Syracuse’s next opponent: What to know about No. 10 Virginia Tech

first_img Published on January 25, 2019 at 3:44 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Comments No. 10 Virginia Tech (15-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) will try to rebound from a 21-point blowout loss at No. 11 North Carolina this weekend, when they host Syracuse (14-5, 5-1) in Blacksburg, Virginia. Tip is slated for 8 p.m.Here’s what you need to know about the Hokies.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 9-3Last time they played: The Orange beat VT on New Year’s Eve in 2017, 68-56. Syracuse held the Hokies to 34.6 percent from the field. Then-freshman Oshae Brissett shined in his first career ACC game, feasting for 19 points and nine rebounds. For VT, Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the way with 19 to go along with Justin Robinson and Justin Bibbs’ 10 points apiece. The last time SU traveled to Blacksburg, two years ago, the Orange fell, 83-73. The Virginia Tech report: Against Mike Hopkins’ Washington Huskies this season in Atlantic City, the Hokies largely found rhythm against the 2-3 zone, running through the high post and short corner with relative easy. Hopkins doesn’t run the same zone Syracuse does, though. But VT did show a capability to handle a zone and work the ball inside and out. Most impressive: Virginia Tech was poised against the zone, working the ball well at a fast clip.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Hokies are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they reached the NCAA Tournament. They have only three losses thus far: Penn State, No. 3 Virginia and No. 11 UNC. All three came on the road. They returned a deep group from a season ago — four of their top five scorers and four of their top five rebounders. What the Hokies lack in defense they try to compensate for on the offensive end. Five players average 7.9 points per game or more. They’re led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker (18.3 points per game), Kerry Blackshear Jr. (13.7), Ahmed Hill (13.2) and Justin Robinson (13.1), with a solid inside-outside balance. How Syracuse beats Virginia Tech: Surely, the Orange will have to score to keep up with the quality offense that is VT. Junior shooting guard Tyus Battle’s aggression is needed, as well as support from point guard Frank Howard and Co. The Hokies want to push the ball against the zone — like they did against Washington — and, if they don’t get a good initial look, they’ll look to challenge the Orange off the dribble and inside. An airtight zone is the defensive key for this primetime matchup as the Orange look to improve to 6-1 in conference play against one of the stronger offenses they’ll face. Stat to know: 49.7 — Percentage of field-goals Virginia Tech has made this season, compared with Syracuse’s 42.8 percent shooting. The Hokies work to get quality shots. KenPom odds: KenPom gives Syracuse a 25 percent chance to win, predicting a Virginia Tech victory by a score of 71-64. Player to watch: Justin Robinson, senior guard, No. 5Robinson can play, and he’s produced for a long time. He’s second in the conference in assists per game (5.4) and fourth on his team in points (13.1). A third-year starter, Robinson brings experience and quickness to the Virginia Tech backcourt. He’s shooting about four 3-pointers per contest, and he can find his way toward the rim off the bounce. Related Stories Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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