Game Preview | mt. st. mary’s (1-0) @ VT (1-0) | Mon., 8 PM

THE SETUP

  • All Time Series – VT 3-0
  • Last Meeting: Hokies won in 2005 at VT by a 74-62 score. In that game, A.D. Vassallo had 13 points and Cheick Diakite had 11, which is still his career high and the only time he’s reached double digits.
  • Game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet
  • The Opposing View

The Hokies want to be dancing in March. Not at the nubbins CBI, or the “Junior Prom” (the NIT), they want to be in the Big Dance. On Monday night the Hokies face a team that is coming off a NCAA Tournament appearance. In fact, the mount st. mary’s mountaineers, or “the mount”, won a NCAA Tournament game. Granted, it was the Opening Round game, against coppin state of the MEAC, but it has given the mountaineers a lot of confidence heading into this season.

THE OPPONENT

mount st. mary'sThe mount returns all but one key cog from last year’s Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship team. They are led by 5’9″ junior Jeremy Goode (finally Hank Thorns can look eye-to-eye at an opponent). Goode was a preseason All-NEC selection after averaging 10.1 points as a freshman and 14.5 points and 5.5 assists as a sophomore last season. Jeremy had 25 points in the mount’s season opener win against loyola. In that game, mt. st. mary’s scored 50 points in the second half, shooting 54% for the game in a 84-75 win.

The mount also returns their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth leading scorers from last season, all of whom averaged over seven points per game. But the team is not deep, playing only seven guys in their first game.

The mountaineers like to attack the lane and push the ball in transition — they don’t want this to be a half-court game. The mount are not a threat to win games from the outside, but they aren’t big, either. There’s no player on the roster over 6’7″, and only two guys are over 215 lbs. Kelly Beidler and the Atupem brothers, Shawn and Sam, are their best inside players. So transition defense is vital for Tech.

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • Pack it in: No one on the mount’s roster averaged over two three-pointers per game last season, and only one guy, Will Holland, averaged over one three-pointer per game. Jeremy Goode, the mountaineers top player, only made 20 threes last year, although he was 3/4 in their first game this season. Tech must get back on defense and slow down the mount’s transition game. VT should dare the mount to beat them from behind the arc.
  • 40 minutes of 0: The Big Donut, #0 Jeff Allen, had 17 points in the first half Friday as VT scored 40 points. In the second half, Allen had just one official shot attempt and four free throws, as gwu dropped into a zone and held the Hokies to 25 points. Tech must continue to feed the ball to Allen, or get him out on the perimeter if necessary to get the rock in his hands.
  • Pressure the mount’s guards: The two starting st. mary’s guards had nine turnovers in their opening game against loyola. VT needs to put pressure on them and force them into making bad decisions, which can feed Tech’s fastbreak and get the Hokies easy buckets.
  • Better bench: Tech got just six points on 25% (3/12) shooting off their bench Friday (Thorns, Witcher, and Bell). Someone, likely Lewis Witcher or Terrell Bell, needs to step up and give the Hokies some offense off the bench, especially if Dorenzo Hudson continues to struggle (1/7 from the field Friday and a 36% shooter last year).
  • Quartet or more instead of a trio: Tech right now is a three man band on offense with Allen, Malcolm Delaney, and A.D. Vassallo. They had 53 of VT’s 65 points (82%). In J.T. Thompson’s absence, another man needs to step up his game.
  • Protect the ball: Tech had 10 turnovers in the second half Friday, mainly against gwu’s zone. The Hokies need to do a better job of handling the ball and making good decisions/passes. They also must do a better job of attacking the zone with overloads, finding the soft spots in the zone for threes (usually the corners where Bell likes to shoot), or just getting out in transition and beating the opponent down the court.
  • First things first: The Hokies leave for Puerto Rico approximately 10 hours after the conclusion of this game.  Tech needs to keep their minds on the mount, and not on the beach.  mount st. mary’s is talented enough, and experienced enough, to pull off the upset if VT lets their guard down.

Probability of a VT win: 75%

BORING FACTS ABOUT THE OPPONENT

  • Location: Emmitsburg, MD (about an hour west of DC)
  • Enrollment: 2100 (grad and undergrad – about the 6th smallest in Division I)
  • Affiliation: private Catholic university; the 2nd oldest Catholic university in the US — 200 years old this year
  • Main Program: liberal arts
  • Conference: Northeast (you likely haven’t heard of any of the schools from this conference and they actually have two schools named st. francis; in fact, if you could name three of the NEC schools’ nicknames without looking, I’d be stunned)
  • Famous Alums: Fred Carter (NBA and ESPN analyst), Susan O’Malley (former President of the Washington Wizards – first female to hold such a post), Peter Rono (1988 Summer Olympics gold medalist
  • Other: Jim Phelan coached the mount with his unique bow ties for 49 years and finished in 2003 with 830 wins, ranking fourth on the all time list. His 1962 team won the D-II championship.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1215 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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