At the beginning of ACC play, the Virginia Tech Hokies made a statement that were no longer a bottom-tier ACC team with a big upset win over arch rival Virginia, who was ranked fourth at the time, in Cassell Coliseum. A few fans stormed the court in a game that was played without students being back from winter break.
Now, the Hokies would love to stun the Cavaliers again, but this time do it on the road in front of UVA’s fan in John Paul Jones Arena.
The Hokies picked up a huge win against Clemson on Saturday while Virginia is starting to look like the ACC’s best team again on their six-game win streak that includes wins at Louisville and Pittsburgh. Virginia was also on an 11-game winning streak that included wins over Villanova, West Virginia, California, and Notre Dame before the Hokies ended that winning streak.
However, Virginia is playing some of their best basketball, but the Hokies could all of a sudden get themselves back on the radar slightly with an upset victory tonight.
Virginia Tech has been more competitive rebounding the basketball recently and faces a Virginia team that ranks 327th in the nation in rebounding per game. Virginia has some good rebounders led by Mike Tobey who averages 4.1 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game along with Anthony Gill who leads UVA averaging 6.1 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game.
In this game, the Hokies will need Zach LeDay and Kerry Blackshear to once again be effective rebounders after the duo had a total of 18 rebounds against Clemson this past Saturday. Blackshear will also likely have the responsibility of guarding Anthony Gill when Virginia Tech runs man-to-man and will have to avoid getting in foul trouble while playing tough defense.
Meanwhile, LeDay can be a big difference maker on the offensive against Virginia’s zone as a big man that can stretch the floor and create lanes for guys like Jalen Hudson, Seth Allen, Justin Bibbs, and Justin Robinson to attack the rim at.
Blackshear has also been willing to step outside some and while he hasn’t shot the ball very effectively from the outside, Blackshear may be able to create more space for Virginia Tech’s backcourt to attack the rim. LeDay and Blackshear could have huge impacts on this game from their ability to rebound on the defensive end and open up space on the offensive end.
Malcolm Brogdon has been on fire lately for Virginia, and the Hokies will need to put their best defender against the potential All-American guard. Brogden is averaging almost 18 points per game while shooting over 86% from the free-throw line and 40% from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s London Perrantes has been on fire from deep shooting 52.9% from beyond the arc. Virginia Tech’s defense will have to find a way to contain Brogden and Perrantes to win whether that is playing man-to-man or a 2-3 zone.
This will be a tough matchup for the Hokies and to pull off the upset, they will need Seth Allen, Jalen Hudson, and Justin Bibbs to be efficient shooting the basketball. The Hokies will make it interesting throughout, but Virginia is the better team and the seventh-ranked Cavaliers will protect their home floor.