Tip-off: Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Kansas State -6
In a battle of Top-25 teams, Virginia Tech tries to begin the long march to March that will culminate with the Hokies participating in the madness that Tuesday’s opponent, Kansas State, was in the thick of last spring.
The core nucleus of the team that went 25-9 last season but missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth, despite its 10-6 record in regular season conference play, is back for head coach Seth Greenberg. Guard Malcolm Delaney (20.2 PPG) led the ACC in scoring last season, while backcourt mate Dorenzo Hudson (15.2 PPG, 4.5 APG) led the team in assists. On the front line, senior Jeff Allen is the active leader in the ACC in rebounds, steals, and blocked shots. Throw in junior forward Victor Davila (5.3 PPG) and senior Terrell Bell (6.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG) and you have an experienced team with all five starters back from last season. Last year, Virginia Tech’s schedule ranked as the 339th toughest in the nation. Playing a top-10 team like Kansas State should improve that metric considerably at tournament selection time. Getting a win over the Wildcats would be even sweeter. Odds.
To make that happen the Hokies will need to contain arguably the best guard in the nation in Jacob Pullen, a preseason All-American choice. Pullen (19.3 PPG, 3.4 APG, 2.6 RPG) will receive even more attention this season as he moves over to the point for head coach Frank Martin. Up front, last year’s Sixth man of the Year in the Big 12, Jamar Samuels (11.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 23.2 MPG) prepares to move into the starting lineup. Senior forward Curtis Kelly (11.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG), the team’s top returning player on the boards as well as its second leading scorer, is doubtful to play due to disciplinary reasons. Scores.
Kansas State won its season opener over James Madison on Friday 75-61, behind Pullen’s 20 points. Virginia Tech defeated Campbell 70-60 to win its first game as well, but like the Wildcats, Tech was far from impressive in its debut performance. Hopefully those games were just the warm up for a big early-season matchup between two teams with eyes on the Elite Eight, and beyond.
The FoxSheets believe that Kansas State will win and cover based on this coaching trend:
Frank Martin is 7-0 ATS (+7.0 Units) after a game where they made 50% of their 3-point shots or better as the coach of KANSAS ST. The average score was KANSAS ST 75.6, OPPONENT 63.0 – (Rating = 2*) . Las Vegas odds.
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