Spread: VT by 5.5.
Note: The game will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the 7 PM game between #7/10 game (maryland/miami).
One of two things will happen Thursday night when Virginia Tech and georgia tech battle at the Greensboro Coliseum in the First Round of the ACC Tournament:
- Paul Hewitt will coach his final game at georgia tech, or,
- Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, and Terrell Bell will play the final meaningful game of their career.
For the Hokies, they are hoping it is the former. A win will get the Hokies to 20 wins on the season and 10 against ACC opponents. It will also likely end the Paul Hewitt tenure in Atlanta (unless georgia state is hiring).
A little over a week ago the Hokies were riding the gravy train on biscuit wheels. They had just knocked off #1 duke and were the talk of basketball. But within a week they had seen the wheels come off, getting absolutely blown out of two gyms early on against boston college on VT’s Senior Night and at clemson. They battled back in both games but eventually succumbed to the hungrier opponents. And now Tech sits clearly behind bc and clemson in the ACC seedings and the NCAA Tournament bubble.
georgia tech, meanwhile is hotter than they’ve been in two months! By that I mean they’ve won a whopping two in a row – a win at wake forest (their only road win of the season in 11 tries and just their 7th ACC road win in the last six seasons… you now see why Hewitt is going to be fired) and a win over miami at home to close the regular season.
The yellow jackets do seem to play well in neutral site games for whatever reason. They beat utep and then lost to syracuse by just 4 in Atlantic City, and beat richmond in Atlantis this year. Last year, georgia tech made a stunning run as the #7 seed in the ACC Tournament, beating unc, maryland, and nc state to make the ACC Finals, where they lost to duke. But that was good enough to get them a NCAA Tournament bid (and possibly take one from VT). Two years ago after a 2-14 regular season, they upset #5 seed clemson in the Georgia Dome and then lost to #4 fsu by just 2.
Virginia Tech is pretty good themselves, though, in tournaments (at least in tournament openers) and neutral site games. Check out these numbers:
- The current senior class is 14-1 in tournament openers (ACC, NIT, Aeropostale, PR, etc) or neutral site openers (BB&T, Mexico, Bahamas, Philly Hoop Group).
- The current senior class is 10-1 in tournament openers (the lone loss was in the ACC Quarterfinals last year to miami).
- Going back another year, VT is 17-1/12-1 in the two categories above.
In other words, history is on Tech’s side Thursday, along with the fact they have a better team.
For the second year in a row, Tech will be meeting a team for the third time that season in their ACC opener. Here’s a look back…
THE FIRST MEETING:
gt 72, VT 57: The Hokies led most of the first half in Atlanta but faded late. VT was undone by hot shooting against their 2-3 zone by Brian Oliver (28 points on 11/18 shooting), and a boat load of turnovers in the closing minutes. Iman Shumpert, the jackets’ best player by far, had a career game. He secured the first georgia tech triple-double in over 20 years with 22 points, 12, rebounds, and 11 assists. He also added 7 steals for good measure and created a lot of the late turnovers by getting his hands in passing lanes.
The Hokies dominated in the paint early, but their guard play was poor. Erick Green had 9 early points but didn’t score in the final 30 minutes of the game, and Shumpert shadowed Delaney, holding him to 8 points.
Although the final score looked like a blowout, the game was close late. VT was down just 5 and had the ball with 2:30 to go, but that’s when the roof caved in due to turnovers. Tech had 6 turnovers in the final 5 minutes and Delaney had 8 for the game.
THE SECOND MEETING:
Malcolm Delaney made amends for his poor outing down in Atlanta (8 points, 8 turnovers) as the Hokies, in their throwback gray VPI uniforms, blitzed the visiting yellow jackets 102-77. Delaney scored 22 of his season-high 33 points in the first half while Jeff Allen registered his fifth straight double-double — the 12th of the season — with 25 points and 14 boards.
All five starters for Virginia Tech scored in double figures and the 102 points were the most ever by a Virginia Tech team in ACC play. Sophomore Erick Green, who had shot just 26 percent in his previous four games (11/42), seemed to have benefited from the week off. The Winchester Rifle scored 15 points on 5/9 shooting to go with six assists, three rebounds and a perfect 3/3 from behind the arc.
Senior defensive specialist Terrell Bell scored 13 points and Victor Davila had 11 points.
The Hokies jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead behind seven points from Delaney. Tech never trailed and held a 25-point lead, 42-17, with 7:41 to play. As the Hokies led by 20 about 12 minutes into the game and had come up with a steal just before the under-8 media timeout, georgia tech coach Paul Hewitt was tossed from the game after earning a pair of technical fouls. If he thought that his ejection would fire up his team, he was wrong.
The Hokies continued its woodshed beating of the jackets as the Hokies registered a season-high 53 first-half points en route to a 16-point half-time lead. Shumpert went nuts in the second half from deep, but it was too little too late as the Hokies rolled.
The Hokies have owned the yellow jackets over the years. Who’s the real Tech? The Hokies are.
- All-time: VT 11-4
- In ACC Play: VT 7-3
|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|
|PPG||70.2 (4)||67.1 (8)|
|Pts Against||66.1 (5)||68.9 (8)|
|FG %||44% (2)||41% (10)|
|3-Pt %||36% (4)||32% (11)|
|FT %||74% (3)||66% (12)|
|Scorer||Delaney 18.3||Shumpert 17.5|
|Rebounder||Allen 10.0||Shumpert 6.1|
|Assists||Delaney 4.3||Shumpert 3.5|
|Steals||Green 1.9||Shumpert 2.7|
|Blocks||Bell 1.1||D. Miller 2.2|
*Team stats are from ACC games only (and ACC rank), player stats are for all games.
FYI: Delaney averages 16.2 ppg against gt (6 games), Allen 16.2 ppg/9 rpg, Davila 8.5 ppg (his highest against any ACC opponent; 4 games against), and Bell 6.7 ppg.
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
- Will the real VT team please stand up? After the big duke win, Tech seemingly had a hangover all of last week. They need to come out with a chip on their shoulders and play for their NCAA Tournament lives – because they are (see bc and clemson for pointers).
- Accelerate off the blocks: VT fell behind by 17 and 15 respectively midway through the first half in their last two games. This is the complete opposite of their ACC games from January through last week. In their 13 ACC games from the start of the calendar year through duke, Tech led by double digits in the first half in 9 of those games, and led at the half in 10 of those 13 games (went 8-2 in those games). The Hokies are just 1-5 in ACC games when trailing at the half. They need to get up early and get the jackets focused on their offseason.
- Shoot the 3… well: In Tech’s last 14 games, the team that shot for higher percentage from behind the arc has won EVERY time. Also, the team that made more 3s in the game lost just twice (one of those was gt @ VT). Tech has not lost over that span when they made more 3s than their opponent.
- Stump Everyone but the Shumpert: VT was 0/2 at slowing ACC-Second Team member Iman Shumpert. Iman had a triple double plus 7 assists in Atlanta, and 27 points on 6/13 from 3-point range in VT. The difference? Brian Oliver had 28 off the bench in Atlanta, but didn’t play at VT (hurt). He hasn’t returned to action since February 5th, and the Hokies certainly wouldn’t shed any tears if he cannot play Thursday.
- Allen-Town: Let’s hope Jeff makes Greensboro Allen-town. He had 8 double-doubles in 9 games, and 3 ACC Player of the Week honors this year before last week. Then he combined for just 23 points and 8 rebounds in the two losses. He needs to pick it back up. Luckily, gt is very soft inside and he should be able to duplicate the 21.5 ppg and 12.5 rpg he’s averaging against the jackets this year.
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, Kenny Anderson, 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