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Louisville-Virginia Tech preview

The Cards open ACC play in Blacksburg on Sunday.

Liberty v Virginia Tech Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (4-3, 0-0) at Virginia Tech Hokies (5-3, 0-0)

Game Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Cassell Coliseum: Blacksburg, Va.

Television: ACC Network

Announcers: Connor Onion (play-by-play) and Josh Pasnter (analyst)

Favorite: Virginia Tech by 14.5

Series: Louisville leads, 36-10

Last Meeting: Virginia Tech won 71-54 on Feb. 28, 2023 in Louisville

Series History:

Projected Starting Lineups:

Louisville

  • G Skyy Clark (6-3, 205, So.)
  • G Tre White (6-7, 205, So.)
  • G/F Mike James (6-5, 200, R-So.)
  • F J.J. Traynor (6-8, 190, Sr.)
  • F Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (6-10, 240, Jr.)

Virginia Tech

  • G Sean Pedulla (6-1, 195, Jr.)
  • G Hunter Cattoor (6-3, 200, Gr.)
  • G/F Tyler Nickel (6-7, 220, So.)
  • F Robbie Beran (6-9, 215, Gr.)
  • C Lynn Kidd (6-10, 235, Sr.)

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Virginia Tech:

Picked to finish 8th in the Atlantic Coast Conference heading into the season, Virginia Tech has looked the part of a middling team in a not great ACC so far this season.

The Hokies have taken care of business against the teams they’re supposed to take care of business against, they have one nice win over Virginia Tech, but a rough loss to South Carolina and two lopsided losses to the two best teams they’ve played (Florida Atlantic and Auburn).

VT is once again led by Hunter Cattoor (14.9 ppg), who is both one of the best three-point shooters and defensive players in the conference. Senior 6’10 big man Lynn Kidd has taken a giant step forward in production, averaging 14.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Junior guard Sean Pedulla is also playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 14.4 ppg.

Notable:

—Louisville is 9-2 in its last 11 conference openers, including 7-2 since joining the ACC. The Cardinals have won 12 of their last 15 conference openers overall.

—A win over Virginia Tech would give Louisville its first three-game winning streak of the Kenny Payne era.

—Louisville had won 17 consecutive games over Virginia Tech before a blowout loss in Blacksburg two seasons ago. The Hokies had previously not defeated the Cardinals since Feb. 13, 1991, they’ve now won two straight over U of L.

—Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young is 2-2 in games against Louisville.

—Louisville head coach Kenny Payne is 0-1 in games against Virginia Tech.

—Virginia Tech is 8-11 all-time in ACC openers, including last season’s 80-72 win over 18th-ranked North Carolina at home.

—The Hokies rank sixth nationally in free-throw percentage, averaging 80.1%. They already have five games of at least 20 free throws made. VT had two such games last season.

—Louisville ranks fifth in the country in free-throw attempts per game (29.1) and seventh in made free throws per game (21.1). UofL’s 148 made free throws are the program’s second-most through seven games since at least 2010, behind only the 2018-19 team. The Cards have made at least 21 free throws in four of seven games this year, shot 61 more than their opponents and have made more free throws than their opponents have even attempted (143).

—While Louisville has been outscored by 18 points overall in the first half of its games this season, it’s outscoring teams by 31 overall after halftime. The Cards scored 50-plus points after halftime three times in November for the first time ever.

—Louisville is 221-15 over the last 20 seasons and 18-3 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards are 2-1 in such games this season.

—Since 2004, Louisville is 128-0 when leading by more than 10 points at halftime.

—Louisville has won 162 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Virginia Tech 81, Louisville 70