The Hokies return to action less than 50 hours after the conclusion of their opener, a 69-55 victory over brown. Tech definitely has some areas for improvement going into game #2. VT is favored by 20, the same amount they were favored by against brown, which they obviously cover. I’m actually predicting the Hokies cover tonight, though I don’t bet on sports and you certainly shouldn’t go by me.
Here’s a SIX PACK of things to look for:
- Dehydrated Delaney?: Malcolm played 38 minutes in the opener. Not a good sign considering he wore down over the course of last season and saw his shooting numbers drop dramatically in the final month of the season. Freshman Erick Green was supposed to see time at point guard but played just three minutes on Sunday and did not enter the game in the second half.
- Ghosts in the Post: Tech really struggled to guard talented big men in the post last year, allowing opponents to catch the ball close to the basket and score easily. Plus, the Hokies gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. Tech did a decent job in the first half on Sunday but struggled in the second half, giving up 22 points in the paint, 14 of which were second chance points. And most of brown’s eight offensive rebounds came in the second half.
- Back to the Future: When the Hokies had Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon they won in part because of the turnover advantage they often enjoyed. On Sunday, Tech committed just eight turnovers while causing 17. And they outscored brown 21-3 on points off turnovers. However, VT collected just five steals which means many of the turnovers were unforced errors. We shall see if Tech can make a big turnover margin a trend.
- Bench the Bench: The Hokies’ bench scored just seven points in 44 minutes Sunday. The starters accounted for 90% of Tech’s points. The bench needs to contribute more offensively to fill the void left by A.D. Vassallo’s departure.
- Bud Light Golden Wheat: Have you tried this beer yet? I’m telling you it is solid (hey, I said this was a six pack segment).
- WIN: Again, this will be in every preview – Tech has a weak out of conference schedule. All you can do when that is the case is keep racking up wins and build momentum, similar to what clemson does every year.
And you thought brown was a lousy team! Well, I have a worse team for you – the unc greensboro (unc-g-spot) spartans. And there is not much spartan spirit in the air after going 5-25 last year and finishing dead last in the Southern Conference. And so far, no good this year – duke woodsheded the spartans by a 96-62 in unc-g’s opener. This game will be a good measuring stick to see how the Hokies compare. I have duke winning the ACC regular season title. I don’t expect VT to win by 34, but we can at least start to see if the Hokies can blow them out early like the blue devils did.
Last year unc-g-spot was last (of 12) in the Southern Conference in field percentage, 11th in 3-point percentage, and 10th in free throw percentage. Needless to say, they are offensively challenged. They aren’t great on the boards either and don’t get many steals. Combine those, add flour, bake at 375 and you get a 5-25 record.
The spartans’ best player is 6’5″ senior forward Ben Stywall. He’s the only guy that showed up for the duke game, scoring 19 and collecting eight rebounds. No one else reached double digits or had more than four rebounds. Stywall scored six against the Hokies two years ago (that’s actually a lot considering they only scored 39) and was held scoreless his freshman year in 2006-07. But he is a four year starter.
Mikko Koivisto (the Finnish Fury) is also a senior at the guard spot. He has experience and loves to shoot the three, but was ice cold against duke. He has made more than 200 threes in his career so Tech must guard him on the perimeter. Expect Hudson to draw the assignment or Bell at times.
VT leads the series 5-0
- 2007-08: VT 67-39 (@ VT) | Recap
- 2006-07: VT 74-51 (@ unc-g)
- 1996-97: VT 66-50 (@ VT)
- 1995-96: VT 74-48 (@ VT)
- 1993-94: VT 86-59 (@ VT)
|Guard||22 Evans – 6’2″||23 Delaney – 6’3″|
|Guard||12 Randall – 6’2″||5 Hudson – 6’5″|
|Guard/Forward||4 Koivisto – 6’4″||1 Bell – 6’6″|
|Forward||24 Stywall – 6’5″||0 Allen – 6’7″|
|Forward||44 Brown – 6’6″||14 Davila – 6’8″|
|2008-09 Numbers||unc-g-spot||Virginia Tech|
|Scorer||Koivisto – 12.4||Delaney – 18.1|
|Rebounder||Stywall – 8.4||Allen – 8.4|
|Assists||Koivisto – 2.4||Delaney – 4.5|
|Steals||Stywall – 1.2||Allen – 1.8|
|Blocks||Stywall – 0.7||Allen – 1.3|
- Founded in 1891
- 15,000 undergrads and 4,000 grad students
- Colors are gold, white, and navy
- Established a women’s college, admitting men in 1963
- Won three straight NCAA soccer titles (D-2) in the late 1980s
- Moved to Division 1 in 1991
- They have a giant boulder, the Rawk, they paint over almost daily
- Famous alums: no one I’ve ever heard of