Virginia Tech has been one of the best teams at home in the country this season, and tonight they will play host to a ranked conference opponent in Miami. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
After winning the ACC tournament last season to make it into the NCAA tournament, the Virginia Tech Hokies are back in a similar position. With only four games left in the regular season, they are 6-10 in ACC Conference play, and only two of their remaining opponents will help boost their resume with a win.
On Saturday, the Hokies were able to bounce back from a bad loss against Georgia Tech by coming back home and beating Pitt 79-72. Their offense has remained the only part of the team that is putting them in the win column, as they rank 28th in the country in offensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
Grant Basile has done everything in his power to help this team enter the postseason on a high note, as he is averaging 21.4 PPG over the last ten games. Basile went for 17 points and seven rebounds when these two teams last met, but that was not enough as the Hokies fell to the Hurricanes on the road 92-83.
Despite being ranked 28th in offensive efficiency, the Hokies are ranked 131st in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. However, the bright side for them is that Miami has very similar numbers in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. The Hurricanes sit in second place in the ACC with a 13-4 record, but their defensive efficiency rating ranks 122nd on KenPom, while their offensive rating ranks 6th.
Since their first win over the Hokies, the Hurricanes have rattled off five straight wins, and in that span, they have not scored under 78 points. Despite this offensive success, Miami still allows opponents to shoot 44.4% from the field this season, so a bad shooting night by the Hurricanes is a greater deal due to their defensive shortcomings.
Despite being unranked, Virginia Tech is currently listed as -2 point favorites tonight, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Hokies are 10-8 ATS when playing at home, and this season across all of college basketball, unranked home favorites are 29-13 ATS when playing a ranked opponent.
The Hokies' numbers across the board are better when playing at home this season, and mix in the fact that they need this game the most, I think this is an excellent spot to back them in. Virginia Tech’s three-point percentage is 8.1% higher at home this season, while their effective field goal percentage is also 6.1% higher when playing at Cassell Coliseum.
Miami has been a solid team all year, but their efficiency numbers drastically decrease when on the road. When the Hurricanes are the visiting team or at a neutral site, their team average efficiency score is 80.5, as opposed to when they play at home, their average is 101.13. When these teams last met in Miami, the Hokies were still able to shoot 57% from the field, so given all of their offensive statistical boosts at home, I think they can come out tonight with a big win and cover.
Virginia Tech (-2)