Iowa (5-1) at Virginia Tech (5-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 27, 7:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Iowa 4-0, Virginia Tech 4-0. Away Record: Iowa 0-0, Virginia Tech 1-0. Neutral Record: Iowa 1-1, Virginia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Iowa 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 2-0.
GAMES NOTES: Both the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Virginia Tech Hokies have enjoyed strong starts to the season and will try to keep the success going when they meet up as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Cassell Coliseum.
The Hawkeyes are coming off their first loss of the season as they were bested by Wichita State (75-63) in the Cancun Challenge last Wednesday. Before that Iowa ripped off five straight wins with only a 63-55 triumph over Western Kentucky a decision decided by fewer than 10 points. Iowa will return home for its next four contests beginning against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The burden of bouncing back from a loss is not one that falls on Virginia Tech. The Hokies have taken down all five opponents they have faced, with the most recent victory coming at home against Appalachian State (87-76). The Hokies will remain at home in their next matchup against Oklahoma State before playing just their second road contest against West Virginia.
Virginia Tech has won both matchups between these programs.
Although both squads had fewer than 10 field goals in the first half, Iowa led 35-33 against Wichita State as the teams combined for 23 points from the free- throw line. The Hawkeyes also hit a startling 7-of-8 shots from beyond arc. That type of success disappeared after halftime as the Hawkeyes hit on only 4- of-24 shots from the floor and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Aaron White scored 11 of his team-high 14 points from the charity stripe.
In that loss Iowa had its best performance from beyond the arc this season. It was also the first time this year that the Hawkeyes shot better than 40 percent from long range in a game. Overall, Iowa only shoot 41.0 percent from the field but makes up for that by putting up strong efforts on the glass (40.0 rpg). It also helps that Iowa allows opponents to score only 56.3 points per game and shooting 34.7 percent from the field. Roy Devyn Marble (13.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) is the lead offensive option and one of just two players averaging in double figures. The 6-foot-6 swingman can get to the rim but has also been able to step back and hit shots from the outside (7-of-15 3P FGs). Aaron White (12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the second-best scorer and top rebounder.
It took awhile but Virginia Tech eventually pulled away from Appalachian State. The Hokies led by just three points, 41-38, at halftime despite shooting 56.0 percent from the field. In the second half the Hokies continually found their way to the line and outscored the Mountaineers 21-7 from the charity stripe en route to the double-digit win. Erick Green had a game-high 27 points and hit all 11 of his shots from the free throw line.
Led by the scoring duo of Green and Jarell Eddie, Virginia Tech has been an offensive force. The Hokies score 85.4 points per game and shoot 48.3 percent from the field. Only eight other teams in the nation are scoring more points per game early on than Virginia Tech. Green (24.4 ppg, 5.2 apg) not only pours points in himself, but has been setting his teammates up for buckets as well. Green doesn't just chuck up shots though as he shoots at an even 50 percent clip; Eddie (18.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is the complement to Green in the frontcourt and also finishes at a high level (57.7 FG percentage). Robert Brown (11.6 ppg, 4.4 apg) can also handle the ball and shooting from beyond the arc (10- of-25 3P FGs).
The offensive pace that Virginia Tech has set for itself means Iowa will have to be at its best on defense, while Marble and company will have to elevate their game at the other end. That will be a tough task on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 81, Iowa 74
11/27 10:35:37 ET