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The Matchup: Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff

The Hokies return home Saturday afternoon hoping to redeem themselves against the Golden Lions.

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech (4-3) hosts the Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions (2-6) on Saturday, coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Northwestern. However, they have an opportunity to redeem themselves against a bad Golden Lions side. Arkansas Pine-Bluff has just 2 wins on the season, neither of which are impressive, winning by just a two point margin each time.

The Golden Lions are absolutely dreadful on offense. They don’t move the ball well, shoot it well, protect the ball, and they don’t…well, you get the idea. They rank second-to-last in the country in PPG, as they score a shade under 55 per contest. In their highest scoring game, the Golden Lions scored 72 points, which is a complete outlier. If you take away that performance, their average points a game drops to just over 52. I don’t even know the words to describe how bad that is.

The Golden Lions don’t have any reliable scoring options either. Their top scorer is Jovaughn Love, who’s putting up 11.6 points a game. However, he’s nothing special. Zach LeDay and company are more than capable of shutting him down. Love is also inefficient, shooting at a 34% clip from the field, so the Hokies shouldn’t let a couple made shots affect their defense. Chances are he’ll miss way more than he’ll make shots.

Defensively, there’s plenty of opportunities for the Hokies to exploit. They give up 77 points a game, which again, is awful. LeDay should have a nice bounce back game, especially on the offensive glass, because the Golden Lions rank 344th in rebounding margin. The Hokies should be able manufacture plenty of second chances without too many issues. Arkansas Pine-Bluff has also committed the second most fouls in the country, which usually means a team is simply playing aggressive defense. But the Golden Lions foul a lot because they often aren’t in position to make plays. The Hokies would be wise to drive into the paint and get to the line, and they have the athletes and talent to do it.

There will also be opportunities to run in transition for Virginia Tech. The Golden Lions are in the bottom ten in the country in protecting the ball. At some point, there will be multiple opportunities in a row for the Hokies to beat Arkansas Pine-Bluff down the floor to get easy buckets. This game could be over early in the second half if the Hokies can take advantage of that.

Prediction (4-3):

The Hokies should win this game very easily. They are more talented and are better coached. They should have no trouble stopping a poor Golden Lions offense that is devoid of scoring threats, and the Hokies should dominate the glass. I anticipate a nice scoring output for Chris Clarke because his ability to drive will manufacture plenty of opportunities at the free throw line.

Hokies move to 5-3, nabbing a 83-59 win.