Louisville vs. Virginia Tech Prediction, Game Preview

    Louisville vs. Virginia Tech prediction and game preview. The Cardinals look to win their third straight game, while the Hokies will look to do the same after a comeback win against Pitt.

    February 18, 2017

    Louisville vs. Virginia Tech prediction and game preview. The Cardinals look to win their third straight game, while the Hokies will look to do the same after a comeback win against Pitt.

    Louisville vs. Virginia Tech Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Feb. 18 – 1 p.m. ET
    Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
    TV Broadcast: ACC Network

    UPDATE: Louisville coach Rick Pitino announced Friday that Tony Hicks will be out another two weeks, and V.J. King will not play against Virginia Tech because of a thigh bruise.

    Rick Pitino’s Cardinals (21-5, 9-4 ACC) are coming off of a wild 76-72 overtime win against Syracuse this past Monday night at the Carrier Dome. The Cards had a 14-point first-half lead, but the Orange made a comeback in a game that saw seldom-used Ryan McMahon score all seven of his points in the extra period to help give the Cardinals the edge. In fact, the three-point specialist made his first two-point basket of the entire season in overtime. It was Syracuse’s first conference loss at home this season, as Louisville scored 10 consecutive points in the extra period yet barely hung on at the end.

    Meanwhile, Buzz Williams and the Hokies (18-7, 7-6) are trying to win their third game in a row after holding on for a come-from-behind 66-63 win at Pitt on Tuesday night. VT trailed throughout the entire first half, but point guard Seth Allen and Co. shot 50 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. The senior Allen hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining to give the Hokies the lead for good, and Kevin Stallings saw his Panthers miss three 3-point attempts on the final possession.

    These teams met last year in Blacksburg in late January, and Cardinals guard Damion Lee hit his first six 3-point shots en route to scoring 29 points in a 91-83 Louisville victory. Fellow guard Trey Lewis scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, using his deadly 3-point acumen as well.

    Louisville Wins If …

    … Point guard Quentin Snider continues to get re-acclimated to the lineup after his six-game absence due to a hip injury. Snider has hit three 3-pointers in back-to-back games since returning to the lineup, and he led all Cardinals in minutes played against the Orange. The junior has scored double figures in six straight games (going back to before his injury), so he’ll need to be at his best against the Hokies’ guards.

    Pitino and Co. also need Deng Adel to continue his strong play. He has reached double figures in scoring in seven straight, but his absence was felt in the team’s loss to Virginia. He missed that game due to a one-game suspension for missing curfew.

    Virginia Tech Wins If …

    … The Hokies can replace the production of Chris Clarke, who tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season. The versatile sophomore power forward was averaging 11.4 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game, but he suffered the injury in the second half of the team’s big double-overtime win over Virginia last Sunday. In league games, the Hokies are last in the ACC in rebounding, so this is a brutal blow. Clarke was also a good passer, especially in the transition game, as he often used his athleticism to bring the ball up the court on the break. The Hokies were able to get past Pitt earlier in the week, but this loss is huge because Clarke did so many things well.

    Guard Justin Bibbs also needs to continue to be a factor from the outside. The last time he had a game without at least one 3-pointer was back on Jan. 14 in a loss to Notre Dame. If the Hokies are in a close game, don’t expect panic to set in. This is a squad that has shown its collective calm demeanor when facing deficits or tough moments in games, and it helps when there are leaders such as Allen on the floor.

    Matchup To Watch

    Louisville’s Rebounding vs. VT’s Rebounding

    Clarke’s 7.3 boards per game were sorely missed on Tuesday, as Pitt outrebounded the Hokies, 43-29. Such a discrepancy against a better opponent would be a recipe for disaster. VT needs to shoot well, and it has to limit The Ville’s second-chance points.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Louisville -12.5
    Over/Under: 144.5

    Louisville vs. Virginia Tech Prediction

    Because it’s on the road and the Hokies will be playing without Clarke, it’s tough to see Williams and Co. having enough firepower to hang with the Cards. Louisville holds serve at home because of its depth and the shooting of Donovan Mitchell.

    Louisville vs. Virginia Tech final score prediction: Louisville 74, Virginia Tech 66

    MORE: Baylor Eyeing Deep NCAA Tournament Run After Early Exits


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