Hokies and Mocs near mirror image in first-round game

Chattanooga head coach Shawn Poppie coached under Kenny Brooks for six years

BLACKSBURG, Va. – #1 seed Virginia Tech playing host to #16 Chattanooga in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Both teams are on their respective conferences, but Mocs head coach Shawn Poppie understands the competition they’re up against.

“We are not going out talent everybody. We are going to try to put together,” Poppie said. “This group has been very, very smart when it comes to basketball schematically. We have been able to guard people differently.”

“Of course, they’re bigger than us, quicker than us. That’s really it. We run the same stuff. As long as we execute the game plan, everything will just go its way,” Chattanooga guard Yazz Wazeerud-Din added.

The scout is kind of like looking in a mirror for Virginia Tech since Poppie has taken a lot of what he learned from Kenny Brooks, and applied it to his first-year head coaching gig.

“I mean, just considering they know our plays, they’re going to try to push us off our mark, so we’re going to have to set our cuts up extra well to get open,” Hokies guard Cayla King said. “That’s what they’re going to try to do, double Liz, that’s what everyone does, so just making sure we’re moving without the ball and getting in the flow.”

In their first-ever one-seed in school history, are the Hokies feeling the pressure?

“I think it’s pressure and nerves either way, but at the same time it’s a lot of excitement because this is what we work for,” Kayana Traylor said. “Now we have the opportunity to do that, and so, yeah, it’s more excitement than anything, we’re ready to play.”

Tip-off is Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Blacksburg. Share your pictures from the game with us via Pin It here.

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Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.