Preview | VT (5-3) @ rhode island (1-7) | Wed., 7 PM | Cox

Spread: Hokies by 5-1/2

FYI: There will likely be no highlights for this game… likely.  We’ll see if I can pull a rabbit out of my hat, though.  You can watch the game for $9.95 though via Cox Sports Online.  For more info, CLICK HERE.  Just make sure you cancel the service after a month, that it doesn’t auto-renew.

The Hokies look for their first road victory of the year on Wednesday against a once, pretty good rhode island basketball program.  Ever heard of Lamar Odom (and the Kardashians)?  He played there… for a year… and led the rams to a 76-67 win in Blacksburg in 1999.  Cuttino Mobley played at uri and so did about 20 other NBA players past and present.  But if you want to find the ram program now, you have to scroll ALL the way to the bottom of the Atlantic 10 standings… and they have 14 teams.

Quite simply, this is not going to be a quality win for the Hokies.  And if they lose?  It will be a bad loss.  But you know what?  Let’s stop talking NCAA Tournament and this and that.  Hokies 3G.1 shouldn’t be about the tourney.  It should be about getting better.  About young guys growing and the veterans going out with a bang.  So I’m going to stop talking quality this and RPI that.  The Hokies simply need to play a good game for (close to) 40 minutes, and they need a win after losing 2 straight and 3 of 4.  If Tech can’t win at uri, they sure as heck are going to have trouble winning on the road in the ACC.

SERIES:

I’m sure you all remember our last meeting with the rams… it was two seasons ago in the ‘Burg with a trip to MSG and the NIT Semi-Finals on the line.  Tech blew a 12-point second half lead and fell to the rams.  That one still stings.  Hudson had 19 for the Hokies (that’s when he was THE MAN) and Davila/Green had 2 each (Green hit his first jumper in about 2 months in that game, sending the crowd into a riot).

And who doesn’t remember our glory days of battling the rams in the A-10?  Well, I only remember one of those games… the A-10 Tournament Quarterfinals in Philly in 1996.  Cuttino Mobley led the rams to an upset of the West Division #1 seeded Hokies were knocked off by the East #4 seed rhode island rams.  That loss knocked the 15th-ranked Hokies all the way down to a #8 (or #9, I can never remember) seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Second Round date with the eventual champions, k-y kentucky.  Well, it’s payback time!

PROJECTED STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech rhode island
Guard 11 Green 6-3 (Jr) 4 Powell 5-11 (Fr)
Guard 5 Hudson 6-5 (Sr) 1 Wilson 6-5 (Sr)
Forward 31 Eddie 6-7 (So) 23 Malesevic 6-7 (Jr)
Forward 15 Finney-Smith 6-8 (Fr) 12 Outerbridge 6-9 (Sr)
Center/Forward 14 Davila 6-8 (Sr) 35 Holton 6-9 (Fr)

STATS:

Virginia Tech rhode island
Record 5-1 1-7
Big Wins etsu,  oklahoma state, st. bonnie They only have 1: fordham
Key Losses syracuse, minnesota, kansas state texas, gmu (OT), nebraska
Leaders (this season):
Scorer Green 16.5 Wilson 18.0
Rebounder Finney-Smith 9.7 Outerbridge 7.4
Assists Finney-Smith 3.0 Powell 3.6
Steals Green 1.3 Wilson 1.4
Blocks Finney-Smith 1.1 Outerbridge 2.1

THE opponent – the rhodey rams:

How bad is it this year for the rams?  After losing by 22 to cleveland state, Head Coach Jim Baron benched their entire starting lineup for the next game, which they lost to brown university by 9.  So did the starters answer the call in the next game?  Nope.  They lost in overtime to maine (apparently they struggle with teams that have bears as their mascot… black bears… ROAR!).

It didn’t look like rhodey would be this bad.  They are just 2 years removed from a NIT semi-final appearance, which they lost in OT by just 1-point to unc.  And they followed up that 26 win season with 20 wins last year, including a 9-7 record in the A-10 (they lost in the quarterfinals of the CBI Tournament).  They also started this year off seemingly OK.  They lost in overtime to a george mason team that made the 2nd round of the NCAAs last year (albeit coached now by Paul Hewitt).  And they led at texas with 13 minutes to go before fading and falling 100-90.

If you remember two years ago, the Baron loves to press and really push an up-tempo game.  While I haven’t seen them play since the texas game, I’m wondering if he’s scaled that back a bit after giving up 92 to gmu, 100 to texas, and 83 to nebraska (they lost that game by 20).  After beating hofstra 85-73, they to boston university, cleveland state, brown, and maine, all either on campus or in Providence.  Baron also is only going 3, maybe 4 deep on his bench at this point, so pressing a ton and having guys go 35-plus minutes doesn’t work too well.  We’ll see, though.

But, expect them to be fired up on Wednesday.  Teams get fired up for ACC teams.  It will be interesting to see if their crowd shows up, though.  Depending on where they are at with finals, they may just mail this in.

Outerbridge is the only guy you’ll remember from that NIT game.  He scored 8 in that contest and averages over 13 ppg this year.  He is their best rebounder but isn’t overly thick.  This is one of the few games Doe Doe should be able to match an opponent’s size inside if he plays the 4.  Orion does have 17 blocks on the season so watch for him to try and challenge shots inside.

Jamal Wilson is their best player.  The senior guard played just 1 minute in that game 2 years ago, but is averaging 18 ppg this year.  He’s a solid, but not great, 3-point shooter who also gets to the line a LOT.  Look for him to drive and attack the rim.

Nikola Malesevic is your classic European import at forward… he likes to shoot the 3.  Have to get out on him.

Jonathan Holton is their most physical player, but that’s not saying much – he’s a 6’9″, 220 lbs. freshman.

Powell is your typical freshman point guard – he makes a mistake for every good play he makes.  Mike averages as many turnovers (3.6) as assists and shoots under 30% from the field.

The rams LOVE to shoot the 3.  Problem is they hit less than 30%.  But all 5 of their starters have at least 6 makes and 19 attempts.  They hit 6 3-pointers per game… but that’s on over 21 attempts.  They also commit a lot of turnovers – almost 40 more TOs than assists.

So how are they so bad?  They don’t shoot well… just 40% from the field and 28% on 3s, they turn it over a lot, and they give up a lot of easy buckets on defense.

HO-KEYS TO THE GAME:

  • Tech matches up very well with this team (read: they aren’t that big).  But they do get a LOT of offensive rebounds since they jack up so many 3-pointers.  VT needs all 5 defenders getting a body on someone and cleaning the glass.  I’m not sure we’ll see the 2-bigs look we saw Sunday (where 2 of Raines, Davila, or Barksdale were in at the same time).  If they press a ton as we expect, VT will likely go more athletic with better ballhandlers.
  • Attack: You can’t just advance over half court on a press, you have to burn it.  We’ve yet to see that from this lineup.  Pass the ball up the court and get at the rim.
  • Create: uri turns it over a lot.  Again, help this fuel the transition game.  Why a team that cannot run a half court offense and hides Dorenzo Hudson in the corner all game doesn’t push the ball, I have no idea.  Tech needs to get out and run.
  • uri must be hot from deep to win since they aren’t big inside and turn the ball over a ton.

BORING FACTS ABOUT rhode island (“Think Big, We Do”):

Location Kingston, RI
Type Public
Enrollment 14.5k undergrad, 4.5k grad
Established 1892
NCAA Tournament Appearances 8 (none since 1999 and the exit of Odom)
Famous Students/Alums Lamar Odom (not an alum), Masta Ace, Cuttino Mobley… that’s about all I recognized
Best Movie That Has a Scene in Rhode Island Dumb & Dumber

This post was written by:

- who has written 1201 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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  • LuvzAznChix

    Stop talking NCAA Tourney?? What happened to our “Shoot for the moon vs shoot for the stars” mantra???

    • Niemo

      LAC – none of those comments were specifically directed at you, I was simply stating my style in terms of comments. I KNOW you are a Hokie!

  • Casey

    I agree that there is just too much attention on the RPI and quality wins and what not at this point. Of course we’re going to hear non-stop about losing to Minnesota and K-State all year from the heads….I mean there’s “bracketology” BEFORE a single ball is tipped off for the season, so what else are they going to talk about with us? We know this isn’t NCAA or bust like it’s been the past few years with 2G.1, this is about long term.

    We’re still feeling our way through with the new guys of 3G.1. Come about midway into ACC season Seth will know what he’s got and do what he always does…excell at getting the most out of his club. There’s so much to like about this team…great leadership, heart and guts at the point with Green, athleticism and skill with Finney-Smith and Brown, a dangerous offensive threat when Hudson is healthy, and in my opinion the head coach. Long term I think we’ll all be satisfied with what we have brewing here.

    Great job as always Niemo and Cope…love this site. This class of ’95 alum is very excited about this team.

  • Ryan

    Is Green hurt? what’s the deal? just gettin Rankin some PT?

    • http://www.vthokiefans.com Cope-acabana

      I’m guessing that since rhode island is 1-7 and losers of their last four, that Greenberg figured it would be a cake walk, so why not sit Green and get Rankin a start.

  • Ryan

    Yeh, Rankin looked confident in his first game last time out, I liked it. Although I fear we have so many young, quality guards that at least one of them will get fed up with the lack of PT and transfer. Garland was playing spectacular in the first few games, probably better than anyone else on the team not named Green and unfortunately that was his spot. Now he has no minutes…

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