Game Preview: Virginia Tech

The Orange kicks off ACC play by hosting Virginia Tech at the Carrier Dome at 6pm EST on New Year’s Eve.

The Hokies are 11-2 on the year (same record as the Orange). Their biggest wins are over Iowa, Ole Miss and Washington and their two losses have been against Saint Louis and Kentucky. Virginia Tech sits ranked 75 in the RPI and ranked 35 in the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings.

Virginia Tech is a tremendous shooting team. They are 1st in the country in field goal percentage at 55% and 4th in the country in three point shooting percentage at 44%. The latter of the two stats doesn’t bode well for Syracuse’s zone defense. The other aspect of this Hokies team that is impressive is that 10 players see 10+ minutes per game. They are a deep team that shoots the ball very well.

Junior guard Ahmed Hill leads the charge for the Hokies. He averages 16.3 points per game while shooting 58% from the field and 53% from the three point line. Let’s hope Frank Howard and Tyus Battle contest each and every one of Hill’s shots. Senior guard Justin Bibbs averages 15 points per game and dropped 30 points on the Mike Hopkins led Washington Huskies back in November at Madison Square Garden.

One element of this game that will be interesting to follow will be the big men for both teams. Virginia Tech’s main front court threat is junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. Blackshear is 6’10” and weighs 260 pounds. Syracuse big man Paschal Chukwu has 4 inches on him but is over 30 pounds lighter. Whichever big man gets in foul trouble first will hand his team a big disadvantage. Blackshear has fouled out 3 times this year.

This game will also be very telling for Syracuse’s freshman forward Bourama Sidibe who has been battling tendinitis in his left knee and a sprained right ankle. Jim Boeheim mentioned potentially medically redshirting Sidibe for the remainder of the season if he’s not healthy soon. If Sidibe doesn’t play against the Hokies it seems likely he’ll apply for a medical redshirt which would be a big blow to the team’s front court.

Quick hits:

  • Syracuse will wear uniform patches to honor longtime men’s basketball administrative assistant Kelly Seubert. She passed away from cancer in August.
  • The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and can be streamed on the WatchESPN app
  • Syracuse is a 2 point favorite according to oddsshark.com
  • Syracuse is 3 – 1 vs. Virginia Tech during the Buzz Williams era
  • Syracuse lost 73 – 83 at Virginia Tech last season

 

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