Virginia Tech and Wake Forest will meet for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon. The Hokies won a narrow 66-65 game in Cassell Coliseum back in January when Wake’s Tyler Cavanaugh missed a short putback at the buzzer.
It’s no surprise that the Hokies won that game. The Demon Deacons are just 1-10 on the road this season, with their lone win coming at UNC Greensboro. Unfortunately for Tech, this game is being played in Winston-Salem, where Wake Forest has already defeated Xavier, UVA, NC State and Miami. Wake is a much better team at home than they are on the road, so the Hokies are going to have to play better than they did in that first meeting.
Though they are very young, Wake Forest is a deep basketball team. We could see nine players get major minutes against Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon.
G Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-3, 195, Fr.): Miller-McIntyre is playing over 28 minutes per game as Wake’s starting point guard. He’s averaging 8.1 points per game and he’s dished out 71 assists. Overall, he’s had a good season for a freshman point guard in the ACC. He had nine points and four assists in the first meeting.
G C.J. Harris (6-3, 190, Sr.): Harris leads Wake with 14.8 points per game. He can light it up from the outside. Harris has hit 40.7% of his three-point attempts this season. He had 10 points and four assists in the first meeting. He’s a very good shooter, and it’s important that Tech not leave him open outside the arc. In the first meeting, Harris was just 3-of-14 from the field. He originally committed to Wake Forest over his #2 choice, Virginia Tech.
F Travis McKie (6-7, 220, Jr.): The Richmond native averages 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He also leads Wake with 39 steals. Though McKie is better close to the basket, he’s very capable of knocking down outside shots if left open. Tech found out the hard way in the first meeting when McKie had 20 points and 15 rebounds. He was 4-of-6 from the outside.
F Arnaud William Adala Moto (6-6, 225, Fr.): The undersized freshman power forward is averaging 5.3 points and four rebounds. He struggled in the first meeting in Cassell Coliseum. C.J. Barksdale, who has played well lately, needs to take advantage of this matchup.
F Devin Thomas (6-9, 240, Fr.): Thomas averages 8.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He has started all 29 games for the Demon Deacons, and he’s steadily improved as the season has progressed. He had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first meeting.
As you can see, that starting lineup is very young, with three freshmen. The bench is even more inexperienced.
G Madison Jones (6-1, 160, Fr.): Jones averages 18.6 minutes per game as Wake’s backup point guard. His specialty is distributing the basketball. Jones has only take seven outside shots all season, and he has missed every single one of them. Erick Green and Robert Brown have a size advantages over Jones, so we could see the Hokies try to isolate him defensively.
F Tyler Cavanaugh (6-9, 230, Fr.): Cavanaugh is a talented power forward with shooting range. However, like many freshmen, he has struggled with his shot this season. He’s shooting only 32.5% from the field and 25% from three-point range. Naturally he hit both of his three-point attempts against Tech in January.
G Chase Fischer (6-3, 190, So.): Fischer has a scholarship to Wake Forest to shoot the basketball, and he does that extremely well. He’s shooting 43% from beyond the arc this season. Tech’s perimeter defense has been poor this season, so Fischer is the type of player who has the potential to have a big game.
F Aaron Rountree (6-8, 190, Fr.): Rountree averages 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game. He’s a taller forward who can shoot with range.
Out of Wake’s nine players, six are freshmen and one is a sophomore. That makes it easy to see why they have been so inconsistent this year.
This Game Means Something
If Virginia Tech wins this game, they can avoid the #12 seed in the ACC Tournament. Wake Forest and Clemson are 5-12 in the ACC, while the Hokies are 4-13. It’s possible that Tech could finish in a tie with one or both of those teams. If they finish in a head-to-head tie with only Wake, that means the Hokies would get the #11 seed in the ACC Tournament.
The #12 seed plays the #5 seed, and right now the #5 seed would be UVA. If the Hokies lose to Wake Forest, that could set up the third meeting of the season between the in-state rivals at 2pm on Thursday. If Virginia Tech manages to gain the #11 seed, then they could take on either Maryland or Florida State on Thursday night at 9pm.
If Virginia Tech, Clemson and Wake Forest all end up in a tie, then they would be broken down into a mini-division, and the Hokies would get the #10 seed based on their 3-1 combined record against Wake and Clemson. That would put them in the 7pm game on Thursday against the #7 seed, and that will end up being either Maryland or Florida State.
Of course, the game doesn’t mean anything if the Hokies lose. That would automatically give them the #12 seed and most likely put them on the wrong side of a season hat trick against UVA.