Spread: duke by 4 (Wow, that’s respect!). ESPN College Gameday: 10 AM to Noon.
Program changer. You don’t get many opportunities at program changing wins, but VT has a shot at one on Saturday. The whole nation (and world thanks to ESPN America) will be get a big glimpse of what Hokie Nation is like for roundball on Saturday with ESPN College Gameday (basketball) making its first ever trip to the ‘Burg with Rece, Hubert, Digger, and Jay Bilas, airing from 10 AM to Noon. Then, the big show starts nine hours later with Tech taking on the #1, by God, duke blue devils at 9 PM on ESPN in OUR CASSELL. I’m all in, you’re all in, and the players will be all in for sure.
Tech has played very well against #1 teams under Seth Greenberg. Check out how they’ve done.
- 12/4/05 – @duke 77, VT 75
- 1/13/07 – @VT 94, unc 88
- 3/15/08 (ACC Tourney) – unc 68, VT 66
- 1/21/09 – VT 78, @wake 71
- 3/13/09 (ACC Tourney) – unc 79, VT 76
That’s a solid 2-3 record with the three losses by a combined seven points. We all know VT had that game at duke won until that 40+ footer by Dockery, VT was tied in ’08 against unc until Hansbrough hit a shot with a second to go, and VT had a couple of shots to take the lead late against unc in ’09.
The stakes could not be higher in this game. The seniors have been working so hard to make the NCAA Tournament the last four years, only to get denied either due to missed opportunities, or a certifiably insane Selection Committee. Well, you know what? If the seniors can find a way to win Saturday, they all but punch their ticket for the Big Dance assuming they don’t turn around and lose three in a row after that. So it is time to put up or shut up for Delaney, Allen, and Bell. Or at least clam up until they pick up 2-3 more wins in the next two weeks. They should think of this as a play-in game for the tournament (double elimination, though). Win and your in, lose and there is some work left to do.
- All-time: duke 36-7
- In ACC Play: duke 7-2
- At VT in ACC Play: duke 3-1
- Streak: duke has won 4 in a row
|Guard||11 Green 6-4||2 Smith 6-2|
|Guard||23 Delaney 6-3||30 Curry 6-2|
|Wing/Forward||1 Bell 6-7||12 Singler 6-8|
|Forward||0 Allen 6-7||34 Kelly 6-11|
|Forward||14 Davila 6-8||5 Ma. Plumlee 6-10|
Bench notes: Andre Dawkins is a deadly shooter off the bench. He hits 43% of his 3-pointers and shoots a lot. Miles Plumlee isn’t as aggressive as his brother, Mason, and therefore doesn’t contribute in the same ways. Tyler Thornton will play about 10 minutes off the bench to rest Smith and Curry at guard (mostly Curry), while Josh Hairston from Fredericksburg plays sparingly to give the forwards a rest. This is not a deep team with Kyrie Irving, the John Wall of this year, still out. Dawkins is the only guy that really gives much in the scoring column, while Miles will chip in some rebounds.
It will be interesting to see if VT can get some production from Eddie (17 points against wake – but keep in mind he’s from near there, had a chip on his shoulder after the arrest, and had wake as his other finalist… and wake is really bad) or Atkins. Tech needs to get something from those guys. 8-10 points combined would be great, especially if the struggling Atkins can knock down a few 3-pointers like he did at unc or like Eddie did at wake. I wouldn’t expect to see much of Garland unless it is necessary. Freshman guards do not have an easy time with duke’s defensive intensity and Tyrone gets lost on defense at times.
|PPG||72.2 (4)||76.3 (1)|
|Pts Against||65.5 (5)||62.6 (1)|
|FG %||46% (1)||45% (3)|
|3-Pt %||38% (2)||35% (5)|
|FT %||75% (1)||73% (4)|
|Scorer||Delaney 19.1||Smith 21.4|
|Rebounder||Allen 10.3||Ma. Plumlee 8.8|
|Assists||Delaney 4.2||Smith 5.3|
|Steals||Green/Delaney 1.7||Curry 1.5|
|Blocks||Davila 1.2||Plumlee/Kelly 1.6|
Note: Team stats are from ACC games only along with the team’s ACC ranking, player stats are from all games this season.
Nolan Smith IS the ACC Player of the Year, and has a great shot at National Player of the Year. He’s tearing it up right now with Irving out. He’ll get his (he had 19 in their loss to fsu and 32 against the johnnies). You just have to hope duke has to work for their points.
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
- Carpe diem duke: Seize the day, beat the #1 team, and finally announce to the world – Virginia Tech is a NCAA Tournament.
- Be Smart Physical: fsu and st. john’s both bullied duke around. This will be tough for VT to do with their lack of depth inside. But Allen and Davila can’t let the blue devils push them around inside to avoid fouls. Davila has to do his usual good job of positioning himself on D in the low block, and Allen has to get to almost every duke miss (with the guards dropping to help). Singler and Kelly aren’t going to win any bodybuilding contests, so if you can get position, they aren’t going to beat you on the glass.
- Defend the 3: Pretty much everyone that plays big minutes for duke except the Plumlee brothers will shoot the three and shoot it well. Singler and Smith shoot the most and hit 36% and 38% respectively. Curry and Dawkins knock them down at a 43% clip, and the 6-10 Kelly shoots 37% from deep and can really light it up (he’s not a back to the basket guy but will occasionally drive if you don’t respect it). duke might be the best team in the country year in and year out at penetrating and kicking the ball out for a wide open 3 after sucking the defense in. They also will collect long rebounds on offense and swing it for open shots. VT has to rotate very well in this game and anticipate where a kick-out might go if duke penetrates. It will also be crucial that Allen be able to defend the perimeter – he struggled doing this against Joe Harris of uva, he was slow in chasing Harris off screens (and it took him away from rebounding position). I’d expect to see VT go 2-3 or 3-2 zone at least half this game, despite duke’s prowess from deep, to help with rebounding and keep the guards on their shooters.
- Pound the Post: Allen is too quick for Kelly inside if Kelly guards him. Give him the ball 8-12 feet from the basket and let him shoot that sweet mid-range jumper, or beat him off the dribble. If Plumlee is on him, than feed the rock to Davila, hope he catches it, and look to go to the baby hook or kick it out (guards need to slide for open 3s).
- Shoot well, hope they don’t: Pretty basic, but that’s what has beaten duke. fsu shot 44% to just 31% by duke, st. john’s shot 58% to just 42% by duke. The red storm helped create that high percentage by pushing the ball. duke does not have the greatest athletes in the world, so they can be beaten off the dribble. The problem is in the half court they are so good at drawing charges (careful, Jeff). But if you beat them up the floor, that’s not as much of a worry. In the half court, protect the ball and work for good shots, don’t settle early in the clock for a long jumper.
- BRING IT! Hey, we can help get these seniors a NCAA Tournament ticket. ALL IN from warm-ups through final buzzer… and don’t blow your load at 10 AM.
MY THOUGHTS ON duke:
Take the biggest nerd from your school, then from 4,999 other schools, and you have duke. I’m still waiting for Fox to produce a reality show where they take a florida state frat and move them to duke for a semester and let them run wild. Those nerds wouldn’t leave their dorm rooms for three months.