On Thursday night the Virginia Tech takes on the eastern chapter of the directional michigans. The eagles complete their tour of SW VA, having defeated radford 52-48 at the Dedmon Center on Tuesday night. That win snapped a 5-game losing streak for the eagles that included an 84-48 loss to syracuse (michigan state also beat them by 32 and purdue beat them by 25).
While Tech will be heavy favorites in this game, it is also very important that the Hokies have a good showing:
- VT won’t play for another 9 days (@okie state in the ‘Rematch’).
- The Hokies only have 1 game in the next 15 days.
- This is Tech’s next to last out of conference game before they start the ACC slate.
Playing well will send the Hokies into their Christmas break with momentum. It is important the players feel they are playing well going into this lull to build confidence. And the Hokies have been riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels lately, so let’s keep that rolling.
Please note highlights will likely not be up until Monday, December 26th (hey, I’m allowed a vacation, aren’t I?).
|Position||Virginia Tech||e. michigan|
|Guard||11 Green 6-3 (Jr)||34 Lampley 5-10 (Sr)|
|Guard||5 Hudson 6-5 (Sr)||20 Dailey 6-3 (Sr)|
|Forward/Guard||31 Eddie 6-7 (So)||2 Sims 6-3 (So)|
|Forward||15 Finney-Smith 6-8 (Fr)||32 Harris 6-9 (Jr)|
|Center||14 Davila 6-8 (Sr)||1 Riley 7-0 (So)|
|Top 100 RPI Wins (VT #45, emu #213)||norfolk st (56), st bonnie (57), okla st (93)||None (Lost by 36 to ‘cuse)|
|Leaders (this season):|
|Scorer||Green 15.7||Lampley 15.9|
|Rebounder||Finney-Smith 8.1||Harris 6.5|
|Assists||Green 3.2||Lampley 2.8|
|Steals||Green 1.7||Lampley/Green 1.4|
|Blocks||Finney-Smith/Raines 1.1||Harris 1.6|
michigan offensively is much like Tim Tebow – they stink for the first 45 minutes. The problem for emu is college basketball games are only 40 minutes. In other words, they stink at putting that round ball in the basket. emu averages just 55 points per game, 334th in the nation (out of 344). They average just 62 possessions per game, 325th in the land. So, they like to slow the ball down to the point you think the ball must be flat.
The eagles have not been flying high on offense of late. They scored all of 36 against purdue. michigan state held them to 40. In fact, their high on the season is 70, and they’ve been held under 54 points in 6 of their 11 games.
A lot of their points will come from the foul line (22%, which is actually high), so expect them to work the clock, feed it inside, or drive to the basket.
emu will have more size than Tech’s last two opponents. They start 6’9″ Harris (good rebounder/shot-blocker) and syracuse transfer, 7′ DaShonte Riley (he just became eligible for the radford game so that was his first appearance with the eagles – he scored 8 and grabbed 4 boards). Off the bench they have 6’10 Balkema (horrendous foul shooter (44%) and has just 2 blocks). Balkema is just a space-eater and that’s about it, but he can body up Davila or Raines with his 285 pounds of girthiness. So VT won’t be able to just push their way into the paint.
Darrell Lampley is emu’s best player, but he’s just 5’10”. He’ll have trouble shooting over Tech’s big guards, but he can beat VT off the dribble. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rankin get the assignment on Lampley a lot to see if Marquis can be the Hokies’ shutdown defender on the perimeter.
Lampley is a solid 3-pt shooter (38%), Derek Thompson is good (33%), but Sims is awful (17%). Again, if VT can get out on Lampley, he’ll have trouble shooting over Tech. Dailey had been 1/9 from deep on the season but hit 3/4 against the highlanders, so look for him to grip it and rip it to see if he’s hot again. Most of emu’s points come from their guards and they’ll play 3 most of the time.
6 PACK OF HO-KEYS:
- Exlax? The Hokies have finally gotten their transition game going this week. Tech has 41 fast break points combined in their last 2 games. Thanks to the discovery of the ‘pass’ on the break, the Hokies are getting easy buckets and even a few BRRAHHs. By comparison, VT had just 4 fast break points vs kansas state, 8 vs st. bonnie, and 7 against norfolk state. But emu will really focus on keeping you from running…
- Dry Clean: Tech unveiled a full court press on Monday and it let to 3 turnovers in limited duty by my count. That could be a way to force the eagle to play up-tempo, and help cause turnovers that can fuel the break.
- Painters: The Hokies have 82 points in the paint the last 2 games, but that was against two mighty-mites. Still, Davila has looked sharp, Barksdale has very good post moves for a Frosh, and Raines is good from 6 inches and in (though he missed a dunk and had another one blocked last game).
- Senioritis: Can Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila keep it going? They’ve combined for 54 points in the last two games.
- Getaway Day: In baseball that’s the term for the last game of a long road trip when focus can be an issue. With VT having 9 days off and kids heading home for Xmas after this, will they be focuses and enthusiastic in what will no doubt be a quiet, 75% empty arena?
- Use Your Noggin’: Anyone have a good egg nog recipe? I’m jonesin’ some.
BORING FACTS ABOUT eastern michigan (“Education First”):
|Enrollment||18.2k undergrad, 4.7k grad|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances||4 (most recent in 1998; made the Sweet 16 in 1991)|
|Famous Students/Alums||Earl Boykins, George Gervin (NBA Hall of Fame), Greg Mathis (Judge Mathis), John Heffron (won Last Comic Standing 2), Charlie Batch|
|Nickname||Up until 1991, emu was the ‘Hurons’, an Indian tribe|