Alabama vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction
Alabama vs Virginia Tech Preview
It’s never easy to pick the winner of a No.8 vs No.9 matchup and this year is no different. In the history of the NCAA Tournament, the combined record of the 8 vs 9 matchup is 67-65 in favor of the 8-seed. Just once in the past decade have No. 9 seeds won more than two of the four matchups in any tournament.
Why Alabama will win
Two words: Collin Sexton.
The freshman point guard does it all for the Crimson Tide, he averages 19.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
He isn’t the only player on this Alabama team–they are deep playing 11 players regularly, which keeps their legs fresh. The fresh legs help out more on the defensive end, where the Tide are a much better team. They are one of the top teams in the country in blocked shots averaging over five per game and they defend the three-point line better than most.
Alabama will win this game if Collin Sexton goes for 20+ points and they keep the Hokies from making their three-point shots.
Why Virginia Tech will win
It was a rough end to the regular season, losing three of the last four games including getting bounced out by Notre Dame right out of the ACC Tournament gate. Even so, this has been a solid team for most of the year with five players averaging in double-digits and with good scoring pop.
It’s not a deep team, though, with seven players taking on the lion’s share of the load. There’s not a big interior presence – there aren’t any blocked shots – and the rebounding isn’t quite there. But it’s a great-shooting team helped by making the right extra pass – few teams in the ACC move the ball around better.
The Hokies will win if they hit their season average in three-pointers (nine per game) and can hold Collin Sexton off the scoreboard (not an easy feat).
LINE: -2 Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is shooting 49 percent from the field and have five players who average double-digit points. Head coach Buzz Williams deploys a four guard lineup which could work against him in this matchup. Alabama excels on the defensive end of the floor, making it difficult for teams to execute their half-court offense.
If Alabama controls the boards, dominates the paint and Collin Sexton does his usual, the Crimson Tide should advance.
Alabama 71 Virginia Tech 70