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When Hokies Needed Points, Alleyne Stepped Up Big Time

When Tyrece Radford found himself sidelined with legal troubles earlier this season, I wrote about how Virginia Tech needed Nahiem Alleyne to step up and become the Hokies’ primary offensive threat from the wing.

Alleyne’s next few performances were a mixed bag, mostly filled with inefficient shooting performances. Even in Radford’s first game back against Georgia Tech, Alleyne shot 3-of-12. At that point, I was ready to write off Alleyne as a future scoring machine.

He sure showed me on Friday.

With his team on the ropes and wobbling from extended usage, Alleyne put Virginia Tech on his back. The sophomore guard scored Virginia Tech’s final 12 points in regulation, including a stone-cold three-pointer with one second remaining to send the Hokies into overtime with Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

I know you’ve seen the shot already, but watch it again.

Unfortunately, this will be one of the few lasting good memories Virginia Tech will take away from Mike Young’s first NCAA Tournament as the head whistle in Blacksburg. Tech fell 75-70 after leading by as much as 8 points in the second half, ending their season.

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Hokies Can Make A Run In NCAA Tournament

Virginia Tech basketball's ACC Tournament came to a somewhat predictable end against North Carolina, as sitting for 12 days before playing and maintaining a high level of play is about as difficult as it gets.

But after studying the pairings announced last night, the path ahead for Virginia Tech seems doable.

The Hokies can make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia Tech's first-round matchup comes against Florida, that one school who lured Kerry Blackshear Jr. away from Blacksburg upon Mike Young's arrival. The Gators are a good/not great team that finished fifth in the SEC, and have lost three of their last four games. From a size and personnel point, the Hokies match up well with the Gators.

Should Virginia Tech move past Florida in the first round, they'll likely face No. 2 Ohio State, an unpredictable team that won 10 of 11 games, capped off their regular season with four straight losses, then won three games in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes went 21-9 in one of the toughest conferences in America, but we've seen how hot and cold they can run. 

A Sweet 16 run would open up all sorts of possibilities. Here are some of the other teams to watch in the South Region that Virginia Tech could run up against...

  • No. 1 Baylor: The Bears are probably the second-best team in the country behind Gonzaga. Baylor won 22 games in one of the best conferences in America and sports wins over Illinois, Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas and West Virginia. That said, Baylor did lose to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship tournament.
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Hokies Need Aluma To Bounce Back In NCAA Tournament

Virginia Tech big man Keve Aluma has been stellar this season, as the second-team All-ACC center played a large role in the Hokies' regular-season success this year.

But last night against North Carolina, he also played a role in their demise.

North Carolina surged past the Hokies in the second half, winning 81-73 in the quarterfinal of the ACC Tournament. That surge, in large part, started with the Tar Heels' regaining supremacy under the basket in the second half.

Virginia Tech controlled the paint in the first half, and it was a team effort. The Hokies bodied up down low and won all the relevant paint stats — points in the paint, rebound margin, second chance points. Tech denied entry to the paint and after an exhaustive performance, Tech earned themselves a three-point lead.

That exhaustive performance, however, wasn't sustainable with the Hokies essentially playing only six players the entire game.

Carolina's cadre of big men — Armando Bacot, Day'Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler — proved too much for Virginia Tech to contend with. The trio combined for 31 points, 25 rebounds and six blocks. And more importantly, they were extremely physical with Aluma down low.

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