Categorized | 2008-09 Season, Games, NIT

NIT 2nd Round Preview | baylor (21-14) @ VT (19-14) | Sat., 11 AM

THE SETUP

The Hokies will take on the baylor bears on Saturday morning at 11 AM in the second round of the NIT.  It is Breakfast in Blacksburg!  The early start time should be a good thing for VT since baylor is from the Central Time Zone.  This is a 10 AM tip-off on their body clocks, and after having to travel all the way from Waco.  baylor, the #3 seed in their bracket region, defeated #6 seed georgetown by a 74-72 score at baylor.  The bears overcame a 10 point halftime deficit.  The Hokies won 116-108 (2 OT) in one of the greatest games in Cassell Coliseum history in the first round.

THE SERIES

  • All-Time: 1-1 (VT won in 1960, bu in ’68) 
  • Both were at neutral sites as part of tournaments

SIX PACK OF FUN FACTS

  1. Virginia Tech has won their first game in the last ten tournaments they’ve played in dating back to 2006.  But they are just 3-6 in the second game of tournaments over that span.
  2. In addition to Vassallo (see #5), two other Hokies set career highs on Wednesday — J.T. Thompson with 21 and Dorenzo Hudson with 15.
  3. With a win in this game, the Hokies will have won 20 games or more in three straight seasons.  VT has not done that since the mid-80s when they won 20+ five years in a row from ’82-’86.
  4. Aaron Jackson set a Cassell Coliseum record for points scored by an opponent with 46 in the game Wednesday.  Allan Bristow of VT, whom Vassallo just past on the scoring list (see #5), had 52 against gwu in 1973, the overall record.
  5. A.D. Vassallo moved into fifth place on the all time VT scoring list with his career high 33 points on Wednesday.  He also had a career high 12 rebounds.
  6. Tech’s 116 points against duquesne marked their highest scoring output since scoring 141 against southern miss in 1988.

THE LINEUPS

Virginia Tech 

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Point Guard

23 – Delaney

6′3″

18.2

So

Shooting Guard

5 – Hudson

6′5″

4.5

So

Small Forward/Wing

40 – Vassallo

6′6″

19.3

Sr

Power Forward

0 – Allen

6′7″

13.8

So

Center

34 – Diakite

6′9″

3.8

Sr

Bench

1 – Bell

6′6″

2.3

So

 

10 – Thorns

5′9″

2.7

So

 

14 – Davila

6′8″

3.1

Fr

 

21 – Witcher

6′9″

2.0

Jr

33 – Thompson

 6′6″ 6.5 So 

baylor

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Guard

0 – Jerrells

6′1″

16.1

Sr

Guard

45 – Carter

5′11″

10.6

Jr

Guard

24 – Dunn

6′4″

15.5

So

Forward

23 – Rogers

6′9″

12.4

Sr

Center

50 – Lomers

7′

3.0

Jr

Bench

4 – Acy

6’7″

5.6

Fr

 

5 – Dugat

6′

10.0

Sr

 

15 – Diene

7’1″

1.8

Sr

 

41 – Jones

 6’10″

2.8

 Fr

 

 

 

   

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

 THE OPPONENT

Talk about a drought — before Wednesday night, the baylor bears had not won a postseason basketball game since 1950 (NIT or NCAA)!   This is also a program that was rocked by scandal and the murder of one teammate by another teammate in 2003 – Story.  Their comeback from that to make the NCAA Tournament last year in just five seasons is pretty remarkable.

baylor has an impressive 21-14 record on the season, a year after making the Big Dance last year (they were one of the teams on the bubble along with VT, edging out the Hokies).  But the bears were just 5-11 in the Big 12 this regular season, including losing 10 of their final 12 regular season games.  However, they rebounded in the conference tournament, winning three in a row against nebraska, kansas, and texas (the last two are in the Big Dance) before losing to missouri in the championship game.  Which team will show up Saturday?  We shall see in the wee hours of the morning.

baylor has a balanced attack with five players averaging in double digits.  Four of those top five scorers are guards, so they play a similar style to duquesne.  And their guards aren’t very tall by major conference standards.  Curtis Jerrells, their senior point guard and team leader in points and assists, is just 6’1″.  Tweety Carter and Henry Dugat, their fourth and fifth leading scorers respectively, are 5’11″ and 6′ respectively.  But they are very quick and every one of them except for Dugat is an excellent three point shooter.  LaceDarius Dunn, their 6’4″ sophomore guard, is their best outside shooter at 38% and with 96 made threes.  More than half his field goals made are from deep.  Expect Dorenzo Hudson to draw the assignnment on him due to his length. 

Kevin Rogers is baylor’s lone inside threat on the offensive end.  And even though the bears don’t have a lot of size overall, Rogers is a hoss inside.  The big man is 6’9″ and 250 lbs. and leads the team in rebounds with 7.5 per game.  He also scores more than 12 ppg.  Josh Lomers, a 7′ and 280 lbs. behemeth, also starts for baylor but does not see big minutes.

On defense, baylor’s quick guards create a lot of steals.  Their four guards mentioned above all average over a steal per game.  But they don’t block many shots — not a surprise for a small team.   Even Rogers is not much of a shot blocking force inside.

The baylor bench is led by Henry Dugat, detailed above.  He is the lone guard off the bench and spells one of the three of Jerrells, Dunn, or Carter.  Quincy Ace, Anthony Jones, and Mamadou Diene (hmm, similar name to the uva guy) will also see minutes.   Those three guys, along with Lomers, eat up the 40 minutes at the center position while also giving Rogers the occasional rest.  Diene is also over 7′ and Jones is 6’10″, but they are really just space eaters inside.

Summary: Tech must do a better job of defending the three, and shooting it, to win this game.  duquesne was 17/30 from deep (57%) and baylor likes to shoot the three just as much, and the two teams shoot the exact same percentage on the season (35.9%).  A lot of this will fall on defensive specialist Dorenzo Hudson, and the big VT man on the perimeter will have to stay out on picks until the picked Hokie guard can recover and get over the screen. 

The Hokies were just 5/15 from deep Wednesday, including a 1/9 start.  The Hokies had 56 points in the paint against the dukes, but Tech will not be able to get as many easy buckets inside as they did against duquesne since the bears do have some big’uns to eat up paint.  Three point shooting will be crucial in this contest.  Hopefully the familiar Cassell setting will get the Hokies off to a hot start.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1198 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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  • 757Hokie

    Gonna get there real early….as in sleeping outside Cassell all night to be first in line with some friends. GO HOKIES -Bear-fight

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