The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team could be without its newest starting forward when it takes on Florida State on Thursday. Freshman C.J. Barksdale, inserted into the starting lineup for the Hokies’ 66-65 win over Boston College this past weekend, is nursing a sprained ankle, Coach Seth Greenberg said Monday, and probably won’t practice in the days leading up to the game.
Greenberg said Barksdale is currently wearing a boot on his left ankle and will be a game-time decision. The 6-foot-8, 232-pound Barksdale suffered the injury early in the second half against the Eagles and did not play the final 17 minutes.
The Danville, Va., native was making his first career start after Greenberg told his team in practice last week that the five hardest-working players would be in the lineup after a lackluster performance at Miami last Thursday. Barksdale promptly got a three-point play on the first possession of the Hokies’ win over Boston College.
“He was just flying around, he was pursuing the ball on the backboards,” Greenberg said. He was chucking cutters. He was active.”
Barksdale is averaging just 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, and had played just 19 minutes in the three previous contests before entering the starting lineup Sunday. But his loss could not have come at a more inopportune time with the Seminoles on tap. When Florida State beat Virginia Tech, 63-59, last month at Cassell Coliseum, Coach Leonard Hamilton admitted Monday, the Hokies “may have outplayed us there for a lot of the game.”
But the Seminoles, and particularly senior forward Bernard James, imposed their will inside down the stretch. James finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, including a three-point play with less than four minutes remaining in which he ripped a rebound away from freshman Dorian Finney-Smith. Florida State also finished with 15 blocks, tying the record for a Virginia Tech opponent set by Georgetown back in 1988 when the Hoyas featured Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.
Still, the Hokies had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds only to watch Erick Green’s floater in the lane fall just short at the buzzer. Now Virginia Tech could have to make due with forward Victor Davila and Cadarian Raines as its only true big men, a worrisome proposition for Greenberg considering Florida State may have the deepest front court in the ACC this year.
“This game, the more physical bodies that you have on board, obviously the better off you are,” Greenberg said.