Virginia offensively challenged

Most sports books featured on the SportsOptions odds product have Virginia listed as a 1½-point road favorite against Virginia Tech, with the total posted at 113.

Virginia (20-6 SU/13-8 ATS) coasted in its win on Saturday as they routed Maryland 71-44 as 9½ point home favorites. Mike Scott scored a game-high 25 points and also grabbed seven rebounds and Virginia turned a close game at the half into a blowout in the second half to dispose of Maryland in an ACC tilt. Malcolm Brogdon shot 5-of-6 from the floor and finished with 14 points and Sammy Zeglinski added 11 points for the Cavaliers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

The game was tied 31-31 at the break, but the Cavs opened up the second half on a 16-2 run to gain control of the game. Virginia outscored the Terps 40-13 in the second half and finished the game shooting 48.1 percent from the floor (26-of-54) and 6-of-10 from long range. The Cavaliers also converted 15 Maryland turnovers into 22 points and Virginia’s bench outscored Maryland’s bench 22-11.

Virginia only averages 63.2 PPG, ranking No. 277 in the land; but on the other hand, the Cavaliers allow just 51.9 PPG on defense, good enough for 2nd in the nation in scoring defense. Virginia finished 16-15 last season and the return of four starters from that unit has paid dividends this year.

Scott is one of the ACC’s top players, averaging 17.2 PPG and 8.2 boards per game, while connecting on an impressive 58.9 percent from the field. Also in double-figures is Joe Harris with 11.8 PPG, while Zeglinski (8.1 ppg), Brogdon (7.0 PPG) and Jontel Evans (6.8 PPG, 3.7 APG) give the Cavs a steady mix of balance.

Virginia Tech (15-12 SU/7-15-1 ATS) comes off a thrilling 74-73 OT win over Georgia Tech on Saturday as 8-point home favorites. Dorenzo Hudson nailed a three pointer as time expired in overtime to lift Virginia Tech over the Yellow Jackets in an ACC barnburner. Erick Green scored 14 points to lead the Hokies, while Cadarian Raines added 13 points and Jarell Eddie chipped in with 12 points. Robert Brown also ended in double figures with 10 points for the Hokies, who had lost two of three coming into the game, including a last second 48-47 loss at Florida State on Thursday as 10-point road underdogs.

Virginia Tech trailed 31-28 at the half after shooting 46 percent in the first 20 minutes. The Hokies tied the game at 65-65 with about two minutes remaining in the second half and neither team scored in the remainder of regulation. Virginia Tech trailed 73-71 with five seconds left in the extra session, setting the stage for Hudson’s late-game heroics.

Virginia Tech is averaging 66.1 PPG on offense (# 211), while the defense gives up a mere 62 PPG (# 55). Green leads the team in scoring with 15.5PPG and has posted double-figures in 28 straight conference games, which currently leads the ACC. Hudson is also in double-digits with 10.9 PPG, while Eddie averages 9.7 PPG and 5.2 RPG. Dorian Finney-Smith (6.0 PPG) leads the Hokies on the boards with 6.8 RPG, while Victor Davila (7.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG) and Brown (7.0 PPG) make solid contributions. However, it appears Davila will miss his third straight game with a groin injury.

These two in-state ACC rivals met in Charlottesville on January 22 and Virginia Tech pulled the upset in a 47-45 road win as 7½-point underdogs. Virginia shot just 32.6 percent from the floor in that one and went a dismal 1-of-14 from three-point range. Virginia is 19-7 ATS on the road and 17-4 ATS on the road against teams with a winning home record, as well as 23-10 ATS overall against winning teams. As for the Hokies, they’ve been a team to avoid at home (0-7 ATS) and they come in on a current 7-18-1 ATS run in ACC games. However, the underdog is 7-0 ATS the last seven meetings and Tech has been installed as a home ‘dog here. They need a win here to maintain any chance of getting to the NCAA Tournament, as remote as that may be at this point.

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