1. Don’t let one loss shake you
This key is more of a mentality check than an on the court key. A week ago Tech was riding high off a three game win streak from their Saturday win over Georgia Tech. The Hokies were then brought down a couple of pegs when they faced off against a top 10 Duke team and lost in a close battle. However, the Hokies should not lose sight of the fact that they’re in a solid position in the ACC.
At 5-5, the same record as Miami, Tech is in much better shape then they were last year at this time. A loss to one of the best teams in the country doesn’t alter Tech’s chances at the Big Dance much or knock the Hokies off track. Overall, Tech has to go into this one with some confidence, otherwise Miami could easily handle an unconfident Tech team.
2. Dominate the rebounding margin
It’s well known that Miami is one of the smaller teams in the ACC, with a plethora of talented guards rather than bigs. Because of this, Tech is expected to win the battle of the boards quite easily. After all, the Hokies outrebounded the Hurricanes by 10 rebounds in a 34-24 margin in their last battle a couple weeks ago.
Lynn Kidd, Mylyjael Poteat and Robbie Beran must crash the glass hard in order to limit Miami’s looks at second chance points. The frontcourt trio had a big game against Georgia Tech as a collective unit and needed to replicate some of that success against Miami. If Tech can outrebound the Canes by a big margin, that will give them a better chance.
3. Get “Miami Sean Pedulla & “Florida Hunter Cattoor” going
Hunter Cattoor has a knack for playing well against teams from the state of Florida, his hometown city being in Orlando, or in the state in general. He set the program record for most threes in a career earlier this season. Cattoor also hit a clutch shot in Tech’s road win vs Miami two years ago. Cattoor must unlock shades of his past performances in the state of Miami to Tech to play well on offense.
Additionally, Sean Pedulla has a thing for playing well against Miami. He totaled a 33 point career high in this year’s previous matchup. Pedulla also scored in double figures vs Miami on three separate occasions including 20 points in last year’s game in Coral Gables. If Pedulla can keep his hot streak against the Canes, Tech will be in a solid position vs Miami.
Prediction: Miami 73, Virginia Tech 62
While Virginia Tech certainly has a shot in this ACC contest, it’s going to be too tough to win in Coral Gables. Jim Larranaga brings his best against Mike Young on the coaching front and that won’t be different in this game.
While Tech needs this one, the Hurricanes are coming off losses in three of their past five contests since beating the Hokies in Cassell Coliseum back in January. I believe Miami will have their way in a competitive ball game but pull away in the closing stages with some late shot making from their guards.