15-seed Virginia Tech will attempt to accomplish the unlikely task of beating a team three times in one season when the Hokies take on the 10-seed Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the ACC Tournament Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C.
The Hokies (9-21, 2-16 ACC) won 61-60 in overtime to open the ACC slate 1-0 back on December 8 in Coral Gables. Jarell Eddie had one of his only strong performances in ACC play with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds.
The second meeting in Blacksburg was an incredibly ugly affair with Tech edging the Hurricanes 52-45. Miami shot 25.9% from the field (15-58) and started the game just 9-of-41. The Hokies led 19-15 at halftime and it wasn't until Devin Wilson scored all of his 12 points in the final 3:37 that Tech was able to salt things away.
That was the last Hokie win and the only victory since the calendar turned over to 2014.
On the flip side, Miami is playing its best basketball of the season winning five of seven down the stretch. The 'Canes are led by senior guard Rion Brown (15.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG). He's averaged 19.2 PPG in Miami's final six games but he's struggled this season against the Hokies.
Tech held Brown to just nine points in the first meeting and 12 in the second.
Fellow senior guard Garrius Adams (10.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG) fared a bit better scoring 13 and 14 points against the Hokies. Tech will have to defend Miami's guards to have a chance to send the 'Canes packing.
Fortunately for Virginia Tech, guard Ben Emelogu returned from injury in the regular season finale after missing the previous four games and First Team All-ACC guard Devin wilson got four days between outings. Wilson has started all 30 games for the Hokies this season and averaged 36.9 minutes per contest in ACC play.
Another good sign is that big man Joey Van Zegeren is peaking at the right time. The redshirt sophomore had a career-high 21 points and seven rebounds against Georgia Tech Saturday and his play down the stretch has been one of the few brights spots for the Hokies.
If that core group of young players has a good game, Tech stands a good chance to pull off the upset. The winner will go on to face NC State in the second round.
Tech-Miami tips off at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Greensboro. The game will be shown on ESPN2 or your local ACC Network affiliate.