Whatever Virginia Tech is doing to get ready for, and start, games right now isn’t working. The Hokies have come out flatter than Maria Sharapova in four of their last six games.
Let’s look at some of the First Half holes VT has dug for themselves:
- @ nc state – trailed by as many as 19; down 14 at the half
- uva – trailed by as many as 12; down 1 at the half
- fsu – led by as many as 20; up 18 at the half
- @bc – led by 8 at the half
- duke – trailed by as many as 11; down 4 at the half
- @ga tech – down 16 at the half
While Tech was able to close the gap in all those First Half stinkers, they were only able to actually win one of those game, uva. It is very difficult to overcome a double-digit deficit. The fact the Hokies seem to fall into them so early is disturbing.
Part of the problem seems to be a stagnant offense out of the gate. Players seem tentative, unwilling to take the ball to the hole in the half court set. The Hokies are an athletic team and must slash and go at the hoop. Guys like Delaney and Deron need to penetrate and shoot or pass. Or, Tech needs to feed the ball to Allen. Often times the guards make lazy passes into the post, which was evident against n.c. state and led to turnovers. Also, players don’t seem to be moving hard without the ball. The guys are either standing around or not breaking hard off high screens/double screens. Tech doesn’t seem to get into the offensive flow until they are down and have to start pressing more (not literally, but mentally). As a result, VT’s score goes up and the deficit comes down.
The results have been some pathetic outputs. In the georgia tech, uva, and nc state games, VT had 25 points or less at the half. That’s pathetic.
So what to do? Well, if I knew that, I wouldn’t be writing this. I’d be coaching. I know in baseball, if a starting pitcher consistently struggles in the first inning, they have him throw extra pitches in the bullpen or simulate an inning there. That way, he almost feels like he’s in his second inning of work at the start of the game. Or he’s no longer a starter…
Maybe the guys need to leave the floor with about five minutes left before the game and go scrimmage a couple of minutes in the back gym? This could help them get their legs and get into an offensive flow. The risk is tiring the guys out, although Tech does have a bunch of bodies to throw at you off the bench. The other risk is Allen and Delaney would have two fouls before the game started… just kidding.
Whatever the solution, I would love to start watching Hokie games and not be gritting my teeth after 10 minutes.