Virginia Tech prepares for Wake Forest, Miami
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said he was happy that the Hokies have a first-round bye in this week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. But the downside is his coaches and players have to be prepared to face two teams in the quarterfinal.
The Hokies have already scouted each of their possible opponents, fifth-seeded Wake Forest and 12th-seeded Miami, who play on Thursday afternoon. And they have had to prepare for the differing styles that distinguish both of the teams.
"The two teams are so different," Greenberg said on Wednesday afternoon. "There styles of player are so different. What you have to do to have a chance to win is so different. The last two days and tomorrow wev’e worked a little bit on each of them."
Wake Forest runs fast in transition and dominates on the backboards. The Demon Deacons, who lost to the Hokies on Feb. 16, are led by forward Al-Farouq Aminu and guard Ishmael Smith.
Aminu is a beast in the paint. He averaged 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in league play. He is a part of Wake Forest's freakishly large lineup that has helped it clean the glass; the Demon Deacons lead the ACC in offensive rebounds, with 40.3 boards per game in league play.
That is only one part of what makes the Deamon Deacons difficult to deal with. Smith and speedy guard C.J. Harris are like two roadrunners leading Wake Forest's offense in transition. They get up and down the floor about as quick as anyone in the ACC, and make it hard for teams to get back and set defenses.
While Miami is athletic, the Hurricanes have a much different make up than Wake Forest. They live and die by the three-pointer, attempting 6 deep-range shots per game, which is good for fifth in ACC games.
While Miami, which split its season series with Virginia Tech, is led from its backcourt, it doesn't have dynamic frontline talent. The Hurricanes rank last in the ACC in offensive rebounds, with 31.7 boards per game in league play.
And their outlook doesn't get any better with the news that center Dwayne Collins won't be available to play on Thursday because of a leg injury. Collins averaged a team-leading 11.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in ACC action.
The challenge for the Hokies will be readying to play two teams with such opposite styles. But having the first-round bye is better than the alternative.
"Not as big a challenge has having to play two days in a row," Greenberg said of preparing to play two teams. "I'd rather be in our situation."
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