Virginia (11-2) at Virginia Tech (12-3)
When: Saturday, January 30th, 2021
Where: Cassell Coliseum,
Time: 6:00 ET | TV: ACC Network
Opening Odds: Virginia -4.5/125.5
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The Commonwealth Cup rivalry takes center stage Saturday night as No. 20 Virginia Tech hosts No. 8 Virginia in a key ACC matchup. The Hokies have only lost once this season at home – an ugly 75-55 setback to Penn State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge back in December. Since then, Virginia Tech has won eight of 10 overall and their last conference home loss came last February to these Cavaliers. Virginia hasn’t lost an Athletic Coast Conference game in nearly a year and hasn’t lost a true road game all season. In their most recent game, Virginia stymied Syracuse 81-58, holding the Orange to 37.3 percent shooting from the field and 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range. The Cavaliers have won 15 consecutive ACC games since an 80-73 loss at Louisville last February and are 3-0 in true conference road games so far this season. The Hokies are coming off a 62-51 victory Wednesday night at Notre Dame. It was their first game since starting guard Tyrece Radford (11.1 points, 6.3 rebounds per game) was suspended indefinitely from the team after an arrest on Sunday. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and carrying a concealed weapon. The Hokies held Notre Dame to 35.7 percent shooting from the field, including 16.7 percent (3-of-18) beyond the arc. They also recorded eight steals and seven blocks and outrebounded the Irish 46-36. Virginia is 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four meetings with the Hokies.
Jay Huff scored a career-high 21 points and matched his career high with 12 rebounds in Virginia’s win over Syracuse. Fellow senior Sam Hauser also had 21 points and knocked down 7-of-13 three-pointers. Kihei Clark recorded nine of Virginia’s season-high 23 assists, and Trey Murphy III contributed 16 points. Hauser leads the Cavaliers in scoring (15.0) and rebounding (7.4) and is hitting 43 percent from beyond the arc. Outside of their two-point win over Georgia Tech at home on Jan. 23, no team has yet to test the Cavaliers. Virginia is averaging 73.4 points and shooting 50.4 percent from the field – 17th in the nation. They are averaging a fifth-best 1.220 points per possession and shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point territory. The team is also second in the country with just 8.6 turnovers per game and 12.5 fouls per contest. Virginia will play at NC State on Wednesday.
Against Notre Dame, Keve Aluma (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Justyn Mutts (14 and 11) both recorded double-doubles, while Nahiem Alleyne had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The Hokies have been playing well since the start of the year, going 4-2 straight up, so far in 2021. They even defeated the Duke Blue Devils at home back on Jan. 12, 74-67. Virginia Tech has the best defense in the ACC, allowing just 97.5 points per 100 possessions. Conference opponents are also shooting just 31.4 percent from 3-point land against the Hokies. Virginia Tech, who is 5-1 against the spread in its last six games at home, will be at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Don’t sleep on Virginia when it comes to March Madness. Tony Bennett’s squad still has one of the best defenses in the country, and now the offense is pitching in. Five points seems like a lot to lay on the road, but I’ll do it here.
Pick: Virginia -5