Reporting James Sikorski
There has been plenty of time to mourn. Every argument has been made in Virginia Tech’s favor, but nothing will slip the Hokies into the NCAA tournament.
Revenge begins tonight for Seth Greenburg and company.
Tonight the Hokies hosts Bethune-Cookman in the opening round of the NIT. If the Hokies want to prove they truly belong in the NCAA tournament, then running over the NIT field would be the perfect statement.
It has to be hard for seniors Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen and Terrell Bell to get motivated for the second-tier tournament for the fourth straight season. The importance these seniors place on tonight’s game will set the tone for how Virginia Tech will take this tournament.
Will they give lay an egg after being overlooked, or will they be out to prove the selection committee wrong?
Bethune-Cookman doesn’t pose much of a threat to Virginia Tech skill-wise. It won the regular season title in the MEAC, going 13-3 in conference play, but was ousted by Morgan State in the conference semifinals. Baylor and Arizona were the only major conference schools to face the Wildcats and they were outscored 161-84 combined.
It has been rare when Jeff Allen and Victor Davila overwhelmingly outsize the competition, but Bethune-Cookman’s starting five does not feature a player over 6-foot-3. Because of this, Allen and Davila should dominate the boards and the paint with ease.
Bethune-Cookman’s biggest threat to the Hokies is guard C.J. Reed. The junior is averaging 19.1 points per game. His game compares to Delaney’s—when his shot is hot, he can become a nightmare for opponents.
Virginia Tech has to utilize its size to come away with an easy win tonight. Allen and Davila need to demand the ball in the post throughout the game.
Tonight’s biggest opponent to Virginia Tech is themselves. The Hokies match up very favorably to their opponent and it’s only a matter of motivation to get the Hokies through the NIT tournament.