The Virginia Tech Hokies have faced a lot of heartbreak over the course of their five-game losing streak and after a tough, overtime loss at Syracuse, the Hokies come home to face a good Clemson team that definitely looks like they’re headed for the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the losing streak, Hokie fans are excited and the game is sold out as Hokie Nation is once again excited about basketball in Blacksburg. For the Hokies, this game is undoubtedly a must-win with Virginia Tech at 4-6 in the ACC and 12-11 overall on top of the fact that Virginia Tech plays at Virginia and Miami after this game.
This is an intriguing matchup for the Hokies coming off their best defensive display of the season as they face a Clemson team that isn’t great offensively but is quite good defensively. Clemson has a similar roster makeup to the Hokies with not a lot of size while also not being a great rebounding team, averaging 0.8 rebounds less per game than Virginia Tech.
The most intriguing matchup is definitely between Jaron Blossomgame and Zach LeDay who are both, undersized junior forward that lead their team in scoring and rebounding and are shooting over 41% from beyond the arc. This may be one of the most intriguing matchups on the floor between two very similar players.
Playing in Cassell Coliseum helps LeDay, but Blossomgame is far from being inexperienced and will be ready for this matchup. This definitely has the potential to be one of the more entertaining one-on-one matchups in Cassell Coliseum this season.
Clemson has four players averaging between 8.5 and 10.5 points per game and while they all seem like solid scoring options, this team is offensively built around Blossomgame. This makes containing Blossomgame even more important and LeDay will need to play well.
Justin Bibbs had one of his best games of the season against Syracuse while Seth Allen has proven to be someone that can go off and have a big game with lots of free throws. Bibbs and Allen are true second scoring options and that has the potential to make a big difference.
If there is one player that can be the x-factor, it’s Kerry Blackshear.
Despite the loss to Syracuse, Blackshear played fairly well down the stretch, and did a lot of little things well that gave the Hokies such a good chance to win and made the loss heartbreaking. Blackshear will likely be matched up against Landry Nnoko for much of this game at the center spot, but Blackshear has proven multiple times that he can step up and have a big game.
Clemson is going to give the Hokies all they have, but the Tigers will not make it out of Blacksburg unscathed as Virginia Tech will take down the Tigers led by the frontcourt duo of LeDay and Blackshear, and a raucous, sold-out crowd creating a great environment.