Rivals meet in ACC affair

Jan 25, 2015 - 4:05 PM Blacksburg, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - The second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers continue their run through their schedule as they take on in-state rival Virginia Tech in an ACC affair at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

Off to their best start since the 1980-81 season, the Cavaliers are a perfect 18-0 on the campaign, one of just two unbeatens left in the country along with top-ranked Kentucky. Tony Bennett's squad is coming off a 57-28 trouncing of Georgia Tech on Thursday, keeping the team atop the ACC standings at 6-0.

Buzz Williams' first season at the helm in Blacksburg has been a work in progress. The Hokies showed flashes of strong play during the non-conference portion of the schedule, but ACC play has been a whole different animal. Virginia Tech is one of three winless teams in the ACC, saddled with an 0-5 league mark. The Hokies enter with a six-game losing streak in tow, including Thursday's 85-60 rout at the hands of Notre Dame.

Virginia holds an 86-53 lead in this rivalry. The Cavaliers have won five straight meetings, but the Hokies are 14-6 all-time in series games at Cassell Coliseum.

Knowing that Virginia is going to play great defense is much different than actually experiencing it. Georgia Tech found that out first hand this week, as the Cavaliers smothered the Yellow Jackets en route to an easy victory. The Cavs held Tech to just 16 first-half points and 12 second-half points, as the visitors shot just .245 from the floor overall in Charlottesville. It wasn't a particularly strong offensive showing for Virginia either, but it didn't have to be. The Cavaliers were led in the scoring department by Malcolm Brogdon, who finished the game with 13 points. Justin Anderson and Anthony Gill were tied for second with seven points apiece.

Gaudy offensive numbers aren't needed when you are playing some of the best defense in the nation. Virginia is getting it done better than just about every other team in the country. The Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 49.3 ppg. Foes are being held to a mere .335 shooting (second nationally). Virginia also dominates on the glass, boasting of a +10.7 rebounding margin. Three of the five starters are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Anderson's 14.1 ppg. Brogdon adds 13.6 ppg, followed by Gill's 11.4 ppg.

The Hokies were without leading scorer Justin Bibbs for the second straight game and that really hurt Tech, which was simply no match offensively for the high-scoring Irish. The result was a lopsided affair that ended in 25-point blowout for Notre Dame. The Hokies shot just .387 from the floor in the contest, although three players did notch double digits in the loss. Ahmed Hill led the way with 13 points. Jalen Hudson added 12 points and Devin Wilson finished with 11.

Already lacking great scoring depth at a modest 67.6 ppg, Virginia Tech really could use Bibbs back on the floor. The talented freshman guard is still dealing with a concussion suffered last week and his status remains uncertain going forward. When on the floor, he is a reliable scoring threat, as the 6-5 youngster is shooting .503 overall and putting up a team-best 13.6 ppg. Adam Smith is the only other player on the roster with a double-digit scoring average at 12.4 ppg.

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