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ACC Roundup - Virginia Tech Is Looking Pretty Damn Good

The Hokies have a lot of good things going for them right now

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tournament-North Carolina vs Virginia Tech
 Mar 10, 2020; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Mike Young looks on during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Greensboro Coliseum. 
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The other day we talked about how impressive Virginia Tech’s offense is and specifically that they were moving the ball around - and then shooting - with stunning quickness.

That and coach Mike Young’s willingness to let his players play is leading to good things.

Well that and that the Hokies now have a useful big man.

Notre Dame found out how dangerous Virginia Tech can be Friday night when the Hokies took out the Irish 77-63.

One of the key factors for the Hokies was the play of Keve Aluma, a 6-9 transfer who followed Young from Wofford and has turned out to be one of the better big men in the ACC this season.

Aluma hung 15 points and 12 boards on the Irish, out rebounding rival big men Nate Laszewski (rhymes with Krzyzewski) and John Durham, who combined for seven, none offensive.

Jalen Cone added 18, with four three pointers. Hunter Catoor had 15. Justyn Mutts picked up 14 too.

Good thing the Irish shot well from the line: Notre Dame hit 21-26, which kept them in the game. Laszewski hit 11-12.

At 3-7 the Irish are struggling and coach Mike Brey knows it, saying “[y]ou’re not going to beat a good team playing 20-25 minutes and that’s kind of what we’ve done against really good teams. We’re trying to learn the hard way to put 40 minutes together.

“We’ve been happy at halftime couple times.”

The South Bend Tribune has a bit of a joke going with this recycled headline: “Another chance against a ranked team, another loss for Notre Dame men’s basketball.“

They also have a point: the Irish have lost 25 straight games to ranked teams. That’s pretty sad.

Some happy news for Brey though: Trey Wertz, who had an ankle injury, was able to play.

Virginia Tech is now 9-2 and 3-1 in the ACC. It’s still early but barring a total collapse, or a Covid cancellation of the post-season, the Hokies seem certain to be in the NCAA field.

Incidentally, while it is indeed early, here’s an interesting point: Virginia Tech and Clemson, arguably playing as well as anyone in the ACC, are tied for second place.

Tied for first? Louisville, Virginia and Duke - the usual suspects, in other words, other than Carolina, which is sitting at .500.

But as we say, it’s early.

No games until Tuesday.

ACC Standings