Virginia-Virginia Tech Preview
Formidable Virginia could prove to be even more of a handful if Mike Tobey continues his sudden scoring binge in ACC play.
The senior center and the fourth-ranked Cavaliers look to extend their mastery of Virginia Tech on Monday night.
Virginia (12-1, 1-0) earned the first nine of its 11 consecutive wins with Tobey averaging just 5.1 points per game, and he had a combined six in the Cavaliers' four contests before a 71-58 victory over Oakland on Dec. 30.
He scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in that game and 15 in Saturday's conference opener, a 77-66 win over Notre Dame.
"That's what we're going to need from (Tobey) throughout the season," forward Anthony Gill said. "He's a great player, has a soft touch around the basket and takes up a lot of space on defense. When his mind is right, he can be a really effective player for the team and help us get to the next level."
Malcolm Brogdon had a team-best 24 points and Gill scored 21 in the Cavaliers' ninth consecutive victory over the Irish. They have won seven in a row against Virginia Tech (9-5, 1-0) and five straight road games in the series.
Virginia will take on the Hokies for the fourth consecutive time as a ranked team. The Cavaliers were the No. 2 team in the country in each of last season's two matchups, beginning with a 50-47 win in Blacksburg on Jan. 25.
They finished that game on a 12-2 run to rally from a seven-point deficit with less than six minutes remaining. Four of their last five contests at Virginia Tech have been decided by four or fewer points.
"Anytime we go into Virginia Tech, it's always a close game. They always get up for us and it seems to be a good game no matter what," Gill said. "We just have to be ready from the beginning."
Virginia had a better handle on the Hokies on its home court Feb. 28, winning 69-57 en route to a second straight ACC regular-season title.
Virginia Tech will bring two new leading scorers into this matchup in transfers Seth Allen and Zach LeDay. Allen, averaging a team-best 14.6 points, had 23 in a 73-68 overtime win against North Carolina State in Saturday's conference opener.
"We're going to have to fight like that 18 more times. This was huge. We just kind of hung around and just kept fighting and just kept scrapping," coach Buzz Williams said.
Sophomore guard Jalen Hudson registered a season high by also scoring 23 points. Allen, who played two seasons at Maryland, has faced Virginia four times, and he scored 20 points in a 75-69 overtime upset of the fifth-ranked Cavaliers on March 9, 2014.
"I've been preaching to the younger guys, guys that haven't been in this league that whatever has happened in the regular season, you just let it go," Allen said. "You could have won some games. You could have lost some games. This is the ACC, and when conference play starts, it's a whole new season."
Brogdon missed 17 of 18 shots inside the 3-point arc in a three-game stretch before going 7 for 9 on Saturday.
Brogdon has a combined 20 points on 6-of-21 shooting in his two road starts against Virginia Tech compared with 37 points on 11-of-22 shooting in his two home starts. Tobey has totaled 10 points in his two starts against the Hokies, and has a combined six points in his last three overall matchups.