Posted on15 December 2011.
Some people were warning Tech to look out for the campbell camels. They were 8-1 on the season… until Wednesday… when they lost… to houston baptist. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s a houston baptist?” As usual, your wish is my command:
- They are Division I
- They are in the Great West Conference (If you can name another team in the conference without looking then you have too much time on your hands… n.j.i.t. is in it (they are in New Jersey… in the Great ‘West’))
- Their nickname is the ‘huskies’… yeah, lots of huskies in Houston
- campbell, like norfolk state, has already played a team twice this year (houston baptist)… seriously, they played a home-and-home??? Is this some rivalry I don’t know about? campbell won at home easily in their opener before losing at hbu.
But I digress. My point is, I’m not too worried about this game. I was actually buying into it and thought this game would come down to the wire… I don’t anymore. I’m not putting my psychic powers on the line tonight (I’m 3-0 this season at guessing the final spread) since my beloved Dirty Birds (touchdown Julio!) are playing right now, but I think VT will win it in a laugher. The Hokies have 3 games in 5 days, so they need to get their mojo rising after a 6-day layoff. Tech traditionally does have a real head-scratcher of a loss this year, but I’m betting the Hokies are sharp Saturday even with the layoff.
With the layoff, Seth was hoping to get a lot of work in on the practice court (I have no doubt he did) and stress some new things — pressure further out? Erick at the 2-guard? Doe Doe be more aggressive? Push the tempo more? We’ll see.
And ESPN3 has picked up this game, so you internet peeps can watch online. I’ll have highlights, but probably not until Sunday morning (“Yahtzee!” “BRRRRRAHHHHHH!”).
VT 4-0. Most recently…
- 2010-11 Season Opener @VT: VT 70, campbell 60
- 2009-10 @campbell: VT 71, campbell 60 – VT actually trailed most of the first half in this game as the camels opened their new arena. Seth burned 4 timeouts in the first half, including 3 in a span of 2:02. He was not happy but VT pulled away late in the second half
Based on the scores the last two years, should I predict the score would be VT 69 – 60 this year? Nah, like I said, I’m distracted, I’m not putting a prediction down other than “VT BIG”.
The camels rank very high nationally in a lot of offensive categories (see bold)…
Don’t expect to see the Hokies play two bigs too much in this game. campbell is a SMALL team and they will look to run and gun. They come in averaging 83 ppg (9th best in the nation) and have 3 players averaging between 17.1 ppg and 21.2, all of whom rank in the top 100 in the nation in scoring. The camels hit 53% of their field goals (#3 in the nation). Surprisingly, they don’t shoot a lot of 3-pointers. Surprising because most up-tempo teams do, and they hit 44% of their long balls (6th best in the country) – VT hits 39% (#36 in D1). So it’s quality over quantity from deep for them. They are 51/117 from deep (just 5 makes and 12 attempts per game — VT averages ~7/17). Other than White (see 2 paragraphs down), no one has more than 8 makes for campbell.
The camels would much rather push the ball and get transition points either the easy way, or from the line. They have 4 players that have shot 52 or more free throws (the Hokies don’t have a single player with more than 39 FTs). campbell averages 29 FTs per game — 4th best in the nation (VT averages just 21) and they hit 73% (VT hits 73%, too).
Darren White is a big time scorer on the wing averaging 21.2 ppg (that’s 13th best in the nation). White is in his first year playing at campbell after transferring from jmu two years ago. He is an outstanding 3-point shooter (45% with 19 makes) but also is aggressive, getting to the rim and the foul line (52 attempts, 70%) a fair amount. He was just a 30% 3-point shooter at jmu and averaged just 9 ppg, so either he really worked on his shooting last year while sitting or he’s just been hot so far this season. Considering Tech holds opponents to 23% shooting from deep, this will be a good test for White on the outside. He’s scored 30+ twice and 20+ five times.
White also grabs 6.2 rebounds per game, 1.9 blocks, and 1.2 steals, so he works hard on the glass and defensive end.
On the inside, campbell doesn’t have much bulk. They start just one player, senior Eric Griffin, that is over 6’6″. But Griffin is just 190 lbs. No one over 210 starts. They do have a 6’9″, 220 lbs. sub in Antonio Kalpic but size is not their game.
Griffin does snag 8.4 boards per game and does average 2.4 blocks. Griffin averages 17.9 ppg (68th best nationally), too, so he’s no joke on offense. He’s their best inside threat but would probably play the 3 (or 4) in VT’s system. The elder camel has hit an eye-popping 55 of 84 shots (66% — 17th best in the land). Eric hangs out around the rim and that’s his main game. He’s athletic. I wouldn’t be stunned to see Doe Doe on him instead of Davila to combat his athleticism instead of going with size.
Griffin scored 13 points and snagged 9 rebounds last year versus VT. He missed a game a week ago with an injury but returned with 21 points against hbu, so he seems fine.
Trey Freeman scores 17.1 for the camels. He’s all but automatic from the line (51/57). Freeman doesn’t shoot more than a couple of 3s per game, so expect him to also work mostly from 16′ in. Freeman also averages close to 5 assists per game, pretty darn good for the freshman from VA Beach.
Rico… Fer-gu-son… rounds out their offensive threats. He averages just under 10 ppg but is more of a distributor.
Marvelous Marvelle Harris rounds out the starting lineup. The 6’6″ ‘4’ is a decent rebounder, but isn’t much of an offensive threat. He’s out there to rebound and battle opposing 4’s. He’ll likely have the assignment on Doe Doe. If he plays Davila, he’ll be giving up some height. Maybe this can get VD going.
Expect the camels to run a lot. Greenberg’s been harping for weeks (and years) that he wants to run more, yet he (we) never do. This is a great opportunity. The camels will be just fine sucking the Hokies into a speed game… so why not try it a bit? See if the Hokies can run with the humpbacks.
On defense, campbell can be shredded. We’ll see if the Hokies can be successful inside, where they have a big advantage. Tech is a solid offensive rebounding team and campbell grabs just 70% of other teams’ misses (that’s middle of the pack). Also, campbell will take chances to try and force turnovers. They block 10% of their opponents’ shots (21st best in the land). But creighton (barrel) worked them 104-81, but they are a higher scoring offense. This will be an interesting game to see – will the Hokies try and play their game and win this keeping it in the 70s, or can they push the action and keep pace? Can the Hokies actually convert transition opportunities and get easy buckets? They haven’t all season, but need to in order to run with the huskies.
||11 Green 6-3 (Jr)
||3 Ferguson 6-2 (So)
||5 Hudson 6-5 (Sr)
||1 Freeman 6-2 (Fr)
||31 Eddie 6-7 (So)
||4 White 6-4 (Jr)
||15 Finney-Smith 6-8 (Fr)
||15 Harris 6-6 (So)
||14 Davila 6-8 (Sr)
||21 Griffin 6-8 (Sr)
||etsu, oklahoma state, st. bonnie, norfolk state
||syracuse, minnesota, kansas state
|Leaders (this season):
BORING FACTS ABOUT campbell (“To the stars through difficulty”):
||Buies Creek, NC
||7k main campus, 10.5k total
|NCAA Tournament Appearances
||1 (1992) – they are in the Big South
||1 Pulitzer Prize winner, Jim Perry, Gaylord Perry (MLB Hall of Fame
||33 miles south of Raleigh