Tale of the Tape: No. 19 Virginia vs Virginia Tech

Photo by Jon Golden

The Commonwealth Clash rivalry resumes Saturday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena, as No. 19 Virginia hosts Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. (Regional Sports Networks).

It’ll be nothing but conference foes from here on out for the Cavaliers (10-2, 2-0 ACC), who wrapped up the non-league schedule with a 65-56 win over Navy last weekend.

After pulling a season sweep of the Hokies (10-3, 1-1) last year for the first time since 2015, Virginia has now won five of the last seven meetings and 12 of the last 15 against its bitter rival from Blacksburg. UVA has claimed six of the last seven showdowns in Charlottesville in the series, in which the Wahoos hold an all-time 93-56 lead.

Tech will look a lot different under first-year coach Mike Young, who has exceeded early expectations over his first few months at the helm. Gone are Justin Robinson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kerry Blackshear Jr., Ahmed Hill and Ty Outlaw from last year’s 26-9 Sweet Sixteen team coached by Buzz Williams, who also hit the road.

The new star in Hokie Land is 6-foot-7 redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II, who leads the team in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg), and was just recently named ACC Freshman of the Week for the fourth time already in 2019-20.

Nolley, who put up 30 on the road at Clemson in the season opener, is joined in the starting five by a few other newcomers in freshman guards Nahiem Alleyne (10.2 ppg) and Tyrece Radford (7.9 ppg). Experienced veteran junior point guard Wabissa Bede runs the offense, while junior forward P.J. Horne mans the interior.

The Hokies haven’t played a true road game since the opener at Clemson (W 67-60) in early November, and dropped their only other conference game to Duke, 77-63, last month.

Virginia Tech’s signature win is easily its 71-66 upset of then-No. 3 Michigan State in the opening round of the Maui Invitational, but the Hokies followed it up with losses to Dayton (89-62) and BYU (90-77).


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