Hokies on historic run to start season

BLACKSBURG, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia and Virginia Tech will both take 3-0 ACC records into Tuesday's showdown of top 10 men's basketball teams at John Paul Jones Arena.

This is the fourth time in the last six seasons that UVA has won its first three ACC games. The Wahoos have finished the regular season with at least 16 conference wins in three of those previous five years - the program's most recent ACC regular season title teams in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

But for the Hokies, starting 3-0 in ACC play is less common. Prior to this year's team, it hadn't happened at Virginia Tech since 2007. Tech's 14-1 overall record ties the 1982-83 team for the best in school history. The Hokies are at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll for a second straight week, the program's highest AP national ranking since 1996, and one spot shy of the best in Tech history.

Senior guard Justin Robinson says Tech's success this season starts with the veteran team's maturity and chemistry in the locker room.

"We have a team of players who have been through adversity before. They know how to respond to it," Robinson said. "And just our maturity level is really high. Our teammate chemistry is perfect, on and off the court. So I think it translates well to who we are as a program. And I just think we like to play defense. We're going to get stops, and you see us trying on defense all the time."

Tech will enter John Paul Jones Arena on Tuesday trailing only UVA in scoring defense among ACC teams this season. Tech is giving up just 57.3 points per game, which as of Monday ranked fourth in the country.

Offensively, the Hokies are fifth in the ACC in scoring, at 79.2 points per game. Tech's 156 3-pointers this season are most in the league, and the Hokies' 3-point shooting percentage (42.3 percent) ranks third in the country.

Last February, Tech shot 37.9 percent (11-of-29) from beyond the 3-point line and held UVA to 60 points in a 61-60 overtime win at JPJ. The Hokies were the only visiting team to leave Charlottesville with a victory last season.

On Tuesday, Tech can become the first top 10 team since Duke in 2015 to beat the Cavaliers on their home floor. UVA has won six straight at JPJ against top 10 opponents.

"It was crazy. The atmosphere was amazing," Tech fifth-year guard Ahmed Hill recalled of last year's game. "They're an amazing team. It's really hard to win there, so to pull that off is incredible. This year, we're looking to do the same thing. They're a great team as always, great coach, great fans, great arena, hard place to play. We're just trying to go in there and steal one."

"It was a big win for us. But also, it's always a good game and big win for us, knowing the rivalry," said Robinson. "Knowing Virginia and Coach Bennett, their guys are going to be ready. And we're gonna have a game plan as well. Knowing they're a great test for us. Just a great opportunity in our league."



 
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