Feb 22, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Devin Wilson (11) drives into the lane against North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Tyler Lewis (12) in the second half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies have had a rough season and have only won two games in ACC play while only winning one total game since the beginning of 2014. Of course, those two ACC wins both came against the Miami Hurricanes and surely enough, the Hokies will play Miami in the opening round of this year’s ACC Tournament. These two teams have had some close games and both teams will be looking to go on an impressive run as the Hokies want a strong finish to their season while Miami is hoping to get to the NIT.
Virginia Tech’s zone defense has done a good job of slowing down many offenses over the past few weeks and that shouldn’t change today against a Miami team that struggles to stretch the floor. Miami lacks the type of ball distributor that the Hokies have in All-ACC freshman Devin Wilson who could be a major x-factor. Wilson knows how to attack the rim to get points for himself, set up other players in the post like Joey Van Zegeren, or kick it out to an open shooter. Wilson will need to do that like he has the last few games and that is what the Hokies should be expecting.
Mar 1, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Jarell Eddie (31) drives to the basket past North Carolina Tar Heels forward J.P. Tokoto (13) in the second half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
One of the more interesting matchups should be between each team’s top scorer in the matchup between Miami’s Rion Brown and Virginia Tech’s Jarell Eddie. The last time these two faced off, Brown didn’t shoot much better than Eddie but had more rebounds even though that really didn’t matter too much in the end. Over the last 5 games, Eddie has scored at least 14 points in three of those games which shows Eddie’s ability to go off but he also only had 5 points against Georgia Tech. Eddie is a lot more inconsistent then Brown but Eddie will need to have a strong shooting performance or take a low-volume of shots if he is struggling.
Miami does not have the best and against the Hokies, that could be an issue as Trevor Thompson and Joey Van Zegeren have played some of their basketball over the last few games. Van Zegeren had a huge game against a very experienced Georgia Tech frontcourt and Van Zegeren will be ready to dominate again in this game. Thompson has also taken his game to a whole new level over the last few weeks and this afternoon game on ESPN2 will be his chance to shine.
The Hokies and Hurricanes both are strong teams but the Hokies will have a challenge in trying to beat Miami for the third straight time which is hard to do against a lot of teams. Virginia Tech has been playing better and better, and the first game in December can almost be thrown out because of how the Hokies have improved since that game. This will be a low-scoring game as both teams are outside of the top 275 in shooting percentage but the Hokies will come out on top and reach double-digit wins.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 55, Miami 51