Virginia Tech vs Northeastern Preview and Prediction
Virginia Tech vs Northeastern Preview
Many people were expecting a Virginia Tech versus Alabama semifinal, but the underrated Northeastern Huskies had something to say about that.
Northeastern earned a 68-52 winner over Alabama on Thursday. The Huskies denied Alabama a chance to meet Virginia Tech for a second time in 2018. The two schools faced each other in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, with Alabama winning.
Northeastern was never truly challenged in the program’s first-ever win over an SEC school. The Huskies led 33-22 at halftime and maintained that lead throughout the second half. Alabama hit no 3-pointers in the first half and finished 3 of 19 from the arc for the game. The Tide hit just 37 percent of their field goals and were constantly hesitant against the Huskies’ defense.
They hit 52 percent of its field goals (22 of 42) and 53 percent of its threes (9 of 17). Vasa Pusica scored 20 points on 4-of-4 3-point shooting with five assists and three steals. He gave Alabama a lot of problems. He did, however, commit five turnovers, something Virginia Tech’s defense will take note of in the Charleston semifinals.
Virginia Tech entered Charleston without the services of Chris Clarke (suspension) and Landers Nolley (ineligible to play). The Hokies carried a limited bench into a three-games-in-four-days tournament. They knew that they would need strong games from several different players, and that’s what happened against Ball State.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker carried the day for the Hokies. The sophomore played 38 minutes and scored 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. When Ball State tried to make a push midway through the second half, Alexander-Walker scored important baskets to halt the Cardinals’ comeback bid.
Kerry Blackshear scored 18 points and provided six offensive rebounds for Virginia Tech. Justin Robinson didn’t shoot well (5 of 14), but handed out six assists and collected four steals.
Northeastern will challenge the Hokies a lot more than Ball State did. The bottom line for a Huskies outright win or cover…stop Alexander-Walker and Blackshear. Those two players combined for 54 of Virginia Tech’s 73 points, roughly 75 percent.
It will be tight throughout, but V-Tech will do enough late.
Virginia Tech 70 Northeastern 68
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