The Balla Report 2/22/09

The Heartbreak Kids, otherwise known as the Virginia Tech Hokies men’s hoops team, were back in action on Saturday night, and wouldn’t you know it, yet another gut wrenching, rip your heart out and stomp it defeat. This time 67-65 at the hands of the florida state seminoles. And this one really hurt. The game of basketball is a game of inches and they say everything evens out eventually. That being said, with the Hokies down by two on the final possession, I’ve never in my life had more confidence in one shot going in than when A.D. Vassallo launched that three from the top of the key. Reality struck when the ball hit nothing but the back of the rim as the final horn sounded. Another game, another heartbreaking loss. Though this one seemed a bit more cruel than the others. This was a must win and the Hokies appeared to have put themselves in perfect position to bring home the all important W.

To say that the ball just doesn’t seem to be bouncing our way this season would be the understatement of the year. Kind of like saying the economy is not very good right now. With the roles reversed, give any other player on any other team on Tech’s schedule the open look at the buzzer that A.D. had and you just KNOW that sucker is going in, much to the dismay of Hokies everywhere. Give credit to Greenberg for drawing up the play to get an open look. The execution was flawless, with the one obvious exception.

The amazing thing is that this team continues to battle. The second half against fsu was a very gutsy performance just to get back into the contest. With 25 points, including 5-8 from 3-point land, Malcolm Delaney showed that he is out of his recent shooting slump, which is certainly somewhat of a silver lining in an otherwise devastating defeat.

For the first time in his coaching career, a team coached by Seth Greenberg opened up in a zone. Interesting move, but to say this move backfired would be yet another humongous understatement. As usual, a team that had been a statistically poor shooting team coming in, shot lights out. Before you knew it, the Hokies were down 25-11 and clearly looked like they hadn’t yet recovered from back to back road losses to maryland and uva.

Zones have worked throughout this season when used from time to time during games to stem opponents’ runs. For some reason though, the Hokies didn’t show the fire defensively that they did after they eventually settled back into their man to man. My guess is that this will be the one and only time that you see the Hokies open in a zone under Greenberg.

Outside of back to back wins over duke and unc and stealing a win on the road in rematches versus clemson or fsu, the Hokies are the longest of long shots now for the NCAA Tournament. The good news is that it’s right there in front of them. If they want to get in, they can certainly go out and earn it, however much the odds are stacked against it. Three games in a row against top 10 teams is a golden opportunity for a team searching to show they belong in the field. But how can they possibly muster up the mojo to have a shot at any of these games?

Anything besides a blowout loss at clemson on Wednesday night would be a total shock to me at this point. But on the other hand, if there is one team that is all too experienced at recovering from these types of losses, it’s the Hokies. If there is one thing that’s been shown this season, it’s when the Hokies are at full strength they can compete with any other team. Will things finally start to even out for the Hokies and their much distraught fans? Or will this team continue to be snake bitten? The season’s not over and there is still a chance, however small that chance may be.

This post was written by:

- who has written 52 posts on Tech Hoops.

VT class of '92, B.S. in Finance. Legendary Playground balla from the outdoor courts of Richmond to the courts outside of Lee Hall & N.U.F. Also 2 time captain of Sigma Nu C Team Basketball. We once qualified for the VT Intramural version of the Big Dance & lost our first round game by over 100 points. Not to brag, but I connected on a 4 point play off the opening tip, & we took a 4-zip lead. Things went downhill fast after that. Favorite bball memories as a student (88 - 92) include watching the great Bimbo Coles for a couple of seasons. Other than that, not many. We did beat jmu once when Lefty Driessel was the coach there. Also beat a nationally ranked alabama team when I was a Freshman which led to a mattress battle on the prarie between Pritchard & O'Shag - I still have a t-shirt somewhere. Favorite all time VT basketball moment, the win '07 win over #1 unc goes straight to the top.

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  • vatechhokies50

    It’s very small… very small… if we are 9-7 in the ACC and we have some lobbying by the candidates for Governor in Virginia, we might get a 12 seed.

  • vatechhokies50

    Joe Lunardi still has us in the tournament:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology

  • formercoach

    formercoach says:

    Coach Greenberg really needs to establish who and what his team is and stand by it. Quit changing based on who he is playing. You can’t play someone 3 min. one game 25 min. the next game and expect consistency from your team. Delaney needs to sit down some as well. How effective a defender is he going to be logging the minutes he is playing. His recent slump might have to do with fatigue. I liked the move of benching A.D in the first half to get his attention on the defensive side of the ball. Malcolm needs to get the same treatment he is not above reproach. He makes mistakes like everyone else, as well as taking some very ill advised shots. Coaching is all about message. What message has Coach Greenberg been sending to his kids all year. There is a school of thought that his talent other than the “Big 3″ is overrated. I beg to differ these kids were recruited by a lot of programs and seen by a lot of scouts. there were way too many eyes on these kids (Bell, Hudson, Thompson), for them to not be ACC level talent. Coach is not getting everything out of them because of their very short leash.

  • Niemo

    vth50 – Actually, he has us OUT. We aren’t even in the first 4 out… he has us in the 5th-8th team out of the tourney right now. Can’t argue with that.

    Coach – I agree with your points. At some point, when things keep going wrong on or off the court, you have to wonder about what the coach is doing. And with minutes going like they are, it is hard for the other guys to build up any confidence. That is why we got blasted without Allen at uva – backups weren’t comfortable and were pressing, and why we can’t win when Delaney has an off night – no one else can stuff up and fill in those points.

    That said, this offseason some of these bench guys are going to have to really dedicate themselves or they better get used to the pine. Thorns must become an at least average shooter from deep/mid-range, Davila needs to work on his post defense, Bell – also his shooting plus ballhandling and develop a runner/pull-up.

  • vatechhokies50

    Sorry Niemo, the link I posted was February 20 (prior to the weekend games)… it appears to have been updated today after I posted the link.

    Here’s a great link I found… a complication of all the bracket predictions on the web… the Bracket Project Group’s 2009 Bracket Matrix:

    http://bracketproject.50webs.com/matrix.htm

    Some brackets still have us in even with the loss… of course, I admit, we need to win our next 3-4 games… I’m not on board with Seth that we can be 8-8 in the ACC and still get in.

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2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - vs. liberty | 7pm, ESPN3
11/22 - vs. appalachian state | 1pm, ESPN3
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - vs. n. iowa | 7pm, CBSSN
11/26 - championship/consolation game | TBA, CBSSN
**********
11/30 - morgan state | 3pm, ESPN3

December

12/03 - @ penn state | 7:15pm, ESPNU
12/07 - vs. radford | 3pm, ESPN3
12/14 - vs. alabama a&m | 3pm, ESPN3
12/20 - vs. the citadel | 1pm, ESPN3
12/22 - vs. vmi | 7pm, ESPN3
12/27 - vs. presbyterian | 7pm, ESPN3
12/30 - @ west virginia | 2pm, ESPNU

January

01/03 - vs. syracuse | Noon, RSN
01/06 - @ fsu | 7pm, RSN
01/13 - @ louisville | 7pm, RSN
01/18 - @ unc | 6:30pm, ESPNU
01/22 - vs. notre dame | 7pm, RSN
01/25 - vs. uva | 1pm, ACCN
01/27 - vs. pittsburgh | 7pm, ESPNU
01/31 - @ wake forest | 2pm, RSN

February

02/03 - @ syracuse | 9pm, ESPNU
02/07 - vs. fsu | 3pm, ACCN
02/09 - vs. georgia tech | 9pm, ESPNU
02/14 - @ clemson | Noon, RSN
02/18 - @ miami | 7pm, RSN
02/21 - @ nc state | 6pm, ESPN2
02/25 - vs. duke | 9pm, ESPN2
02/28 - @ uva | 4pm, ACCN

March

03/02 - vs. boston college | 9pm, ESPNU
03/07 - vs. miami | Noon, RSN
**********
ACC Tournament
03/10 - 1st rd.
03/11 - 2nd rd.
03/12 - quarterfinals
03/13 - semifinals
03/14 - championship

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