Saturday, the Virginia Tech Hokies picked up their first ACC road win since December 2013 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to go to 4-1 in the ACC play. Now, the Hokies go on the road for a second-straight game with Virginia Tech facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who are coming off a win at Duke this past Saturday.
The Fighting Irish have another team that looks bound for the NCAA Tournament with Mike Brey’s team pushing to jump into the top 25. Notre Dame has built a very good core around point guard Demetrius Jackson and big man Zach Auguste that were key pieces in Notre Dame’s Elite Eight run last season.
Auguste is Notre Dame’s top rebounder, but has proven he can get in foul trouble. The man guarding Auguste will likely change depending on whose on the floor with Zach LeDay likely to not be on Auguste the whole game. Kerry Blackshear did a good job against Charles Mitchell on Saturday, but the Hokies will need Blackshear to slow down Auguste on the glass and in the paint as a whole.
Blackshear has been playing better, but Auguste is someone that has gotten it done in bigger games. Blackshear may also have to deal with Auguste on offense, and the Hokie big man will once again be needed to provide rebounding help to LeDay.
Meanwhile, Zach LeDay will likely guard fellow big man V.J. Beachem as both players can stretch the floor. LeDay has been the star for the Hokies this season and Virginia Tech will need LeDay to once again have a strong game with at least 17 to 20 points and 8+ rebounds.
Overall, both teams are outside the top 150 in rebounding so the battle on the glass could have a big impact on the outcome. Notre Dame gets some solid rebounding from some of their perimeter guys including 6’5” forward Bonzie Colson which means the Hokies will need guys like Justin Bibbs to be effective boxing out and rebounding.
Virginia Tech will not only need Bibbs to be playing well to pull off the upset, but will also need help on the wing whether that comes from Jalen Hudson or Seth Allen especially since Bray’s defensive strategy will likely focus on Bibbs and preventing Justin Robinson from getting to the rim easily.
Virginia Tech needs Allen and Hudson to step up for the Hokies to have a decent chance to pull off the upset.
Virginia Tech will also have to do well with their perimeter defense against a Notre Dame team that shoots 39.3% from beyond the arc. If Virginia Tech’s defense doesn’t improve, Notre Dame will most likely pull away from the Hokies in a shootout victory for the Fighting Irish.
This is a very tough matchup for the Hokies, and Virginia Tech will have to get more from everybody outside of what Zach LeDay and Justin Bibbs have been able to do. The Hokies will put up a tough fight, but Notre Dame is starting to hit their stride and that will continue tonight against Virginia Tech.