Louisville Cardinals (4-25, 2-16) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (16-13, 6-12)
Game Time: 9 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Roy Philpott (play-by-play) and Perry Clark (analyst)
Favorite: Virginia Tech by 10.5
Series: Louisville leads, 36-9
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech won 75-43 on March 1, 2022 in Blacksburg
Probable Starting Lineups:
About Virginia Tech:
Last year’s ACC tournament champions, Virginia Tech is in the midst of its first truly disappointing season under fourth-year head coach Mike Young. The Hokies received some preseason top 25 love but at just 6-12 in league play, they’ll be left out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016 unless they win four games in four days next week in Greensboro.
Virginia Tech enters Tuesday night having lost three of their last four games, but their lone win over that span came against ACC-leading Pittsburgh. Also a bit odd is the fact that the only two teams Louisville has beaten in league play — Clemson and Georgia Tech — both own victories over the Hokies.
U of L has a distinct size advantage in this game, but their primary challenge will be slowing down a guard-driven VT offense that has once again been among the best in the ACC.
While Hunter Cattoor got some preseason ACC Player of the Year love, it’s been senior forward Grant Basile who has been the team’s best player.
Basile has scored double figures in 13 straight games and has broken the 20-point mark in six of the last 10 contests. Over the last 10 games, the versatile 6’9 forward is averaging 21.7 ppg. After spending most of the first half of the season on the interior, Basile has gone back to hanging out on the perimeter, where he shoots 38.0 percent from beyond the arc. I’ll say it for the 25th straight game this season and for the 25th straight time it won’t change anything: Louisville has got to locate and defend Virginia Tech’s elite outside shooters or they have no chance of springing this upset.
Speaking of, Cattoor is the ACC’s leader in three-point percentage, having knocked down 64 of his 148 attempts so far this season (43.2 percent). He has been a fairly one-dimensional player for most of this season, and Louisville would be wise not to let him excel in that one dimension.
Senior forward Justyn Mutts is an absolute dog and a freak athlete who plays with the type of intensity that Louisville fans would kill to see from their team. He torched the Cards to the tune of 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in last season’s meeting. Mutts is just six rebounds away from 1,000 for his career.
Virginia Tech has not been a great defensive team this season, but Louisville can’t afford to have this become another game where they score well early and let their defense relax as a result. The Hokies have far more offensive firepower than the Cardinals and won’t have much trouble winning if U of L tries to turn this into a shootout.
—Louisville will celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday. Although both players have one year of collegiate eligibility remaining, seniors El Ellis and Sydney Curry will be honored.
—Louisville had won 17 consecutive games over Virginia Tech before last season’s blowout loss in Blacksburg. The Hokies had previously not defeated the Cardinals since Feb. 13, 1991.
—Louisville’s 25 losses this season have already broken the school record for most losses in a season. The previous high was 20 in 1997-98.
—Louisville is 8-1 against Virginia Tech since joining the ACC in 2014-15.
—Louisville and Virginia Tech were fellow members of the Metro Conference from 1978-1995.
—Virginia Tech’s game notes ask that media members refer to the team as “Virginia Tech,” “Hokies” or “Tech” - and not “Vah Tech.”
—Tech has a 3-19 record against U of L in Louisville and has dropped nine straight in the series on the road. The Cards edged Tech, 73-71, in their last matchup at the KFC Yum Center.
—Louisville has already lost nine games by 20 points or more this season, the 20-point losses in one season in the history of Cardinal basketball.
—Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young is 1-2 in games against Louisville.
—Nine of the Hokies’ 12 losses in ACC play have come by single digits. Two of the other three games (at Syracuse and at Virginia) were 10-point decisions.
—According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Louisville is a 10.5-point underdog. The Cardinals have covered the spread in six of their last eight contests.
—Louisville has lost four games by 1-point this season. That’s the most in U of L history and tied for the most ever by an ACC team. The Cardinals are 0-6 in one possession games.
—Louisville is 219-14 over the last 20 seasons and 16-2 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards have eclipsed the 80-point mark just three times this season, but twice in their last five games.
—Louisville is 14-0 over the past 10 seasons when limiting opponents to no more than one three-point field goal.
—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 79, Louisville 69