Virginia Tech looks to continue its explosive start to the season when it hosts Iowa as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday. The Hokies, who lead the nation in scoring offense (102), assists (22.2) and three-point percentage (49.6), have won three straight games, including a 96-63 victory over Morehead State on Saturday, and hope to stay hot from the floor by beating the Hawkeyes for the fourth consecutive time.
Virginia Tech is 4-7 all time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but toppled Michigan 73-70 on the road last season and aims to post back-to-back victories in the event for the first time since its inception in 1999. Iowa ended a disappointing trip to the Caribbean with a 95-85 victory over UAB to finish in seventh place after going 1-2 at the Cayman Islands Classic. The Hawkeyes have fared a little better in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge as they are 5-11 in the showcase, including a 95-79 setback to Virginia Tech in 2012, and they hope to get back on the right track by beating the Hokies for the first time in program history. “They shoot as well from 3 as they drive it and they’re a tough team to guard,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery admitted to reporters. “I want to see us go on the road, play a good team and execute what we do on offense.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT IOWA (4-2): Sophomore guard Jordan Bohannon went 6-of-8 from 3-point range to finish with a career-high 30 points and Tyler Cook scored 13 of his personal-best 29 points from the free-throw line to lift the Hawkeyes past UAB. Luka Garza added 14 points and seven rebounds while Isaiah Moss tallied 12 points against the Blazers to earn all-tournament honors after averaging 18 points over three games. Ahmad Wagner, who is averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds this season, missed the win over UAB with a shoulder injury and will be a game-time decision on Tuesday.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (5-1): Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Hokies with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field while Justin Bibbs hit three 3-pointers en route to 15 points in the win against Morehead State and needs one more 3-point field goal to reach 200 for his career. Kerry Blackshear Jr. flirted with a double-double as he contributed 13 points and nine rebounds while Ahmed Hill added 12 points. “I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams told reporters. “It’s an ongoing thing and we’re trying to get better at it.”
1. Virginia Tech’s last three matchups in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge have been decided by a combined eight points.
2. Iowa is 69-15 when scoring 80 or more points since the start of 2009-10.
3. The Hokies have drained at least six 3-pointers in 16 straight games dating back to last season.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 81, Iowa 73