The Virginia Tech Hokies had a rough regular season as they finished alone in last place in the ACC for the third straight season. However, the 2015 ACC Tournament has arrived and just like every other team, the Hokies will have their eyes on trying to win the tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament no matter how unrealistic that seems.
Today, the Hokies take on Wake Forest in a battle of two teams hoping to go on an incredible run to win the ACC Tournament and steal a bid for the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
One big matchup in this game will happen in the post between Devin Thomas and Satchel Pierce. Thomas has been a force in the post for Wake Forest this season averaging 11.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. Pierce has stepped up his game over the past few weeks and shut down Miami center Tonye Jekiri this past weekend.
If Pierce can come out with same level of energy and intensity he has over the last couple of weeks, Thomas may have one of his worst games. The Wake Forest big man has been below his season averages in his last four games, and Pierce will step up in this game along with Christian Beyer who will play a fair amount of minutes in this game.
Cody Miller-McIntyre is one tough guard that does everything as shown by how he is averaging 14.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. The Hokies will use a lot of zone defense, but should match up Malik Muller with Miller-McIntyre as much as they can in this game.
Muller brings the toughness, strength, and consistent energy that the Hokies need in their matchup against Miller-McIntyre. However, Miller-McIntyre is going to do plenty of damage, but Muller has the defensive talent to slow down Miller-McIntyre to an extent.
The Hokies are a very dangerous three-point shooting team led by leading scorer Adam Smith who is shooting 43.1% from beyond the arc. Smith will be ready to have a bounce-back game after his struggles against Miami with at least 15 to 17 points while Justin Bibbs will also make a couple threes.
The player that is the x-factor for Wake Forest is Konstantinos Mitoglou. Mitoglou is a 6’10” forward who can stretch the floor and shoots 38% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Jalen Hudson is the Hokies’ x-factor who could be a game changer in the same way that Mitoglou could if Hudson puts out a quality effort in this game.
Buzz Williams knows what it takes to play in a big conference tournament in front of large crowds from his times leading Marquette into the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden. Williams will make sure that the Hokies are ready to put everything on the line while being ready to make sure the best lineup is on the floor.
For one of these teams, this game will be their final game of the season while the other will face Miami tomorrow night at 9pm. Buzz Williams will have his players motivated and excited for this game against the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is the favorite, but the Hokies will pull off the upset.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 74, Wake Forest 70