Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
Something had to give for Virginia Tech after riding high on a six-game winning streak.
Unfortunately for the Hokies (16-11, 8-8 ACC), it came at a fairly inopportune time.
The winning streak is over, the hopes of a fifth-straight NCAA Tournament berth once again are hanging by a thread. But fortunately for Mike Young and company, even if it’s just the slightest of hopes, there still is an avenue for the maroon and orange to make an improbable run back into the big dance.
One thing that can’t happen, though, losing to Georgia Tech. The Hokies likely have to win out in the regular season to even have a shot, so taking down the Yellow Jackets (11-16, 4-12 ACC) inside McCamish Pavilion will be a pivotal start.
The “Battle of the Techs” is all set and ready to go to commence from Atlanta, featuring a Virginia Tech team hungry to get back into the win column on a late night in Midtown.
Game Day Information
When: Wednesday, Feb. 23, 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, GA
TV: ACC Network
PXP: Anish Shroff
Analyst: Jordan Cornette
Series History: Virginia Tech Leads 21-8
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech Won 81-66 on Feb. 2, 2022
Line: Virginia Tech -6
Last Time Out
With the Hokies clicking on all cylinders heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup against North Carolina, it seemed as if the maroon and orange couldn’t be stopped in any facet on the hardwood.
Rebounding? The Hokies were going to secure the boards. Turnovers? They’ll pick the opposition’s pocket. Offensive ball movement? Smooth as silk. Three-point shooting? Basically a given. Well, until Saturday, that is.
5-for-26. 19.2%. That’s all Virginia Tech shot from three. By far, a season-low.
It was just one of those nights for the Hokies, and unfortunately, could end up being costly in a 65-57 loss to the Tar Heels that halted the program’s longest ACC win streak in six seasons.
Keve Aluma put up 16 points and nine rebounds, while Justyn Mutts added 10 points of his own, but it was all for naught.
Now, there’s no margin for error. The Hokies got to go.
Can Virginia Tech respond? Let’s see.
Scouting Georgia Tech
It’s no secret this Georgia Tech team isn’t the same squad that won the ACC Championship just a season ago.
Jose Alvarado and Moses Wright walk out the door, leaving just Michael Devoe (18.5 points per game) and Jordan Usher (14.4 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game). Two solid assets, but with little to surround themselves with to cohesively mesh as an offensive group.
Hokie fans should remember Devoe. The 6-foot-5, 191-pounder put up 30 points in a 81-66 loss for the Jackets in Blacksburg earlier this season, and he poses a huge challenge for Virginia Tech on the defensive end to contain the Orlando, FL native.
Kyle Sturdivant (7.3 points per game) provides another strong option on the wing as well. But there’s going to be little help down low to stop Keve Aluma.
Georgia Tech can score if Devoe and Usher are on point. But a lack of consistency has really hurt the Yellow Jackets in what has been quite the underwhelming season.
Everyone knows it, but this is a must-win game for Virginia Tech.
Lose to a lowly Georgia Tech team late in the season, and the hopes of qualifying for March Madness are officially gone.
Luckily for the Hokies, though, they’ll easily avoid that, even on the road.
Aluma will be too much for the Jackets down low and Virginia Tech will fly back to Blacksburg with a feel-good victory over Georgia Tech with a big one at Miami looming over the horizon.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 75, Georgia Tech 61