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Virginia Tech vs. Clemson ACC Tournament Preview

MBB vs Virginia Tech 26
Will Locklin | @locklin_will
Writer/Basketball Analyst

On day two of the ACC Tournament inside the Barclays Center, a rematch of the regular season finale between No. 10 seed Clemson (17-15, 8-12 ACC) and No. 7 seed Virginia Tech (19-12, 11-9 ACC) is ready to commence.

The contest will be the third game of Wednesday’s second round action, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. from Brooklyn. As previously mentioned, these two ACC foes faced each other only a mere four days prior. The result? A 63-59 upset win by the Tigers over the Hokies inside Littlejohn Coliseum, which could prove costly when Selection Sunday rolls around.

When it comes to the all-time series, Virginia Tech holds a 22-17 advantage over Clemson and has won seven of its last nine against the Tigers. Both schools are still looking for their first ACC Tournament title.

How Virginia Tech Can Win

After climbing out of a 2-7 hole within the ACC gutter, the Hokies finished off the season winning nine of their next 11. However, the ending was bittersweet with the aforementioned loss to this same Tigers team, leaving Tech’s chances of making the big dance on life support.

It’s still feasible they could crack the field of 68, but the Hokies will need to string together a couple of victories to even be in the conversation to qualify for their fifth-straight NCAA Tournament. Avenging that fresh wound of a loss would be the first step in a potential run.

Virginia Tech actually did a lot of things well in the first meeting between the two. Tech outrebounded Clemson 31-29 and shot a whopping 92% from the foul line. Essentially though, the loss came down to missing the critical shots it needed to make down the stretch.

The Hokies knocked down just 30% of their threes, a significant decrease from their league-leading 38.8% mark for the year. One x-factor for Virginia Tech will be the play of Darius Maddox. When Maddox scores 6 points or more, Virginia Tech is 13-1 in those games.

How Clemson Can Win

It’s been a rocky season for Clemson down in Upstate South Carolina, but the win over Virginia Tech served as a major boost.

After going on a six-game losing streak in early February, the Tigers bounced back in a major way. They finished the season out on a four-game winning streak, including wins over Wake Forest, Boston College, Georgia Tech and of course, the Hokies. It didn’t stop there, though. Clemson continued that momentum by defeating the NC State Wolfpack on Tuesday night by a score of 70-64.

Going back to the win over Tech four days ago, several things standout. First, the Tigers’ bench production carried them scoring wise. They had three scorers in double figures and 41 total bench points. Hot shooting is another trend they’ll need to continue, as they shot 40% from three in the win over the Hokies.

In regards to an x-factor for Clemson, Al-Amir Dawes must answer the call. The junior guard is averaging a steady 11 points in the last two contests.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 65, Clemson 60

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