Four minutes into the game against Notre Dame the Hokies took the lead, 4-2, and never looked back. It was a tough night from deep for both squads, neither surpassing 30% from the three-point line, except for Hunter Cattoor who went 4-for-7. Keve Aluma returned to form after an off night against Syracuse, going 5-for-10 and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
With Tyrece Radford suspended, the Hokies defense stepped up as a unit on Wednesday holding Notre Dame to a season-low 51 points. That’ll be needed again as up next is a visit from rivals UVA, who lead the current ACC standings and sit two games ahead of the Hokies. A win on Saturday will not only be relished by the fan base, but be a huge boost towards an NCAA Tournament bid, and keep the race for the ACC Title tight.
Saturday, January 30th, 2021
Match-up: Virginia Tech (12-3 | 6-2) vs. Virginia (11-2 | 7-0)
Venue: Cassell Coliseum (Blacksburg, VA)
Time: 6:00 pm ET
TV: ACC Network
Radio: TuneIn Radio
Live stats: HokieSports
ESPN Favorite: 68.6% for the Cavaliers.
All-time series: 56-95 in favor of Virginia.
Scoring: Aluma (VT - 13.9) & Hauser (Virginia - 15.0)
Rebounds: Aluma (VT - 7.4) & Hauser (Virginia - 7.4)
Assists: Bede (VT - 2.6) & Clark (Virginia - 4.5)
Last season UVA won both meetings between the two schools, including by just a 3-point margin in Blacksburg. The Cavaliers have won the last four in a row in the series, with the Hokies’ last home victory coming back in 2017. For the most part, UVA’s season has gone as expected, they are 7-0 in the ACC and ranked in the top 10. Their two slip-ups were the 1-point loss to San Francisco and the rare 23-point drubbing by Gonzaga.
Virginia should get a fairly good seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, but so far this season no one is close to the Zags. UVA’s transfer senior Sam Hauser leads the Cavs in points and rebounds and has been crucial, along with fellow senior Jay Huff, in keeping their program at its recent heights. Especially notable as both Duke and North Carolina have stumbled this season.
The Hokies will need to be at their best on Saturday evening, efficient on offense, and limit UVA’s open looks from deep. Mike Young will be missing both Tyrece Radford and Cartier Diarra, but there is no time to wonder what-if. It’ll need to be a full team effort to pull the upset. Tech has the talent and coaching to do it, it just comes down to execution and focus.
Virginia - 68
Virginia Tech - 60