College Gameday heads to Charlottesville this weekend, as No. 2 Virginia (23-1, 12-0) puts its undebeaten ACC record on the line against in-state rival Virginia Tech (17-7, 6-5).
Tip is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for a free trial of a cable-free, live-TV streaming service. There are many to choose from, but here’s our recommendation for watching tonight’s battle between the Cavaliers and Hokies:
DirecTV Now: There are four different channel packages, and ESPN is included in all of them. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can either get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months, or $25 off your first month with promo code “YESNOW”.
Once signed up, you can watch the game on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
You can also watch via WatchESPN.com on your computer, or via the WatchESPN app on your phone, tablet or streaming device. When asked to verify your cable provider, you’ll just use your DirecTV Now credentials to sign in.
Following Villanova’s mid-week loss, a win for Virginia on Saturday night would likely propel the Cavaliers to No. 1 in the country for the first time since Ralph Sampson was roaming Charlottesville during the 1982-83 campaign.
“We’re on a different path,” Virginia sophomore guard Ty Jerome said about the potential feat. “We’re at the point where we’re on a quest of excellence. It doesn’t come along very often. It comes alone maybe once every 10 years.”
Virginia’s success this season can be attributed to the team’s defense. That’s a statement that has been true ever since Tony Bennett took over as head coach, but the Cavaliers’ pack-line D is on another level this season. They’re fourth in the country in two-point defense, fifth in three-point defense, third in effective field-goal percentage defense and fifth in steal percentage. Per Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency metrics, they are allowing just 81.8 points per 100 possessions (adjusted for strength of opponent), which is the best mark the 16-year KenPom era.
This defense isn’t just good. It’s historically good.
Virginia Tech found that out when these teams met in Blacksburg back on January 3, as the Hokies–owners of Pomeroy’s 23rd-ranked offense–shot just 36.2 percent from the field, hit two three-pointers, committed 16 turnovers an managed just 52 points, a season-low.
Still, the Hokies have won of their last five and scored 80-plus in each of those wins. They are won of the most dangerous offensive teams in the country, and the Cavaliers–despite being 12-point favorites–shouldn’t overlook their rivals.
“They’re a good team,” Virginia senior Devon Hall said. “We’ve got to be ready.”