Nov 14, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Joey van Zegeren (2) shoots against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks in the first half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, many Virginia Tech fans were hoping that the Hokies might be able to contend with a very good Northern Iowa team in the opening game of the Cancun Challenge. Unfortunately, the Hokies were unable to stay up with the Panthers and were defeated by Northern Iowa by a final score of 73-54.
Today, the Hokies will be looking to bounce back from yesterday’s loss and leave Cancun with at least one win and an overall winning record. To do that, Virginia Tech will have to take down Miami-Ohio.
The Redhawks of Miami-Ohio lost 55-46 yesterday to Northwestern and are also looking for a win against a power conference program. The Redharks are not a great offensive team and are only shooting 40.3% from the field this season while the Hokies have shot a very good 50.8% from the field.
The Hokies have been terrible on the glass as they are 339th in the nation in rebounds per game at 27.5 but Miami-Ohio isn’t much better with the Redhawks being 314th in the nation averaging 30.0 rebounds per game. This is a matchup where the Hokies need to make progress rebounding the basketball and I expect that to happen some in this game.
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Miami-Ohio has done a good job forcing turnovers averaging 8 steals per game and the young Virginia Tech guards will need to do a good job handling the ball. The Hokies also need to improve their ball movement and attack the basket more in this game to either get layups or open up space on the outside for an open three-pointer.
Joey Van Zegeren has made a lot of progress on the offensive end of the floor and I expect the junior big man to have another strong game with 15 points and 7 to 9 rebounds in this game. The Hokies will have some turnovers but they will do a better job attacking the rim. However, the Redhawks will make this game interesting but the Hokies are the better offensive team and will get the job done, 63-57.