Here we go again...
More drama, or questions I should say, surrounds this Hokies basketball team. Once Tech looked solid on the road at Miami, Justin Robinson got hurt. Then to my surprise, we dominated a really good NC State team on the road. This game against Louisville will be yet another challenge for the Hokies and will hopefully answer some more questions.
Justin Robinson probably won’t be a available to Virginia Tech against the Cardinals on Monday night. Seeing him in a boot against NC State was not a good sign and may mean he’ll be out for a while. With that being said, Virginia Tech is very closed off about their injuries so I have no idea when he’ll be back, but we’re all hoping it’s sooner rather than later.
Outlook for Hokies Offense:
On Saturday both Bede and Alexander-Walker ran the point guard against NC State and I expect more of the same on Monday. Louisville has an elite defender in Dwayne Sutton so game-planning around Alexander-Walker will be difficult. On and off ball screens will be crucial to get Nickeil some open space to then attack Sutton. Bede should have a mismatch against Cunningham and can hopefully take advantage of it to spread the defense out.
As mentioned, Sutton is a top tier defender for the Cardinals, but their point guard is often a liability. Cunningham )their PG) is a decent player, but should be the weak link to attack in the back court. On offense, Jordan Nwora is an incredible athlete so with PJ Horne out, (and no Chris Clarke...) finding someone to guard Nwora will be our biggest challenge.
Louisville isn’t a great shooting team, but are effective at slashing and getting to the free throw line. This team for Louisville ranks 20th in the country in free throw attempts and they knock down 76% of them. Foul trouble will be a big issue if Tech isn’t smart on defense. I e expect Louisville to go right at our bigs and make them defend without fouling all game long.
Last thing about the Cardinals is their schedule and record. They are 16-6 with really good wins against Michigan State and UNC. In the loss column; they fell to Tennessee, UNC and Marquette in close games against top teams but played well in each of them. Right now, the Cardinals are coming off of a tough loss at home against UNC but are playing phenomenal ball as of late and will be a huge challenge for Hokies.
Game Thoughts and Predictions:
This is going to be a tough one for Tech. Depth and foul trouble could potentially be enormous factors in this game. If the Hokies play their game on defense and shoot to their percentages, this is still a winnable game at home for Virginia Tech. Obviously not having Robinson is huge, but it’ll give NAW a chance to takeover like we’ve seen him do before and hopefully Bede and Hill can make open looks.
At home in a blackout game I want to take the Hokies, but it’s a tough call. This game is a match-up nightmare for Tech and will attack us in new ways. I hate to...but I say Louisville 78, Hokies 71. With that being said, at home, if Alexander-Walker can get going and Virginia Tech stays out of foul trouble, the Hokies can win this game.
Be sure to tune in at 7:00 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. If you’ll be attendance WEAR BLACK, and...