“We’ve been coming to the same party for years and in no way is that depressing,” Ron Burgandy in Anchorman.
Yes, virgiNIa Tech is back in the NIT! We don’t like you very much anymore, but you sure seem to like us. The NIT has lost some of its luster to Hokie fans. Two years ago they were on par with a pretty darn good looking chick. Not hot, mind you, but good looking with a decent body. Now the NIT is like many of the fat ladies I saw at that “club” in Greensboro last week. At the end of the night, when you’ve got no other options, you settle for the NIT and you bring her back to your place. And for the third year in a row the Hokies will be shacking up with the NIT, bringing someone home to the Cassell for the sixth time in that span. If Tech plays their cards right, they’ll get to bring home two more cows to the Cassell.
On Wednesday night the Hokies will do battle with the quinnipiac… hold on, let me look up their nickname… bobcats! YOU CAN THROW OUT THE RECORDS WHEN THE HOKIES MEET THE bobcats! Eche los tocadiscos! Lots of bad blood between these two teams!
In all seriousness, please do head to the Cassell and support this team that has worked so hard all season. Show them some support and give them some grief therapy for not making the dance. They did about everything they could, let’s do the same in return. As of Monday night, Tech had only sold 1,400 tickets. That is not acceptable.
The Hokies won’t have Ben Boggs for this game. He hurt his ankle over the weekend. Dorenzo Hudson, who has been in a boot for two months and hasn’t been practicing much all year, went in practice on Monday and will be good to go. He has been a warrior. I’d also expect to see guys like Manny Atkins, Erick Green, and Cadarian Raines (if his shoulder is OK) see good minutes. At this point you are building for next year in some ways, and it isn’t worth throwing Delaney and Hudson out there for 38 minutes each in the NIT.
TRIPLE SHOT OF KEYS TO WINNING:
Head Coach Seth Greenberg said it best on Tech Talk Live Monday night:
- Fight through ball screens
- Be Virginia Tech
To me, the last bullet there is the most important one. If the Hokies come out and play like the Hokie team we’ve seen all season, this will be a Bear Fight margin of victory (over 20 points). If Tech mopes around, feeling sorry for themselves, who knows what could happen. VT almost lost to duquesne (who was a NIT 7-seed) last year, finally pulling it out in double overtime after duquesne missed on chances to win at the end of regulation and the first extra session. The Hokies need to win 50/50 balls, crash the boards, get out and run, and pound it at the bobcats. Do that, and Tech moves on. Don’t do that, and VT gives the Selection Committee and doubters another reason to crap on the Hokies.
Rebounding will without a doubt be a major focus of the Hokies. quinnipiac ranks third in the nation in Offensive Rebounding Percentage, grabbing over 41% of their misses. Only odu and wvu were better. Tech grabs just 67% of the Defensive Rebounds, so this will be a factor. While you may wonder how much that had to do with competition levels, they did grab 39% of their misses against rhode island (a 2-seed in the NIT) and 50% against umass, so they are good at crashing the boards. Justin Rutty is their main man on the glass. The 6’7″ forward grabbed 158 offensive rebounds this year, just under 5 per game. quinnipiac is not a great shooting team, hitting 45% of their shots, so stopping them on the glass will help neutralize their offense.
Seth also talked about how they run a lot of ball screens. They aren’t a great three-point shooting team, hitting 34% and making just 4 per game, so Tech can afford to run underneath screens on the perimeter. Just 20% of the bobcat shots are threes, so don’t expect a lot of them. But the Hokies will have to do a good job of help defense when the screens do rub off the defender, and watch for pick-and-rolls to the hoop.
While quinnipiac is a great rebounding team, the Northeast Conference regular season champs do have weaknesses. The bobcats turn the ball over on 20% of their possessions. Since Tech is great at causing takeaways, this should play into the Hokies’ hands. VT can use the turnovers to feed their transition game.
Another weakness of the bobcats is their defense. They are just 221st in the nation in Defensive Efficiency. In other words, teams don’t have much trouble scoring on them. VT, in contrast, is 11th in the land in that category.
If the bobcats score, chances are it was someone with a name starting with ‘J’ that did it. All five of their starters, and six of their top seven scorers, have names that start with a ‘J’. James Feldeine leads the team at 17 ppg, while big man Justin Ruddy averages a double-double with 15 ppg and 11 rebounds. James Johnson, their point guard, averages 12 ppg and 4 assists. Feldeine, Johnson, and Deontay Twyman (off the bench) are their best three-point shooters but none of them have reached 40 makes on the season.
The bobcats are good from the line, hitting 72%. They get to the line a good amount, too. About 25% of their 73 ppg come from the foul line. Hopefully if they are getting fouled they won’t be on Allen, or even Delaney who has had some recent foul problems.
Let’s meet quinnipiac:
- Located in Hamden, CT
- Established in 1929
- 6k undergraduates and 2 postgrads
- Colors are blue and gold
- Mascot is Boomer
- Conference is the Northeast Conference. They won the regular season basketball title but lost by 2 in the title game to Robert Morris. They received an automatic bid to the NIT for winning the Northeast.
|Guard||23 Delaney 6’3″||3 Johnson 6’0″|
|Guard||5 Hudson 6’5″||14 Feldeine 6’4″|
|F/G||1 Bell 6’6″||5 Baker 6’2″|
|Forward||0 Allen 6’7″||32 Cruz 6’7″|
|C/F||14 Davila 6’8″||12 Rutty 6’7″|