Virginia Tech will go for its fifth-straight win when it hosts North Carolina A&T in Cassell Coliseum days after a big win over Washington in Atlantic City
. The Hokies have rebounded nicely since their loss at Penn State, winning four consecutive matchups and dominating their opponents with an explosive offense and shut-down defense.
Looking forward Wednesday’s game, let’s take a look at three things to watch for against the Aggies.
1. Improving on Field Goal Percentage
I know, I just said Tech has had an explosive offense over the past few weeks and now I’m saying the team needs to improve on its field goal percentage, but hear me out. The Hokies have been dominating their opponents in the past four games, but that domination has been slowly slipping away.
They outscored Central Connecticut State by 54 points and shot .571 from the field. Since that game, their shooting percentage has gone downhill a little bit more with every contest. On Saturday against Washington, the Hokies shot just .429 from the field, their worst shooting performance of the season. Granted, Washington is one of the tougher opponents the team has faced this year, but they need to fix this trend of lower field goal percentages if they want to get back to their dominant form.
North Carolina A&T is not a tough opponent. The Aggies are 4-6 on the season and tend to give up a lot of points. As ACC season nears, Tech needs to fix any issues going on with the team and their remaining non-conference games are the perfect opportunity to do so. Wednesday’s game should see the Hokies put up a higher shooting percentage on the way to a big win.
2. Another 80-point Performance from the Hokies
Along with better shooting from the field comes a higher-scoring game. Tech has scored at least 73 points in every home game this season. The only time the Hokies have scored fewer than 70 points was in the loss at Penn State, when they scored 62. They’ve scored above 80 four times and above 90 once.
Saturday’s game against Washington saw Tech score 73 points. As they take on the Aggies on Wednesday, expect the offense to be more powerful than it was this weekend and look for Tech to put up big numbers once again. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hokies are able to get their score above 80 for the fifth time at home this season. If the offense is really clicking and shots are falling, we could see a 90-point performance like we saw against Central Connecticut State at the beginning of the month.
3. Will Landers Nolley Ever Be Cleared to Play?
At this point in the season, it seems as if the Hokies’ freshman may not make his debut well into conference play, if at all. There still have been no updates in the situation and the NCAA has not provided any clarity as to the guard’s chances of playing this year.
Multiple fans noted on Twitter on Saturday noted that Nolley was not on the bench, the latest game that Nolley has missed in what was a highly-anticipated debut season. The entire situation has turned into a drama that makes the NCAA look bad and has the potential to hurt Virginia Tech when ACC season arrives.
On the bright side, the Hokies have been playing well without Nolley. Save for the loss to Penn State, Tech has not felt his absence too much and Buzz Williams has done a good of keeping the team going without Nolley or Chris Clarke.
With the way Virginia Tech has been playing over the past couple of weeks, it’s hard to see them losing again anytime soon, especially during the rest of their non-conference schedule. The Hokies offense has been great at times and the defense has been spectacular as well. If guys like Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Justin Robinson continue to play at the level they’ve been at, the Hokies will have no problem winning Wednesday’s game.
Pick: #13 Virginia Tech 85, North Carolina A&T 53
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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