Virginia Tech Hokies Hoops Game Day: Syracuse Pick and Preview

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics

The 16th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies are back in action after a six-day hiatus due to the postponement of the scheduled contest with Boston College. The contest was set for Wednesday night, but postponed following COVID-19 issues with the Eagles. 

Virginia Tech is hungry to play. Fans are ready to see it play. 

Both will get their wish this afternoon. Virginia Tech will travel to Syracuse looking for back-to-back wins at the Carrier Dome.

Game Day Information

When: Saturday, Jan. 23, 12 p.m. ET

Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY

TV: Raycom Sports Networks

PXP: Tom Werme

Analyst: Mike Gminski  

Series History: Syracuse Leads 10-5

Last Meeting: Syracuse Won 71-69 on Jan. 18, 2020

Line: Syracuse -1

A House Of Horrors 

Mike Young and his team have got to be ecstatic about their return to the hardwood. 

His Hokies are well ahead of schedule in the Young era, finding themselves ranked as high as No. 15 in year two for the former Wofford head coach. 

They come off a scrappy 64-60 win over Wake Forest Sunday night, which may be more impressive than most fans think. Key players like Keve Aluma and Jalen Cone only combined for a single field goal. 

Tyrece Radford bailed Virginia Tech out big time though. “Boots” put up 20 points for the Hokies, leading the charge for a team lacking offense all night long. 

Hunter Cattoor put up another sharp shooting night with 13 points, and how about David N’Guessan? The true freshman from The Netherlands put up a career-high 13, and gave the Hokies a huge spark with two and-1s in the first half. The win moved Virginia Tech to 11-2 overall, and 5-1 in conference play. 

Now, the Hokies will try to continue their magical season in what will be a tough one at a place that historically has been an absolute nightmare for Virginia Tech. The Hokies’ win last year at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse was the team’s first in Upstate New York since 1976. Wow.

They’ll try to make it two in a row vs. the ‘Cuse in “The Dome” in just a few short hours. 

A Squeeze To The Pulp

Dissecting Syracuse (8-4, 2-3 ACC) is a tricky thing to do this season. 

The Orange have been rather inconsistent, nearly falling to Bryant, Northeastern, Buffalo, and getting run out of the building by the Pittsburgh would lead one to believe they are not a great basketball team. But at the same time, Syracuse beat Boston College by nearly 40, and is coming off an impressive 83-57 win over Miami this past Tuesday. 

Legendary head coach Jim Boeheim’s son, Buddy Boeheim, tied a team scoring high in that one, sharing that honor with Joseph Girard III. They can both be a problem, but the biggest problem for the Hokies will be star forward Quincy Guerrier.

Guerrier is nearly averaging a double-double (16.7 points, 9.6 rebounds per game) and could be an issue for guys like Aluma and Justyn Mutts all afternoon long. Syracuse can score the ball too, as its has five players averaging double figures. The Orange can also really shoot the ball from three. 

If Virginia Tech wants to leave the Carrier Dome with another victory, it’ll need to score the rock better, stay on shooters like Boehim, Girard, and Guerrier, while limiting turnovers and transition points. 

If the Hokies can do this, victory will be theirs against the Orange. 

The Pick

It’s interesting. Syracuse has been the most puzzling team in the ACC this season, and playing in the Carrier Dome is a place where the Hokies are just not comfortable. 

We could see Virginia Tech winning this game by a big margin; we can also see them losing this game by a wide margin. In the end, we’re going to go with the talent-edge in this one. 

Hokies’ guard Jalen Cone will bounce back in a big way and after Syracuse has led the whole game, he’ll be the difference to a second straight Virginia Tech win at Syracuse.

Prediction: (16) Virginia Tech 75, Syracuse 74

Up Next

Up next, Virginia Tech will fly back home to Blacksburg before hitting the road again to face off against Notre Dame in a rematch from a Hokies’ win earlier this season. 

That game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday evening on Raycom Sports Networks.