Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball Hosts Richmond Tuesday In NIT

Hunter Cattoor and Virginia Tech have already beaten one in-state foe in Cassell Coliseum this season. Can they handle Richmond on Tuesday night? (Jon Fleming)

Virginia Tech men’s basketball faces Richmond on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in the first round of the 86th NIT. Doug Sherman and Cory Alexander are on the call from Cassell Coliseum.

The Hokies (18-14) are in the National Invitation Tournament for the second straight season after falling short of the NCAA Tournament. They won their final three games of the regular season to finish eighth in the ACC with a 10-10 record.

The Spiders (23-9) won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title with a 15-3 record and were the No. 1 seed in the tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y., but were bounced by St. Joe’s.

Tech is 14-2 at home this season while Richmond is 8-8 away from the friendly confines of the Robins Center. Though they have not played since Jan. 14, 2009 — a 62-48 Tech win in Blacksburg — they’ve scrimmaged annually in Mike Young’s tenure with the Hokies, including at the beginning of this season.

The NIT Board and NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee agreed to use experimental rules during the 2024 NIT. The free throw lane is widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, which will be distinguishable via tape on the floor. That is consistent with the width used by the NBA and FIBA.

The other notable change is the modified timeout format for the second half of games, which eliminates the second-half floating media timeout by making it one of the five media breaks. Second-half media timeouts will occur at the first stoppage in play following the 17-, 14-, 11-, 8- and 4-minute marks, a slight change from the normal pauses after the 16-, 12-, 8- and 4-minute marks.

Here’s a breakdown of the Spiders:

Jordan King has been terrific for the Spiders this season. How does Virginia Tech slow him down? (Richmond athletics)


Record: 23-9, 15-3 A-10
NET rating: 73 (VT is 60)
KenPom rating: 82 (VT is 57)
Bart Torvik rating: 78 (VT is 53)
Coach: Chris Mooney — 19th season; 348-267 (.566)

Series history: 109th meeting; Tech leads 69-39. They clashed 56 times as SoCon foes from 1933-65. Tech’s only lost 11 times to the Spiders in Cassell Coliseum — 37-11 (77%) — and has won 25 of the last 26 at home dating back to 1959. The lone loss was in 1991.

Adjusted offensive efficiency: 153
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 32
Tempo: 219
Effective FG% — offense: 68
Effective FG% — defense: 25

Last game’s starting five

Jordan King (6-0, 175, Gr.): 18.4 points per game
DeLonnie Hunt (6-0, 175, Sr.): 9.5 ppg
Dji Bailey (6-5, 195, Sr.): 10.0 ppg
Isaiah Bigelow (6-7, 205, Gr.): 11.1 ppg
Neal Quinn (7-0, 260, Sr.): 12.7 ppg

What to know

Richmond was the best team in the A-10 all year with one of the best players — King was named Co-Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Dayton’s DaRon Holmes — but faltered in the conference tournament in the Barclays Center. It bowed out to St. Joe’s in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

All four teams that earned double byes — No. 2 seed Loyola Chicago, No. 3 seed Dayton and No. 4 seed UMass — were also upset in that round, leaving an A-10 Tournament semifinal with No. 5 seed VCU, No. 6 seed Duquesne, No. 7 seed St. Bonaventure and No. 9 seed St. Joe’s. The Dukes beat the Rams in the final to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977.

The Flyers had a good enough résumé to earn an at-large bid but the Spiders did not. Instead, they found themselves in the NIT, and due to the rule change that the top two teams in the NET rankings from each of the Power 6 conferences — ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC — receive automatic bids and have the opportunity to host, Richmond wound up having to travel to Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech is 27-6 at home in the last two seasons. It has Richmond in Cassell Coliseum in the NIT on Tuesday night. (Jon Fleming)

Mooney’s had tons of success in his tenure and has made three NCAA Tournaments: 2010, ’11 and ‘22. As a No. 12 seed in 2011, his team upset Vanderbilt in the first round, beat Morehead State in the second and advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to Kansas.

This year’s team is very defensive-minded. Here’s a look at some of its national rankings:

  • 15th in field goal percentage defense (40.3%)
  • 16th in fouls per game (14.1)
  • 29th in scoring defense (66.1)
  • 40th in 3-point percentage defense (31.2%)

The Spiders are also fourth in the country in fewest turnovers per game (8.7). They really share the ball — 25th in assist/turnover ratio (1.53) — and rebound well on the defensive end (38th, 27.3).

While they’re not flashy offensively, they are efficient They play at a slow pace, are very 2-point reliant and don’t get to the foul line much. They rank 13th in D-I experience and start five seniors.

King is a tremendous scorer and a lethal 3-point shooter at 42 percent. Quinn’s valuable in the pick-and-roll game and is 55th in the country in assist rate (30.9). Bigelow, who played for Mike Young at Wofford and redshirted in 2018-19, is 65th in D-I in turnover rate (8.5) and 84th in defensive rebounding percentage (23.5%). Bailey is 51st in effective field goal percentage (61.4%) and 62nd in 2-point percentage (64.9%).

It should be a physical, slow-paced, well-coached basketball game on Tuesday night in Blacksburg. Richmond is excellent at home (15-1) but just 7-5 on the road. Its highs have been high, like a three-point win over VCU in the Capital City Classic, but the lows have been low. Two games later, it lost by 18 at George Mason.

In some ways, Tech is almost the exact opposite team. It’s 32nd on the offensive end and 106th defensively. If the Hokies can do the little things right, from rebounding and sticking to defensive assignments to taking care of the ball, they’ll be in good shape at home, a place they’re 60-18 (.769) under Young.

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I remember a game against Richmond a long time ago when Dale Solomon had to hit a buzzer beater to gives us like a 92-91 win.

    These guys will want this game bad.

    1. I was at that game! May have been the first VT hoops game I ever saw in person. I re-enacted Big Dale’s shot on my driveway hoop many times after that win.

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