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ACC Tournament Q&A: Prepping for Virginia Tech with The Key Play

Will Miami make it 3 for 3 against the Hokies? Does VT have a new star player to watch out for? All that and more as we talk to Pierson Booher of TKP.

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies pulled a mild upset yesterday afternoon, and defeated Wake Forest 81-80, in a very exciting 1st round contest.

We caught up with Pierson Booher of the VT website, The Key Play,  to learn more about the win and much more.

You can also find our answers to his questions HERE.

Full Q&A below:

SOTU: Who in the world is Jalen Hudson?  He was sensational Vs Wake.  Was he supposed to go to Kentucky or something?  Seriously talk about his 32 point performance in round 1.

TKP: Pffffff, holy smokes did Huddy have the game of his life or what?! Along with Justin Bibbs, Hudson was a holdover recruit from James Johnson's 2014 class, spurning offers from Virginia, VCU and Arkansas, to name a few.


Despite Bibbs' incredible first half of the season and Ahmed Hill's stellar two-way play, if you asked anyone close to the program who the most talented freshman of the lot is, they would say Jalen Hudson. Hands down. He scored 5 or less points in 9 of 18 conference games, but he also dropped 18 on Syracuse and 23 on Duke. He is the Hokies' strongest on-ball defender; their best slasher; and their most electric player. HYPERBOLE ALERT: The strength and body control he shows when finishing near the rim after contact reminds me of a young LeBron James. Oh, and they both attended the same prep school (St. Vincent St. Mary in Akron, Ohio). He is clearly at his best when the lights are their brightest, and Tuesday was another example of how bright his future is in Orange & Maroon.




SOTU:  Do you think fatigue will be a factor Vs the Hurricanes in the game tomorrow night at 9PM?
TKP: The Hokies will benefit from the constant rotating that Head Coach Buzz Williams tends to use throughout the course of a game. I could see fatigue being a factor for the guys that have a lot of wear on their tires - specifically Adam Smith and Devin Wilson. At the same time, I think this team's youth and naivete plays perfectly into the day-after-day grind of a conference tournament. Rather than returning home for a few days and allowing the adrenaline and pride to dissipate, the Hokies have only enough time to catch a few zzz's before hitting the hardwood again tomorrow.





SOTU: What can VT do to improve upon their two lopsided regular season losses to Miami?

TKP: Aside from slashing the tires on the Miami bus? My biggest worry is how the Hokies go about defending the various scoring options Jim Larranaga has at his disposal. In their first meeting, Sheldon McClellan diced apart the wings and Tonye Jekiri abused the Hokies undersized post players. In their most recent matchup on Sunday, Ivan Cruz Uceda had the game of his life from all over the floor, and Manu Lecomte and James Palmer crushed the Hokies from distance.


The common theme in some of the Hokies most lopsided losses has been their inability to stop the opposition from draining threes at will. They've made mediocre shooting teams look good and good shooting teams look otherworldly. If they can play solid face-up defense and hold their own in the paint, I'll feel good about their chances of keeping the game close. Sounds simple enough, right?





SOTU: Random Q...  Give me an all time Hokies starting 5?

TKP: Much like the 2014-2015 Hokies starting five, I'll go with an extremely guard heavy line-up.


Erick Green and Bimbo Coles would create a dangerous tandem up top, taking turns breaking down defenders one-on-one;

Jamon Gordon would be the Hokies' lockdown defender;

Dell Curry would be the team's sharpshooter; and

Allan Bristow would be our double-double machine.


Deron Washington would be our sixth man, if only to watch him tea bag overrated opponents on a weekly basis.






SOTU:  How many ACC teams do think make the NCAA Tournament, and who are they?
TKP: Hmm...I feel confident about five - Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville and Carolina. NC State is widely considered a lock after taking down Louisville and UNC down the stretch, making Miami the lone team left squarely on the bubble. If Miami convincingly beats Tech (again) and takes down Notre Dame, they should be in. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the Canes took down ND. The Hokie in me hates saying that, but the ACC homer in me wants to see my team playing (and ultimately succeeding) in the best conference in America.




SOTU: Last but certainly not least,  who wins this game and why?

TKP: For what it's worth, when my team has won two regular season matchups against a team, I am in full freakout mode heading into a postseason tilt. It's easy for young kids to overlook the opponent based on past success, or allow things to snowball when tried and true tactics don't go their way. But because I'm a superstitious guy and all, I'm going to once again pick against the Hokies and say Miami moves on, 83-74.

For more in this game and more on the Hokies be sure to check out The Key Play.

Thanks again to Pierson for working with us.

Enjoy the game everyone.