#16 Louisville (16-3, 5-1) at Virginia Tech (12-8, 4-3)
When: Wednesday, January 27th 2016
Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN3
The 16th-ranked Louisville Cardinals look to keep pace with North Carolina in the ACC when they visit the Virginia Tech Hokies on Wednesday. The Cardinals have faced only one ranked ACC opponent this year, but that will change later this week when they play Virginia and North Carolina. Their first challenge is to get past the improving Hokies squad. Louisville has now won three in a row after Saturday’s 75-71 win at Georgia Tech. Reserve center Anas Mahmoud (3.6 points) stepped up his game offensively with a career-high 15 points on Saturday, one game after sophomore Quentin Snider (10.1) poured in 20 against Florida State. Chinanu Onuaku has recorded six consecutive double-doubles which is the longest streak by a Louisville player since Clifford Rozier (nine) in 1993-94. Trey Lewis (12.2) is 8-of-14 from the field over the last two games after going a combined 6-of-36 in the first four ACC contests. The Cardinals lead all of Division I in scoring margin at +21.6. Louisville is just 2-4 against the spread on the road this season.
Virginia Tech’s four ACC victories this season has matched what they did the last two seasons combined. They opened conference play at 4-1, but have lost their last two including a 75-70 setback to North Carolina on Sunday after trailing by 20 points in the first half. Leading scorer Zach LeDay (16 points, 8.4 rebounds) has scored at least 17 points in six straight games while shooting 52.9% from the field. The junior forward has also hit 34 of his last 41 free-throw attempts. Virginia Tech is just 9-4 at home this season and is 1-4 against top-25 opponents. They face a brutal stretch of games beginning tonight with Pitts, Syracuse, Virginia, and Clemson on deck- three of them road tilts. The Hokies have held their last three opponents to just 21.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Virginia Tech really needs a few quality wins to get any consideration for the NCAA Tournament and the next two weeks will go a long way in deciding that.
Louisville is a much better team than the Hokies and its hard to lay big points in a road conference game, but sometimes you have to. This is one instance where I think Louisville has an easy time away from home.
Pick: Louisville -8