Virginia Tech Looks For Win No. 16 vs. Miami

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Chris Lykes, Virginia Tech, Miami
5-7 guard Chris Lykes has been a very good player for Miami. (Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech vs. Miami

Cassell Coliseum, Wednesday, February 19, 9pm, RSN (Affiliates list)

Virginia Tech will look to win a second consecutive game when they host Miami in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night for a 9pm tipoff.  The Hokies were defeated by the Hurricanes 71-61 back on January 28 after falling behind 41-19 in the first half.  Tech rallied to make it a four-point game in the second half, but couldn’t complete the comeback.

That loss to the Hurricanes was the second in what would become a five-game losing streak that was eventually broken with a home victory over Pitt this past Saturday.  This fact that the game will be played in Blacksburg is an advantage, as the Hurricanes haven’t fared well on the road since ACC play began.  Here are their results away from home in league play…

73-68 OT W at Clemson
74-58 L at Louisville
80-63 L at NC State
89-59 L at Duke
94-71 L at UNC
62-57 L at Pitt
99-81 L at FSU

The overtime victory over Clemson took place on December 31, which means the Hurricanes are winless in road games in the 2020 calendar year, and five of their six losses were not close games.

On the other hand, Miami has played well in their last two home games, an 85-58 victory over BC and a 71-54 win against Wake Forest.  Chris Lykes has returned from an injury, and Kameron McGusty is healthy as well.  In the first meeting between these two teams, Lykes was out with an injury and McGusty was in his first game back due to injury (3 points in 22 minutes).  The ‘Canes still beat the Hokies despite being without their leading scorer, and with their third-leading scorer being limited.

Now that Miami has those two guys back, they are a more dangerous team.  Lykes and McGusty combined for 24 points in the win over Wake Forest and 28 points in the victory over Boston College.  However, their absence allowed other players to develop, which makes them a stronger team now that Lykes and McGusty are back.  For example, Isaiah Wong averages just 6.8 points per game for the season, but he’s averaging 16.8 points over his last five games, scoring in double figures in each of his last seven games.  On paper, this is a stronger Miami team than the one the Hokies lost to in late January.

With all their pieces in place, the Hurricanes are a very dangerous offensive team.  Jim Larranaga’s team ranks No. 53 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency despite Lykes and McGusty missing so much time with injuries this season.  However, they have struggled on the defensive end with the following numbers…

Adjusted Def. Efficiency: No. 189
Effective FG%: No. 252
3-Pt.%: No. 255
2-Pt.%: No. 230

Though they’ve held their last two opponents below 60 points, Miami has generally struggled to stop opponents from scoring.  They had one stretch in January where they allowed 80+ points in four consecutive games.  The Hokies need to take advantage and have a good offensive night in Cassell Coliseum.

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