After getting a shootout win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Wednesday night, the Virginia Tech Hokies travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a game that pits the only two ACC two teams to have beaten the now 13th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers this season.
The bigger headline may be the fact that this will be Adam Smith’s first and most likely only game against the Hokies since transferring. It is uncommon to see a player transfer within their conference after graduating, but this is the scenario that has played out to create an intriguing storyline ahead of this big ACC game.
However, this ACC matchups does pit two of the conference’s best three-point shooters against each other in Smith and Justin Bibbs. Bibbs had a huge game this past Wednesday against the Demon Deacons with 32 points and showed that he can score however he needs it’s taking it to the rim and either drawing a foul or making a shot, or spotting up and making a three.
With the shooting struggles of Seth Allen and Jalen Hudson, the Hokies likely will need Bibbs to have another strong game. However, Bibbs has proven capable of doing that and should be able to have another strong 15 to 20-point outing against the Yellow Jackets.
Virginia Tech’s guards will have to also be ready to play some tough defense on Smith and Marcus Georges-Hunt who are almost averaging 30 points combined as a backcourt duo. Georgia Tech also has Quinton Stephens as a sharp-shooter who can make teams pay if they don’t play tough enough perimeter defense.
In general, the Hokies need Seth Allen and Jalen Hudson to play better and give the Hokies another solid wing scorer to compliment Bibbs in the backcourt. Allen’s cold-shooting has made him a major disappointment, but he has shown flashes on brilliance this season.
One big matchup will come in the post between Georgia Tech’s Charles Mitchell and Zach LeDay. LeDay has made a breakthrough stretching the floor with a solid three-point shot that has caused nightmares for opponents while Mitchell has been averaging a double-double and is an old-school big man.
LeDay’s ability to stretch the floor makes Virginia Tech’s offense more dangerous and creates space for players like Bibbs, Allen, Hudson, and Justin Robinson to attack the rim. If the Hokies can draw a big man like Mitchell or Nick Jacobs out of the post and create space to attack, Virginia Tech’s offense could be almost as effective as it was against Wake Forest.
Virginia Tech has been doing better on the glass with the offensive rebounding gaps shrinking significantly but against a player like Mitchell, LeDay and the Hokies’ big men must be prepared for a battle to prevent Georgia Tech from getting a significantly higher number of second chances.
Virginia Tech has improved in year two under Buzz Williams but still lack a road ACC win under Williams. However, the Hokies will be ready to go and get another strong win against a Georgia Tech team that has had some poor defensive performances in ACC play previously.