FACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Wake Forest 7-2, Virginia Tech 7-2. Away Record: Wake Forest 1-3, Virginia Tech 2-2. Neutral Record: Wake Forest 1-2, Virginia Tech 1-2. Conference Record: Wake Forest 2-2, Virginia Tech 1-2. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 28-27.
GAME NOTES: Two teams looking for some consistency collide in Blacksburg on Saturday, as the Virginia Tech Hokies play host to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in ACC action from the Cassell Coliseum.
James Johnson's first season in Blacksburg has come with guarded optimism thus far. The team is a decent 10-6 overall, although that includes a less than acceptable 1-2 conference mark. Virginia Tech was able to end a four-game losing streak last time out though, with a 70-65 overtime win at Georgia Tech.
Jeff Bzdelik's third season in Winston-Salem has also had its ups and downs. The Demon Deacons are 9-7 on the season overall and have split their first four ACC games, including a 60-44 setback at Clemson the week.
The Demon Deacons were able to snap a five-game skid in this series with a victory over the Hokies last year in Winston-Salem. However, Virginia Tech still clings to a narrow 28-27 lead in the series overall.
Clemson delivered a 15-2 run in the first half, all but doing in the Demon Deacons in Wake's loss this week in Death Valley. Star forward Travis McKie fought through foul trouble but still was able to record his third double- double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow forward Devin Thomas added 11 points to the cause.
The Demon Deacons possess one of the ACC's top duos in guard C.J. Harris and McKie. Harris has been extremely sharp in terms of shooting the basketball, delivering on 52.5 percent from the floor, including 46.7 percent from 3-point range, while averaging 15.2 ppg. McKie can also fill up the basket at 15.0 ppg and is the team's top rebounder (7.8 rpg). Youngster Codi Miller-McIntyre is a distant third in the scoring column at just 7.8 ppg.
Putting points up on the scoreboard has not been a problem for Virginia Tech this season at a solid 76.1 ppg. The primary reason for that is the explosive scoring capability of senior guard Erick Green, who ranks first in the nation at a hefty 24.8 ppg. While Green is certainly the focal point of Tech's attack, both Jarell Eddie (14.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Robert Brown (10.6 ppg) make valuable contributions as well.
The Hokies trailed by 11 points with about 13 minutes to play, but rallied to force overtime and then outlasted the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta for the five- point win. Green was once again masterful, hitting 9-of-16 shots and finishing with 28 points. C.J. Barksdale added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Brown tallied 10 points.
The Demon Deacons have not had much success outside of Winston-Salem this season and with the way Green is lighting up scoreboards, expect a win for the home team in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 74, Wake Forest 68
01/19 10:31:19 ET
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