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Reflecting Back on the seton hall Win

At first when hearing about Malcolm Delaney’s ankle injury I thought, “There goes the season.”  In fact, I texted as much to some buddies.  But as time went on and we learned it wasn’t as serious I felt a little better, but I knew he wouldn’t play against seton hall.  I figured seton hall would be a sure loss without Malcolm, especially based on what I had seen of the pirates on film, almost beating previously undefeated ‘cuse and wvu teams.

What I got instead last night was classic Greenberg.  The Hokies played tough defense and grind it out offense.  The result was an early 14 point lead.  But in the back of my mind I knew we had also led by 14 last year against the hall before quickly blowing that lead.  At one point the Hokies didn’t score for six minutes.  When the 14 point lead from last night evaporated in a matter of seven minutes I thought it was deja vu all over again.  But the Hokies battled for 40 minutes last night, and when that wasn’t enough to decide things, they took the game back over in overtime.  It might have been the hardest I’ve seen the guys play all season for an entire game.  We refused to lose and everyone picked up their game to compensate for not having Delaney.

Now, as we look back on Saturday, it may have been a “blessing in disguise” as Danram said earlier in the week.  Everyone realized we aren’t just the Malcolm Delaney Show and can win without him.  Players got the chance to do more, and that will help Tech later in the season.  At some point this year Malcolm Delaney will get in foul trouble and Erick Green will have to step up and lead the Hokies.  His experience from last night against a tough Big East team will be invaluable.  Manny Atkins had to gain confidence coming off the bench in OT and scoring five quick points, and scoring eight for the game.  Cadarian Raines looked like the man-child we saw in Petersburg, going aggressively at the seton hall big men on defense, blocking a shot and deflecting two passes.  And Dorenzo Hudson’s confidence will continue to soar.  You can tell Zo is believing in himself and his game now.  As a result, he hit 3 of 7 three-pointers after being just 7 of 32 coming in.  He also became the VT leader last night, waiting for his team and shaking their hands before heading to the locker room at the half.  And Jeff Allen looked like Jeff Allen last night, playing like a superstar instead of a sidekick.

Delaney  now will likely have more trust in his teammates on offense and be more willing to share the rock, though at the end of the day he is a scorer and has to continue to do that.  But when he sits, we can have more confidence in the other guys.  That said and blessings in disguise aside, I’d welcome Malcolm back all the same.  Tech clearly needs his ballhandling and ability to run the offense, and he is one of the top players in the ACC.  But last night sure was fun and should pay dividends the rest of the way.

Final Note: Speaking of taking care of business, can you believe VT has won 8 of their last 9 overtime games?  That should be a 50/50 in theory, yet the Hokies are batting .889 in overtimes over the last three seasons.  The current juniors lost their first OT game their freshman year in Alaska against butler but have been dominant since, losing just once and that was on a half court shot against xavier.  Going back four years, the Hokies have won 11 of their last 13 games that needed an extra frame.  Greenberg obviously knows something others don’t.

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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  • Danram

    Even though I was more optimistic than most at the start of the season about the prospects for this year’s team, I have to admit that I’m very pleasantly surprised with the quality of play that we’re getting from our four freshmen.

    Last season, when it came to taking an outside jump shot, we had three guys with whom I felt comfortable: Delaney, Vassallo and Allen. This year, we have five: Delaney, Allen, Boggs, Green and Atkins. That’s a major improvement, it makes us much harder to defend, and it’s a big part of the reason we now find ourselves at 12-1.

  • http://stores.ebay.com/hip-hop-heads-vinyl-crates HipHop_Hokie

    Sweet baby Jesus… I cannot believe what Dorenzo Hudson is doing now. This is one of the biggest light switches that I’ve seen go on since… probably ever. From one of the players that used to make me cringe the most when he shot the ball, to now one of the few Hokies to ever go for 40 in a game… simply WOW.

    I don’t know exactly what the trigger was. Maybe he was tired of everybody hating on him or relegating him to the comment “well he plays solid defense”. Maybe he woke up one day and realized that it was nearing the middle of his junior year and that it was time to step up. Or maybe he just stretched real good one morning waking up, popped his back into perfect alignment, and just started going off on the court. Who knows… but hey, who cares. I am now officially on the Dorenzo Hudson bandwagon, and am welcoming the elimination of many of the bad memories he implanted into my skull with every new career high that he’s setting.

    Like this article started off eluding to, when Malcolm went down with the ankle against Longwood, I thought we were done. Not necessarily against Seton Hall – I even posted elsewhere that I thought we were still more talented and would still win sans-Malcolm – but I felt that without a healthy Delaney that our overall season would fall apart. Now, even without any certainty that Delaney will come back and contribute at the same level (though I think he will), I still feel 100% confidant in this team.

    From the core solidifying… to the rookies stepping up… to Dorenzo becoming one of the biggest scoring threats in the ACC (I still just had to chuckle while I wrote that)… this team of Hokies is legit. Who knows, could be the best ever. With a televised matchup against UNC coming next Sunday, I fully expect that we may be ranked anywhere from 22-24 when the new polls come out today. You know how the media loves to hype up big games by having both teams ranked. I almost prefer that the ranking waits until AFTER the UNC game, though. Keep us hungry. The REAL season starts this weekend in Chapel Hill.

    HOKIES!!!!!!

    • Niemo

      Until we get Delaney back we are in big trouble for the simple reason that we don’t have a quality ballhandler right now other than Malcolm that can get us into our offense. The seton hall press actually helped us because when we beat it, we were able to get points in transition. But when Green or Hudson had to dribble up and get us into our half court offense, you could see how much of a struggle it was. Green will get better with time and experience, but to win in the ACC he’s just not there yet.

      That said, everyone else is clicking on all cylinders in every other area. It is a pleasure to watch us right now. I hope Malcolm is back (and almost 100%) for unc so we can truly see how we compare to them.

  • Danram

    The “trigger” is that Zo is now using his size (6’5″, 220 lbs.) to aggressively take smaller players hard to the basket. He’s finishing a good % of his breakaways and he’s also drawing a lot of fouls. He shot 80% from the FT line last year and, after a slow start this season, he’s now up to around 75% for the year with his sterling 21-of-22 performance against Seton Hall.

    That action, in turn, loosens up his jump shot, IMHO. D-Zo’s game is driving hard to the basket, not shooting 3′s, although if he gets an open 3 from the corner, I feel very comfortable with him taking it. He’s a pretty good outside shooter from that spot on the floor.

  • http://stores.ebay.com/hip-hop-heads-vinyl-crates HipHop_Hokie

    The hating on Hokie Hoops continues, as even though we just beat a Seton Hall team who likely would have been ranked had THEY beaten US, we still only got 20 votes in the AP poll and 9 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Oh well… as I said above, I actually prefer NOT to be ranked in the UNC game. That way we can stay hungry and gobble up these overrated Tar Heels on Sunday. Time to put our first top-10 win on this magical year…

    • Niemo

      I am surprised we only got 20. That is terrible. To put that in perspective, #25 has 145 votes (points) so we aren’t even close to being ranked. In comparison, a miami team that has played a very similar schedule (I’d say even easier than ours), has 70 votes in the AP Poll. They beat minnesota and that’s it. Their loss was to a crappy bc team. Terrible. No respect!

  • http://stores.ebay.com/hip-hop-heads-vinyl-crates HipHop_Hokie

    Sagarin has VT at #33, having gone 12-1 through the 320th ranked schedule.

    Sagarin has Miami at #39, having gone 13-1 through the 336th ranked schedule.

    In the ridiculous RPI, VT is #60 (270 SOS), and Miami is #92 (333 SOS).

    Yet Miami has 70 AP votes to our 20. Shows how much the writers that get PAID to do this stuff know…

    MORE disturbing is the fact the weasely-ass, mole-face Joe Lunardi just released his latest Bracketology, and the Hokies are NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. I’m talking not in the field, not in the last 8 teams OUT of the field, NOWHERE. Total disrespect. Go gnaw on something wooden, Joe…

  • Danram

    Just keep winning and the rankings will take care of themselves eventually. I honestly think that aside from UNC, this VT team has either equal or better top-to-bottom talent than every other team in the ACC. Maybe Duke gets an edge over VT on fundementals and “basketball smarts” (They really do pass the ball extremely well) But I’d put VT at least as their equal in terms of athleticism.

    I’d originally thought that VT would go about 8-8 in the ACC. But based on the development of our freshmen and the emergence of Dorenzo Hudson, assuming that we don’t get bitten by the injury bug too much more I don’t have much trouble seeing us at 10-6 or even 11-5.

    Man, how sweet would it be to go 11-5 in the ACC and 24-6 overall? :-)

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