Virginia Tech vs.VCU
Records: Rams 9-3; Hokies 7-3.
When: 5:30 p.m. Where: Richmond Coliseum.
TV: NBC Sports Network.
Long time coming: Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia Tech meet for the first time since Feb. 23, 1995, when the two schools were in the Metro Conference together, as part of the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic. The Rams have a win at Virginia this season. The Hokies, meantime, haven’t played a game since beating Miami, 61-60, in overtime to start ACC play on Dec. 8. James Madison and Hampton will play in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader and Richmond Coliseum officials have indicated tickets are nearly sold out.
Surging shooters: With NBA draft prospect Juvonte Reddic playing inconsistently thus far, VCU might have found a new scoring threat in freshman JeQuan Lewis. The smooth-shooting point guard is averaging 12.4 points over the past five games, including a career-high 16 points in Tuesday’s victory over Wofford. Virginia Tech has been paced all season by senior Jarell Eddie, who currently ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring at 19.3 points and second in three-point shooting percentage (48.6). Iowa State is the only major conference team in the country averaging more three-pointers per game than Virginia Tech this season.
Injury update: Despite the two-week break, Virginia Tech Coach James Johnson remains unsure whether guard Adam Smith (strained calf) and forward C.J. Barksdale (strained knee) will be able to play Saturday. Smith’s absence would loom largest because he is the Hokies’ back-up point guard whenever freshman Devin Wilson needs a break. Facing VCU’s “Havoc” pressure defense, Virginia Tech will need as many ballhandlers as possible.
— Mark Giannotto