UNC Basketball vs. Virginia Tech: Game info, preview, prediction and more

The UNC Basketball program hits the road as they look to end their losing streak with their matchup against Virginia Tech on Wednesday

The North Carolina Tar Heels continue their road trip as they seek to end a four-game losing streak in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

UNC is coming off another tough loss against Pitt, their second loss to the Panthers in the previous four games. Now, they hope to end their skid and get on track as they take a trip to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech.

The Hokies enter this game at 13-5 overall and a 4-3 conference record but are fresh off a disappointing loss to Syracuse 81-79 over the weekend. Tech’s wins in the ACC have come against Clemson, Syracuse, N.C. State and Wake Forest while losing to Syracuse, Duke and at Virginia.

Freshman guard Landers Nolley II powers the Hokies offense by averaging 17.8 points per game while shooting 41 percent from the field and 38 percent from the three-point line. He’s been fantastic all season long playing in 30.8 minutes per game and should find himself on the ACC All-Freshman Team when the season ends.

In addition to Nolley II, the Hokies are getting 9.6 points from guard Nahiem Alleyne and 8.8 from guard Tyrece Radford. There is a lot of depth on the wing for the Hokies but in the post, they might be a little vulnerable. That’s a spot where the Tar Heels could excel with Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot in the post.

Their leading rebounder is Radford, who averages just 6.4 assists per game and as a team, they are only grabbing 35 rebounds per game. The Tar Heels are among the best in the nation, averaging 43.8 rebounds per game.

If UNC wants to steal one on the road on Wednesday night, they are going to have to dominate on the boards. This is also another chance to get things straight and earn a tough conference road win before Cole Anthony returns.

Key to the Game

The perimeter. We know about the struggles UNC has guarding the perimeter and it happened again in the road loss at Pitt. The Tar Heels just can’t lock down the perimeter on defense and it’s likely cost them a few games here in 2019-20.

Virginia Tech enters this game as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, shooting 37 percent from the perimeter. They make on average of 10.4 three-pointers per game on their way to scoring 71. points per game. UNC will need to either really lock it down on defense on the perimeter or hope that the Hokies get ice cold.

Player to watch

Armando Bacot.  So far Garrison Brooks has been fantastic in his junior season with the Tar Heels and Wednesday should be another chance for him to dominate in the paint. But what about forward Armando Bacot?

The freshman has struggled a bit in his first year in Chapel Hill, averaging 10.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Those aren’t bad numbers but Bacot hasn’t been consistent and I feel like he’s yet to fully blossom into his total potential.

Let’s see if Bacot can have a big game on Wednesday and help lead UNC to a win.

What you need to know

What? North Carolina 8-9 (1-5 in ACC) AT Virginia Tech 13-5 (4-3 in ACC)
When? Wednesday, January 22, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where? Cassell Coliseum
TV? ACCN
Radio? Tar Heel Sports Network
All-time series? UNC leads 32-7
Last meeting? UNC beat Virginia Tech 103-82 on Monday, January 21 2019
Line? Virginia Tech -6.5
Prediction? Virginia Tech 80, UNC 70