After a disappointing loss in the season opener to Alabama State, the Virginia Tech Hokies return to action tonight against Jacksonville State looking to get things turned around, and build some momentum with Iowa State looming in the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida on Black Friday.
Zach LeDay had one of the best individual debuts ever for a Virginia Tech basketball player despite the loss as the junior big man had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and was the best player on the court during the loss. LeDay showed a lot of grit and toughness in that opening game along with a lot of energy.
LeDay may not have the same type of game as he did against Alabama State, but he will be productive.
Chris Clarke had a solid debut with 10 points, and has the type of high motor on offense that suggest he could go for 20 points in one of the Hokies' next three games. Clarke seems poised for a big game, and tonight could be the night that he goes off against a Jacksonville State team that has only played one Division I program in three games.
Kerry Blackshear may not have had the same numbers as LeDay in the season opener, but the freshman was solid on the glass especially on the offensive end with multiple offensive rebounds. Blackshear and LeDay will be a tough duo that are ready to dominate the boards tonight against a bad Jacksonville State team.
Justin Bibbs and Seth Allen both missed their fair share of three-pointers in the season openers, but the duo of guards are the most proven three-pointers shooters, and seem poised to bounce back. Allen seems to be a player that will come out with a chip on his shoulder tonight, and look to get some revenge for what happened against Alabama State.
The defensive effort was poor against Alabama State, but don't expect the same tonight with Buzz Williams likely pushing his players in practice this week to make sure they don't get upset again against a weaker Jacksonville State team.
This game has the potential to be over by halftime, but the Hokies have to come out with a high-level of intensity. Expect a bounce-back performance and easy victory for the Hokies tonight in Cassell Coliseum.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 80, Jacksonville State 58