Jan 18, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Buzz Williams reacts in the second half. The Tar Heels defeated the Hokies 68-53 at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this week, the Virginia Tech Hokies were blown out by the #8 Notre Dame Fightinig Irish, but the game that fans have been waiting for has arrived. The undefeated #2 Virginia Cavaliers come to Blacksburg looking to protect their undefeated record for one more game before College Gameday goes to Charlottesville.
However, the Hokies will look to spoil that undefeated record today.
The Hokies will be without Justin Bibbs once again which makes this task much more challenging. However, this seems like a game that could be fairly low-scoring as the Cavaliers are a slower-tempo offensive basketball team though they are efficient.
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One intriguing matchup should be between two talented young point guards in Devin Wilson and London Perrantes. Both are averaging over 4 assists per game as pass-first point guards that are not primary scorers. Wilson is a quality shooter unlike Perrantes, and Wilson could help the Hokies replace some of the scoring that Bibbs would normally provide.
Perrantes is not a very good shooter, and if the Hokies can force him to take more shots than Virginia wants him to, it could help Virginia Tech a lot in this matchup.
Justin Anderson has emerged as one of the ACC’s best scorers averaging 14.1 points per game along with shooting 50.3% from the field and 52.6% from beyond the arc. Anderson is a dangerous scoring threat for Virginia and the Hokies need to find a way to slow him down.
The issue is that the Hokies will also need to try to contain Virginia’s tough frontcourt led by Anthony Gill who is averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in only 24.2 minutes per game. The Cavaliers can go inside to Gill or Mike Tobey, or kick it outside to Anderson and Malcolm Brogdan who is shooting 47.1% from the field.
The Hokies will need Satchel Pierce and Shane Henry to not only stay out of foul trouble, but also provide some quality rebounding. Pierce is making improvements slowly but steadily while Henry has shown he has double-double potential. If Henry or Pierce can step up in this game, the Hokies will have a better chance of pulling off the upset.
The Hokies also need Jalen Hudson and Ahmed Hill attacking the rim which is where they are most effective while trying to set up some open three-pointers for Adam Smith and Will Johnston. The three-point shooting of Smith and Johnston could be an x-factor in this matchup.
The guy who could be a difference maker is Smith as he has shown that he has the ability to go off for 20+ points in a game. Smith does take some bad shots, but he makes some shots that make you wonder how he did that while also making some good shots selections. If Smith can have a big game, the Hokies will have a great chance to pull off the upset.
Cassell Coliseum is sold out for this game, and you can expect an extremely loud crowd that really wants to see the rivals Cavaliers fall in Blacksburg. The crowd will be able to be a factor in this game, and could be tough to handle for all 40 minutes if the Hokies can get off to a strong start and not have to make a big comeback.
This will be a low-scoring game and the Hokies will provide a good challenge to Virginia, but the Cavaliers will take down the Hokies 60-49. However, if the Hokies can pull off the upset just like Texas Tech did against #9 Iowa State yesterday, expect the first court storming since 2011 when the Hokies took down #1 Duke.
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