This time it counts.
Renardo Sidney steps on the floor at 4,500-seat Imperial Arena in Nassau, Bahamas, tonight against Virginia Tech. He'll be given no quarter by the Hokies, which means the struggles he experienced Wednesday against Belhaven will be magnified if they are repeated tonight.
Virginia Tech (5-4), ranked in the preseason, has had some struggles but is a team of NCAA tournament quality. All five starters return from last year, and four of those guys are seniors. The lone junior in the starting lineup is big man Victor Davila (6-foot-8, 245 pounds), who will be tasked with guarding Sidney most of the game.
Coaches have wanted Davila (6.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg) to be more physical this season, and that style of play could frustrate Sidney, who's been known to settle for jumpers instead of forcing his way to the hoop.
The game will more likely be won in the backcourt. Tech has the best point guard in the ACC in Malcolm Delaney (20.1 ppg, 3.8 apg), who's 6-3, 190 and will make his own path to the basket (6.1 free throw attempts per game). However, he's playing more minutes this year (39.2 per game) than last, which is the opposite of what coach Seth Greenberg was hoping for.
So MSU (7-2) should have an edge there as far as depth. Tech is also dealing with an injured Dorenzo Hudson (9.6 ppg), who missed the last game with a strained calf muscle and should play today, but he might not start. In his stead, sophomore Erick Green scored a career-high 15 points in a win over Penn State on Sunday.
In addition to that win, Virginia Tech has defeated Oklahoma State. Three of its losses have come to ranked teams, and the Hokies' RPI is currently 65 with a strength-of-schedule rating of 20. MSU's RPI is 230.