Ugh, still hasn’t set in that the season is over. Perhaps because I’m so hyped up on caffeine to help me make the drive home last night and because I barely slept last night. Anyway, here are my thoughts on last night.
- I really question the decision not to foul when uri got the ball back with 45 seconds left, up two. After JT got mugged (but no call) and the rams got the ball, Seth decided to play defense instead of putting the rams on the line. I know Seth loves it when Jane or John Q. Public questions his calls, but I thought this was the wrong choice – and I first questioned it as it was happening. By playing defense you allow the opponent to milk the clock down to about 10 seconds. Best case scenario is they miss and you get the ball back, but then have to rush just to try and tie (or win) the game. But if the opponent scores, as the rams did thanks to yet another second chance basket, the game is basically over as they go up two scores (4 points). Foul and extend the game, hoping they miss some free throws and you can chip away. I wonder if this is something Seth decided to do before the game or was a split second decision. I rarely question him and hey, it happens. The only thing I can think of is Delaney was near the ball and he had 4 fouls, so maybe Seth was trying to avoid him fouling out.
- None of the NIT #1 seeds made it to NYC for the semifinals. arizona state lost in the first round, mississippi state in the 2nd, and illinois and VT in the quarters. The semis feature two #2 seeds, a #3, and a #4; two A-10 teams, an ACC team, and a SEC team. Is it any surprise that unc and duke are the only two ACC teams still playing basketball?
- Congrats to Erick Green! He ended his string of 17 consecutive misses by hitting a long jumper in the first half. Someone in my section yelled, “Stop the game! Ask for the ball! [a baseball reference]” Kind of mean, but funny.
- In my preview I praised JT Thompson and Terrell Bell for really being a great supporting cast on offensive of late. But they looked lost last night. Both were very hesitant to shoot the ball. Bell had just three shot attempts (one was a tip-in) and JT had just five, but I think they were all on drives. It was great to see Allen, Hudson, and Delaney all have good games, but that seemed to take JT and Bell out of theirs.
- Speaking of Allen, the Inner Tube was money again. He secured his fourth double-double in seven games with 15/11. Allen hit 7/10 from the floor and was destroying uri in the low post. Jeff’s post moves are extremely polished right now. He did only get to the line for one free throw, though, which is somewhat surprising, and the six turnovers were a killer. But all in all he really was great down the stretch. VT should have been feeding him the ball at least every other possession.
- Last night is the first time I’ve seen the Hokies struggle against the press since these juniors were freshman. They seemed to want to force the deep ball, which nevada had burned the rams with a few days ago. But you had to expect uri would adjust, and they did. Long passes were a disaster last night. I have to assume the short turnaround and lack of time to prepare was a factor.
- Dorenzo seemed tired in the latter part of the second half. I wonder if he started to lose his legs due to their full court press. His jumper seemed off for the first time in a while. He has a fantastic runner though, which is what turned Zabian Dowdell from a good guard to a great, All-ACC player.
- Give the rams credit for the Hokies’ struggles shooting down the stretch (two FGs in the last 16 minutes as Cope pointed out). Their bigs were flashing out on the Hokie guards when they either penetrated and pulled up, or curled off screens and shot jumpers in the final 15 minutes. This forced the guards to shoot the ball high over them, and they missed pretty much every one. The way around that is to dump it low with the ram big men out of position, but when VT did, they couldn’t convert.
- 5-hour Energy should be called 3-hour energy, because I really hit the wall with an hour to go on my four hour drive last night (figuratively, not literally).
- It was great meeting Chris H., Rick T., and seeing Charlie again last night.
- ROUND OF APPLAUSE for LEWWWWWWWWW-is Witcher! The senior really stepped up big down the stretch when Cadarian Raines went out hurt. Lew has a solid final six games, and chipped in three rebounds (two offensive) last night. Witcher finished his career with 87 wins! That ties the record for most wins by any class/player. The ’86 Class (Dell Curry’s senior year) also had 87 wins. Hopefully this record will be broken next year.
- VT All-Time Leaders
- Scoring: Malcolm Delaney is just 78 points away from making the top 10 in career scoring at VT. Assuming he returns for his senior season, he should definitely move into at least 4th place by the end of the year and could make it to 3rd place.
- Rebounding: Jeff Allen moved into 9th place on the career rebounding list last night. He’ll definitely make the top 5 next year and should make it to #4. No way he’s catching our buddy, Chris Smith (he has almost double the total rebounds of Jeff).
- Assists: Delaney sits in 5th place all time at VT. He’s one assist behind Dell Curry and has a real shot at reaching 2nd place all time next year.
- Steals: Jeff Allen sits in 8th place all time at VT. Jeff will make the top 4 and should finish in 3rd place after next year.
- Blocks: Allen is tied for 5th with former teammate Cheick Diakite. He should move into 3rd place all time next season.