Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
For the first time this season for Virginia Tech basketball, we have a rematch.
Mike Young and the 20th-ranked Hokies will travel to South Bend this evening to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Virginia Tech will try to replicate a 77-63 win that took place at Cassell Coliseum a few weeks back.
Game Day Information
When: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Purcell Pavilion, Notre Dame, IN
PXP: Evan Lepler
Analyst: Brain Oliver
Series History: Notre Dame Leads 9-5
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech Won 77-63 on Jan. 10, 2021
Line: Notre Dame -1
A Stormy Cloud Arises
It has not been a good week for Virginia Tech basketball. Not only did the Hokies (11-3, 5-2 ACC) lose badly to Syracuse, 78-60, they also lose their second-leading scorer in Tyrece Radford for likely the season.
Radford was arrested early Sunday morning in Blacksburg for a DUI and concealed weapons charge. He was subsequently suspended indefinitely. In his place, we should see more of the young guns in Darius Mattox and Joe Bamisile.
As for performance-wise, it’s now been two straight games where guys like Keve Aluma and Jalen Cone have struggled mightily. The typical scoring threats have just combined for three field goals over the last two games. Virginia Tech lucked out with a win against Wake Forest, but that’ll be a problem going forward for the Hokies if those two are unable to get going.
When the Hokies took down the Irish earlier this year, Cone led all scorers with 18 points. He was closely followed by Aluma and Hunter Cattoor with 15 each in an earlier contest at Cassell Coliseum. Virginia Tech won that one by 14. Similar results have taken place when Cone and Aluma have been on this season.
Nahiem Alleyne led the way with 20 points vs. the Orange, but he single-handedly won’t be enough to sweep a Notre Dame team that has found its rhythm of late.
A Pot Of Gold Is Found
When we last saw the Irish (5-8, 2-5 ACC), they came in winless in the ACC, and had not found a balance overall as a team. Since that defeat in Blacksburg, they’ve won two of three, taking down Boston College, 80-70, and Miami in Coral Gables on Sunday night, 73-59.
They’re still led by Nate Laszewski, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 16.6 points per game, and 7.8 boards per contest. But Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin, Corman Ryan, and Juwan Durham are also guys Virginia Tech will hope to slow down.
Hubb led Notre Dame with 19 points in the most recent win over Miami. Goodwin and Ryan put up 12 and 10 points, respectively, last time out against the Hokies.
Mike Brey is a fantastic ball coach and it’s a dangerous time for Virginia Tech. The Irish are starting to hit their strides at the right moment.
Notre Dame may have a bit of an advantage here. It has been playing better of late, has all its best guys, and are at home for this one.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has played poorly the last two times out, and now has one of its best players sidelined after trouble with the law.
The talent is still there for Virginia Tech though, and this is a game where the Hokies need to find their rhythm, especially with Virginia on tap next this weekend. They still won’t look like Virginia Tech in this one, but they’ll play better. Cone and Aluma will get back going just enough for the Hokies to escape Notre Dame with a win.
Prediction: (20) Virginia Tech 67, Notre Dame 64
It’s the one Hokies fans have all been waiting for. Virginia Tech and Virginia will square off in a top-25 match-up from Cassell Coliseum on Saturday.
That game will be televised at 6 p.m. ET on the ACC Network.