No. 20 Virginia Tech Looks To Get Back To Winning Ways At Notre Dame

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Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech faces Notre Dame on Wednesday night. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, Pool)

Date: Wednesday, January 27
Time: 7pm
TV: RSN (Affiliate List)

It was a tough weekend for No. 20 Virginia Tech (11-3, 5-2) on and off of the court, but the Hokies return to the hardwood for a rematch against Notre Dame (5-8, 2-5) on Wednesday night.

Tech is coming off of its second ACC loss of the season after an empty trip to Syracuse on Saturday. The Hokies trailed by just three points with 13 minutes left in the game, but the Orange quickly put Tech away, scoring 31 of the next 40 points.

The Orange dominated on the block with 82% of their points coming either from the paint or at the free throw line. This is the second straight game that Tech has had issues down low as Wake Forest cleaned up on the glass with 16 offensive rebounds against the Hokies. Tech will need better performances from its frontcourt moving forward.

This is especially true now that guard Tyrece Radford is missing from the lineup. It was announced on Monday morning that Radford was suspended indefinitely from the program after his arrest over the weekend. Radford is currently second on the team in scoring and rebounding, and he seemed to just be hitting his stride with double-digit points in three straight games.

While Radford’s contributions will be sorely missed, there are options for the Hokies to replace him in the starting lineup. Head Coach Mike Young could go small with sharpshooter Jalen Cone, but the most likely option would be to insert Hunter Cattoor, who brings a lot more to the table defensively and actually is the most efficient three-point shooter on the team at 46%.

Cattoor had a big game early this month against the Fighting Irish with 15 points in the Hokies’ 77-63 win in Cassell Coliseum. Tech struggled early on against Notre Dame, but dominated in the second half, doubling up the Irish 42-21 in the final 20 minutes to pull off the win.

After shooting over 55% in the first half, Notre Dame was just 2-of-19 in the second frame and didn’t make a shot from the floor in the final 12 minutes of the game.

That loss was the fourth of five straight for the Irish to start ACC play. However, after the slow start, Notre Dame has bounced back with consecutive wins, both by double-digits. Those wins did come against Boston College and Miami, who have a combined three wins in the conference.

The Hokies should be able to have a little more success against the Irish in the paint than they had against Wake or Syracuse. Notre Dame is one of the worst teams in the country on the offensive glass, only getting second chances on 20.7% of possessions. They also rely on the three-pointer much more with almost 40% of Irish points coming from beyond the arc.

Notre Dame’s success from long range starts with junior Nate Laszewski who is shooting over 55% from deep. The six-foot-ten forward leads the team at 16.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds.

Tech was able to keep Laszewski off of the three-point line in the teams’ first meeting, missing his only three-point attempt. However, Laszewski used his size and aggressiveness to get to the free throw line and still led the Irish in scoring with 17 points, with 11 of those points coming at the charity stripe.

This is a tough stretch of the Hokies’ schedule as they will play three out of the next four on the road. In Tech’s three true away games this season, the Hokies are just 1-2 and haven’t played a complete game. The task just got harder having to replace Radford on the fly.

Young’s squad has bounced back from each of its three losses this season, including a win against the Irish after losing at Louisville. The Hokies need to find a way to bounce back to keep this promising season from flying off of the rails.

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13 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. passing does need work, mostly out front where sometimes they just lob the ball around like they have a 20 point lead with less than a minute to play. On the loss of “Boots”, a couple of seasons ago when we lost 5 to injury things worked out pretty well and CMY certainly doesn’t mind giving his players a shot to increase playing time.

    1. I hope so. We were unable to mount much of anything in the last half of the season after a really good start. We are definitely a different team than last year, but the last few games have not been particularly well played. Lots of sloppy passes, missed layups/dunks, etc…… hope we (and Aluma) can get back on track.

      1. passing does need work, mostly out front where sometimes they just lob the ball around like they have a 20 point lead with less than a minute to play

  2. Time for others to step up. I bet Mike Young will get his team to respond.
    I really like Tyrece and hope he can bounce back. He has a strong work ethic and I believe he can overcome this.

  3. We began the season with 13 good scholarship players. I wondered how CMY was going to acheive
    PT happiness. Now Diarra quit, Pemsl is hurt, and Radford suspended. We are now down to 10 and 8 is all you need. I believe one or more of those 10 will step up. Maybe not for ND, but before the season’s out.

  4. First of many more ACC L’s.. Hate to say it, but without “Boots” we may not win another ACC game.

    I hope Radford has a good lawyer to help him..

    1. We will definitely miss Radford, but his absence does not guarantee our failure the rest of the season.

      We have quality depth on this team. Our two highest rated recruits, Bamisile and Maddox, will get significant playing time, and will continually improve as the season progresses. Cattoor and Cone will also play additional minutes to fill Radford’s position.

      If Pemsl and Ojiako can add quality minutes, and N’Guessan continues to improve, we can compete with all ACC teams except for perhaps FSU and UVA.

      I predict we’ll recover from this unfortunate situation and finish as a NCAA Tournament team. And I concur with you; I hope Radford gets excellent legal representation – he’s going to need it if he is ever play again for VT.

    2. May not win another ACC game? Geez man lighten up, of course we’ll miss Radford but at the end of the day he’s one player on a TEAM.

  5. Without Tyrece Radford’s rebounding and hustle, I’m afraid the Hokies are going to struggle. The only hope I see is if Aluma steps up his game.

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