Home Hokies Hoops Game Day: Miami Pick and Preview

Hokies Hoops Game Day: Miami Pick and Preview

by killyp

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics

Virginia Tech and head coach Mike Young have got to be soul-searching. 

The Hokies (10-9, 2-6 ACC) suddenly look at themselves in the mirror with an unimaginable tally of wins and losses at this point in their 2021-22 campaign. 

There’s not much left to say other than it just hasn’t all come together for the maroon and orange yet this season. 

Just one year removed from an improbable NCAA Tournament appearance, reality is just now starting to set in that the Hokies are likely to miss March Madness for the first time since 2016. It’s a sour taste for Virginia Tech fans, too. 

There’s an opportunity however, for a huge victory tonight. The surprise Miami Hurricanes (14-5, 6-2 ACC) are set to pay a visit to Blacksburg and will try to continue to roll after an unexpectedly pleasant start to conference play. 

Game Day Information

When: Wednesday, Jan. 26, 7 p.m. ET

Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA

TV: ACC Network

PXP: Angel Gray

Analyst: Dan Bonner

Series History: Miami Leads 22-16

Last Meeting: Virginia Tech Won 80-76 on Feb. 6, 2021

Line: Virginia Tech -5

Last Time Out

Despite the negativity surrounding Virginia Tech’s program right now, it actually didn’t play poorly in Chapel Hill in a 78-68 loss to North Carolina on Monday. 

In fact, in a lot of ways, the Hokies played well enough to win. 

They shot 47% from the field, 39% from three, and committed just nine turnovers. That’s it. Those numbers were certainly strong enough to win the ballgame. 

Not only that, four starters scored in double figures for Virginia Tech. 

Keve Aluma led the way with 19 points. Justyn Mutts added 18. Hunter Cattoor finished with 13 points and Nahiem Alleyne scored 10. It seems like just what the doctor ordered. 

The problem? Well, getting outrebounded 43-32 certainly isn’t going to cut it. Falling 16-5 on the offensive glass certainly won’t either. 

This team feels so close, yet so far at the same time. 

The schedule will lighten up after a trip to Florida State this weekend. But it’d be nice to get this one first against the Hurricanes. It will be vital to start building some confidence going forward for the Hokies. 

Scouting Miami 

Picked 12th in the league in the ACC preseason poll, Miami quickly silenced its doubters. 

There’s something to be said about both talent and experience, and that’s exactly what the Hurricanes have. 

With Miami’s elite level guard play, and the way it has been able to spread the floor, it’s easy to see how head coach Jim Larrañaga’s team has gotten off to such a superb start. 

The combination of Kameron McGusty (17.8 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game), Isaiah Wong (16.7 points per game), and DePaul transfer Charlie Moore (12.5 points per game) has been lethal all season long. With the length and athleticism shown on the perimeter, it’s no wonder a chunk of league counterparts have struggled with the Hurricanes. 

Sam Waardenburg (7.9 points per game) also provides a powerful post presence down low to complete a solid starting five. 

For a team that was projected to be a day one boot from the ACC Tournament, this squad has already proven everyone wrong. 

Go watch Miami play, and all of a sudden, you’ll see a smart, cohesive team that’s athletic enough to make a tournament run this upcoming March. 

The Pick

The atmosphere at Cassell Coliseum should be incredible for this one. 

Virginia Tech will get off to a good start, and lead throughout. Ultimately, a late-game surge by the Hurricanes will show why Miami is where it is, and will power the ‘Canes to a crowd-silencing victory in a thriller. 

Prediction: Miami 83, Virginia Tech 78