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Hokies Look For First ACC Win Against #8 Notre Dame

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A short preview for the Hokies contest against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 season has been very tough for the Virginia Tech Hokies Men’s Basketball Team. The schedule does not getany easier. Up next are #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish followed by undefeated #2 Virginia Cavaliers.

Virginia Tech (8-9, 0-4) will face another tough test Thursday night as they face off with #8 Notre Dame (17-2, 5-1). The game will be at Cassell Coliseum at 7 PM.

The Hokies have struggled mightily in recent games, mostly due to the inability to get rebounds. This is partly due to the recent suspension of leading rebounder Joey Van Zegeren. In their 86-75 loss to Florida State, Virginia Tech was outrebounded 42-22. This past Sunday, during the 68-53 loss to North Carolina, the Hokies were outrebounded 49-22. Virginia Tech will have to improve their rebounding this week in order to compete with Notre Dame.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Our 17-2 record matches the best 19-game start for the program since we also began 17-2 during the 1978-79 season (HT <a href="https://twitter.com/NDsidSean">@NDsidSean</a>)</p>&mdash; Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) <a href="https://twitter.com/NDmbb/status/556598489195753475">January 17, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Notre Dame comes into this contest winning 4 of the last 5 games with big wins over North Carolina and Miami, the only loss coming to undefeated #2 ranked Virginia. On Thursday the Hokies will face the high-powered 12th ranked offense of Notre Dame, averaging 81.7 points per game. Guard Jerian Grant leads the Irish in scoring averaging 16.7 points per game, but they have a very balanced attack with four of their five starters averaging over 10 points per game. This includes three-point specialist Pat Connaughton, guard Demetrius Jackson, and Forward Zach Auguste.

The Hokies hope to have leading scorer Justin Bibbs against Notre Dame, who missed the UNC game with a concussion.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hokies?src=hash">#Hokies</a> Justin Bibbs is &quot;much improved&quot; after today&#39;s concussion test. Meeting with real doctor at moment.</p>&mdash; Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) <a href="https://twitter.com/RTD_MikeBarber/status/557306118527938560">January 19, 2015</a></blockquote>

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For Virginia Tech to pull the upset, they will need strong performances from guards Devin Wilson, Adam Smith, and Ahmed Hill, likely relying heavily on good three- point shooting.

Although it has been a tough season for the Hokies, they have shown great effort in every game, and certainly have a bright future with all of the young talent. Freshman Justin Bibbs leads the team in scoring at 13.6 points per game and freshman Ahmed Hill, Satchel Pierce and Jalen Hudson have made great strides with the experience they have received this season. With transfer Seth Allen from Maryland to play next season, there will certainly be a big turnaround for the Hokies.