Teams: Syracuse Orange (11-13, 4-10) vs. No. 23 Virginia Tech Hokies (19-6, 11-3)
Day & Time: Thursday, February 17, 7 p.m.
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra
Radio: Cuse.com, ESPN 97.7
Rivalry: Syracuse, 8-7
Current Streak: Virginia Tech, 1
First Meeting: The Orange and Hokies first met in November 1988 with Syracuse edging out a 76-74 win at home.
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech jumped out to a 44-22 halftime lead in the last meeting on Feb. 21, 2021, and eased to a 76-68 win over the Orange at Cassell Coliseum. Tiana Mangakahia and Kamilla Cardoso each scored 18 to pace the Orange.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Vonn Read (1st year, 11-13) | Virginia Tech - Kenny Brooks (6th year, 120-65)
Coach Bio: Brooks graduated from James Madison University in 1992 and served as a men’s assistant at JMU from 1998-2002 before getting the women’s job on an interim basis in the middle of the 2002-03 season. Brooks kept the job and built a mid-major powerhouse at JMU.
In 14 seasons, Brooks went 337-122 at JMU and made six NCAA Tournament appearances, winning a first-round game in 2014. In his last three seasons, the Dukes went 60-3 in CAA play.
Since moving to VT, Brooks has continued to win, but not quite at the same level at first. His first three seasons resulted in WNIT berths and a 21-9 year in 2019-20 got cut short by COVID. The Hokies made the tournament last year and they are a surefire bet to be back this season and potentially make some noise.
Last Year: VT was another team that was in the middle of a strong ACC last season. The Hokies finished 15-10 and 8-8 in the league, good enough for an at-large into the tournament. They beat Marquette in the first round before becoming a victim to 2-seed Baylor, losing to the Bears 90-48.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Syracuse will be hard-pressed to stop 6-foot-6 Elizabeth Kitley. Virginia Tech’s starting center averages a double-double with 17.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The Orange struggled mightily with Florida State’s size and the same could be true on Thursday night, especially with a skilled low-post scorer in Kitley.
If Syracuse Wins: It’s a feather in the cap win for Vonn Read and his squad. Given how the Hokies are playing, it could beat out Ohio State for Syracuse’s best win of the year.
If Syracuse Loses: The dry spell against the top of the league continues and the Orange head to Raleigh on a two-game losing streak ahead of Sunday’s game at No. 3 NC State.
Fun Fact: The Orange have put in some solid performances from the free-throw line of late, combining to make 51-of-59 attempts in recent road wins against Virginia and Pitt. Syracuse doesn't always do the best job of getting to the line, but when it does, it usually makes opponents pay. The Orange rank fourth in the country from the charity stripe, shooting 80.4 percent as a team.