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(15) Oklahoma State (5-0) at Virginia Tech (6-0)
Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: OSU 2-0, VT 5-0. Away Record: OSU 0-0, VT 1-0. Neutral Record: OSU 3-0, VT 0-0. Conference Record: OSU 0-0, VT 0-0. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: Two undefeated teams collide in Blacksburg, as the 15th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys meet up with the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum.
This is the only road game in the month of December for Oklahoma State, which will play six straight in Stillwater after this to close out the 2012 calendar year. The Cowboys have opened up with five straight wins, including taking home the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic title with an impressive win over nationally-ranked NC State (76-56). OSU followed that win up with an 81-58 rout of Portland State last weekend.
James Johnson's debut season in Blacksburg couldn't have started any better. The Hokies have won all six of the games on the docket thus far and enter this contest following a 95-79 victory against Iowa as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday. The 6-0 start is the best for Virginia Tech since the 1981-82 season.
The Hokies have won all three previous meetings with Oklahoma State.
The win over the Vikings this week marked OSU's first as a ranked team since 2007. The Cowboys were led to victory by Markel Brown's 23 points. Le'Bryan Nash poured in 20 points, while Phil Forte added 15. Marcus Smart was instrumental in the win as well, netting eight points, while dishing out nine assists. Oklahoma State was able to deliver on 57.1 percent from the floor, including 46.7 percent from behind the arc (7-of-15).
The offensive eruption against Portland State was not exactly the norm for LSU this season, as the team has relied more on its defensive tenacity, holding opponents to a mere 57.8 ppg and well under 40 percent shooting (.345). Nash has evolved into a marquee performer, averaging a hefty 19.2 ppg. Brown can fill up the basket as well at 14.6 ppg, with scoring balance coming from Smart (13.4 ppg) and Forte (11.2 ppg).
Virginia Tech shot a solid .522 from the floor and made Iowa pay at the free- throw line, converting 27-of-30 charity tosses to cruise to a 16-point win. Erick Green netted 24 points to lead the way for the Hokies. Robert Brown poured in a season-high 18 points, while Jarrell Eddie, C.J. Barksdale and Joey van Zegeren tallied 11 points apiece.
Virginia Tech's success has been fueled by strong offensive numbers. The Hokies come into this contest averaging a hefty 87.0 ppg, do so on 49.0 percent shooting from the floor, including a solid 40.8 percent from 3-point range, averaging 8.5 treys per contest. Green has proved to be on the of the nation's top scorers in the early going, averaging 24.3 ppg, on 50.6 percent from the floor. Eddie can score in bunches as well at 17.5 ppg, with Brown (12.7 ppg) rounding out the top scoring threats.
The Cowboys have been impressive thus far, but may meet their match in Blacksburg. Green is playing at a different level right now and with a solid supporting cast and the homecourt advantage, the Hokies have the edge in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 75, Oklahoma State 70
12/01 10:40:22 ET