Categorized | 2009-10 Season, Game Previews

Preview | VT (1-1 | 13-2) @ #25 fsu (1-2 | 13-4) | Sat., 6 PM

THE SETUP:

fsu is favored by 5 points (again, home court advantage is huge in this league).

The Hokies travel down to Tallahassee, hoping to steal an ACC road win against the #25 florida state seminoles. But getting road wins in this league is a lot like watching Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore try and seal the deal with some shore skank – just when you think he’s got her, something pops up and ruins it – whether it be J-Woww getting sick or Snooki player-hating you or your team goes ice cold and can’t hit a shot or Toney Douglas makes a big play. Just go with it…

That said, the Hokies are facing the noles at a very opportune time. The noles are leaking oil badly, having lost two straight ACC games to maryland and lowly nc state at home earlier this week. But winning on the road in this league is not easy, especially this year. Home teams are 13-3 in league play to date. unc and duke are 0-2 combined on the road. fsu won on the road at georgia tech back in December but have also lost at home to the pack as mentioned.

Here is a look back at The Weekend Warrior’s trip to Tallahassee over a year ago - TWW: Tallahassee or Bust

THE SERIES:

  • VT is just 2-5 against the noles since entering the league, including 0-4 in Tallahassee.
  • Speaking of 0-4, why is this Tech’s 5th time playing at fsu in the ACC when the noles have come to B’Burg just three times?
  • The old Metro Conference rivals have played 41 times total with fsu holding a 24-17 edge.
  • Tech’s last win in Tallahassee was in 1990 and they have lost six straight at fsu.
  • fsu is one of only two teams the Hokies haven’t beaten on the road since joining the ACC (along with nc state, of course).
  • fsu swept the Hokies last year, winning on a late shot by now-NBA guard Toney Douglas in Blacksburg and winning by 10 at fsu to close the regular season.
  • This is the only meeting in the regular season between the two teams.
  • VT beat fsu to win the 1979 Metro Conference Tournament Championship, VT’s only ever conference title

THE OPPONENT:

For some reason I was buying into florida state earlier, thinking they were one of the better teams in the ACC. I know there have only been three ACC games, but I’m pretty sure I was wrong. This team has no offense to speak of. Sure they are #46 in the nation in Effective Field Goal Percentage at 53.2% and are #21 in the nation in Offensive Rebound Percentage at 39.3%.

The noles played very good defense and are ranked #2 in the nation in Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage (the FG% of their opponent with a bonus for three-pointers made). They are holding teams to a 41% eFG% on defense – teams shoot just 35% from the floor against fsu and 31% on threes. fsu is allowing just 59.9 ppg, second in the ACC. But maryland and nc state were able to kill the noles from long range – the terps were 10 of 16 on threes and nc state was 11 of 23. That is 54% combined! nc state freshman Scott Wood more than doubled his previous career high, hitting 7 of 11 threes and going for 31 points against fsu on Tuesday.

Part of the reason for the collapse defensively against maryland was their star, 7’1″ Solomon Alabi, was on the bench most of the first half with foul trouble. He is a real presence inside and allows their perimeter players to stay outside, knowing he can erase any guys that slip inside. But the fsu guards are not tremendously quick and have not been good about rotating to pick up open players along the arc. Deividas Dulkys and Derwin Kitchen are not great athletes and there is a big drop-off having them defending outside as opposed to Toney Douglas, who was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last year. Michael Snaer is a good athlete, but is a freshman, so he’ll get lost at times, too.

Even the noles’ rebounding has tailed off in the last two games. nc state outrebounded fsu 32-25 and had a better Offensive Rebounding Percentage. The terps and noles both had 33 rebounds last Sunday, but again, the terps won the Offensive Rebounding battle. For a team that has a 7’1″ center (Alabi), a 6’11″ man off the bench (Xavier Gibson), and an extremely athletic wing in 6’9″ Chris Singleton, they have to dominate on the boards to win.

While I said their offense is poo-poo, and it is, Alabi is impossible to stop when he gets the ball near the hoop. Tech cannot afford to let him catch the ball on the low block or in the paint. Singleton can create points for himself and is a tough match-up at 6’9″, but he’ll fall in love with outside shots at times. He’s improved to 37% from behind the arc, but you’d rather have him settling out there. Deividas Dulkys has been deadly on threes shooting 46%. Tech must get out on him. The Hokies don’t have to respect his ability to drive, because he doesn’t. Dulkys has a quick release and a hair-trigger, so any crack and he’ll pull. But this team really missed Toney Douglas, who was the only nole to average double-digits last year. They have yet to find a go-to guy this year.

SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:

  • Go Deep: If Alabi is in the game, it is tough to score inside and fsu is #1 in the league in blocks. And we saw how Allen disappeared last Sunday against the big’uns unc had inside. Let’s hope the Hokies are hot from behind the arc. Tech was 7 of 9 on threes in the first half against miami, but 0 for 7 in the second half. Terrell Bell was 3 of 3 (he’s money from the corners!). Hope that the Hokies can find their touch from the first half and repeat what the terps and pack did to fsu.
  • Windex: The Hokies must be all over the glass, especially on the defensive end. They cannot miss opportunities at stops by allowing fsu to get second chances. While the noles are good at offensive rebounding, they are just 10th in the league in Defensive Rebounding Percentage. Tech needs to at least match the noles in second chances on the boards. A guy like JT Thompson could be huge on both ends here.
  • 40 Minutes (or at least 35): Tech has been a 20 minute team the last two games, playing two great first halves and two lousy second halves. To win on the road in this league you need to keep it up and be a 40 minute man (team).
  • When in doubt, foul: fsu is 11th in the league in Free Throw Percentage at 64.6%. They do not shoot well at all. Believe it or not, Alabi is the best foul shooter at over 80% but Chris Singleton is barely above 50%. Foul him instead of letting him get a crowd-insighting dunk.
  • Selectively Attack: Alabi and Singleton are going to get their blocks, they average over 4 per game combined. But if VT can somehow get them in foul trouble, they are a very different team with them out. Flop when they come at you on defense, and go at the rim hard when you have an opening and hope the refs haven’t swallowed their peas.
  • No Transition Points: Blocks can lead to run-outs. The way this team struggles to score in the half court, do not let them get any fast break points. Turn them into a half court team and it is a big advantage for VT (on defense, at least). On offense, the Hokies do have to find chances to run and score in transition before the bigs can set up inside.

STARTERS:

Position VIRGINIA TECH fsu
Guard 23 Delaney 6’3″ 22 Kitchen 6’4″
Guard 5 Hudson 6’5″ 4 Dulkys 6’5″
Forward 1 Bell 6’6″ 31 Singleton 6’9″
Forward 0 Allen 6’7″ 42 Reid 6’8″
Center 14 Davila 6’8″ 32 Alabi 7’1″

BORING FACTS ABOUT fsu:

  • f-l-o-r-i-d-a s-t-a-t-e! florida state, florida state, florida state… WOOOOO! [Sorry, but guys should not be yelling 'Woooo' at the end of your school cheer]
  • Established in 1851
  • Was an all women’s school from 1906 to 1947 when it became coed. Lee Corso (ESPN Gameday personality) joked that when he went on his recruiting visit to the florida gators, he barely saw any women, but when he went to fsu, he barely saw any men… he went to fsu.
  • Burt Reynolds went to fsu.
  • Ted Bundy killed two fsu Chi Omegas during his serial killing spree back in the late ’70s.
  • fsu has 2 titles in football (as Hokies know all too well) and 3 title game appearances in the College World Series, but lost all 3.
  • The noles made the NCAA Tournament for the first time this decade last year, losing in the first round.

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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  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    The Hokies aren’t particularly good at 3-point shooting, especially away from home, which leaves me a little nervous about the outcome of this game. If we’re forced to take long-range shots all night, we’re not going to win. Then again, you could say that Dorenzo Hudson is DUE for a decent night shooting from deep seeing as how he’s 1-11 in his last two games. Delaney is good at 3-point shooting, but he’s going to be covered by Derwin Kitchin, a very good defensive player. We could use a surprising game from either Green, Boggs, or Atkins from deep… hopefully they’re game.

  • HokieGuru

    I watched that game in anticipation of our upcoming match with the seminoles… the terps had a lot of success when they double teamed Alabi… I have to wonder if we will do the same when they try to bounce pass down low to him… that was a very effective coaching move on the part of gary williams.

  • Danram

    If we’re gonna steal this one, I think we’re going to need some contributions in the 3-point shooting department from Boggs, Green and Atkins. FSU is likely going to overplay Malcolm Delaney on the outside and dare him to either drive inside and go up against Alabi & Co. or dish off to someone else for VT who will have an open look from the outside. When he does the second, we will need to be able to knock down a fair % of those shots. I don’t like having to depend on Hudson & Bell to do that. Spot-up shooting from behind the arc isn’t their strength.

    Also, we will need to play the entire 40 minutes with the same defensive intensity that we showed in the 1st halves of the Miami and UNC games and hit over 70% of our free throws.

  • TheCassell

    Great preview as always!

    I’ve really been impressed with Bell’s ability to keep guys in front of him defensively, block/contest shots on the perimeter, clear rebounds, and get his own shots from time to time. Davila is growing up this year. He’s been very aggressive and strong attacking the rim and his footwork with his back to the basket has really improved. Both guys will need to continue their tough play vs FSU in order to take some pressure off of Allen and Delaney.

    As goodraisin mentioned, Dorenzo Hudson has been inconsistent the past few games, so it’s possible he could heat up. I’m not so sure that some of his inconsistency isn’t due to a struggle to find his identity with Malcolm on the floor. So much of our offense starts and ends with Delaney that it seems like maybe Hudson doesn’t really know where he fits in on the offensive end of the court. The HUGE game of his career was vs Seton Hall when he was the man and could lead the team. Dorenzo has always been talked up as a stud in practice. He’s got a ton of talent so I hope it will translate more consistently on the court.

    We don’t have much height, but we have quickness down low with Allen and Davila. If we can sneak underneath for offensive rebound positioning and loose balls, then maybe we can steal a few points and cheapy fouls on FSU’s bigs. That said, I’d like to see us use Witcher more this game to burn some minutes and fouls.

    Looking forward to tip-off in just a few minutes. Go Hokies!

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