Virginia Tech Basketball Preview

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The banked-in buzzer-beating three by Michael Snaer hurt. But with back-to-back home games on deck against a pair of teams with a combined 3-8 conference record, the Tigers are in a good position to get back to .500 in conference play.

Clemson is facing off against a Virginia Tech squad whose tempo contrasts greatly with that of Brownell's club. The Hokies run an average of 71.4 offensive possessions per game; they rank 38th nationally in that category. Our Tigers, as you know, are one of the slowest paced teams in the country. We average about ten less possessions a game than Tech: 61.9 per game. We rank 333rd out of 347 Division 1 teams. Our extremely slow paced offense has been much discussed, but that stat still wows me every time I see it.

Virginia Tech's offensive attack revolves around Erick Greene. The senior guard leads the nation in offense with a staggering 24.6 points per game. He's scored at least 21 points in all but one game this season, failing to do so only in a December matchup with BYU. In his most recent outing, he scored 35 (a season high for him) of the Hokies' 58 points in a 16-point loss to Virginia. Slowing down Greene will no doubt be a large part of today's defensive strategy.

But the Tigers can't get too wrapped up with slowing down Greene that they forget about Jarell Eddie. The Hokies' other sharpshooter is knocking down about 36% of his 3s, compared to Greene's 37.5%.

This is a big game for the Tigers, as they try to get over the heartbreaking loss to Florida State. It will be interesting to see how Devin Booker, in particular, responds to the loss. Statistically speaking, his showing in Tallahassee (15 points, 4 rebounds) was his weakest output of the conference season. But his showing was fairly impressive when you consider that he was playing sick. Hopefully a fully healthy Booker heads out on the court tonight and continues his senior season resurgence.

I'd also love to see someone besides Booker, KJ, and Rod Hall step up on offense. In the last five games, excluding Milton's fluky 21-point outburst against Virginia, we haven't seen anyone other than Booker, KJ, and Rod score at least ten points.

The game tips at 1 on the ACC Network (ABC in the Upstate).

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