Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
Teams who saw each other last time out will go at it again in the ACC Tournament on Wednesday.
No. 7 seed Virginia Tech and 10th-seeded Clemson will meet for the second time in less than a week this evening. This prize for the winner?
A date with No. 2 seed Notre Dame on Thursday.
Game Day Information
When: Wednesday, March 9, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
PXP: Dave O’Brien
Analyst: Cory Alexander
Sideline Reporter: Andraya Carter
Series History: Virginia Tech Leads 22-17
Last Time Out
Having won nine of its last 10, Virginia Tech (19-12, 11-9 ACC) was starting to sense the completion of an improbable run all the way back into the NCAA Tournament.
At 10-10 overall and 2-7 in the ACC, the Hokies’ season was left for dead. A couple big-time wins later and with Mike Young’s team getting hot at the right time, Virginia Tech was right back in the thick of things in terms of the field of 68.
With just one more regular season game to go and having already positioned themselves to qualify for the big dance, all the Hokies had to do was take care of business at Clemson (17-15, 8-12 ACC).
Alas, the Tigers had other plans.
Virginia Tech shot just 37% from the field, 30% from deep and turned the ball over a whopping 13 times. Those issues would doom the Hokies in a crushing 63-59 loss. It was certainly one that could come back to bite should the maroon and orange be denied an NCAA Tournament bid.
Nahiem Alleyne tallied 17 points in the loss. Justyn Mutts added 15 of his own. Unfortunately for the Hokies, it was all for naught.
A loss that came at the worst possible time for Virginia Tech, could prove ever-so costly when Selection Sunday rolls around.
The good news for the Hokies? They get another crack.
When Clemson and Virginia Tech face off in the second round of the ACC Tournament, there’ll be a new sense of urgency for Young’s team. It has been forced to play with one for the latter part of the season.
Win? Your NCAA Tournament hopes are still alive.
Lose? Get Cassell Coliseum ready for some NIT contests.
Needing a run at the Barclays Center, Virginia Tech’s postseason hopes ride on the ACC Tournament.
What a perfect way to start it out. A chance to mow down a team that tried to ruin its season just a mere five days prior.
Revenge could be sweet for Young and company. The Hokies will try to take one step closer toward the field of 68.
It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride for Clemson throughout the 2021-22 campaign. Berated by a six-game losing streak that lasted almost three weeks, the Tigers have won five straight since, and are as hot as anyone in the ACC.
Star forward PJ Hall returning from injury certainly helps the cause. The 6-foot-10, 235-pounder averages 15.4 points per contest, providing a nice post presence down low that could present problems for Keve Aluma.
Al-Amir Dawes (11.4 points per game) can certainly score the rock from the guard position. David Collins (10.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game) can clean up down low while also providing a scoring presence on the wing.
The Tigers can be a dangerous team in the ACC Tournament. There’s no doubt about that.
Winners of five in a row, potentially playing for their coach’s job and possibly sliding into the NIT with a couple more tournament victories? Seems like a team playing with house money.
Clemson’s not exactly who you want to play right now if you’re Virginia Tech. But take care of business, and the path is clear for the maroon and orange to sneak in on Selection Sunday.
With their backs against the wall, it just seems like the Hokies find a way to win this one.
The work isn’t done yet. But with how Virginia Tech has been playing over the past month, it’s tough to picture Young’s team dropping two in a row to the same Clemson team.
The Hokies will come out firing in their 2022 ACC Tournament debut. They’ll take down the Tigers to inch even closer to the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Prediction: (7) Virginia Tech 73, (10) Clemson 66