Update: Looking for the game? If you are in DC/NOVA and a Comcast subscriber – try Channel 21 (TCN) for the first part of the game. Channel 10/251 Comcast SportsNet will pick it up after the Wizards/Nuggets game is over, probably around 9:30.
DirecTv – Channel 642 is CSN. You’ll have to wait until the Wizards game is over to see it on there. Or if you have the Sports packages, it is on a rash of stations in the 600s near ACC cities (NESN, Fox SportsSouth, etc).
Spread: VT by 3
On Tuesday night Virginia Tech travels to the Thriller Dome to take on georgia tech. The Hokies will look to move two games over .500 in ACC regular season play this year, and all time (Tech is 51-50 in ACC regular season games). VT has not been two games over .500 all-time in ACC play since Feb. 5, 2005, when Tech was 5-3 in its first year in the league. [Note: If I say 'Tech', I mean Virginia Tech -- duh!]
This will be VT’s third game in six days. Green, Delaney, and Allen all played more than 34 minutes against longwood, so even that wasn’t much of a break. Though the pace of the game was slow enough the Hokies didn’t have to work too hard. That will not be the case against the yellow jackets, who’s style often resembles a prison break (with just as much physicality).
I expect to see mostly zone from the Hokies. Even though georgia tech plays three guards pretty much the entire game, they are the worst shooting team in the ACC in terms of field goal and three-point shooting percentage. Tech can play zone and not worry about the jackets burning them from deep, unless they get lucky and are “on.” The zone can limit Iman Shumpert’s ability to drive, too.
georgia tech is not a very good team. They’ve lost to kennesaw state, siena, unc-charlotte, and northwestern among others. They are just 9-9 on the year but are 7-2 at home. The jackets continue to be the worst road team in America, other than maybe longwood. Unfortunately, this game is in Atlanta. Still, VT has had little trouble winning in the ATL against the jackets (3-1 in league play), including last season’s 88-82 win.
I said before the maryland game that the Hokies had to find a way to win at least two of the four upcoming road games they had, plus beat miami at home. VT has a chance to lock up at least two road wins in just two tries and really start to make a charge up the ACC charts. A loss drops them back to the middle of the pack. But this is a game the Hokies can, and should, win.
The Hokies have owned the yellow jackets over the years. Who’s the real Tech? The Hokies are.
- All-time: VT 10-3 (best win percentage VT has against any ACC team)
- In ACC Play: VT 6-2
- At gt in ACC Play: VT 3-1
- Streak: VT – three in a row
- Last year: VT 88, at gt 82 (Recap) – Delaney had 32, Allen 17/10, and Bell 14/13. The MVP may have been Manny Atkins, who had 5 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds filling in for an injured Dorenzo Hudson.
|Position||Virginia Tech||georgia tech|
|Guard||11 Green 6-4||1 Shumpert 6-5|
|Guard||23 Delaney 6-3||3 M. Miller 6-2|
|Wing/Guard||1 Bell 6-7||41 Rice 6-5|
|Forward||0 Allen 6-7||24 Holsey 6-8|
|Forward/Center||14 Davila 6-8||5 D. Miller 6-11|
|Virginia Tech||georgia tech|
|Scorer||Delaney 18.9||Shumpert 16.5|
|Rebounder||Allen 9.3||Shumpert 5.7|
|Assists||Delaney 4.5||Shumpert 3.4|
|Steals||Green 2.1||Shumpert 2.5|
|Blocks||Bell 1.3||D. Miller 1.9|
DISSECTING THE jackets STING:
The yellow jackets are as close to a one man band as you can get this year. Junior guard Iman Shumpert leads them in almost every meaningful category. He’s the lone star remaining from last year’s team. Three of their top four scorers from their 7-9 team last year have moved on, all of which were low post players. Derrick Favors was a lottery pick of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and Gani Lawal went in the second round to the Phoenix Suns. Zachery Peacock exhausted his NCAA eligibility.
As a result of the jackets’ losses inside, they play three guards most of the time, which account for almost all their production. Their top six scorers include five true guards and Brian Oliver, a wing who’s shot the most three-pointers on the team. georgia tech barely gets even 10 points per game from their low post players. Their bigs are just out there to rebound and block shots.
The jackets had been on a roll, stomping unc by 20 and wake by 35 in what may have been the worst game played ever by an ACC team (wake, that is). The tar heel game was closer than the final score. The mistake the heels made is they played georgia tech’s game (out of control), and the jackets got hot late. unc also missed a lot of easy shots. But both of those games were at home. When gt went to uva, they gave up 43 first-half points to the worst offense in the ACC.
- Style: In a word – chaos. gt plays up tempo. The jackets will have never met a shot they didn’t like. They will push the ball and take terrible shots all game long, and if they fall behind, they’ll make even worse decisions.
- The jackets don’t value possessions. They’ll turn it over a good bit.
- gt is dead last in the ACC in FG% (42%) and 3-Pt% (31%).
- The jackets are an average offensive rebounding team, grabbing 34% of their misses.
- Shumpert is very athletic and a great slasher, but settles for three-pointers at times (28%). He gets to the line a lot when he’s aggressive.
- Rice is their best shooter (49%, 35% on 3s) but was awful against uva.
- Oliver shoots the most 3s but hits just 31%
- Morris, Udofia, and Mo Miller will also jack up 3s but only Morris shoots for a high percentage, and he rarely shoots. Udofia is more of a slasher, but gets out of control at times.
The jackets are No. 7 in the nation in steal percentage, and No. 1 in the ACC with 9.7 steals per game. So they are a good defense, right? No chance. As all Paul Hewitt’s teams do, they gamble a lot. They’ll take risks on steals, even at the risk of giving up easy buckets or fouling. I also don’t think they work very hard on defense. That’s why Greenberg’s teams win — they sellout on D, while Hewitt’s and Sidney Lowe’s teams seem to treat defense as a necessary evil to get the ball back.
- Style: pressure. gt only pressed uva on one possession in the first half. But I’d expect to see more of it against the Hokies to force VT into a more up tempo game. The jackets mostly run a man-to-man full court press that you really just need to get the inbound pass in and then clear out, but gt also will use a full court trap.
- gt is 9th in FG% defense in the ACC.
- The jackets, who are dead last in 3-point shooting on offense, are also dead last in 3-Pt% defense. Opponents are hitting 40% from deep on them. uva hit 5 in the first 7 minutes.
- gt is No. 1 in the ACC in defensive rebounding percentage. At least their bigs do something well, although Shumpert is their leading rebounder.
- Shumpert leads the ACC in steals, Rice is No. 8 [Green for VT is No. 2].
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
- Stump the Shump: Unlike VT and Delaney, Shumpert’s best games usually do come in their wins. Iman has shot under 50% from the field in all nine losses, and has shot 50% or better in five of their nine wins (including both ACC wins). He’s shot 36% in those games, versus 44% in their wins. Tech must limit his easy buckets and force him to beat the Hokies from deep, where he’s just a 28% 3-point shooter. But he’s so athletic he can beat you backdoor on an alley-oop. The zone should limit georgia tech’s ability to clear and side and isolate him to penetrate.
- Stick to Your Style: georgia tech wants this game to be a track meet. uva did a great job of slowing them down, while unc and wake did not. If the Hokies can keep this to a half court game for the most part and not allow gt to get easy transition buckets, they will get rattled and start launching bad shots. VT still must run though when the opportunity presents itself. This will also take whatever crowd there is out of the game.
- Cash in from Deep: gt, as I mentioned, let’s opponents shoot 40% from deep. The Hokies have to knock down their open looks. I’d expect Manny Atkins to have a big game, playing so close to his hometown of Stone Mountain, and because he’s been red hot from deep of late — 8/13 last four games.
- Whistles are Music to VT’s Ears: georgia tech is extremely aggressive on D. They aren’t afraid to reach and bump. If the refs don’t call it tight, it will lead to more steals in all likelihood for gt. Plus, since the jackets have no talent inside, Tech doesn’t have to worry too much about Allen getting in foul trouble if the refs are calling it tight (hmm… not sure I really believe that but it sounds good in theory).
- Big Game from the Big Donut: Jeff Allen is too athletic for the 6-11 David Miller (a poor man’s Luke Schenscher), who will likely guard Davila. Miller doesn’t have the quickness and wing-span unc’s John Henson had to block Allen’s shots. And Kammeon Holsey is a freshman with just four blocks. Brian Oliver (6-6, 220) is too light to stop Allen down low. Jeff needs to go at the jackets and have a big game. That will also help free up Atkins, Bell, and Delaney on the perimeter for three-pointers.
- Expiration Date: Will the Hokies be fresh playing three games in six days? The jackets will challenge them with pressure. Hopefully Tech won’t wear down in the second half, which could lead to transition points as VT’s legs get tired. gt goes 4-5 deep on their bench and no one plays more than 30 minutes.
BORING FACTS ABOUT gt:
- Established: 1885
- Type: Public
- Mascot: Buzz
- The term ‘ramblin’ wreck’ comes from the makeshift motor vehicles gt engineers were using for projects in South American jungles in the late 19th century.
- Students: 13,750 undergrad (NERDS!) and 7,000 postgrad (NERDS!)
- Notable Alums/Students: President Jimmy Carter, Jeff Foxworthy, several astronauts, Chris Bosh, Matt Price, Dennis Scott, Stephon Marbury, John Salley, Mark Teixeira, Nomar Garciaparra, and Stewark Cink. John Heisman coached gt.
- ACC Basketball Titles: 3 (last in 1993)
- ACC Football Titles: 3 (one less than the real Tech who has been in the league 25 fewer years) — last – ’09