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Virginia Tech vs Louisville Preview

Can the Hokies knock off the Cardinals who suffered a weekend loss?

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech men's basketball squad returns to the hardwood this evening as they take on new conference foe Louisville (14-2, 2-1). The Cardinals will be looking to get back on track after suffering a weekend loss at the hands of the UNC Tar heels, while the Hokies (8-7, 0-2) are still searching for their first conference win under first-year head coach Buzz Williams.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Hokies travel to No. 6/7 Louisville: Tech renews old rivalry in Cardinals&#39; first year in the ACC <a href="http://t.co/Y4mHPWgKkQ">http://t.co/Y4mHPWgKkQ</a></p>&mdash; VT Men&#39;s Basketball (@VT_MBBall) <a href="https://twitter.com/VT_MBBall/status/554826693974966272">January 13, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Louisville come into tonight's matchup scoring 73.6 points per game, which is currently 55th best in the nation; however, the Cardinals average more than 40 rebounds per game and have only given up more than 70 points 3 times through their current campaign. Defensively, this Louisville squad might be the best in the ACC with Virginia a close second. Coach Rick Pitino teams always play tough defensively, but this season he has a great on ball defender in Terry Rozier who is averaging 17.5 points per game and a preseason all-american rim protector in Montrezl Harrell (former Hokie commit under Seth Greenberg) who is averaging 15.5 points per game.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>At Louisville, Montrezl Harrell has become player Seth Greenberg thought he&#39;d be for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hokies?src=hash">#Hokies</a>, who play at UL tonight. <a href="http://t.co/m7R05RqeVA">http://t.co/m7R05RqeVA</a></p>&mdash; Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) <a href="https://twitter.com/RTD_MikeBarber/status/554991284956692480">January 13, 2015</a></blockquote>

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The Hokies are coming off an 11 point loss to FSU, a game in which the Seminoles were given a lot of open shots and knocked them down due to poor rotation defense by VT. The Hokies were also drastically out rebounded by one of the tallest teams in the country, FSU. Tonight, although Louisville is not as tall as other ACC squads, they are extremely athletic at the 3, 4 and 5 spots, which allows them to win a lot of 50/50 balls on the glass. If the Hokies want to be successful on the boards they must rebound at all 5 positions, and box out effectively.

This is a tough matchup for VT because of the lack of size and athleticism under the basket. It will be hard for the Hokies to limit 2nd chance baskets and to get out in transition where they are most dangerous. I look for the VT guards, especially Justin Bibbs, Ahmed Hill Jalen Hudson, to play well, but they have to hit open shots because second chance baskets will be hard to fine in Louisville this evening.

Location

KFC Yum! Center- Louisville, Kentucky @ 7:00pm

Television

Regional Sports Networks - Wes Durham & Mike Gminski

ESPN3-Watch ESPN

Radio

Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network - Bill RothMike Burnop

Go Hokies!