Looking to bounce back from Saturday’s home loss to UNC, No. 16 Louisville (16-6) travels to Blacksburg for tonight’s game against the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies (18-3) at 7pm. The game will be televised on ESPN as part of its ‘Big Monday’ showcase.
Virginia Tech is known for their stellar guard play. Their guard trio is led by sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walker. He comes into this game averaging 17.6 points per game, but he does a bit of everything with 4.3 rebounds per game and 3.8 assists per game. The other two guards that round the trio are seniors Justin Robinson and Ahmed Hill, who average 14.4 and 13.4 points per game, respectively. The Hokies have a 4th player who averages double-figures in Kerry Blackshear Jr., the 6’10 junior forward averages 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Louisville will have to slow down the Hokies’ top 4 scorers or it’ll be a long night. Production drops off a bit after those 4 players, so if Louisville can force someone else to step up, they will be in good shape. Virginia Tech also averages 16.6 assists per game, so shutting down ball movement and playing passing lanes will be crucial tonight. The last key to the game will be protecting the ball. Virginia Tech averages 7.2 steals per game, but they only average 32.7 rebounds per game (Louisville averages 38). If Louisville can limit turnovers, they should be able to win the battle on the glass.
Virginia is 18-3, but the two ranked ACC teams they played had no trouble with Hokies. Virginia won by 22 and North Carolina won by 21, both games were at home. This will be a tough road test. The Hokies only give up 60 points per game, but against the 2 ranked ACC opponents they’ve played, they gave up 81 and 103 points. Louisville will be in for a fight, but this game is very winnable.
Louisville 76 – Virginia Tech 71