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Hokies and Orange square off in NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals

The fifth-ranked Syracuse Orange make the trek Off. The winner will advance to Friday's title tilt against either Stanford or Oklahoma State.

Virginia Tech has taken out East Tennessee State, Monmouth and FIU to open the season, all at home, with the last two coming during the initial stages of this event. The Hokies are hoping to make some noise in the ACC this season, although with North Carolina and Duke hogging much of the spotlight, it's going to be tough to get folks to stand up and take notice.

Syracuse is off to another solid start, as the team has blown away Fordham, Manhattan, Albany and Colgate, all at the Carrier Dome, by an average of 32.5 ppg. The Orange are expected to be in the thick of the battle for Big East Conference bragging rights yet again this year, and outside of these next two bouts, their biggest tests prior to the start of league play will come against Florida on December 2, and perhaps at NC State on December 17.

Syracuse owns a 3-2 edge in the all-time series with Virginia Tech, and the Orange have won the last three meetings.

The Hokies boast four double-digit scorers after the first three games, and Dorenzo Hudson leads the way with 19.3 ppg. A 60 percent shooter from the field, Hudson has converted 18-of-21 free throws and comes up with a steal per outing as well. Erick Green (11.5 ppg), Robert Brown (11.0 ppg) and Tyrone Garland (11.0 ppg) have all produced for coach Seth Greenberg's club, and Dorian Finney-Smith has been a man possessed on the glass, coming up with 11 rpg, while Victor Davila is a shot-blocking fiend with his seven swats. As a team, Virginia Tech is netting 77.7 ppg while giving up just 54.0 ppg, and the Hokies are shooting 51.3 percent from the floor, while yielding just 30.5 percent to the opposition, which includes a dismal 14.0 percent effort from beyond the arc. Hudson poured in 31 points on 8-of-13 field goal efficiency and a perfect 12-of-12 showing from the foul line in VT's 78-63 win over FIU last time out. Finney-Smith logged a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Hokies shot 51.9 percent from the floor, while limiting the Panthers to 35.1 percent.

Dion Waiters (16 points) and C.J. Fair (13 points) both came off the bench to lead Syracuse in its recent win over Colgate, as the team shot 49.2 percent from the field and nailed 10 three-pointers. Colgate, which has lost 46 straight games to the Orange (the longest active steak in Division I), managed just a 34.0 percent shooting effort, and the Raiders were guilty of 26 turnovers. The only starter to score in double figures for the Orange was Scoop Jardine with 11 points, and he handed out six assists as well. While facing obviously inferior opponents, Syracuse has lit up the scoreboard here in the early going in averaging 90 ppg, doing so behind a .493 shooting percentage. James Southerland and Dion Waiters currently sit atop the team's scoring list with 13.8 ppg each, and both have yet to start a game. Kris Joseph is the only starter currently averaging double digits with his 13.5 ppg, and the Orange have committed nearly half the amount of turnovers as the opposition (89-49).