Jan 3, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Shane Henry (0) reacts during a time out against the Syracuse Orange in the second half at Cassell Coliseum. Syracuse defeated Virginia Tech 68-66. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies lost their first ACC game against the Syracuse Orange, but Virginia Tech played quite well in the second half. The Hokies’ impressive second half has given fans plenty of confidence especially with the way Justin Bibbs bounced back from his nightmare of a game at West Virginia.
The question is, can the Hokies get their first ACC win tonight or can Florida State defend their home court?
Shane Henry and Satchel Pierce seemed to be a little overwhelmed in the first half of their first career ACC game against Syracuse. However, both of these players seemed to play with a controlled energy in the second half that helped the Hokies make their big comeback.
Florida State is not nearly as talented as Syracuse in the frontcourt, but they have three players over 7 feet tall that are in their rotation along with 6’9” forward Phil Cofer who is their best rebounding big but not that good as he averages 4.7 rebounds per game.
Henry had a rough game on the glass against Syracuse, but he will bounce back with at least 6 rebounds in this game against Florida State. Pierce will also be valuable in defending some of the Florida State big men that are above 7-feet tall.
The biggest matchup in this game is between Florida State’s leading scorer that is eligible in Montay Brandon against Virginia Tech’s leading scorer, Justin Bibbs.
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Brandon is averaging 13.4 points per game while he is also a solid rebounder with a Seminole-leading 5.4 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Bibbs has made some progress as a rebounder especially after having 11 rebounds against Syracuse. Bibbs also is the Hokies’ leading scorer with 12.7 points per game.
This will be a very interesting matchup but Bibbs will prevent Brandon from getting easy buckets, and force him to take outside shots. Brandon is shooting 59% from the field but is only shooting 25% from beyond the arc.
Brandon is not a great shooter, and Bibbs will play the type of defense that the Hokies need to shut him down. Bibbs also will get some quality shots in this game, and go off for another strong game with 15 to 17 points.
Jan 3, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Justin Bibbs (10) shoots over Syracuse Orange forward Rakeem Christmas (25) in the second half at Cassel Coliseum. Syracuse defeated Virginia Tech 68-66. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
As a whole, Florida State is struggling from beyond the arc as the Seminoles are shooting only 25.7% from the three-point line. Devon Bookert is the Seminoles’ one good three-point shooter, and Virginia Tech’s defense will need to do what they can to contain him without creating lanes for Florida State to attack the rim.
Virginia Tech’s 2-3 zone defense has made plenty of progress over the past few weeks and that will help prevent Bookert from having a big game though he will do some damage. Florida State also is outside the top 200 in steals per game.
Ahmed Hill will not receive too much attention in this game and will play well, but Adam Smith could struggle as the Seminoles will try to force him into taking a high number of bad shots especially after some of the shots he took against Syracuse.
Buzz Williams and Leonard Hamilton will both have their teams ready, but this is the Hokies’ best chance in the next couple weeks to get a victory and they will get the job done in Tallahassee. Virginia Tech will beat the Seminoles 70-65.
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