Hokies travel to Notre Dame

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on January 19, 2014
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When: Sunday, January 19, 6pm

Virginia Tech will head out on the road to take on Notre Dame on Sunday evening.  The Hokies are looking to snap out of a bad slump that has seen them lose five of their last six games, including three in a row in Cassell Coliseum.

Notre Dame is 10-7 on the season.  They had a huge home win over Duke in their first ever ACC game, but they followed that up with three straight losses to NC State, Georgia Tech and Maryland.  They have a 1-3 record in the ACC, just like the Hokies.  Also like the Hokies, they start two freshmen in the backcourt.

With road trips coming up to Florida State and Wake Forest, it’s very important for Notre Dame to beat Tech tonight.  Here’s a look at Mike Brey’s starting lineup…

G Eric Atkins (6-2, 182, Sr.): Atkins is second on his team in scoring averaging 13.8 points per game.  He also averages 4.9 assists.  He had 19 points and 11 assists in the victory over Duke.

G Demetrius Jackson (6-1, 195, Fr.): Jackson averages 6.8 points per game in his first season of college basketball.  He’s a 39.5% shooter from three-point range.

G Steve Vasturia (6-6, 207, Fr.): Though he’s in the starting lineup, Vasturia averages just 2.9 points and 13.9 minutes per game.

G Pat Connaughton (6-5, 215, Jr.): Connaughton is Notre Dame’s three-point specialist.  He averages 13.6 points per game, and shoots 42.2% from the outside.  He and Eric Atkins are the top outside shooters for the Irish.

C Garrick Sherman (6-11, 255, Sr.): Notre Dame’s big center averages 14.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.  He can be tough on the offensive glass, so Tech’s bigs have to play tough and physical in the paint.

Notre Dame has suffered through a situation involving their leading scorer Jerian Grant.  Grant did not fulfill academic obligations during the fall semester, and he is no longer part of the team.  He was averaging 19 points, 6.2 assists and two steals per game, and his loss has really hurt the Irish.

Notre Dame is just 2-3 without Grant in the lineup.  That includes a win over Duke, but it also includes three consecutive losses to NC State, Georgia Tech and Maryland.  All three were close games that could have easily gone the other way with Grant on the court.  The Irish are struggling to find themselves without him.

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