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No. 4 Virginia takes on No. 9 Virginia Tech in a big battle for ACC supremacy on Tuesday night from Charlottesville. Virginia is undefeated, while the Hokies have just one loss on the season. They fell at Penn State, 63-62 on Nov. 27. Last season, Virginia won by 26 at Virginia Tech, but the Hokies took revenge with an overtime win over the Cavs.
Hokies have won nine straight
Virginia Tech edged Georgia Tech, 52-49 to earn their ninth straight win last Wednesday. The Hokies shot just 29.8 percent from the field but found a way to win, thanks to forcing 18 turnovers. The Hokies’ 14-1 start is their best since the 1982-83 season. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, came into the game averaging 18.8 points per game, was held to 1-fo-13 from the field and 0-6 from beyond the arc. Ahmed Hill led the Hokies with 15 points, while Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought this win was so good for us, even though it sounds demented,” Buzz Williams said to Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop on the postgame broadcast. “I thought we did a lot of really good things and how it closed was just like Penn State, 43 days ago. I thought our response showed our ability to pass that same test.”
The Hokies have not had an overwhelming schedule with wins in the ACC over Notre Dame (81-66), Boston College (77-66) and Georgia Tech. Their best non-conference wins came over Northwestern (88-60) and Purdue (89-83). Alexander-Walker leads the team with 17.8 points per game on 54.6 percent shooting.
On the season, the Hokies are averaging 79.2 points per game on 50.1 percent shooting (42.3% 3pt). Their three-point shooting percentage is good for third in the nation. On defense, they are allowing just 57.3 points per game (4th), 39.5 percent shooting (26th) and 32.2 percent from beyond the arc (104th).
Big showdown looms ahead
While the Cavs have to plan for Virginia Tech, they also may be thinking about their upcoming game on Saturday at home against No. 1 Duke. One thing Virginia does as well as anybody is take care of business. They normally don’t look back or far ahead. Case in point, in Saturday’s 67-43 win over Clemson. They got up big early and kept expanding the lead before blowing the Tigers out on the road (in front of Dabo Swinney). In their win over the Tigers, Kyle Guy scored 13 points, while De’Andre Hunter added 12 points and seven rebounds to lead the Cavs. But as usual, it was the defense that won the game. They held the Tigers to just 25.9 percent shooting (3-19 3pt) and outrebounded them 43-32. Virginia also shot 10-of-23 (43.5%) from beyond the arc but just 7-fo-12 from the lien (58.3%).
— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) January 12, 2019
Most Virginia games are blowouts. In their 15-0 start, they’ve had just three wins in the single digits (Maryland, Wisconsin, and VCU). Guy leads the Cavs in scoring with 15.3 points per game, while guard Ty Jerome leads in assists (4.4) and steals (1.8). On the season, the offense averages 73.8 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting (39.9% 3pt). They allow just 51.2 points per game (1st), 36.6 percent from the field (3rd) and 24.5 percent from beyond the arc (1st).
- 6-1 ATS last 7 home games.
- 7-2 ATS last 9 Tuesday games.
- 20-8-1 ATS last 29 vs. ACC.
Virginia Tech is:
- 5-11 ATS last 16 on the road in series.
- 3-8 ATS last 11 after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a revenge game for Virginia, who lost at home last year by one to the Hokies. Virginia Tech is a good team but if they are held to 29% shoot against Virginia as they were against Georgia Tech, this is a complete blowout. The Cavs are not just a slow-paced, defensive-minded team. They have some outstanding shooters led by Guy and can run when necessary.
Prediction: Virginia -9.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Virginia held Clemson to 43 points and Florida State to 52 at home. That’s the same Seminoles team that scored 78 points at Duke this past Saturday. This team is remarkable defensively and it’s extremely tough to score over 50 points on them. The Hokies put up 52 points on Georgia Tech on the road. They are 4-1 Under their last 5 on the road in this series and 10-2 Under the last 12 vs. the ACC. Virginia is 5-1 Under their last 6 home games and 39-18-1 Under their last 58 vs. the ACC.
Prediction: Under 122.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Yes, Virginia should win this game and cover but it the Hokies will compete early on. Virginia doesn’t press much so they aren’t going to go on a 30-10 run in the first half. That could happen in the second half when the Hokies go on a long drought.
Prediction: Virginia Tech +7.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Has there ever been a program that has defended as well as Virginia? Not in the era of the shotclock though they will be tested on Saturday against Duke. In the first half against Virginia Tech, they will set the pace and that’s a slow one.
Prediction: Under 124 first half