Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
That’s the tweet Virginia Tech men’s basketball sent out after getting the green light to play this upcoming game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
After two and a half long, grueling, painful weeks for Virginia Tech fans, the Hokies are indeed back at it.
The red hot Yellow Jackets will look to spoil the party though. They’ll come in looking to sting the 16th-ranked Hokies tonight at Cassell Coliseum — a place they haven’t won since 2013.
Game Day Information
When: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA
PXP: Tom Werme
Analyst: Mike Gminski
Series History: Virginia Tech Leads 20-7
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech Won 76-57 on Feb. 4, 2020
Line: Virginia Tech -1.5
Long Time No See
It’s been so long since Virginia Tech (14-4, 8-3 ACC) last played a basketball game, you may not even remember what happened.
After COVID-19 issues arose in both Florida State and Louisville’s basketball’s programs, the Hokies were forced to sit a week, only for the bad luck to strike home last Sunday evening.
According to head coach Mike Young, not a single player tested positive in Virginia Tech’s program, but a couple positive tests on the support staff left the Hokies with only four players to practice after contact tracing identification.
It’s unclear whether or not there will be some players unavailable in maroon and orange. It is also unclear whether or not Tyrece Radford will play. Radford has been suspended since a DUI arrest last month.
Nevertheless, it’s fair to say a lot has changed since the Hokies were last on the floor on Feb. 6 against Miami. It was quite the game. Hunter Cattoor hit a three at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, where the Hokies prevailed, 80-76. Naheim Alleyne’s floater put Virginia Tech ahead for good.
Now is the ultimate challenge. Teams coming off COVID pauses have not looked particularly great this year – hint North Carolina’s beatdown of Louisville on Saturday – so Virginia Tech will try to reverse that trend back at home for the first time since Jan. 30.
A Ramblin Wreck
The Yellow Jackets (11-8, 7-6 ACC) are a sneaky good team in the ACC. Yet for some reason, no one talks about them.
They’ve picked off teams like North Carolina, Clemson, and Florida State – however, all of those were at home. Their most recent game though, was not at home. It was in Coral Gables where the Yellow Jackets blew away Miami, 87-60.
Michael Devoe led Georgia Tech with 29 points in that one, and that’s scary. The real star of the show is guard and energizer bunny Jose Alvarado.
He leads the team with 16.7 points per game, so Young and his team will have to circle his name. You don’t have to tell the Hokies that though. Alvarado put up 20 points in the 76-57 win for the Jackets in Atlanta last year. They’re well aware of his presence.
Moses Wright is a big threat in the paint as well. He averages 16.3 points per game and leads the team in rebounds. Devoe and Jordan Usher also contribute to Georgia Tech’s really good guard play, creating a quadruple threat for head coach Josh Pastner.
With the way the Hokies have played at home, and the way Georgia Tech fares on the road, we want to go with Virginia Tech.
The problem is, we haven’t seen the Hokies play. North Carolina’s beatdown of Louisville showed us all we needed to know for this one. While it won’t be a 45-point game, the Hokies will be a bit slow in this one, playing a step behind the Yellow Jackets.
We’re going to follow the trend in college basketball with teams coming off COVID pauses, and are going to pick Georgia Tech to come into Cassell Coliseum and take down the Hokies.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 66, (16) Virginia Tech 63
Following, “The Battle of the Techs,” Virginia Tech will return home to host Wake Forest this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
That one can be found on the ACC Network, as the Hokies will look to sweep the season series with the Demon Deacons.