The win over Villanova at the start of the season was big, but every Hokie knows how important Saturday’s win over Virginia was. Not only was it a win over the Cavaliers just for the sake of beating your rival, but it was a huge result for the Hokies looking to make the NCAA Tournament this season, and a confidence builder as they head down the stretch chasing the ACC Title.
Keve Aluma’s big 29-point night earned him National Player of the Week honors from ESPN, the Naismith Trophy, and the ACC. The Hokies held the Cavaliers to under 30% from the floor in the second half and dominated the paint outscoring them 24-12. Tech is now 7-2 in the ACC and just a half-game behind UVA in the standings.
That win moved the Hokies up to 16th in both the AP and Coaches polls. They’ve notched several big wins so far this season, but the only thing holding them back from moving into the top 10 already are the two big losses to non-ranked teams, Penn State and Syracuse. However, ESPN currently projects Tech as a 6-seed in their latest Bracketology.
Up next is a two-game road trip against Pittsburgh followed by Miami. Next week’s potential top 20 clash next week against Florida State has been postponed. But first, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know heading into the game Wednesday night.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
Match-up: Virginia Tech (13-3 | 7-2) vs. Pittsburgh (8-5 | 4-4)
Venue: Petersen Events Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Time: 7:00 pm ET
TV: RSN / Virginia Tech Sports Network
Radio: TuneIn Radio
Live stats: HokieSports
ESPN Favorite: 64.7% for the Hokies.
All-time series: 9-7 in favor of Virginia Tech.
Scoring: Aluma (VT - 14.8) & Champagnie (Pittsburgh - 20.1)
Rebounds: Aluma (VT - 7.6) & Champagnie (Pittsburgh - 12.1)
Assists: Bede (VT - 2.8) & Johnson (Pittsburgh - 6.1)
The Hokies have won the last five meetings in a row against Pittsburgh. The Panthers had a solid start to the season going 8-2, before losing their last three ACCs games. To highlight their current slide, the last time out Pittsburgh lost by 26 points to a very down Notre Dame side.
Au’diese Toney and Xavier Johnson are a key players to this squad, but Pittsburgh begins and ends with how the night goes for Justin Champagnie most nights. The sophomore leads the Panthers in points (20.1), rebounds (12.1), steals (1.5), and blocks (1.5). Don’t let their downturn or place in the ACC standings fool you though, it’s a tough conference. The Panthers beat Syracuse by 20 points, the same Orange side that beat the Hokies by 18 a week later.
Virginia Tech - 82
Pittsburgh - 74