An NCAA tournament resume that features just one RPI-top 50 win doesn’t look too appealing to the tournament committee. Last Saturday’s loss to UVA—RPI 146—is a bad loss for any team, but probably puts more salt in the wound for Virginia Tech’s lackluster resume.
Virginia Tech (17-8, 7-5 ACC) has a quick turnaround and travels to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest (8-19, 1-11 ACC) Tuesday night.
With just four games remaining on Virginia Tech’s schedule, the Hokies cannot afford anymore slip-ups. Wake Forest hasn’t shown much to worry about all season and with a matchup against No. 1 Duke next on the schedule, this game could turn into a tune-up or a trap game.
Wake Forrest traveled to Blacksburg earlier this season and left with a 94-65 loss. The win for the Hokies came after losing a large lead against UNC and jumpstarted a boost of confidence from Virginia Tech’s short bench.
Last match-up featured a complete team effort from Virginia Tech. Victor Davila led Virginia Tech’s starters with 14 points and Manny Atkins provided a huge spark off the bench, he led all Hokies with 16 points.
Typically Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney are heavily relied upon to carry the scoring load. Delaney scored just nine points—only the third time all year he has been held to single digits—and Allen had 10 points. Both players were patient with their shot selection and were comfortable with their teammates stepping up.
Virginia Tech did allow four players from Wake Forrest to reach double digits. The Hokies’ defense needs to tighten up and limit all the scoring chances. After the abysmal performance against UVA, the Hokies need to play solid defense so they don’t become too dependent on an inconsistent offense.
Wake Forest poses a threat while it is on offense. Four players average double digit points a game.
Senior guard Gary Clark probably poses the biggest threat to the Hokies. Clark is averaging 10.6 points a game and is shooting 58.2-percent from 3-point range. Last match-up, Clark went 3-for-4 from behind the arc with 16 points. Virginia Tech has struggled all season at stopping the deep ball and if Clark gets hot, it could be another disappointing game for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech has struggled all year on the road and last Saturday’s loss at Virginia set back a Virginia Tech team averaging 96.5 points in the last two games.
Virginia Tech’s bench may have taken a blow as freshman forward Jarrell Eddie was arrested last week with possession of marijuana charges. Eddie passed a drug test and is expected to play, but it is unknown how much Greenburg is willing to play him after attracting the negative publicity.
Tuesday night’s game should be used to get some momentum offensively and defensively and gain some extra confidence for the big game against Duke. However, the Hokies must focus their energy on Wake Forest to avoid back-to-back losses against inferior competition.