Categorized | 2010-11 Season, Game Previews

Preview | VT (2-2, 11-5) @ maryland (1-2, 11-6) | Thursday at 9 PM | ESPN2

Spread: maryland by 5.5 (about what I thought it would be)

On Thursday, the Hokies kick off a three week stretch where they play four out of five ACC games on the road.  Tech must find a way to steal two of these four games, and defend the Cassell against miami, to stay in the ACC race.  But this game in College Park may be the toughest of the four, at least on paper.

Expect the terps to come out on Thursday with everything they have.  They are coming off a tough loss to #7 villanova.  maryland led the wildcats by 12 with less than 10 minutes to play, but a 19-0 villanova run sank the terps.  maryland will likely have bad intentions, as VT did after their blown lead at Chapel Hill.  Also, the terps are 1-2 in ACC play and cannot afford to fall to 0-2 at home.  That’s a sure recipe to playing on Thursday in the ACC Tournament.

Believe it or not, the Hokies lead the ACC in scoring margin in ACC play through Monday’s action.  Tech is +35 after four ACC games (+8.8 per game).  The Hokies have two double digit ACC wins, and lost both games by just three.  But that’s meaningless since VT has a 2-2 ACC record and sit in the middle of the pack.  Flip the uva or unc game, and Tech is in first.  But close clearly doesn’t count here.  It’s all about the W’s.

Expect Malcolm Delaney to have a big game.  The Baltimore native has always had a chip on his shoulder since the home state terps didn’t recruit him very hard.  He’ll likely have a lot of friends and family in attendance and will want to bury the terps in his last trip to maryland.  But if statistics are fortune tellers, Hokie fans should hope he scored 20 points or less.  Tech is 10-1 when Delaney scores 20 or less, but just 1-4 when he eclipses the 20 point mark.

Jeff Allen, another local boy from Washington, D.C., will be vital for the Hokies inside.  In Tech’s last game at maryland, Jeff flicked off the fans on the way to the bench in VT’s 83-73 loss and was suspended for the next game (ended up being at uva, which has been another house of horrors for him).  Stay classy, Jeff.  Let’s go out in style.

SERIES:

The home teams have controlled this series since VT joined the ACC.  Each team is 3-1 on their respective home floor.  Tech’s lone win in College Park came in 2007-08 when Delaney, Allen, and Bell were freshmen (VT 69, md 65 – Recap).  That was the infamous Dorenzo Hudson puke on the court game where Tech overcame an early 10-0 deficit.  maryland’s only win in the Cassell came last year, a 104-100 double overtime win in a game that started several hours late because a beer truck ran over a water main (you can’t make stuff like that up.

maryland will head to Blacksburg on February 15th.

  • All-time: maryland 27-8
  • In ACC play: 4-4 (md 3-1 in ACC play)
  • Streak: maryland – 2 (VT had won 3 in a row before that)

Blast from the Past – Recap of The Weekend Warrior’s trip to the communist center in 2008

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech maryland
Guard 11 Green – 6-4 1 Bowie – 6-2
Guard 23 Delaney – 6-3 12 Stoglin – 6-1
Wing/Guard 1 Bell – 6-7 14 Mosley – 6-4
Forward 0 Allen – 6-7 33 Gregory – 6-7
Forward/Center 14 Davila – 6-8 20 Williams – 6-10

Much like VT, maryland has had the same four starters all season.  The only change has been on the wing.  Senior wing man Cliff Tucker, the terps’ second leading scorer, started the first 11 games.  After their loss to boston college, they have gone with a smaller, three guard lineup.  Freshman Terrell Stoglin has started the last four games, but this has not impacted Tucker’s minutes at all, he still plays 25-29 minutes per game.

The terps, as always, spread their minutes out a lot.  Jordan Williams is the only terp playing more than 27 mpg.  The bench goes three or four deep.  Tucker is the only player that produces much off the bench.

STATS:

  Virginia Tech maryland
PPG 71.7 78.4
Pts Against 60.3 62.9
FG % 47% 48%
3-Pt % 34% 33%
FT % 71% 63%
Leading …    
Scorer Delaney – 18.6 Williams – 18.1
Rebounder Allen – 9.3 Williams – 12.2
Assists Delaney – 4.4 Bowie – 3.8
Steals Green – 2.0 Tucker/Mosley – 1.2
Blocks Bell – 1.3 Gregory – 1.8

INSIDE THE turtle’s shell:

If you haven’t seen the terps play this year, you’ll barely recognize them.  Gone are three major starters from the maryland team that went 13-3 last year and tied duke for the regular season title.  Gone are ACC Player of the Year Greasy Face-quez (a Niemo arm-curl victim), guard Erick Hayes, and forward Landon Milbourne.  Those three represented their top three scorers a year ago.

While maryland is certainly rebuilding this year, they are still pretty darn good.  They have six losses but those defeat include current #4 duke, #5 pittsburgh, #7 villanova, and #23 illinois.  They also lost to temple, who was ranked much of the year to date, and boston college.

If you look at ACC statistics, you’d think the terps should be near the top of the standings.  Check out where maryland ranks in the ACC in some key stats (these are for all games, not just ACC contests):

  • #2 in scoring offense
  • #5 in scoring defense
  • #2 in FG%
  • #2 in FG% defense
  • #1 in the nation in defensive efficiency (points allowed per possession)
  • #1 in offensive rebounds
  • #3 in blocks
  • #1 in assists
  • #5 in steals
  • #4 in turnover margin

maryland also boasts the ACC’s player of the midseason, sophomore big man Jordan Williams:

  • #4 in scoring
  • #1 in rebounds (by 2.6 per game)
  • #1 in FG%
  • 15 double-doubles in 17 games, including 11 in a row!

So how have they lost six games and fallen to 1-2 in the ACC?  Easy, they don’t shoot three-pointers or free throws well at all.  The terps are dead last in threes made per game at 4.2 (they shoot 33% – second worst in the league) and dead last in free throw percentage at 63% (313th in the nation of 345 teams).

In maryland’s six losses, they have gotten absolutely nothing from behind the arc.  They are 18/84 (21%) in those six defeats.  That’s an average of just three makes per game.

Free throws are Williams’s Achilles heel – he hits just 52% (he hits 56% of his field goals).  There is the dilemma – you don’t want to give Jordan an easy bucket, especially since he’s likely just going to make 1/2 from the line, but Tech cannot afford to foul inside with their lack of depth.  It will be up to guards to waste fouls inside… and if all else fails, send in the goon!  (Prince Parker)

HO-KEYS TO WINNING:

  • You Can’t Stop Williams, You Can Only Hope to Contain Him: Jordan is going to get his.  He’s averaging 25 ppg and 13 rebounds in their last three losses (the Malcolm Delaney Jinx?).  The key is to not let him impact the Hokies game, too.  In other words, if Tech becomes so worried about him and he draws a lot of fouls, that’s going to really limit what Tech can do if Allen, Bell, and/or Davila are on the bench.  At least make him work for his buckets.  I really like Davila’s post-up defense in man-to-man, but assuming Tech goes zone a lot since maryland isn’t an outside shooting team, VT will really have to put a body on Williams to keep him off the glass and watch the back door feeds or alley-oops.
  • Limit the Others: Like I said, Jordan is going to stuff the stat sheet.  Tech needs to limit the rest of the terps.  Cliff Tucker is averaging just 6 ppg in their last four losses and is 10/34 from the field.  Terrell Stoglin, the new starter at guard, is just 5/28 from the field in the last three games and has just 11 points total (he’s averaging 9.7 ppg on the season).
  • Dominate Behind the Arc: The terps have an advantage inside with Williams and should get more offensive rebounds as a result.   Both teams are similar in terms of turnovers and turnover margin, so VT can’t expect to make up points there.  So Tech has to get more points out of the possessions they have.  The Hokies have been red hot from three-point range in the last week.  Tech was 19/40 from three-point range against unc and wake.  Tech needs to win the three-point battle to make up for their deficiencies on the boards.  If maryland is hot from deep, or the Hokies aren’t making any, it will be tough for VT to win.
  • Protect the Ball: maryland will press after almost every make or dead ball.  They’ll use a full court man, which is more about delaying you from getting in your offense and draining the shot clock, or they’ll go with a full court trap aimed at creating turnovers.  Both teams average around 14 turnovers per game, and cause around 17.  If Tech can avoid struggles with the press that will give them a big advantage and limit run-outs for the terps.  maryland has just one real threat – Williams.  The rest are just very good athletes who play hard.  Force them to beat you in the half court.
  • Make Your Luck: The first four things above VT can help control.  This one they only partly can – win the free throw battle.  While there is no such thing as ‘free throw defense’, Tech’s opponents have combined to shoot just 60% from the line on the season.  That’s the second lowest percentage in the nation.  Considering VT is facing the 313th ‘best’ free throw shooting team in the nation Thursday, you don’t expect the terps to shoot their lights out from the line.  But the Hokies must capitalize on this.  While unc was an abysmal 7/17 from the line, VT was just 8/15 (plus two missed front ends of one-and-ones).  Think that impacted the outcome?  The Hokies knock’em down from the charity stripe, and hope the terps are their usual cold selves.
  • Urgency: maryland will have an urgency on Thursday.  They don’t want to fall to 1-3 in the ACC, or 0-2 at home.  Tech needs that same urgency and pay maryland back for that 104-100 2 OT loss at the Cassell last year.  A win would give the Hokies another RPI top 100 win (although maryland is just #91).  And it would put VT in the upper half of the league with a much needed road win.  The Hokies need the same fever to win this game the terps will have.

Look out, terps, The Weekend Warrior, Niemo, and DuffHokie are headed to College Park Thursday!

Note: Due to the fact I hate maryland and everything about them, I’m not posting boring facts other than that my Mom (and Malcolm Delaney) are from the old line state.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1222 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.

Contact the author | Visit the author's website | Follow Niemo on Twitter

  • Chris

    Not sure why, but I have a good feeling about this game. I think it’ll be a battle all the way though and will come down to the wire. But we’re due to win a close game, aren’t we?

    As you said, Maryland isn’t a very good team from deep and Jordan Williams is their only real threat. Mosely is a solid overall player and I assume he’ll be guarding Delaney for most of the game, which could give him fits. Mosley isn’t a great shooter but he does about everything else well. Tucker is capable of getting hot and if he makes an early 3, it may be a good idea to shadow him. The Hokies should have some success in the 2-3 if Allen/Davila can stay out of foul trouble.

    The Hokies will also need somebody to step up besides Delaney and Allen in this one. I have a feeling Eric Green has a big game (just a hunch). Both teams really need this game, so it should be a good one.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    I don’t have a lot of faith that VT will win this game. I completely agree with Niemo that Maryland will be extremely amped up for this home game. Couple that with the fact that they are just as good as the Hokies at forcing turnovers and I think VT will have a really tough time keeping them off the offensive glass if they’re playing a 2-3 zone (which I fully expect), and I think VT could lose to this team with 1 star and a bunch of role players. Delaney is going to come to play… I think the X-Factor will be either Victor Davila or Jeff Allen (whoever Jordan Williams is guarding… I would guess Davila since Dino Gregory appears to be a better defender on paper). Our bigs need to go right at Jordan Williams when they’re on offense and attempt to get Jordan in foul trouble. Without Jordan Williams, this Maryland team is maybe the 11th best team in the ACC (no one is worse than Wake Forest, even if you take away their best player). Feed Davila.

    • Niemo

      Raisin – I’ll tell how going at Williams will go… *tweet* “Foul on #0… Offensive.” Williams gets the ‘star’ calls Delaney used to get (until his ham-jobs got out of hand), Allen’s never gotten, and Zeller got last week to win the game for unc. I hear ya on going at him, but he is rarely in foul trouble for a reason. He plays smart and then positions himself for the rebound. Over-the-back fouls could be a concern, too.
      But, I do have faith in this one. I think it could come down to FTs and that would favor VT. Both teams are “2 point at a time” teams for the most part, but VT has been better hitting threes of late and from the FT line for the most part, excluding unc.

  • hokiegrad

    There is such a thing as free-throw defense to an extent… foul the other team’s poor FT shooters where appropriate but do not foul their high percentage guys. Can’t control what they do when they get to the line, but you can control who you send there. :)

    • Niemo

      H-G – that’s a good point. The ACC doesn’t even list FT% defense as a stat (and I can understand why), but to your point, you do control your luck to an extent.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    Niemo – Yeah you’re right, I wrote that before I really looked into the stats at all. Williams only averages 2.2 fouls per game, which is pretty ridiculous for a guy who plays 32 minutes per game at the center position. I love that Delaney seems to have really calmed down with his acting this season… I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his FG% and 3P% are much higher so far this season. The vast majority of his game the last two years was driving into traffic, then acting like he got molested on the way to the basket. Once the refs realized what he was doing, they put the clamps down on him so hard that he had no choice but to adjust his game for this season and try to get his points the normal way (you know, by taking open shots and crazy things like that). Unfortunately, now the refs have gone in the opposite direction and decided not to give him calls even when there is a ton of contact. Hopefully Seth Greenberg will be able to point to the way Delaney and Allen each created their own ill will from referees as a lesson for next year’s freshmen.

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

    Won’t be any acting with C.J. Barksdale… just straight up dunking on everybody with genitalia firmly planted upon forehead.

  • ryan

    lol man Chris was spot on! play the lottery man

  • Chris

    Ryan- if I make enough statements, some of them are bound to stick right? :)

    I’ve actually watched a lot of Maryland’s games this year and I will admit that I’ve always been a Gary Williams fan. I thought Green could have a good game due to Maryland’s inexperience at the guard position (and I’ve never been that high on Bowie either).

    Tucker has shown in the past that he’s capable of getting hot so I wasn’t surprised to see him make a few 3s against the zone… though I will admit at the time I was scared. lol

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