Virginia vs. Virginia Tech.
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech.

In a series that typically favors the home team, Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Mike Young takes his team to Charlottesville for a 7 p.m. tip-off tonight at John Paul Jones Arena.

The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Tenth-ranked UVa enters the game as a 6 1/2-point favorite over a Hokies team that has lost its last five games.

Tech (11-6, 1-5 ACC) was competitive on each occasion. The slump started with a 70-65 overtime loss at Boston College, followed by a 77-75 loss at Wake Forest, a 68-65 home loss to Clemson, a 73-69 home loss to N.C. State and an 82-72 loss at Syracuse.

Virginia (13-3, 5-2) enters the game on a three-game winning streak and is 8-1 at home, with the lone loss occurring Dec. 17, when the Cavaliers fell to then-No. 5 Houston, 69-61 in Charlottesville.

In the most recent meeting between the ‘Hoos and Hokies, Tech defeated UVa 62-53 last year at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.

That Hokie team went on to win the ACC championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., knocking off North Carolina and Duke before advancing to the NCAA Tournament, where the Hokies were first-round losers to Texas.

Virginia settled for the NIT, where it won two games before falling to St. Bonaventure.

Neither in-state team finished in the Top 25 rankings, with the Hokies ranking 26th in the final poll. UVa was 18th in the preseason poll this year, while the Hokies had one vote.

Mike Young is in his fourth year as the head coach at Tech and has not won at Virginia, although his Hokie teams have played there only once. Another game at John Paul Jones Arena was called off due to coronavirus concerns. 

Remarkably, Young had coached against Virginia twice previously, when he was the head coach at Wofford, where he served from 2002-2019, facing former UVa coach Pete Gillen in that first outing.

Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington, D.C., through his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia, and 47 years at the Roanoke Times...