Preview | NIT 1st Round | #8 morgan st. (22-10) vs. #1 VT (19-13) | Wed., 7 PM | ESPN Classic

Update: For those of you that watched the florida state NIT game Tuesday night, you probably noticed it was more empty than a SEC Tournament game. Seriously, let’s not embarrass our school by only have a few thousand at the game on Wednesday. If you are on the fence about going, YOU ARE GOING! This team is fun to watch. Consider yourself lucky to get to see Deron dunk one (or two or three) more time(s). And it isn’t like we are kentucky or unc, going to the NIT should be a big deal to us. We didn’t make the postseason from 1997-2004. I’ll get off my soap box now…

THE SETUP

“Well then I guess there’s only one thing left to do… Win the whole [bleepin'] thing!” -Tom Berenger in Major League.

Like it or not, deserving or not, the Hokies are in the 71st National Invitational Tournament as a #1 seed. And this is a good opportunity for the Hokies. This team is young and have every significant player back except for Deron Washington next year. Any chance this team gets to play together is a good thing, and this tournament beats the crap out of the one VT played in up in Canada in September, eh?

ACC COY Seth Greenberg must dip into his magical bag of motivational speeches and tell Tech to forget what might have been and focus on the “what is”. A.D. Vassallo said all the right things on Saturday, saying he just wanted to keep playing wherever, now the team has to prove it.

I’ve always said ESPN Classic, who is broadcasting this game, should have a sister station called “ESPN Crapper”. That’s where they’d show replays of football games with 6-3 final scores, every duke-unc football would be an automatic showing, and they’d join blowouts in progress once teams had cleared their benches. Well, if I have my way, this game will be an “Instant Crapper” as I’m hoping the Hokies will come out focused and motivated, not disappointed, and lay the woodshed to the visiting morgan state bears from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, or “MEAC” as they say on the mean streets of Fairfax, VA where I grew up.

THE NUMBERS:

  • VT leads the series 6-0, including four wins from 2002-2005. Deron Washington, A.D. Vassallo, and Cheick Diakite have all played against morgan state.
  • VT is 8-0 all time at the Cassell in NIT play! Considering they could get up to three home games if they keep winning, I like our odds of making NYC and MSG.

Category

VT

VT

msu

msu

2007-08 Record

19-13

22-10

Points/Game

69.2

67.7

Scoring Defense

64.8

61.4

Leading Scorers

Vassallo

16.6

Smith

17.0

Washington

12.8

Holmes

13.0

Leading Rebounder

Allen

7.9

Coly

11.1

Assists Leader

Thorns

3.4

Green

3.6

Blocks Leader

Diakite

1.3

Coly

2.6

Steals Leader

Allen

2.1

Green

1.2

VT’s NIT HISTORY

This year marks Virginia Tech’s ninth appearance in the NIT, which used to be the premiere basketball tournament until the 1960s. In fact, the Hokies 1973 NIT Championship is regarded as the biggest moment in program history by many, including me. In that game, Bobby Stevens recovered his own miss and hit a 12 foot jumpshot at the buzzer for a 92-91 overtime win in the championship game. The Hokies won their four NIT games that year by a total of seven points and each of the last three wins were by one point. I watched the tape of the game in the VT library and I have to tell you, I got chills when Stevens hit the winning shot, even 25 years later.

Tech also won the NIT back in 1995, again in dramatic fashion as Shawn Smith hit two free throws with less then five seconds left for a 65-65 overtime win over marquette (for you hoops junkies, William Gates from the movie Hoop Dreams was on that marquette team but did not play in the game). This tournament included one of my favorite all-time VT games, a 64-61 win over new mexico state on a Travis Jackson three-pointer in the final seconds. The win sent VT to New York and nearly sent me to the hospital. I was one of the first to try and jump on the court but one of the cops caught me in mid-air and slammed me down onto the railing right on my twig and two berries. It was still worth it. After the championship game, students flooded Main Street and it had to be closed off.

The Hokies finished third in the NIT in 1984 using an ABA style multi-colored ball. Their last appearance in the NIT was three years ago. VT won at home over temple before falling to a memphis squad that included several of the players they have this year.

THE OPPONENT

  • morgan state university bears (used to be the golden bears yet their colors are orange and blue… go figure) is a historically black college
  • Founded: 1867
  • Location: Baltimore, MD (Malcolm Delaney’s area)
  • Conference: MEAC
  • Enrollment: 6,000 and like VT, have a student from all 50 states
  • Were just 4-26 two years ago, 13-18 last year, and 22-10 this year. Based on that, they improve by nine wins each year and will lose this game.
  • Have a women’s bowling team
  • Head Coach Todd Bozeman coached another golden bears team, at cal, and coached Jason Kidd. He won the MEAC COY this season.
  • This marks msu’s first postseason appearance on the D-I level.
  • morgan state won the MEAC regular season title.
  • Boubacar Coly was the MEAC Defensive POY. He averages 11.1 rebounds (4th in the nation) and 2.6 blocks. But he is just 6’9″ so I assume this was padded by weaker competition.
  • Jamar Smith, the MEAC POY, missed the MEAC title game with a foot injury. His status is uncertain for this game and he has missed three of the last five games.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1221 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • DuffHokie

    VT by 20 = Bearfights

  • pmckenne

    I think Morgan St +18 is a gift. Morgan St is an above average team that could give an emotionless hokies team alot of trouble. Morgan St has traveled to UConn & Da U and nearly won.

    However if the students pack the place and the players can feed of the energy in the building the route will be on by the start of the 2H

    One thing is for sure; we get more basketball that is on TV and as long as we keep oin winning we will keeping getting more.

    HOKIE HOOPS

  • vatechhokies50

    They have a student from my home state of North Dakota?

  • http://toddwickersty.com The Wick

    If we lose tonight, I will go certifiably insane!

  • goodraisin

    I can’t imagine that Greenberg won’t have the team ready for this game, so I figure the only way we lose is if the whole team continues their shooting slump and Delaney decides to join them. This is a win as long as the Hokies play the same tough defense they’ve been playing the last couple of games. I think we should match defensive stud v. defensive stud and pit Diakite against Coly… that leaves Jeff Allen free to terrorize whatever undersized guy they throw into the power forward slot.

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