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Hokies vs Hoos Part Two: Preview

Short-handed and banged-up Virginia Tech looks to avenge their loss against UVA from earlier in the year.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Virginia Tech
Alexander-Walker looks to rebound off of a difficult night against Pitt. He and the Hokies look to take down the Hoos in the Cassel.
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Round two of the commonwealth clash takes place Monday night in Blacksburg. Last time these teams met, the Cavaliers couldn’t miss and shot the Hokies out of the game. Hopefully that doesn’t happen again, but with or without a shooting performance like that, this will be an enormous challenge for the banged-up Hokies.

The Cavaliers are 22-2 on the year and have only lost to Duke. They play sound defense, shoot the ball well, and don’t make a lot of mistakes. In addition to the teams solidity, Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter are both threats to get hot at any moment and are coming off of big games.

Unlike the Hokies, UVA plays consistently well on the road. While they aren’t quite as good as they are in Charlottesville, their numbers don’t differ to much when on enemy grounds. The biggest reason for that is that they don’t rely on shooting like Tech does. The Cavaliers’ game is built around their defense. Virginia likes to create a slow pace with their defense and take advantage of their opponents turnovers.

Looking at the numbers for the Hoos; UVA shoots 48% from the field, 75% at the free throw line, and 40% percent from three. Virginia doesn’t take as many shots as a lot of teams, but are very efficient and don’t turn the ball over (only averaging 9 turnovers per game).

Looking at the Hokies; they will more than likely be without Justin Robinson. Since losing him against Miami, Tech has only been able to win three of their last five games. While that number isn’t terrible, it’s also not great.

Working with what will be available, the only way Tech can keep offensively is with big games from Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kerry Blackshear Jr. Last time out, NAW only scored 9 points, but Blackshear Jr. tallied a season high 29 (Alexander-Walker sat a large portion of the game due to foul trouble).

Besides Walker and Blackshear, the Hokies supporting cast needs to step up. Hill and Outlaw are both relatively streaking shooters, but can fill up the stat sheet when they’re on their game. In addition to shooting, PJ Horne and Wilkins both are scrappy players who hustle, rebound, and play solid defense when on the court. If the Hokies get solid games from these guys, it’ll give them a chance.

One more huge thing to mention is foul trouble. Against Pitt, Alexander-Walker, Blackshear Jr., and Hill all had four fouls. If those guys pick up a couple of early fouls, this game will be over before it begins. Being smart and in control will be crucial to staying in this game.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t speak much of the last head to head because of how unique it was. If either team comes out shooting 80% from three in first half they’ll run away with this game. Assuming that doesn’t happen; expect a scrappy game with a crazy environment in the Cassel.

Prediction:

I’d love to see Alexander-Walker and the Hokies take over and win this game with a rowdy crowd, but I don’t see it happening. The Hokies haven’t looked great as of late and UVA has been playing very well. At home, it’s not impossible, but I’ve got to say Virginia 76, Virginia Tech 62.

The game will be live at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN and is a MAROON EFFECT game for Virginia Tech. If you’ll be in attendance, wear maroon, and...

GO HOKIES!!!!

Poll

So Does Tech beat the odds and repeat 2018 by splitting with the Hoos?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Nope, no how, no way, not happenin’. No matter how we feel, the Hoos have a better team with a deeper bench. Nope...
    (69 votes)
  • 39%
    Maybe? The stars might just aline. Cassell can be magic and it sure is tonic for this team. We have a better shot than the sports gurus might think.
    (71 votes)
  • 9%
    Puhleeze... It’s The Cassell... It’s a must win game... Hokies need and want this... there is no worse fate than losing to the Hoos in anything... tiddly-winks even... We nip ‘em at the end in a huge upset.
    (17 votes)
  • 11%
    Sure, right... the Hoos can beat the Hokies with a 4 on 5... They are playing on a different level and we are just missing too much.
    (21 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now