Game Preview: Kentucky Wildcats vs Va Tech Hokies

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 02: The Kentucky Wildcats bench reacts after a basket by Hamidou Diallo
LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 02: The Kentucky Wildcats bench reacts after a basket by Hamidou Diallo /

The Kentucky Wildcats take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday at Rupp Arena.

The Virginia Tech Hokies come to Lexington on Saturday to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Virginia Tech boasts the No. 1 scoring offense in college basketball. Can the Wildcats cool down the red hot Hokies and extend their win streak to seven games?

Virginia Tech is scoring a scorching 96.2 points per game which is No.1 among all college teams. The Hokies have four players averaging double figures in points and are led by senior guard Justin Bibbs. Bibbs is scoring 17.5 points per game and 47.6% from behind the arc. In Virginia Tech’s lone loss to St. Louis, Bibbs was only 1-of-4 from 3-point range. The Wildcats will have to lock down Bibbs in order to win on Saturday.

Junior big man Kerry Blackshear is averaging 13 points, 7.1 rebounds and is shooting 66% from the floor. Nick Richards must remain on the floor to help contain Blackshear. Richards gets in early foul trouble often, racking up three or more fouls in six of UK’s nine games. We all know once a player snags two fouls in the first half they’re very unlikely to see the floor again until after halftime. Richards presence on the court is even more important since Sacha Killeya-Jones may be out or limited with an ankle injury.

The Hokies are led by head coach Buzz Williams. Williams appears to have Virginia Tech on rise. Last season the Hokies went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his tenure with the team and the school’s first time since 2007.

The biggest knock against Virginia Tech thus far is their strength of schedule. The Hokies rank 333rd out of 351 Division-I teams. Virginia Tech has scored over 100 points in three games this year, however, the opponents in those games have a combined .500 winning percentage on the season.

Given the athleticism present on both teams, look for Saturday’s game to be a high-scoring affair with a lot of transition baskets by both teams. Kevin Knox will have to improve on his performance from a week ago when he went 1-for-9 with 4 points and 7 turnovers. Kentucky will also not be able to rely on their zone defense due to the Hokies’ ability to knock down three-pointers.

This game will be Kentucky’s toughest test since their loss to Kansas earlier this season. The Cats must lock down Virginia Tech’s shooters and keep the Hokies off the charity stripe. Virginia Tech is fifth in the country in free throw attempts. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Virginia Tech Hokies have a slight edge over the Kentucky Wildcats in Saturday’s match up. Tip off is at 2:00 PM ET.


Tip Time: 2:00 PM ET

Radio: UK Sports Network

Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY

Streaming Online: Watch ESPN