The Syracuse Orange (10-6, 2-1) will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies (12-3, 1-2) tonight at Cassell Coliseum. Syracuse has won two straight against Miami and Pittsburgh while Virginia Tech has seen a two game slide since taking down Duke at home. Tech has been bitten by the injury bug of late — Seth Allen is expected to be a game time decision tonight.
Including Allen, Buzz William has five guys (mmm burgers) averaging over double-figures. The Hokies are led by Zach LeDay at 16.3 points per game but volume shooter Ahmed Hill is right on his tail with 15.3. Chris Clarke might just be the most important cog in the Williams machine as he averages 12 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game (think of an always plugged-in Robie who can handle on the break). Justin Robinson — not Monmouth’s J-Rob — makes it happen off the bounce and can stroke from outside just as well. He’s good for 11.5 points and 4.6 helpers per.
As stated, it remains to be seen if Allen will go tonight after suffering a concussion, but the Hokies aren’t all that deep. Don’t expect Williams or Jim Boeheim to go too deep into their respective benches in tonight’s contest. This just might be a game of attrition.
The biggest key in tonight’s contest will be the three point line. Virginia Tech shoots it at a 40 percent clip from downtown and Syracuse has struggled to keep opponents from knocking down perimeter shots this season. Conversely, Syracuse shoots the ball equally as well from outside. Can Syracuse knock down threes away from home in a raucous atmosphere?
Also of note, Virginia Tech has fallen out of the rankings this week after losing to NC State and Florida State but this would still be a quality win for Syracuse. Tech has an RPI of 47 and frankly, Syracuse needs to garner as many wins over top 50 opponents as it can get. A road victory over a top 50 RPI opponent would go along way for SU, especially considering it has yet to win away from the Carrier Dome this season.
The game tips off at 7 pm from Blacksburg and will air on ESPNU. Be sure to keep it locked at the site as we’ll have the game thread, recap and other coverage during and after the game.