Reed looks like he’s made the leap and is one of four players averaging double figures for AU…but the key for Mike Brennan’s team is that they’ve held all three league opponents to under 35% shooting.  Colgate has yet to shoot under 44% in Patriot League play despite three straight losses.

2:30PM–George Washington (12-3, 0-1 A-10) entertains Rhode Island (9-7, 0-1) with both teams coming off tough losses in their league openers:  GW by four at LaSalle and the Rams by one against St. Louis.  URI boasts an all-name duo in Xavier Mumford (16ppg) and Biggie Minnis (50% from 3pt range).  The Colonials can ill afford an 0-2 conference start with VCU dropping by the district before GW goes on a two game roadtrip.

5PM–Virginia (11-4, 2-0 ACC) visits NC State (11-4, 1-1) in a “are you for real” matchup.  The Cavaliers and Wolfpack reside in the second tier of the conference…and a victory will solidify either as an up-and-comer worthy of any preseason hype while a defeat puts them back in the middle class that only a 15-team league can provide.  After holding Florida State to 31% shooting and Wake Forest to 35% shooting, can UVa contain a TJ Warren (23ppg, 8rpg)–a sophomore who looks like he’s made the leap?  And what is the deal with Cavalier center Mike Tobey (9-29FG with 8PF in his last four games)?

7PM–Georgetown (10-4, 2-1 Big East) at Butler (10-5, 0-3).  The Bulldogs have the recent NCAA success…but Brad Stevens now coaches the Boston Celtics and their top three scorers from last season will not be suiting up Saturday.  The Hoyas try to bounce back a tough loss at Providence (7 missed free throws and 15 turnovers contributing to a double-digit defeat)…although it was nice to see Mikael Hopkins score in double figures for the first time in over a month.  An isolated incident or a trend?  Kellen Dunham (19ppg, 43% from 3pt range) plays the Bryce Cotton role (the PC guard notched 20pts and 7ast in an 18 pt win over Gtown) for Butler…can the Hoyas contain the Bulldog sophomore?  And is this a Gus Johnson game?

8PM–George Mason (7-8, 0-1 A-10) hosts St. Joseph’s (9-5, 0-1) with the Patriots facing a similar situation as GW:  they play #19 UMass before a two game roadtrip and 0-4 could be a distinct possibility when they host the Colonials January 25th.  The Hawks’ Langston Galloway (17 ppg, 44% from  3pt range) score 18 against the Minutemen…Mason looks to prove their 19 turnovers at VCU were the exception and not the rule.

Sunday:

8PM–Maryland (10-6, 2-1 ACC) visits Florida State (10-4, 1-1)…the Terps lost by 20 at Pitt Tuesday in a game where they allowed the Panthers to hit 6 of 10 from three-point range and 53% from the field.  Seth Allen (a season high 26 minutes) is getting back to pre-injury speed…but the Terps desperately need more than 6 points and 3 rebounds over 28 minutes from pivotmen Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare.  FSU is led by the streaky Ian Miller (14ppg, but has shot 6-11, 1-10, 4-11, 2-8 and 6-12 over the last five games) outside and Okaro White inside (3 double doubles in non-conference play but 5-15 shooting in ACC games).

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