Feb 9, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Malik Muller (1) celebrates with guard Ahmed Hill (13) and guard Devin Wilson (11) after their victory against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Cassell Coliseum. Virginia Tech defeated Georgia Tech 65-63. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
This is Valentine’s Day, a day for love and appreciation for a peoples loved ones. This Saturday the Virginia Tech Basketball team is hoping to instill some more love in their fan base by providing them with another win to celebrate. The Hokies are coming off a great win against Georgia Tech. The Hokies were able to overcome a half time lead, and use great offensive execution down the stretch to defeat the Yellow Jackets to grab Buzz Williams second conference win of his young Hokie coaching career. However, Saturday presents a tougher challenge as the Hokies travel to Littlejohn Coliseum to take on the Clemson Tigers.
Clemson comes into today’s game with a 14-10 record overall. The Tigers are 6-6 in conference and are in line for that first day bye when the ACC tourney starts in less than a month. The Tigers are winners of 4 of their last 6, however they are on a 2 game losing streak. The Tigers are like the Hokies in the fact they have had some very close losses this season in games if truth be told, they should have won. If the game gets close late it is certain both teams will be comfortable playing a game coming down to the wire.
Clemson is led by Sophomore Jaron Blossomgame. Blossomgame is the Tiger’s leader in scoring at 13 a game and in rebounds at just over 8 a game. Blossomgame is 6’7 and 215 pounds he is more of a slash to the basket player, which the Hokies can deal with. The Tigers are also exceptional on the offensive glass. The Hokies will be undersized again and the fact the Tigers are so good on the offensive glass could present a very big problem for Buzz Williams young squad.
The most important Hokies to watch today will be the big men. Satchel Pierce, Shane Henry and Christian Beyer will be counted on to box out and grab the defensive rebounds to prevent second chance shots. Actually, it will be on the whole team to hit the defensive glass to prevent easy second chance points. Pierce is the only 7’0 on the team and he needs to start playing up to his size. Pierce needs a break out game, not only on the glass but in the scoring column as well.
Malik Mueller was moved to the four spot earlier this season and he has flourished there collecting 17 points and dropping 4 assists. Mueller will be looked to continue his good play to propel the Hokies to another ACC win. Mueller will more than likely have a favorable matchup on the offensive end, as one major advantages of the Hokies small lineup is a big guy guarding the speedy and strong Mueller. I look for him to get to the interior of the defense and score at will or set up his teammates.
The Hokies need to continue to trend upward to create momentum for the rest of the season as well as the off season to come. Buzz Williams has this team playing harder than any other Hokie team I have ever seen. This hard work is starting to show and team is getting the wins they deserve. I look for the winning trend to continue today as the Hokies give all their fans a Valentine’s Day gift in the form of a win over the Tigers 66-63. LET’S GO HOKIES!!!!!