The Virginia Tech Hokies host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Tuesday in a clash of ACC heavyweights. Both teams currently trail the Duke Blue Devils in conference by a game in the loss column, but have the possibility to win the regular season title with a strong finish.
Wake is on a 4 game win streak that includes solid wins against Virginia on the road, and Georgia Tech at home. The Yellow Jackets blew Wake out earlier this year, but the Demon Deacons redeemed themselves at home with a 75-64 victory that moved them back into the top-25 in the coaches poll.
A well balanced starting line-up is what makes Wake so difficult to match-up against. They are led in scoring by their small forward Al-Faroug Aminu. He’s averaging 16.5 points per game along with almost 11 rebounds. Ishmael Smith, C.J. Harris and L.D. Williams make up the Demon Deacon back-court, and contribute 32 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists per game as a group. They don’t have a clear cut stand-out type player at the guard position, but all three players know their roles and play them to perfection.
This will be the only regular season game between these two schools due to the amount of teams in the ACC conference. However, it should be an entertaining game as both squads like to get up and down the floor. Va Tech averages 72 ppg while holding their opponents to just over 61. They have tremendous length in their starting line-up, and play a great style of team defense.
Tech actually has a better record and larger scoring differential than Wake, but aren’t ranked because of their weak pre-conference schedule. They have several key wins this year, and are already at the 20 win plateau. They are in tremendous shape in regards to getting into the NCAA tournament, but would really benefit from being ranked in the top-25 come selection Sunday. Wins against Seton Hall, Miami, Virginia and Clemson will boost their stock for the selection committee, but taking down a ranked Wake Forest team might be what they need to get them a good seeding.
Malcolm Delaney has been the go-to player for the Hokies this season. He is averaging almost 20 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game, and is well on his way to receiving all ACC honors. Dorenzo Hudson and Jeff Allen round out the double-digit scorers for Virginia Tech as they contribute 13.8 and 11.6 points per game respectively. The one glaring weakness to this Hokies squad is the lack of depth off of the bench. There is a significant drop off in production after the starters. They will need to either play their starters longer, or get more of a spark from their back-ups to make a deep run in the tournament this year.
Tune in Tuesday night at 7pm ET as the Hokies and Demon Deacons battle to keep pace with Duke at the top of the ACC.