Liberty hosts Virginia Tech on Sunday at 3pm inside the Vines Center. The Flames and Hokies clash in an open exhibition game with all proceeds going to help hurricane victims.
Virginia Tech is ranked #15 in the preseason AP top 25 poll, and are preparing to make a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in program history. Head coach Buzz Williams has a veteran team, led by 4 returning starters that all averaged double figures a season ago.
The top 6 returners include 4 seniors, a 4th year junior and a sophomore. Senior point guard Justin Robinson leads the way after averaging 14 points and 5.6 assists a season ago. His backcourt mates, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill, are a big reason why the Hokies ranked first in the ACC in 3 point field goals per game and 3 point field goal percentage. Virginia Tech also led the ACC, and was 6th in the country, in field goal percentage as they shot 49.9% from the field.
Ty Outlaw, a 6th year senior, returns from injury and provides another outside shooting threat. Big man Kerry Blackshear Jr. also returns. The 6’10” forward averaged 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
6’6″ wing Chris Clarke also returns, he was the team’s 6th man last year and led the team with 6.3 rebounds per game. Virginia Tech announced earlier this week that Clarke has been suspended indefinitely from the team.
Liberty is 3-14 all-time against the Hokies, with the last meeting coming during the 2014-15 season. The Flames lost that matchup in Blacksburg, 73-63, behind head coach Dale Layer. Layer, who compiled a 82-113 record in 6 seasons as Liberty’s head coach, was added to Williams’ staff at Virginia Tech during the summer as a special assistant.