Virginia vs Virginia Tech Basketball Preview

Virginia vs Virginia Tech Basketball Preview

By Josh Burton

After a tight 49-47 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday, the University of Virginia Men’s Basketball team is now 20-6 (11-4 in ACC play) and faces a quick turnaround as they head to Virginia Tech on Monday (2/19). This game is scheduled for a 7 pm EST tip and will air on ESPN.

About Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies are led by Mike Young, in his fifth season. Young has gone 87-62 (41-46 in ACC play) while at Tech, highlighted by leading the Hokies to the 2022 ACC Tournament Championship. This season, Tech is 14-11 (6-8 in the ACC) and are coming off a 96-81 loss at UNC over the weekend. When the Hoos and Hokies first met this season, UVA picked up a 65-57 win in Charlottesville.  

The Hokies like to space the floor and look for threes. They average over 23 three-point attempts per game. They are also one of the best free throw shooting teams in the entire country. Although they’ve only gone 4-6 in their last ten games, they have been a top 30 offense. They line up as follows:

G - Sean Pedulla (6’1” Junior) Averages 15.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds.

G - Hunter Cattoor (6’3” Covid-year Senior) Averages 14.3 points per game, hitting 42.7% from three.

G - MJ Collins (6’4” Sophomore) Averages 6.3 points per game.

F - Robbie Beran (6’9” Covid-year Senior) Averages 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

C - Lynn Kidd (6’10” Senior) Averages 12.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Wahoo fans might also recognize Beran. The Northwestern transfer was being recruited by UVA before they ultimately got the commitment from Jake Groves.

The Man

Reece Beekman has been nothing short of spectacular for the Cavaliers recently. Since January 31st, he has scored twenty or more three times as well as having a 19 point game, all while consistently taking on tough defensive assignments. Reece is doing everything you would want your senior captain to do, guiding his team into contention for an ACC Regular Season title in mid-February with aspirations of a NCAA tournament run.

Isaac McKneely has also been very good for the Cavaliers for about a month now.  The sophomore has scored in double-figures in seven of their last nine contests. He has also really stepped up defensively, especially Saturday as he was able to keep Kevin “Boopie” Miller in check for stretches. Isaac’s continued development defensively will go a long way in adding versatility for the Hoos.

Quick Turnaround

A hard-fought win on Saturday does take its toll, especially when you have to turn around and go on the road on Monday. Luckily for the Hoos, a few of the guys who have provided major offensive spark this season didn’t have to play as much and should be fresher than normal for the quick turnaround.

Jake Groves and Taine Murray both played under fifteen minutes on Saturday, and both have provided a good scoring punch for the Wahoos during their current stretch. Look for them  to try and provide the spark needed as other key players may have tired legs.

Jordan Minor is another player I’m going to be watching closely on Monday. Last time against Tech he produced his best game of the season, scoring 16 points while holding Lynn Kidd to just 2. Jordan's insertion into the lineup brought a toughness the team was lacking, and a solid stretch of wins along with it.   

In the past two weeks, however, his minutes have tailed off giving way to Blake Buchanan. Blake has played well, but  it tends to be more of an all hands on deck approach in these short turnaround situations. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lean more into Jordan than they have recently for this one, especially given how well he played against Tech the first time.

Heavyweight Fight

After Monday’s Commonwealth Clash, the Cavaliers will return home to rest up for what could be the biggest game of the season. North Carolina comes to town on Saturday (2/24). This battle for ACC supremacy will tip off at 4 pm EST and will air on ESPN. If you’re in the area, be sure to come hang with all your favorites from Locker Room Access before the game.

(Featured Image Credit: Josie Drumheller/UVA Athletics) 

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