There aren’t a ton of high-level Games this weekend and that’s the main reason Louisville and Virginia Tech are playing on national TV on CBS. With neither team guaranteed a spot for March Madness, this Game is extremely important to both. Neither team has an easy remaining Schedule, either, as Louisville hosts Virginia then travels to NC State, while Virginia Tech gets Duke and then goes to Miami.
These teams played back in mid-January and even though Louisville won 94-86, it was back-and-forth for most of the Game. The Cardinals escaped by making 13 threes and forcing 19 turnovers. Otherwise, both offenses scored with ease as made evident by the final score. But winning on the road will be a little more difficult for Louisville this time, although VT already has a few losses to mediocre teams on its home cOurt.
This Game shouldn’t be much different from that first one because both teams are led by high-flying offenses that can Scoreagainst most. The only difference is that Louisville ranks higher defensively due to on-ball pressuring. That hasn’t been a major problem for the Hokies all season, but it was in the first meeting so that’ll be something they need to figure out. Defense has been an issue for Tech and that’s where Louisville’s offense comes in. The Cardinals can be troubling at times, but against weaker teams, can thrive due to its length.
The biggest problem for Tech once again will probably be Deng Adel, who dropped 27 points in that first meeting and made Four threes. His length at small forward is tough to deal with for a Virginia Tech team that only really plays one guy that’s taller than 6-foot-6 (Kerry Blackshear). The surprising thing in that first Game was that Louisville’s bigs didn’t do much between Ray Spalding, Malik Williams and Anas Mahmoud so that could be somewhere else the Cardinals have an advantage.
For the home team to win this Game, the logistics are simple. The Hokies have to make more threes than Louisville and not turn the ball over as much. The main man for them is Justin Robinson, who can make or break this Game. Turnovers have always been an issue for him, but if he goes into attack mode, the Hokies will be in good hands. He has the ability to Score32 points like in the NC State win, but also only five like in the loss to Duke. against Quentin Snider and Ryan McMahon, he has the tools to run the show and he almost did that in the first meeting with 23 points.
Louisville may be a deeper team with more size, but if it doesn’t use either of those things to its advantage, this will be yet another loss. The Cardinals can’t come in and hope they’ll make 13 three again and win on the road. They’ll need to attack down low more with the size of Spalding and Mahmoud. The Hokies aren’t great defensively, but if they don’t turn it over against a press-heavy team, they’ll be in good shape for an important home win.
Our Pick – Va Tech -3