It is an ACC showdown of top-25 teams on Monday when the Virginia Cavaliers (22-2, 10-2 in the ACC) travel to Cassell Coliseum to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies (20-5, 9-4 in the ACC). The first time these two matched up, it was all Cavaliers as Virginia won 81-59 at home. In that game, De’Andre Hunter led the way for the Cavaliers with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the victory. For the Hokies, Nickeil Alexander-Walker was the leading scorer with 19 points. The Hokies will be looking for a different outcome playing on their home court this time.
Coming into this game, Virginia has won 8 of their last 10 games. Their only two losses were against Duke, losing by 2 on the road and by 10 at home against the No. 2 Blue Devils. In that stretch of 8 wins, they had victories over No. 22 Virginia Tech and No. 8 North Carolina. In their last game, they beat Notre Dame 60-54 at home. For the Hokies, they come into this one 6-4 in their last ten games. Their most recent victory was 70-64 over Pittsburgh on the road. Virginia and Virginia Tech will match up on Monday with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 pm ET.
In this contest, the Virginia Cavaliers come in as 4.5-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under for this game is set at 121.5 points.
By The Numbers
This matchup features two of the best defensive teams in the nation. Virginia Tech ranks 7th overall, allowing opponents only 60.7 points per game. There is no better example of the Hokies’ stellar defense than their ability to hold North Carolina State to a paltry 24 points for the entire game. Despite this, Virginia has been even better. They are currently the top-ranked defense in the nation, allowing just 54.1 points per game to opposing offenses.
Offensively, Virginia Tech actually comes ahead in the scoring offense ranking, averaging 75.6 points per game (109th overall). Virginia Tech is especially dangerous from behind the arc, averaging 10.2 threes per game (good for 13th overall). For Virginia, they come in at 187th in the nation, averaging 72.6 points per game.
Virginia Looks To Pad Their Ranking And Tourney Seeding
As the season starts to wind down and the NCAA tournament is quickly approaching, the Virginia Cavaliers are looking to solidify their spot as one of the top teams in the nation. While their two losses to Duke hurt their chances in the ACC, they ultimately are looking to keep their top-5 national rank intact and hope to carry it over into a top seeding come March.
Leading the way for Virginia are guards Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter. For Guy, he is averaging 15.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He is also shooting 45.5% from the field and 43.6 from beyond the arc. For Hunter, he is averaging 15 points per game while shooting 53.4% and 46.3% from the three. He is also pulling down 5.5 rebounds and dishing out 2.2 assists per game.
The third player averaging double-digits is Ty Jerome. He is averaging 13 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Virginia Tech Looking For Redemption At Home
For the Hokies, they would love nothing more than to exact a little revenge over Virginia after being beat in their first matchup. This time, playing at home, Virginia Tech is looking for a much more favorable outcome.
Leading the way for Virginia Tech is guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker. On the season, he is averaging 16.9 points while shooting 50.9% from the field and 41.6% from beyond the arc. He is also averaging 4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2 steals per game.
Outside of Alexander-Walker, the Hokies have three others averaging double-digits. Justin Robinson (14.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals), Kerry Blackshear Jr. (14 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1 block) and Ahmed Hill (12.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists) all have been major contributors.
Virginia Tech Enjoys Home Cooking
I actually like Virginia Tech in this one. I am not sure that they will have enough in the tank to beat Virginia outright, but I do think it will be considerably closer than the first outing. The Hokies have shown that they can lock it down on defense and have more scoring depth than the Cavaliers. They will need to get more production from players other than Nickeil Alexander-Walker, but playing at home, I think this is much more likely. For my money, I like their chances, especially when getting 4.5 points at home.