Hokies going in blind against unfamiliar opponent Georgia Tech

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BLACKSBURG, Va. — With just one day to prepare for Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg would have loved to lean on some past experiences. But the Yellow Jackets are in their first year under new coach Brian Gregory, so most of what Greenberg and the Hokies learned about Georgia Tech during the Paul Hewitt era is out the window.

“The hardest part about that is, it’s a new opponent,” Greenberg said this week of the quick turnaround. “If we were playing Georgia Tech and it was Paul’s team, we would have a little bit of a better understanding of what he wanted to do. … Brian is a new coach, and they’ve got a new system.”

Greenberg said Friday that the coaching staff prepared its scouting report for Georgia Tech in advance. It was ready Wednesday, before Thursday’s game at Florida State. Still, he said with just one practice in preparation for the Yellow Jackets, Virginia Tech’s approach would likely be built heavily around stressing the Hokies’ own base defensive fundamentals.

“A lot of things we’re just going to have to defend on principle,” Greenberg said. “But how you’re going to play the game, how you’re going to approach the game, is different when you’re playing someone for the first time. You really don’t have a real good understanding of who they are.”

Georgia Tech is far from an imposing opponent, sitting last in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 9-16, 2-9. The Jackets are coming off a 59-50 loss to Wake Forest.

Georgia Tech has lost eight of its last nine games and has averaged just 54.1 points per game during that stretch.

“We need to keep plugging along, keep moving forward so we can have some success,” Gregory said. “It’s going to be difficult on the road.”

The Yellow Jackets have never won at Cassell Coliseum. They are 0-5 in the Hokies’ building.

Virginia Tech is coming off a punch-in-the-gut 48-47 loss at Florida State, frittering away a 15-point lead in the second half and missing 7 of 10 free throws in the final 2:12.

The Hokies (14-12, 3-8) were without center Victor Davila (groin) and forward C.J. Barksdale (ankle), then lost Cadarian Raines, who started for Davila, to cramps. Still, if not for the absolute meltdown at the free-throw line, Virginia Tech would have notched a big ACC upset.

Friday night, Greenberg said Barksdale and Davila both will be game-time decisions. Raines is expected to play today.

Read more about the Hokies at VTeffect.com

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