Feb 25, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; A general view inside Cassell Coliseum during the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and Duke Blue Devils. Duke defeated Virginia Tech 91-86 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
Well Hokie fans I hope most of you have recovered from the heartbreak that was the game on Wednesday night. The Hokies had the number 4 team in the country on the ropes, but just couldn’t seem to complete the upset. Buzz Williams has his team believing they can win games against the top competition in the ACC. This belief is great, considering the Hokies face another very stiff task today. They travel to face the #2 team in the country, the Virginia Cavaliers.
These teams have already met once this year. The game was in late January, and was played in the friendly confines of the Cassell. UVA had the same rank as they carry right now, however they were undefeated at the time. The Hokies were an Adam Smith three point shot away from not only a huge signature win for Buzz Williams, but giving UVA their first blemish on a previously undefeated record.
Fast forward to today, the Cavaliers are still the number 2 team in the country, however they have been beaten, but only once. The Cavaliers are also as slightly different team than the one that traveled to Blacksburg a little over a month ago. Justin Anderson, arguably the leader and best offensive threat for the Cavaliers is injured, and will not play. The UVA offense has suffered as of late with the absence of Anderson. However, Malcolm Brogdon has still been an offensive threat leading the team with 13.5 points a game.
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One thing that has not suffered is the defensive play of the Cavaliers. If anything it has actually gotten better since Anderson’s injury. The Cavaliers are only yielding 46.2 points per game in their last five conference games, compared to the 53.5 in their previous 10. Either way you look at it scoring against UVA is a tall order, especially when they are at home.
The Hokies have gotten consistent scoring from Adam Smith all year long, but other than him it is a toss-up on who will be filling the scoring column beside him. Last game it was Jalen Hudson, who played the game of his life against Duke scoring 23 points in the loss. However, Hudson is severely inconsistent. The Hokies need him to be a better option off the bench, for them to have a chance against a stingy defense like UVA has.
The biggest factor for today will be the Hokies play, its needs to improve on the road. The Hokies are definitely a better home team this year averaging 10 more points per game in Cassell. The Hokies have been blown out by ranked opponents on road this year, losing by a total of 61 points. Being blown out is a result of defense as well as offense. Satchel Pierce was a monster against Duke, playing big against probably the best player in college basketball. Pierce will be looked to today to continue to play well, and use his 7’0 frame to protect the rim, and clear the defensive glass.
Buzz Williams is building a program, and the next step in this year’s building steps would be to get a road victory. The common phrase after the game on Wednesday was you better get the Hokies this year, because Buzz has them on the right track. Today, is the test to see how far down the track the Hokies really are. Hopefully, the Hokies use the confidence of hanging with a top team, combined with the intensity of a rivalry game to pull this one out today. I am optimistic about today but what can I say I’m a fan. The Hokies knock off the Cavaliers 56-52. LET’S GO HOKIES!!!!!!!