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Virginia Tech Hokies vs Clemson Tigers: Preview

Saturday at noon the Hokies travel to take on the Clemson Tigers in ACC play

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Virginia Tech
Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the Hokies look to rebound following a their first home loss of the season.
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech and the Hokies head to South Carolina to take on the Clemson Tigers later today. This game for Virginia Tech is coming off a tough loss to Louisville and they’ll be looking to rebound. Clemson has looked sharp as of late and will be another challenge for Tech who will most likely be without Justin Robinson for the third straight game.

For Tech, one of the biggest questions coming in will be communication. Against Louisville the Hokies seemed to not be on the same page many times which led to turnovers. On the other side of the ball, Virginia Tech allowed tons of open looks last game and just looked confused on several occasions. Hopefully with four days off, Buzz has gotten his team cleaned up a little so they’ll be ready to go.

For the Tigers, they’re coming in on a three game win streak (all three were by double digits). They’ve been playing some of their best ball as of late and have an electric scorer on the wing in Marcquise Reed. Reed is their leading scorer with 19 ppg and can very quickly fill up the stat sheet if he gets hot.

The offense as a whole for Clemson is focused around isolation. This team only shoots 19 threes a game and 19 free throws a game so finishing is their key. The Tigers like to spread team out and attack the basket one on one. With an isolation offense, offensive rebounding is crucial to gaining second chance points and finishing possessions. When someone drives to the bucket, other Clemson players crash the boards and look for put-backs. They do so with some big bodies that they have on their roster. The Tigers have several players 6’9” and use that to gain an advantage on the boards and in the paint.

More than anything in this game, the Hokies have to be smart. It’ll be crucial to stay out of foul trouble but also not give up easy shots. Hopefully, they will have solved their miscommunication issues and will be ready to defend at a high level like we’ve seen all season. On the other side of the ball, Tech also has to be smart. Last game a lot of bad shots were taken and their were some head-scratching turnovers throughout the night. Alexander-Walker and Bede have done a nice job filling Robinson’s shoes to this point, but they need to continue to get better every game.

This one’s on the road, without Robinson, and the Tigers probably won’t shoot 17% from the field. Hopefully Tech can shoot well, be smart with the ball, and play their game defensively. If they do those things, they should be able to grab a win in Clemson. Look for another big game for Alexander-Walker and hopefully a bounce-back game from Ahmed Hill.

Be sure to tune in at noon on ESPN2 and...