Virginia Tech Hokies (12-5, 2-1) at
No. 1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (16-0, 3-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009
Place: Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Last Meeting: Tech beat Wake, 80-58 on senior night for Deron Washington...Washington led the team in scoring and rebounding with 22 and 10...the Hokies held the Deacs to 34 percent from the field and out-rebounded them 30-20.
Trends: The Hokies have won four of their last five against Wake...the Hokies have won three consecutive games and seven of their last eight...Wake is the last remaining undefeated team in D1 basketball.
What to Expect: The Hokies will try to make this game ugly while the Deacs will try to push the pace. As guard Jeff Teague goes, so go the Deacs. The sophomore from Indy leads the team in points (21.4) and assists (4.1) per game. He's best in transition either driving to the rim or finding the open man down low.
The Hokies will miss the graduated Deron Washington in this game. He would have been perfect to guard Teague. Unfortunately, I don't think the Hokies have anyone on their roster capable of shutting him down.
The best way to slow the Deacs is to make shots and limit turnovers. That's the only way to keep Wake from making a mockery of the Hokies' transition defense. We'll know early on if the Hokies have a chance to hang with the Deacons.
My guess is they will. While Virginia Tech is incapable of blowing anyone out, the Hokies typically are able to keep games close until the late minutes (Duke game excluded).
Wake is a tough defensive team, especially on the perimeter. Quality shots will be at a premium for the Hokies. Tech also has a size disadvantage underneath against Wake's big men. While I think Jeff Allen, A.D. Vassallo, J.T. Thompson and Victor Davila are better offensive players than Wake's bigs are on defense, the height and size advantage Wake has more than evens it out.
Wake isn't a perfect team. In fact, they're far from it. But they play solid defense and have guys who can fill the net. Someone will beat them, it just won't be the Hokies.
Hokies win if: They're patient for quality shots on offense, particularly on penetration by Malcolm Delaney and limit turnovers.
Deacs win if: They're able to get out in transition against the Hokies and dominate the glass.
Score: Wake Forest 70, Virginia Tech 65