Coming off a heartbreaking loss at home to Syracuse, Virginia Tech will look to rebound on the road against Florida State. Tech struggled mightily in the first half before mounting a second half comeback that would later fall short before ultimately losing 68-66. Fortunately for the Hokies, Florida State has also struggled themselves this season. Similarly, they are seeking to bounce back from a road loss to Mississippi State tonight.
Both teams enter this matchup at 8-6 on the year and 0-1 in conference play.
If the Hokies expect to win this game, they will need to avoid the slow starts that have plagued them for much of this season. Leading scorers Justin Bibbs and Adam Smith will need to provide early offense while role players Ahmed Hill and Devin Wilson will need to pitch in. Big man Joey van Zegeren will once again be out of the lineup as he continues to serve an indefinite suspension.
Another key for Virginia Tech in this game will have to be beating Florida State on the glass. Virginia Tech is currently last in the conference with 36.3 rebounds per game. If they expect to compete in the ACC this season, they will need to dramatically improve on this average. Tech will also need to contain Florida State's leading scorer Aaron Thomas (14.8 PPG) from causing too much damage.
If the Hokies are unable to win tonight, they will have to miraculously maneuver through the gauntlet of their next five games against Louisville, UNC, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Pittsburgh. Tonight's game is a must win to avoid a likely long skid to start conference play.