East Region: Saint Louis vs Virginia Tech Prediction
Saint Louis vs Virginia Tech Preview
The 4th-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies have aspirations of advancing deep into this year’s tournament field. They have an impressive resume and are actually getting better as the Tournament begins.
They are getting better because the return of point guard Justin Robinson is here.
Robinson, a four-year starter, is averaging 13.7 points, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals, while shooting 41.1 percent from three-point range. He hasn’t played since suffering the injury on Jan. 30 at Miami.
The Hokies have desperately missed their leader. With Robinson in the lineup, VTech is 17-3. Without him, they are 7-5.
“Being able to play is like a dream come true again,” Robinson said in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I missed, what, 11 games, 12 games? It feels like one day I’m just going to wake up and get those back, but that’s not how it works. I’m just going to try to make the best of now.”
With the roster heading for some turnover, and the Hokies head coach Buzz Williams rumored to be a hot commodity this offseason for new coaching gigs, this could be a final go-round for this team.
Saint Louis (23-13) advanced by winning the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, ripping off four victories in four days and allowing a total of 152 points in the last three games. The Billikens stormed back from a 15-point first-half deficit in the title game to edge St. Bonaventure 55-53.
“How we won the game is who we are,” said coach Travis Ford, who took over at Saint Louis in 2016 after being fired following eight seasons at Oklahoma State. “You know, we are just a hard-playing, physical, aggressive basketball team.”
Don’t look at this Billikens team and see their 13-seed or 13 losses. This is a talented team that was picked to finish in first place of the A-10 this preseason. Ahead of teams like VCU, Davidson and Dayton.
They have a trio of double-digit scorers, led by senior guards Javon Bess (15.3 points per game) and Tramaine Isabell Jr. (13.8). Sophomore guard Jordan Goodwin averages 10.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Isabell was selected Most Outstanding Player of the A-10 Tournament.
“I do believe we are supposed to be here,” Isabell said. “I think we are a very good team. I’ve been a part of three teams, and we have tremendous athletes. We have tremendous competitors from top to bottom, from coaches down to the managers.”
The winner of this game will advance to play the winner of the 12 vs 5 matchup between Liberty and Mississippi State.
LINE: -10.5 Virginia Tech
Dan’s Bet: Under 126
Bracket Pick: Virginia Tech
Score Prediction: Virginia Tech 59 Saint Louis 50