Exams are over, final grades are posted, and the semester is finally done. Classes don’t resume until January 22nd at Tech, but there will be plenty happening surrounding the Hokies and Blacksburg. Over the break, the Hokies have eight games and will be hoping to continue their momentum heading into the thick of the season.
To start out, Tech has their final two non-conference games at home against NC A&T (December 19) and MD Eastern (December 28). Despite not being top-notch competition, these two games are our final tuneup before hosting Notre Dame on New Year’s day and diving into ACC play. Take a look at each ACC winter break at-a-glance preview:
Virginia Tech vs Notre Dame: January 1, 1:00 p.m.
This game starts out conference play and is going to be a test. The Irish (7-3), have a couple of quality losses to UCLA and Oklahoma along with a head-scratcher to Radford, but have looked solid throughout. They don’t have one guy that’ll drop thirty, but have a handful of players that can score twenty on any given night. For the Hokies to take down the Irish, they’ll have to play team defense and push the tempo offensively.
Virginia Tech vs Boston College: January 5, 12 p.m.
The Golden Eagles (8-2) haven’t really played a top-level team yet, so we don’t really know what to expect. The one thing we do know is that Ky Bowman can kill you. The junior guard is averaging almost 20 ppg and can score from anywhere. He’ll be a test for sure, but Robinson and the Hokies should be able to keep him inder control and win the game.
Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech: January 9, 7:00 p.m.
This game is big simply because it’s a road game. Our only road game up to this point will have been Penn State where we looked out of sync and took our only loss of the season. The Yellow Jackets have looked mediocre this year and were sloppy in their only big test vs Tennessee. Something else to consider is that their leading scores only puts up 13 ppg; meaning we should be able to keep them under control offensively. If all goes well, the Hokies should roll in this one and get and grab a road win.
Virginia Tech @ Virginia: January 15, 8:00 p.m.
This is it, one of our biggest games of the year. UVA is a ACC and national title contender, as well as our bitter in-state rival. How Buzz Williams’ Hokies perform in this one will say a lot about this team. UVA arguably has the best defense in country, an offense that can score when needed, and an amazing home court advantage. To win this game, Nickeil Alexander-Walker will need to make plays, Kerry Blackshear, Jr has to stay out of foul trouble, and Justin Robinson has to do his thing. Expect a gritty but fun game in Charlottesville.
Virginia Tech vs Wake Forest: January 19, 4:00 p.m.
This one is sort of a “break” in between UVA and UNC. Wake Forest has a couple of good scorers but are not a good team defensively, especially in transition. More than likely, the Hokies will push the tempo and put up a lot of points. Back in Blacksburg, and against a struggling Demon Decons team, Tech should handle this one. They just have to make sure they stay focused between such big games.
Virginia Tech @ North Carolina: January 21, 7:00 p.m.
Back on the road against another perennial powerhouse, this will be a big test for the Hokies. The Tar Heels can score like crazy, are super athletic, and are home to one of the toughest venues in the country. UNC has four guys that can score thirty on any given night and are dangerous from anywhere on the court. Tech’s defense must be on their A-game to try and slow down this Tar Heels team. I expect a lot of points and a close game in Chapel Hill.
With conference play beginning and a lot of big games, the games over winter break have heavy importance for this Hokies team. How we handle this stretch will be a big indicator for how this year could end up. Get ready for some nail-biters but also a whole lot of fun.