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ACC Tournament: Miami vs. Virginia Tech preview

The Hokies open up ACC Tournament play on Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Virginia Tech
Kerry Blackshear in action vs. Duke last month
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in five days, the Virginia Tech Hokies will play the Miami Hurricanes on the hardwood. The ACC Tournament opened on Tuesday and the 12th-seeded Hurricanes defeated the No. 13 Wake Forest Demon Deacons to advance to the second round where they’ll meet the fifth-seeded Hokies in Charlotte.

In its 79-71 win over Miami, the ‘Canes were led by guard DJ Vasiljevic who scored 21 points and Anthony Lawrence who chipped in with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

This is the third meeting of the season between the two schools. The Hokies have won the previous two meetings by nearly identical scores of 82-70 and 84-70 just last weekend. Tech dominated both meetings and it was the first matchup where All-ACC guard Justin Robinson went down with a foot injury. Robinson scored 17 points in just 19 minutes of play before going down with the injury he still has yet to return from. Nickeil Alexander-Walker was the star of the first meeting, scoring 25 points and dishing out 12 assists.

Surprisingly, in both meetings combined, breakout forward Kerry Blackshear, Jr. has combined to score just nine points In the first meeting, Blackshear scored only one point, but did pull down nine rebounds and fouled out in only 17 minutes of play. In last Friday’s game, Blackshear scored eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. However, he was just four of 15 from the floor. For the Hokies to win this game—and make a run in this tournament—they need more points from Blackshear.

Alexander-Walker had another strong performance last week with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Much like Blackshear, the Hokies need strong performances each game from Alexander-Walker to be a serious threat in this tournament.

The real player to watch for Miami is diminutive sophomore guard Chris Lykes. Miami’s leading scorer, he combined for 35 points in the two previous meetings and averages 16 points per game on the season.

Tomorrow’s game tips off sometime after 2 p.m. ET, after the completion of the noon game featuring No. 8 N.C. State vs. No. 9 Clemson. You can watch the game live on ESPN or on Virginia Tech’s IMG Sports Network.

We’ll have you covered on ACC Tournament action all week and, as always, Go Hokies.