The Virginia Tech Hokies and Virginia Cavaliers have their first match up of the year this Tuesday night. The Hokies will be traveling into a hostile environment at John Paul Jones Arena and will try and take down the fourth ranked Cavaliers on the road. Here are some key stats and things to watch for...
Top Shelf Defenses:
Both the Hokies and the Cavaliers rank in the top five in the country in scoring defense this year, so don’t expect a ton of scoring in this one. UVA uses their size and veteran leadership to suffocate opposing offenses and have been holding to teams to just 51 points per game this season. On the other side of things, Tech uses speed and a lot switching to close out quickly and eliminate open looks from the perimeter. Both teams defend well and rebound, so winning on Tuesday may just come down to making open shots when they get them.
Experienced Back Courts:
UVA: This game offers one of the most exciting battles of guards in the country. UVA has Ty Jerome running the point guard and the electric Kyle Guy on the wing. To compliment those two, they have soon-to-be first round pick De’Andre Hunter on the other wing. This trio isn’t the most explosive offensive set, but their defense is second to none and causes a lot off trouble to other teams.
VT: Senior guard Justin Robinson and grad student Ahmed Hill have about as much experience as anyone, and it’ll be crucial Tuesday night. Robinson will control the game for the Hokies, but getting over his recent shooting slump would be a huge lift for Tech’s offense. Whether Robinson shoots well or not, the key piece on offense for the Hokies will be Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Coming off a 1/13 shooting night in Atlanta, it’ll be key for him to back on track. When on his game, he’s one of the deadliest shooters in the country and can finish through contact at the rim. Tech’s guards are experienced, good on defense, and can be lethal scoring the ball.
Hokies Road Game Struggles:
Virginia Tech has only played two true road games this season, but haven’t looked themselves in either of them. We lost our first away game at Penn State and played passive and out of sync. While a loss isn’t nice to see on the record, it might’ve been a good lesson to get ready for ACC play. After looking sharp in our first two ACC games at home, we barely escaped the Yellow Jackets at Georgia Tech last week and had our worst shooting performance of the year.
Students are back on campus at UVA so John Paul Jones is going to be rocking on Tuesday night. Tech’s team is full of veterans and won last year at UVA, but it’s going to be a huge test and will show us how good we really are. If Tech plays their game and shoots decently, they can win this game and grab a ton of momentum heading into the thick of ACC play.
This game is one of the biggest of the year in the ACC, and also one of the biggest ever for Virginia Tech. It offers the Hokies a chance to reach their highest AP Poll ranking ever and of course beat hated UVA. With that being said, both teams have outstanding players, coaches, and fan bases. Every possession will count in Charlottesville and it has the potential to be an instant classic. Tune in at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night on ACC Network and...
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Hokies battle tight in the 1st half, and pull away in the 2nd for a surprise cruise
Hoos dominate the inside, shoot well enough from the perimeter to keep the Hokies loose underneath. Hoos win comfortably
Hokies look a bit confused in the 1st half, and have to mount a furious comeback in the 2nd, but just can’t get there as fouls and low percentage hurried shots don’t fall. Close but nope.
The game is a see-saw with never more than 10 points separating the teams, and often fewer than 3. Tech finds a way to keep matching the Hoos plus add some timely threes to nip it at the end.