Virginia Tech (15-14) at Clemson (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 1st, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Littlejohn Coliseum (9,749) -- Clemson, South Carolina. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Virginia Tech 11-6, Clemson 10-5. Away Record: Virginia Tech 3-7, Clemson 4-6. Neutral Record: Virginia Tech 1-1, Clemson 1-2. Conference Record: Virginia Tech 4-10, Clemson 7-7. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 13-11.
GAMES NOTES: The Virginia Tech Hokies will land in Littlejohn Coliseum this evening for an Atlantic Coast Conference tussle with the Clemson Tigers.
Despite what its record says, Virginia Tech has been a competitive team this season. The Hokies have lost by four points or less or in overtime nine times this season including a ruined upset bid last Saturday against No. 4 Duke. Unfortunately just being competitive doesn't win games as the Hokies are just 15-14 overall and 4-10 in conference play which is better than only three other teams in the ACC. The regular season will wrap up for Virginia Tech on Sunday with a home game against NC State.
Virginia Tech held off a second half comeback from Clemson and went on to a 67-65 victory in the first meeting of the season between these programs. The win keeps the Hokies ahead in the all-time series by a slim 13-11 margin.
Clemson has also had its fair share of ups and downs this season on its way to a 15-13 overall mark. The squad has wins against No. 24 Virginia and No. 22 Florida State on its resume and is currently in the midst of a hot streak in which the Tigers have won four of five games, including a 72-69 win in overtime against NC State on Saturday. Clemson will have a rematch on the road with the Seminoles to close out the regular season on Sunday.
Virginia Tech fought all the way to the end in its game against Duke on Saturday in a matchup that featured 13 ties and 12 lead changes. The Hokies ran out of gas in overtime however and fell 70-65. Neither team shot well in the game with Virginia Tech at 40.9 percent and Duke at 38.5. The Blue Devils pulled out the win thanks to a 24-7 advantage from the free-throw line.
The Hokies are near the middle of the conference in terms of scoring this season (65.8 ppg) due to a lack of efficiency, ranking 11th in the conference in field-goal percentage (.425). Virginia Tech has been able to keep games close all season with a defense that holds teams to 62.3 points per game. Erick Green (15.7 ppg) and Dorenzo Hudson (11.0 ppg) were both part of a three way tie for the team lead in scoring against Duke with each netting 16 points. For Green it was yet another day in double figures as he has been able to score at least 10 points in every game he has played in this season. Cadarian Raines (5.3 ppg) was the surprising third party against Duke, as his 16 points were a season-high. Freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith (6.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) showed why he is the team's leading rebounder, hauling in 12 boards against the Blue Devils.
Andre Young connected on two key three pointers in overtime for Clemson in its thrilling win over NC State on Saturday. Despite only shooting 43.9 percent from the floor to the Wolfpack's 50.0 percent, the Tigers were able to pull out the win with a 16-5 advantage from the charity stripe.
Like Virginia Tech, Clemson does not have the benefit of a deep scoring pool to draw from, managing only 64.6 points per game. The Tigers do back that up well with strong defense however, ranking 23rd nationally by giving up just 59.9 points per game. Young (13.3 ppg, 3.3 apg) has been a key part of the team's success this season. Milton Jennings (9.9 ppg. 5.3 rpg) and Tanner Smith (11.1 ppg, 4.5 apg) had strong outings last time out, scoring 17 and 15 points respectively. Devin Booker (10.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg) has anchored the team on the inside this season and came a point shy of a double-double in the team's recent win.
In this matchup Clemson gets the nod. While Virginia Tech has been able to keep itself in games, the Tigers have been able to more regularly put together wins in ACC action. In a game that could come down to the wire, the Tigers will benefit from playing at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 70, Virginia Tech 68
03/01 10:34:07 ET