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Hokies back in NCAAs for first time since 2007

Staff and wire reports • Mar 12, 2017 at 11:16 PM

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech is bound for Buffalo and a first-round NCAA tournament matchup with Wisconsin.

The Hokies (22-10) are seeded ninth in the East Region after earning an at-large bid out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. They will play the No. 8 seed Badgers (25-9) on Thursday at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center. Tipoff time is scheduled for 9:40 p.m.

Wisconsin received an at-large bid out of the Big Ten, which extended the Badgers’ NCAA streak to 19 seasons. They advanced to the Sweet 16 the past three years, though the seeding this time around is their lowest since 2009.

The Badgers, who lost to eighth-seeded Michigan 71-56 on Sunday in the Big Ten championship game, are known for their tough defense. Bronson Koenig leads the team in scoring with an average of 14 points per game. Ethan Happ adds 13.9 ppg and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game.

Virginia Tech is 2-0 against Big Ten teams this season.

The Hokies’ first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2007 will be their second all-time meeting with the Badgers. Wisconsin took a 74-72 victory in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Cassell Coliseum in 2008.

Zach LeDay leads Virginia Tech in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rpg).

Thursday’s winner will likely get defending national champion Villanova (31-3), the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, in Saturday’s second-round matchup. The defending national champion Wildcats will open against the winner of Tuesday’s First Four game between Mount St. Mary’s and New Orleans.

During his six seasons at Marquette, current Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams matched wits with Villanova 12 times and posted a 4-8 record.

The Hokies are one of nine ACC teams in the field of 68. Notre Dame, the fifth seed in the West Regional, also will play in Buffalo on Thursday against Princeton.

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