Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/28/12
For all of Virginia Techs hard work in transforming itself from the micromanaged Seth Greenberg era that ended last spring, Saturdays game at BYU may go a long way toward determining the Hokies postseason future. Now playing a more up-tempo style under new coach James Johnson, who was an assistant under Greenberg before taking a similar job at Clemson 10 days before returning to Blacksburg as Greenbergs replacement, Tech has been perhaps the ACCs most positive surprise team. Expected to finish at or near the bottom of the ACC, Johnson infused the Hokies with life by changing their approach. The results have been much better than expected. The Hokies (9-3) own wins over Oklahoma State, Iowa and Bradley, but recent losses to Georgia Southern at home and by a shocking 36 points to Colorado State in Las Vegas earlier this week have somewhat canceled out those quality victories. BYU (9-4) offers an opportunity at another nice win, and being on the road could prove valuable in March. The Cougars no longer play in the Mountain West Conference and for the second year are member of the West Coast Conference, which includes Gonzaga. This is also their last game before diving into conference play, and they do so with a solid club that is long and usually has a terrific home court advantage at the Marriot Center. Big man Brandon Davies (20.3 ppg) and wing Tyler Haws (19.3) are BYUs only double-digit scorers. Lock down one of them and the Hokies speed and quickness could be a factor. Pick: BYU, 78-71. Dec. 29 Santa Clara (11-2) at Duke (11-0) When: Noon Full Court Press: The Broncos have won six straight games after dropping consecutive contests in overtime to Utah State and Cal-Santa Barbara. They dont have any eye-popping wins over St. Louis is a solid victory but may still give the Blue Devils a game for a while. Duke hasnt played since Dec. 20 and has had just two games in the last three weeks. Pick: Duke, 82-64. Western Michigan (8-4) at N.C. State (9-2) When: Noon Full Court Press: As expected from a MAC team, the Broncos are physically strong and rugged inside, which will challenge N.C. States front and Richard Howell from getting into foul trouble. Western Michigan has beaten USF and Oakland, but has fallen to Cornell, Michigan by 32, Illinois State by 22 and Duquesne. Pick: N.C. State, 80-62. Delaware State (5-7) at Maryland (10-1) When: 12:30 p.m. Full Court Press: The Terrapins again are at home against a patsy. The Hornets have lost seven of nine and have little chance of handling Marylands inside game. Pick: Maryland, 81-55. Tulsa (7-5) at Florida State (7-4) When: 2 p.m. Full Court Press: Big game for FSU because the Golden Hurricane is capable of getting the win in Tallahassee. Tulsa has beaten TCU, but some of its losses are pretty bad: by 16 at Cal-State Northridge; by 16 to Stephen F. Austin; by 26 at Wichita State; and 17 at Creighton. But if FSU can lose at home to South Alabama and Mercer, it can drop this game. Pick: FSU, 74-65. Holy Cross (7-5) at Boston College (6-5) When: 2 p.m. Full Court Press: Holy Cross has failed to score 50 points in three games, including in an 18-point loss at Providence. Its best win might be over Dartmouth or San Francisco. Ryan Anderson is playing well for the Eagles, who have won three straight games, including over Providence last weekend. Pick: Boston College, 68-52. UNLV (11-1) at North Carolina (9-3) When: 2 p.m. Full Court Press: Very big game for both teams. A win by UNLV can establish itself as a viable top-10 team, while UNC needs a quality nonconference victory on its resume. Vegas only loss was by four points to Oregon, but it has true road wins at California and UTEP in addition to wins over Iowa State and Hawaii. Pick: UNC, 77-72. Fordham (3-9) at Georgia Tech (8-2) When: 7 p.m. Full Court Press: Another ho-hum opponent at home for the Yellow Jackets, who would be better served playing a more competitive team. One test will be their focus and intensity. Blowing the doors off the Rams right out of the game is a good sign. Fordham started out 1-8 but has beaten Siena and Princeton in two of its last three games. Pick: Georgia Tech, 84-60. Dec. 30 Wofford (6-6) at Virginia (9-3) When: 1 p.m. Full Court Press: The Cavaliers need to get on the floor and play a game as much as anyone after last weekends embarrassing loss to Old Dominion, which went into the game with a 1-10 record. Virginia must take it right to the Terriers and execute with tremendous precision. But it cant overlook the Terriers, who beat Xavier in their last game. Pick: Virginia, 68-51. Season record: 102-18
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