Don’t forget to come to the Clarendon Hard Times to watch the game and enjoy free bar nachos (with $10 purchase)!
Let’s hope there isn’t a hangover from Thursday’s big win! A win here would give the Hokies their second ACC road win and put Tech in prime position to finish 8-8 or better in the conference and get a NCAA bid.
The c-a-n-e-s canes blew into Blacksburg with hurricane-like force on January 13th. The u stood at 15-1. Two and a half weeks later the canes are wheezing worse than someone having an asthma attack, having lost four games in a row, including an 81-66 loss to the Hokies:
The Hokies led by as many as 35 in the first half that game, taking the canes behind the woodshed early. The key for the Hokies was hot three-point shooting. Tech hit 7 of 9 from deep in the first half. The Hokies shot 62% from the field as a whole (18/29). miami did get within 15 somewhat early in the second half, but Tech kept the canes at arm’s length the rest of the contest. Tech shot just 29% (7/24) and were 0/7 on threes in yet another example of a poor second half for the Hokies. Luckily, it didn’t matter since VT led by 27 at the half.
Since then, it hasn’t been much better. The canes lost by 18 at uva, by 4 at home to bc (the eagles swept them), and by 22 at maryland. In all three road contests (including the VT game), they trailed by at least 20 at some point, and by at least 34 in the VT and terps games. In the bc game, the u blew a 17 point second half lead. Needless to say, they are reeling.
Here’s all you have to know how bad the canes have played in the ACC – they are last in the ACC in scoring (in conference games) at 64 ppg and second to last in scoring defense at 73.8 ppg. That’s how you get to be 1-5 and in last.
That said, home teams are 25-10 in league action, so any win on the road is a blessing. The canes are 1-1 at home, beating the now surging wake forest demon deacons and losing to the bc eagles. Don’t expect this to just be a cake-walk for the Hokies.
Keys to Winning:
Quick Start: Expect one of two things from the canes on Sunday: A) Head Coach Frank Haith has lit a fire in them all week in practice and they will come out and play inspired ball, or B) they will come out flat and uninterested as they did Tuesday. Even if they do come out fired up, if the Hokies can build an early lead as they have in most of their ACC contests, expect miami to lay down and not put up much of a fight the rest of the way.
Going Deep: miami leads the ACC in threes per game, hitting 8.1. They did make 6 against Tech the first time… but on 27 attempts. The canes were just 2/10 at the half. If Tech can take this part of their game away again, it will really limit the offensively challenged canes. But teams do shoot better at home. On offense, we can’t expect the Hokies to hit 7 of 9 first half threes again. Hopefully they can hit open looks though over the course of the game.
DC vs JA: Dwayne Collins has gone just 2/10 and averaged just 6.5 ppg in the last two meetings with VT. He had 23 points on 7/10 shooting in the OT loss in miami last year. Will that Collins show up or the more recent one? He was benched for the start of the maryland game this week but did play with some fire towards the end of the game (after they were down 30). We’ll see if Collins shows that early in this game. Jeff Allen has averaged over 13 ppg in the last three meetings against the canes. He had 14 against the canes in Blacksburg. Tech needs him to have a big game, especially since you can’t count on a hot three-point effort again and because miami doesn’t have anyone that can stop him inside.
|Guard||23 Delaney – 6?3?||3 Grant – 6?1?|
|Guard||5 Hudson – 6?5?||23 Dews – 6?4?|
|Forward||1 Bell – 6?6?||31 Jones – 6?6?|
|Forward||0 Allen – 6?7?||20 McGowan – 6?9?|
|Forward||14 Davila – 6?8?||21 Collins – 6?8?|
|Bench||33 Thompson – 6?6?||1 Scott – 6?5?|
|Bench||11 Green – 6?4?||30 Thomas – 6?7?|
|Bench||24 Boggs – 6?4?||42 Johnson – 6?9?|
|Bench||4 Raines – 6?9?||45 Gamble – 6?9?|
Since the two teams played just 2 1/2 weeks ago, here’s the link to the preview from then if you would like more on the canes and for my interview with our canes buddy, Kartik Krishnaiyer: