Preview | VT (17-12, 7-8) @ #24 fsu (22-8, 9-6) | Sun., 2 PM | Raycom

Note: If Virginia Tech wins this game, they finish in 7th place in the ACC and will play nc state on Thursday at 7 PM.  If Tech loses, they finish in a three way tie with maryland and miami.  In that scenario, maryland would be the #7 seed and play nc state, while VT would be the #8 seed and play miami at noon on Thursday.

THE SETUP

Recap of the Weekend Warrior’s trip to Tallahassee back in October

Spread: fsu by 5.5

This is all the setup you need: Virginia Tech must win this game to keep alive any hope of going to the NCAA Tournament.  You cannot finish below .500 in your conference and expect to make the Big Dance.  It is time for the Hokies to put up or shut up.  If VT finishes 7-9 in the regular season in the ACC, no “certifiably insane” speech is going to carry any weight.  With a win though, Tech would have three wins against Top 25 RPI teams (#14 wake, #17 fsu, and #18 clemson), and all on the road.  Unfortunately for Tech, both bc and miami have fallen out of the Top 50, so those are no longer Top-50 wins.  Joe Lunardi of ESPN Bracketology currently has the Hokies on the Big Dance waiting list, five to eight spots out of the tourney.

THE SERIES

  • All-Time: 17-23
  • At fsu: 5-13
  • In ACC Play: 2-4
  • Streaks: The home team had won all five games since VT joined the ACC until fsu won in Blacksburg two weeks ago.
  • Of Note: VT has won on the road at every ACC school except fsu and nc state since joining the ACC.

Last Meeting: fsu 67, @VT 65 — It all came down to one shot, the ball in A.D. Vassallo’s hands with an open look at a three to give Virginia Tech the victory.  But as has been the case so many times this season, the bounce did not go the Hokies’ way.  Instead, the shot clanged off the iron and out, and Virginia Tech missed out on another golden opportunity for a big win at home. 

Derwin Kitchen was the story in this meeting, scoring 19 points, his season high.  Having hit just seven three pointers on the season coming in, he went 3/3 from long range, including a shot he just hucked up from the corner at the end of the shot clock.  Toney Douglas had a team high 22, but that was no surprise.  His jumper with six seconds left put fsu ahead.  Malcolm Delaney had 25 for the Hokies in his best performance over the last eight games — he took a break from his shooting slump and went 5/8 on threes in the game.

No shock here, but VT fell well behind early in the contest.  It was 25-11 fsu before the halfway mark of the first half.

Click ‘Read more’ to see the rest of the preview…

LINEUPS
Virginia Tech 

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Point Guard

23 – Delaney

6′3″

18.4

So

Shooting Guard

5 – Hudson

6′5″

4.0

So

Small Forward/Wing

40 – Vassallo

6′6″

18.9

Sr

Power Forward

0 – Allen

6′7″

14.1

So

Center

34 – Diakite

6′9″

3.8

Sr

Bench

1 – Bell

6′6″

2.5

So

 

10 – Thorns

5′9″

3.0

So

 

14 – Davila

6′8″

3.2

Fr

 

21 – Witcher

6′9″

2.1

Jr

33 – Thompson

 6’6″ 5.3 So 

fsu

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Guard

23 – Douglas

6′2″

20.8

Sr

Guard

22 – Kitchen

6′4″

8.3

So

Forward

31 – Singleton

6′9″

8.0

Fr

Forward

41 – Echefu

6′9″

8.9

Sr

Center

32 – Alabi

7’1″

8.2

Fr

Bench

1 – Gibson

6’11″

2.2

Fr

 

2 – DeMercy

6’7″

3.4

So

 

3 – Loucks

6’5″

3.3

Fr

 

4 – Dulkys

6′5″

3.8

Fr

 

42 – Reid

6’8″

5.3 Jr

I would expect Dorenzo Hudson to start due to the noles’ tall lineup.  Dorenzo has been shooting better of late, having hit 4/7 three pointers over the last four games.

THE OPPONENT

Four things to watch for from florida state:

  • They are tall
  • They are athletic
  • They LOVE to shoot the three (almost all of them)
  • They are the Toney Douglas show

The seminoles are an odd mix — they are very young and veteran at the same time.  They start two seniors and three players that are in their first year at florida state (Derwin Kitchen originally was slated to go to florida before ending up at iowa western community college).  Their bench is also very young except for Ryan Reid.

fsu presents match-up nightmares for opponents due to their size.  They will run five big men that are 6’8″ or taller at you, similar to wake forest.  In the VT/wake game, Tech neutralized this by getting the deacon big men in foul trouble (or beat up) early. 

Just like wake and Jeff Teague, fsu has a tremendous combo guard in Toney Douglas.  Douglas averaged almost 17 points as a freshman and is just 35 points away from 2000 in his career.  He is the only nole averaging in double digits, scoring 20 a game, good for second in the ACC.  Toney is a streaky shooter from deep and is currently unconscious, having hit 18 threes on 41 attempts in his last four games, including 4/9 in Blacksburg.  This will be his senior night, so expect him to be looking to have a huge game.  Let’s hope he presses and forces bad shots.

The difference between wake and fsu is the noles’ big men are no where near as talented as wake’s.  Chris Singleton is a very athletic freshman who will be a star in this league, especially once Douglas’ shots are gone next year.  But he likes to wander out on the perimeter and shoot threes.  He is 26/84 on the season from deep.  He reminds me of James Johnson of wake last year in this respect — a talented big man who hasn’t yet figured out he needs to be inside.  On the offensive glass, or in transition, Singleton can dunk with the best of them.  Tech must box him out.

Uche Echefu is another big man who is better facing the basket than with his back to it.  He has also tried almost 50 threes on the season.  While Uche is not extremely physical, he is an excellent foul shooter, hitting 83% (even better than Douglas’ 80%). 

Soloman Alabi is a big body inside.  At 7’1″, he can be a shot blocking force.  His 2.1 blocks per game is #2 in the ACC.  Most of his points will come on the offensive glass or when teams overcommit to Douglas and leave him wide open inside.  Tech has had an issue with switches of late, so this could be a trouble spot.

The final starter is Derwin Kitchen whom I mentioned above.  He has been on a tear of late, finding his scoring touch, and has reached double digits in five straight games.

Off the bench, Dulkys, Loucks, and DeMercy all like to stroke it from deep.  None of them shoot particularly well though.  Reid is an energy guy to rest some of the other big men.  But their bench has given the noles almost no production of late.

Overall, fsu is not an offensive juggernaut.  They are ninth in the ACC in points per game in ACC play.  But with their size, they are very stout on defense.  Their 68.2 ppg against and 41% FG%-Defense are both good for second in the ACC.   fsu’s size forces opponents to adjust their game inside.  Tech must be hot from long range — Vassallo, Delaney, and maybe Hudson — or Tech has almost no chance.  This game will likely be a low scoring, drag-it-out type game. 

KEYS TO THE GAME:

D the 3, then Box Out: fsu attempts 20 threes per game.  They hit less than 30% of them in ACC play, second worst in the league.  That means a lot of misses.  The noles don’t care since they are so tall, they are counting on getting offensive rebounds.  Tech has given up more than their fair share of second chances of late.  The Hokies must go out and defend everyone but Alabi on the perimeter and get a hand in their face, then find a body to block out and put a butt on them.  Once the shot is up, it all comes down to desire — The Hokies have to want that ball.  Despite their size, fsu actually has a negative rebounding margin in ACC play.  Tech must outwork the noles.

Urgency but not Pressure: Like I said, this is a must-win for VT.  It is not for fsu.  Tech has to come out and play like their season is on the line.  They have to fight and claw for every 50/50 ball.  They have to play with intensity.  But they can’t stress out.  It is just one game.  Putting too much pressure can lead to missed assignments or forcing shots.  Play hard, leave it all on the line, and let the chips fall where they may.

Live by Delaney: Malcolm has been in a shooting slump of late.  If he misses his first couple of shots, he needs to find other ways to score — either by finding his runner to avoid the fsu big men (which is a shot he has not been able to make of late), or getting fouled in transition.  With the size of the noles inside, let’s hope he can hit an early three. 

Dunkin’ Donut: Jeff Allen needs to play this game with a chip on his shoulder.  He will be key to VT getting boards and scoring inside.  He has to attack the fsu big men, and if he can hit an early three, he will force them to come out on the perimeter and help open the lane for Delaney and Vassallo.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1231 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.

Contact the author | Visit the author's website | Follow Niemo on Twitter

The Wild Hokie Club!

The Hokies experienced their worst season since the ricky "program bomb" stokes era. Sure, it would have been easy to quit on you, but did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!

 

And we do it for free! But, just like NPR, we rely on the generosity of our loyal fans to help keep this humble Hokie website alive. That being said, see how you can help TechHoops.com make it to 10 years!

 

Jon King, Ben Floyd and Dan Rickenbach all got in on the action and we encourage all TechHoops heads to do the same.

 

Any donation amount earns you a spot in our Wild Hokie Club. We'll even give you a shout out on Twitter and Facebook. We may even let you get armcurled by Niemo.

 

So join the TechHoops.com Wild Hokie Club today!


Choose your level of support!




New Poll Question

Has the hiring of Buzz Williams influenced your plans for attending games next season?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Get TechHoops Updates via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

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

Photos on flickr