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Virginia Tech to take on No. 3/3 Villanova in Bubbleville

The Wildcats replace Temple, which had to pause activities due to Covid-19 protocols.

Virginia Tech basketball
Virginia Tech basketball (WSLS)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech men’s basketball will play No. 3/3 Villanova (2-0) on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNews in Bubbleville, a part of the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The Hokies (1-0) will go up against the Wildcats (2-0) for the first time in 16 years, which was back when the two schools regularly competed against one another as BIG EAST members.

Tech, which is 1-9 in the all-time series with the Wildcats, picked up its lone win in ’03 by a score of 88-63 when the two schools were in the BIG EAST. In the last meeting, the ‘Cats won 80-68 at home in ’04, marking the Hokies’ final year in the BIG EAST.

The last time Tech took on the No. 3 team in the nation it pulled off the upset by defeating then-No. 3 Michigan State at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational last November.

Tech coach Mike Young has never faced Jay Wright or ‘Nova in his head coaching tenure.

The matchup will be broadcast on ESPNU, with Kevin Brown (play-by-play) and Jon Crispin (analyst) on the call, while Jon Laaser (play-by-play) and Mike Burnop (analyst) will broadcast on Virginia Tech Sports Properties.

GAME INFORMATION

Sat. | 8 p.m. ET vs. No. 3/3 Villanova | Stats | Watch | Radio | Notes | Gameday Central

Opening the season on its home floor Wednesday, the Hokies turned in a 15-point victory over nearby Radford, 77-62. Three players scored in double figures, while Tech capitalized off RU’s miscues, outscoring the Highlanders in points off turnovers 16-9.

Starting the season off with a bang, redshirt junior Keve Aluma had three dunks on his way to 19 points vs. Radford. In his Hokie debut, the Wofford transfer also pulled down three rebounds and posted two assists in 24 minutes of action.

Picking up where he left off last year, sophomore Nahiem Alleyne was steady versus Radford, owning 14 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.The Georgia native chipped in two assists, a steal and a board as well in his start.

SCOUTING No. 3/3 VILLANOVA

• No. 3/3 Villanova, which was also scheduled to play Temple (Dec. 3) and had that game canceled, is coming off winning the 2K Empire Classic in Bubbleville Thursday night, defeating No. 18/17 Arizona State (1-1) at Mohegan Sun Arena. In the previous night, Wednesday, the ‘Cats took down Boston College (1-1) 76-67.

• Jay Wright enters his 20th year in Philadelphia, following a seven-year stint at Hofstra. Wright has led the Wildcats to 474 wins and is one of only three active Division I head coaches with multiple national championships.

• Villanova is paced by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who is averaging a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds a game, and Collin Gillespie, who tallied 11 points and four assists last night. Both were preseason All-BIG EAST first-team selections.

• One of the things the ‘Cats do well is get to the charity stripe, ranking 18th nationally in free-throw attempts (39) and 16th overall in free throws made (27).