Semi-Final Saturday Preview (and a Look Back at the Quarters) | #6 VT (11-7, 21-10) vs #2 duke (14-3, 28-4) | Saturday at ~3:20 PM

SATURDAY:

  • Head to your local Hard Times (Web Site Link) to watch the game!  It will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first semi-final at 1 PM.
  • The Hokies are in the semi-finals for the third time in five years.   They were unable to advance to the title game in 2007 or 2008.
  • The big news is duke may be without ACC Player of the Year Nolan Smith.  He injured his toe midway through the second half on Friday and did not return, and looked to be in a lot of pain.  But I should note duke outscored maryland 22-11 without him to blow open a close game.
  • Losing Smith would be a huge deal as he was the best player on the court back in Blacksburg two weeks ago (other than maybe Jeff Allen).  But he has been the star of stars for duke.  Don’t feel too bad for them though if he cannot go, they have a lot of stars (tic).
  • Seth Curry had a horrible game in B’burg but I bet he’ll have a better day Saturday being away from Tech and the Dell Curry legacy.  He needs to step up for the devils… let’s hope his shot is off again.
  • VT won last time because of great effort, and duke being off from deep (4/20).  With the Hokies having tired legs Saturday, they will have trouble getting out on three-point shooters which means if duke is on, this could be a long day.  And I’d expect to see duke pound it inside and crash the boards like fsu did to get the Hokies in foul trouble.  But Nolan is by far their best penetrator.
  • Let’s hope Malcolm Delaney can be the best guard on the floor Saturday.  He was just 4/15 (1/6 on 3s) against duke the first time.  Without Smith guarding him (perhaps), let’s hope he can get things going.
  • And I have checked with the ACC officials, and Allen, Davila, and Delaney will start the game Saturday with 0 fouls (phew).  Let’s keep it that way and not force David Jackson to start stretching Prince Parker on the bench.
  • I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see VT blown out in this game with or without Smith playing.  The Hokies had such an emotional victory, and have to be back on the court 15 hours later.  Jack Bauer, anyone?  This seems like an episode of 24 and VT (CTU) will have a tough time taking down Starwood/Jonas Hodges (duke).   They have to be exhausted after two straight days of playing (although uconn will be playing for a fifth straight day Saturday).  But this team continues to amaze me, so maybe they have a little bit more magic dust in their bag left for Saturday.

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech duke
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

If Smith cannot go, look for Tyler Thornton and Andre Dawkins to fill in his minutes.  Thornton is more of a point guard than Dawkins, but Thornton is a freshman.  But duke is down to three guards (Seth Curry, too) if Nolan cannot go — boohoo, welcome to our world.

STATS:

Virginia Tech duke
RPI 65 4
PPG 70.2 (4) 74.3 (2)
Pts Against 66.1 (5) 63.6 (3)
FG % 44% (1) 44% (4)
3-Pt % 36% (4) 34% (8)
FT % 74% (3) 74% (2)
Leading
Scorer Delaney 18.6 Smith 21.6
Rebounder Allen 10.1 Ma. Plumlee 8.7
Assists Delaney 4.1 Smith 5.2
Steals Green 1.8 Curry 1.4
Blocks Davila 1.2 Ma. Plumlee 1.7

Note: Team stats are from ACC games only along with the team’s ACC ranking, player stats are from all games this season.

LAST MEETING:

FRIDAY WRAP-UP:

  • WOW!  What a roller coaster.  The end was like a movie.  I mean, did you think VT had any chance of winning with Delaney, Davila, and Allen having four fouls with about 7 minutes to go?  I wasn’t sure we were still going to have enough guys on the court by the end.  Yet they found a way.
  • I said we’d be out of fingernails by Selection Sunday.  Well, it turns out our bid may have come down to the fingertips of Derwin Kitchen.  The ball was still on them at 0.0 and VT had their win.  Reminds me of Al Pacino’s speech in Any Given Sunday — and the noles were a few inches too late Friday (thank God).  It’s crazy to think that if there had been 4.8 seconds left when fsu got the ball instead of 4.7, they’d have won.
  • I was screaming for us to foul with 30 seconds left.  But Seth going to the 1-3-1 trap after fsu’s timeout was brilliant.  Got us the steal that led to Green’s go-ahead shot.
  • Speaking of which, hats off to the Winchester Rifle.  He was mis-firing all game, just 1/12 from the floor.  But he stepped up and took that go-ahead shot with confidence and nailed it.  Erick didn’t let the miss at the end of at bc scare him today.  Boy has balls.  And he played great D on Kitchen’s run.
  • Manny Millions looked like the only Hokie playing hard in the first half.  Credit him with keeping us competitive.
  • Yes, for the 16th straight VT game, the team that shot better from 3-point range won.  VT’s 6/22 (27.3%) was good enough to beat 4/15 (26.7%).  Maybe that got us that extra tenth of a second!
  • Have to think VT locked up their invitation to the NCAA Tournament.  11 ACC wins has to get us in, but we seem to find new ways to get shafted each year.  But I’m confident now.  Congrats to these guys.
  • WOW!  That’s all you can say.  Now on to Saturday.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1216 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.

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  • Casey

    One thing in our favor Saturday could be the crowd. We’ll have all the UNC folks on our side so that could help even the building out. Late in the 2nd half last night when our fans started the “Let’s Go Hokies” chant there were folks in Duke and Carolina blue joining in. Who woulda thought the fans of those schools ever cheering for a Tech team?

    With tired legs and being emotionally spent I can understand if Duke lays the hammer down. But the longer we stay in the game, the crowd starts pulling for the underdog and you never know.

  • chuck

    Irving may play today. Just our luck if so.

  • LuvzAznChix

    I’m seeing some confusion on tech in getting set up offensively. Again, Green, with the three …seriously? Oh, & how about Davila not being able to hit the broad side of Greensboro Coliseum. Sad thing is we can’t bench him.

  • LuvzAznChix

    Alright, it is way past time to bench Davila. Absolutely sloppy ball-handling this game & zero energy. I don’t know if it’s because he’s warped from last night & no rest, but he’s just ineffective.

  • LuvzAznChix

    0/5 on 3pt shooting & only 37%. And with the rebounds & 2nd chance shots. 50/50 crap.

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