The Virginia Tech Hokies led by as many as 17 points in the second half against Texas A&M on Friday but the Hokies went very cold shooting late while the Aggies’ size became a bigger problem and allowed the Aggies to come back and take down the Hokies 68-65 with a 14-2 run at the end of the game.
Despite the loss, the Hokies still have another chance to add another quality win to their resume against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Wooden Legacy third-place game. The Cornhuskers won a nail-bitter against Dayton in the opening round before losing by 11 on Friday to Wooden Legacy favorite UCLA as both teams have proven to be quality programs.
The Hokies have to rebound today with this being a golden opportunity to get a quality win while Nebraska also knows that this could be an important as a team that may be able to surprise in the Big 10 and get in the NCAA Tournament.
While Nebraska has some size, the Hokies won’t be facing the same challenge in the frontcourt as they did against Texas A&M while also facing a Nebraska team with four teams averaging double figures but only one other player averaging at least 4 points per game. Nebraska does not have the same quality depth as the Hokies’ solid eight-man rotation that has shown it can bring a high level of intensity for a full 40 minutes.
Zach LeDay has been solid but not great in this tournament, but this is the most friendly matchup he has had in this tournament as while Nebraska has some solid big man, this is a team led by its star backcourt duo of Tai Webster and Glynn Watson Jr. Nebraska has some solid big man and is averaging around 3 rebounds more per game than the Hokies, but this seems like a very good matchup for LeDay based on the talent on the floor.
Of course, part the reason for LeDay’s rebounding decrease has been because of the success of Chris Clarke and Khadim Sy crashing the boards, but don’t be surprised if LeDay has a double-double today.
Today’s backcourt matchup will be quite interesting between the duo of Webster and Watson against the Hokies’ deep backcourt. Both Webster and Watson are shooting over 40% from beyond the arc and it will be of the upmost importance for Virginia Tech to keep them in check on the outside. If the Hokies can contain Webster and Watson, it’ll be quite hard for Nebraska to win this game.
Justin Robinson has been one of the stars of this tournament as the sophomore point guard is scoring at a level we haven’t really seen from him back-to-back games. In this game, Robinson may be the x-factor once again as the sophomore point guard has done a great job of attacking the rim and avoiding a turnovers, and faces a Nebraska team today that is averaging only 4.4 steals per game so far.
Expect another close game, but a lot more points between two teams who have quality three-point shooters and will be ready to light up the scoreboard. However, the Hokies’ greater quality depth will wear down the Cornhuskers while Zach LeDay will have his best game of this tournament and the Hokies will once again have a strong performance from beyond the arc to lead the Hokies to victory over Nebraska.
Pick: Virginia Tech 83, Nebraska 76
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