At noon on Saturday, the Hokies travel to take on 23rd ranked NC State in Raleigh. This game will be another big road test for the Hokies in which they will try and keep momentum rolling from their win Wednesday night. For NC State, they’re coming off of a bitter overtime loss to UVA at home earlier in the week and will be trying to get that taste out of their mouth. This is a pretty big game for both sides, so we’ll look at what Tech needs to do to grab a win...
Before we go any further into analytics, records, and stat sheets; we have to discuss Justin Robinson. The point guard for the Hokies left the game against Miami in the second half and didn’t return. He appeared ready to go if the game got close, but that’s pure speculation. After the game, both Robinson and head coach Buzz Williams chose not to speak on the injury. As of Friday morning, nothing official has been released regarding Robinson, but he's been spotted on campus with crutches, wearing a walking boot. That's not encouraging, if accurate.
Right now nothing is certain, but without Robinson, winning against NC State and other teams will be an even bigger challenge. This season, the team has looked sloppy when Robinson is on the bench, so his roll is irreplaceable to this team. Keep a look out for updates as the game gets closer.
NC State Notes:
Back to the game, NC State is an interesting team to dissect. Their record (16-5) is solid, but they are 0-4 against currently ranked teams and are lacking a “big win”. With that being said, they played close to teams such as UVA and UNC making them seem like a team on the brink of a big win. This game against Virginia Tech is huge for the Wolfpack as they look for a statement win. The Hokies better be ready for a scrappy game in Raleigh.
A couple other notes to mention involves the rebounding of the Wolfpack. They have three players 6’10” or taller, but their leading rebounder is their guard Torin Dorn (also their leading scorer). This team is relatively big but all of their firepower comes from their backcourt on both offense and defense.
Speaking of backcourt, they plan to pester our backcourt all game long with a full court press. NC State loves a full court zone and looks to get easy buckets off of turnovers. If done correctly, the Hokies can use it against them and advance the ball down the court for their own easy buckets, but it will be interesting to see how Buzz has the Hokies handle it.
Keys for the Hokies:
Defense and ball protection. With or without Robinson this game will be a challenge. NC State has a top level offense and can score in a hurry. Tech has been solid on defense all season, but this will be another big test of their stamina and patience. For ball protection, they just have to play smart. A big reason NC State scores 84 ppg is that they force turnovers with their press and capitalize. If Virginia Tech can limit turnovers and play their game defensively, they can add another one to the win column.
This game is big for both sides as they try to show they’re top level teams. NC State has been close, but they haven’t been able to get a big win. Virginia Tech on the other hand, beat Purdue, blew out Syracuse, but the two elite teams they played humiliated them. We’ll see who shows up and see if Tech can keep rolling. Be sure to tune in Saturday at noon on ACC Network!