Categorized | 2011-12 Season

VT’s ACC Regular Season Conclusion – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

  • Cadarian Raines averaged 12.4 PPG in his final 5 games.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith seems to be finding his game. He was 8/17 from 3-point range in his final 5 games and started converting some of his drives. Doe Doe just needs a midrange game.
  • Erick Green finished 9th in the ACC with 15.2 PPG and 10th in FT% (75%).
  • The Hokies had a positive Turnover Margin in 11 of their 16 ACC games. VT finished 2nd in the ACC in TO Margin (+2.6… yet they get no Fastbreak Points…).

The Bad:

  • Tech lost their final 4 ACC games after winning 3 of 5.
  • VT was blown out in 4 ACC games. The other 12 were decided by 4 points or less, or in OT. Tech went 4-8 in those games, losing 4 of the final 5.
  • Tech was outrebounded in 13 of their 16 ACC games. They finished 11th in Rebounding Margin (-5.8 per game) and 12th in Defensive Rebounding % (64%).
  • 4 of the Hokies final 7 opponents shot better than 50% from the field.

The Ugly:

  • 58% – Tech entered the florida state game #1 in FT% in ACC games at 105/139 (75.5%). They finished in 8th place thanks to 59/101 from the line in their final 6 games (58%), starting with their 3/10 (in 12 opportunities) down the stretch against fsu that cost them that game.
  • 32-0: VT was outscored 32-0 in Fastbreak Points in their final 2 games against clemson (13) and nc state (19). They were outscored 23-0 in their final two home games (uva 4-0).
  • 40: In the Hokies’ 9 home games in 2012 (counting byu), they scored just 40 total Fastbreak Points, never reaching double digits in a game. They scored just 33 in their 8 ACC home games (4.1 per game). VT scored just 13 Fastbreak Points in their final 5 home games (2.6 per game).
  • VT finished last in the ACC in FG% in ACC play (under 40%). They were just 10th in FG% Defense.
  • Tech never reached 70 points in regulation in 2012 in 17 games, were held to 60 or fewer points in 11 of 16 ACC games (in regulation), and didn’t reach 50 in 3 games.
  • The Hokies finished tied for last in the ACC in another down year for the league.  Tech also fell below .500 (15-16) for the first time all year after entering conference play at 11-3.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 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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24 Responses to “VT’s ACC Regular Season Conclusion – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”

  1. HipHop_Hokie says:

    A lost season. You all know from my posts on here a few seasons ago that I was always skeptical of Dorenzo – often referring to him as a 40 year old dude out on the court – and to be honest I am not surprised that a team for which he was supposed to be the senior leader ended up floundering so much.

    At the same time, however, this is also the time when I need to step up to the plate and admit that I am looking pretty foolish for having touted C.J. so much over the past few years. While he has shown SOME promise with his ability to contribute some decent rebounding and post defense, he looks completely lost offensively… and I don’t think that he grew too much at all during his freshman year. I know, I know… most freshmen aren’t ready to step into the ACC and do much… but I truly felt that C.J. was going to be an exception, and he was not. He needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror once we’ve played our final game and decide if he wants to be good, great, or just coast along. Because it seems to me like something is not clicking like it should be.

    For starters, he could try spending all day every day with Cadarian, because wow… talk about a guy that seems to be busting his butt to get better. Very proud of the way big man finished the year, and I really think that Vic sitting out these last handful of games is going to be a blessing for next season because of the way Cad blossomed. Keep it up, Mr. Raines!

    But overall… wow. Such a lost season. Filled with an unbelievable amount of close losses, injuries that hit us before the season even began and carried right through to the bitter end, and so much potential left unfulfilled out on the court. I realize that the season isn’t technically “over” yet, but who are we kidding… we just lost by 15 to NC State. At home. On senior night. We’re not winning the ACC tourney. I just hope all of the non-seniors remember this feeling that they have right now and vow to never feel it again by working harder – and probably more importantly SMARTER – in the offseason, and come out this fall ready to rock & roll. Time to put a bow on this debacle… adios Zo & Vic!!

    • Chris_Atl says:

      I think I remember SG saying early on that CJ needed to learn to play harder. The one thing he seems to have that Allen had and Davilla and Raines don’t have at all is a shot facing the basket. He did show signs of greatness but as you said it may be up to him how far he goes.

    • Les says:

      It’s a shame Raines couldn’t show development until he became a starter and benefit from the absense of Davila. It makes me wonder about several things.

      1. Is there real development of players who are non-starters?

      2. Would he have made the same strides if he played alongside Davila? Do we have any big men who can be productive without requiring the offense be run through them most each series?

      3. Pending the evaluation of Davila, what is happening to the starters that so many of them are breaking down with injuries?

      • Ryan C says:

        Raines was already starting to develop before Davila went down. He just became the guy that took all the post touches when Victor went down because there is no one else.

        • Goodraisin says:

          I agree with Ryan C… for a bunch of games before Davila went down, Raines looked like the better player between the two. I remember him putting his offensive post moves on display while coming off the bench and I remember thinking, “Where did THAT come from?”

  2. Chris-Atl says:

    Very interesting stuff. I think you are turning me into a stat junkie.

    The free throw statistic is mind boggling. Unless our poorer shooters just got more attempts in ACC play, I can only attribute it to fatigue. Hard to know whether we are over-conditioned or under-conditioned although you have eluded to the former as a potential source of injury.

    One more “good” candidate. 3 pt. shooting in ACC play
    – Shot 35.8% from 3-pt. Only 04/05 was higher (38.1%) although we were close in 6/7 and 10/11.
    – Finished in a rough tie for 2nd with Duke, previous high was 4th last year and our average position has been 8th
    – Our 94 made was 2nd only to the 8/9 season (96)

    Sadly, as you pointed out in a prior article, the 3-point stat wasn’t a guarantor of wins this year.

    Although we weren’t, you can be a good team without scoring a lot. VT and UVA both averaged 59.9 pts/game and their stats on your last bullet sounded nearly as dismal. We were 1-2 in the games where we scored less than 50 (nearly 2-1) vs. 3-10 where we scored 50 or more.

    The lack of fast-break pts. could be related to our weak rebounding but I think SG just didn’t trust our decision making/passing skills. Earlier on in the year the person who started the fast break often ended up keeping it and it didn’t always go well. That is a big upside for us next year.

    • Goodraisin says:

      It was really a team effort in destroying VT’s team free throw percentage. Erick Green was around 84% at one time and finished at 75%. I think Dorenzo Hudson also dropped below 80% after being at 82 or 83 for a while. Eddie dropped from 90% to the mid 80’s. Raines and Davila both seemed to improve actually. Oh, and Robert Brown fell off a cliff.

    • Goodraisin says:

      Oh… I’ve also go to call out our players for the poor fastbreak efforts, not Greenberg. They just don’t pass the ball on the break. Hudson and Green especially… they have zero interest in involving a teammate on the break (although Green is better at going coast-to-coast than Hudson by a long shot).

      • Niemo says:

        Raisin – I agree on the not passing, but I disagree that falls on the players 100%. Greenberg needed to stop this 3 years ago when Delaney turned fastbreaks into it-doesn’t-matter-how-many-other-Hokies-are-with-me-I’m-taking-it-myself. Now look — that spread to Zo and now to Green and now to Brown. Guys don’t pass on the break, they sit. Period.

        • Chris_atl says:

          Niemo – As a coach what steps would you take to fix the problem of guys not passing on the break?

        • Goodraisin says:

          I think you’re right from the standpoint that Greenberg needs to try to do something different to fix this, but I would also say that I have heard Greenberg (on radio interviews and TV interviews) say that he wants our players to pass more on the break. I think this is something he’s been trying to coach into his guys, but they get into a game and the crowd starts to roar and they want the glory for themselves. I know for a fact that they practice 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 fastbreak drills and perform correctly in them… that’s why I don’t think it’s a coaching problem as much as a player problem.

          • Niemo says:

            It becomes a coach problem when it persists. And this has been going on for 3-4 years, as I said. He didn’t discipline Delaney when he did it, and best I can tell, doesn’t with this guys. Like I said, the next guy that doesn’t pass on a 2-on-1 sits the rest of the half (that’s extreme) or sits one full media timeout, or if you don’t want to punish during a game (he’s now in job-save mode), make that guy run stairs for 20-30 minutes. There have to be repercussions. Are there? Maybe, but the problem persists so I doubt it.

          • Chris_atl says:

            Yeah, GR, I agree and think every coach emphasizes passing on fast breaks. Sometimes keeping it makes sense, especially if the defense is playing the pass. Also, if a guy keeps the ball but guys are following you can get an ofensive rebound. But, our guys seem a bit inept at passing and I think they are just afraid to turn the ball over. Could be for the glory but even if they don’t get the game-time punishment Niemo is seeking you know SG gets on them when they don’t do this. So, for them to keep doing it for personal glory means they are purposefully defying their coach. That would take a lot of balls, pardon the pun.

            We know SG does discipline players (taking them out of the game after a significant mistake, not starting them because they aren’t practicing hard, etc). So, it’s not that he is just a weak coach. I don’t know that failing to pass on a break is any worse than taking an ill-advised shot or losing focus on defense but it’s certainly more obvious.

  3. FruitpietheMagician says:

    1. We didn’t defend the Cassell!
    2. Our seniors forgot to lead the rest of the team.
    3. We got dunked on a lot, and had maybe 10 dunks all season
    4. We had a down year? I don’t buy that. We have been in the ACC long enough to attract recruits, we have a great practice facility to get ready, and we still played unethusiastically.
    5. Most every team in VA is better than us!
    6. We barely have a good win, and we have tons of bad losses.
    7. Freethrows – they’re FREE for Godsakes!
    8. Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda…
    9. March is basically depressing now.
    10. I guess there’s next year…but I have heard that since Del Curry left (yes I was there!)

  4. Goodraisin says:

    Good thoughts Niemo.

    Without looking at stats, here are my pros and cons from the season:

    – Cadarian Raines looks like a stud. He was touted as a defensive stopper and rebounder, but it’s his offensive game that has come out of nowhere to make him legit. He’s one of the few post guys who understands the value of really moving around while keeping your pivot foot planted to find a good shot. I always loved that about Kevin McHale’s game… he didn’t force up a shot if he turned on his pivot foot once and he didn’t have a good angle… he’d go right back the other way, put up a shot fake, then come back around again to score an easy bucket. Post players don’t do that anymore, but it’s what made guys like Kareem, McHale, and Olajuwon so great.
    – Finney-Smith got better towards the end of the ACC slate. Some freshmen are able to come in with a ton of confidence and do great things. That wasn’t DFS… he rarely looked confident in himself this season, but I think he’s getting there.
    – Jarell Eddie can SHOOT IT. That’s been consistent all season, but it was a huge surprise to me early on after his efforts last season. If he can learn to shoot off the dribble rather than just catch-and-shoot situations, he’ll be a nightmare to opposing defenses.
    – Rankin had some bright spots and should only improve with more playing time. He’s a better outside shooter than I thought he would be, but he’s also worse at finishing around the rim than I thought he would be. I think he’s going to be a really good point guard by the time he’s a junior.
    – Likewise Robert Brown had some bright spots and I think he’s going to take a huge leap next year if Greenberg makes him the starting SG. He’s shown a complete package of shots offensively with 3-point, mid-range, jump-stop, floater, and driving layup/dunk. Adding more muscle will only make him deadlier.
    – Barksdale reminds me a lot of JTT, which is a good thing. He provides energy off the bench, gives you rebounds and putbacks, and has a face-up jumper from 12-15 feet. The only negative I have is that he doesn’t know his limitations right now… he thinks he can play on the perimeter, but at this time he can’t… he needs to realize that his future is as a low-post player.

    DFS still has a way to go. He needs to improve his free throw shooting as getting to the free throw line should be a huge part of his game. Likewise he needs to gain a lot of muscle this offseason. His weak body is the primary reason that he was unable to finish around the basket. A mid-range game would be nice, but mostly I want to see him learn how to finish in traffic… with his athleticism he should be getting a ton of easy points on putbacks and fastbreaks (i’d be surprised if he had more than 10 points total on fastbreaks this season). I think ideally Jarell Eddie should be the 3 and DFS should play like a stretch 4, but they had to flip flop on defense because DFS was too slight of frame to defend power forwards.
    – Neither Hudson nor Davila took a step forward in their senior season. A lot of us expected Hudson to get back to his 3rd team All-ACC form from junior year (two years ago), but instead he played just a bit better than last year (prior to being shut down with injury). He’s proved to be one of our more clutch performers when given the last shot of the game (certainly moreso than Delaney), but his shooting percentages overall were poor. Davila was exactly the same player he was last year. He still can’t rebound. He still doesn’t provide much offensively. He still has terrible hands. The one thing I will credit him for is finally learning to calm down and shoot his free throws well… too bad is was towards the end of a wasted season.
    – Erick Green really slipped towards the end of the season. To his credit, he carried the team for a long time, but he regressed as a shooter and distributor. I wonder if Greenberg moves him to SG next year and starts Rankin at PG, then moves Green to PG when Rankin needs a break. I could see that happening especially since Greenberg values defense and Rankin is the team’s best on-ball defender.
    – Someone needs to rebound the ball. I think DFS will improve here as he adds muscle and starting Raines at center rather than Davila will certainly help, but I’m really hoping Montrezl Harrell is the beast on the boards that he’s supposed to be… we need him.

    • Niemo says:

      Raisin – to your point, Doe Doe MUST put on muscle for defensive reasons as much as offense. He was a defensive liability in ACC play. Teams abused him by out-muscling him. Or guys like Leslie just beat him with quickness.

      • Goodraisin says:

        Absolutely true. Whenever VT goes into the 1-3-1 trap with Doe Doe at the top, I find myself pining for Terrell Bell to come back. Bell was an absolute terror at that spot and I so much want DFS to be like that, but he’s not. His reactions are slower, he’s tentative, he’s just not the defender that he’s capable of being… yet.

      • hokiegrad says:

        Agreed. And nobody should be beating him with quickness once he’s got more experience. He should be able to match up well in that department. Just gotta get stronger and keep working hard, listening to the coaches.

        • Niemo says:

          I really think Doe Doe could be another C.J. Leslie. Leslie was an enigma last year. He was too skinny and loafed (the former is a problem with DFS, but not the latter). He’d stuff the stat sheet some nights, and other nights you’d ask yourself if he had even played in the game afterwards. He did average 11/7 though, which is well more than Doe Doe. But just like Beamer says you make your most progress between your 1st and 2nd games in football, you make your most progress in bball between your Fr and Soph years. If you don’t, you are usually a lost cause. I fully expect for it to click for Doe Doe next year… but that’s assuming he puts in a lot of work in the weight room and a lot of work in the gym. He doesn’t need 20 lbs, in my opinion, he just 10-ish and to ‘learn’ how to use it. Leverage, getting low, etc.

  5. Chris says:

    Long season. Most discouraging thing about yesterday was that the players didn’t seem to care. It looked like they had given up. I’ll do the pro/con thing too.


    – DFS finally showed some progress towards the end of the season. We probably all had too high of expectations for him going in and he looked like a lost puppy in the first half of the ACC season. He finally started being more aggressive in the final games though, which is encouraging.

    – Eddie can shoot.

    – Raines came on big time at the end of the year. Hopefully he continues to develop and get better in the off-season. He may be our most important player for next season.

    – Brown was impressive pre-ACC play, then like the other freshman, sort of disappeared. He has potential but he’s going to have to work on his ballhandling and free-throw shooting. He also was a poor decision-maker.


    – DFS is a beanpole and got bullied around by the big boys in the ACC.

    – Eddie can’t play defense and his ballhandling is very poor.

    – The “fab 4″ really didn’t live up to the hype at all this season. I have to admit, I’m very disappointed with their play in general this year.

    – Our offense.

    – Too many times Erick Green has to do everything by himself.

    – Hudson and Davila. I’m not going into detail here since the season is essentially over but needless to say they were both major disappointments (especially the former). I wish them both well in the future however.

    What needs to be done:

    – DFS and Barksdale need to hit the weightroom, and hit it HARD, in the off-season. Neither has any bulk to speak of and unless they both put on 20ish pounds of muscle, they’ll continue to get bullied inside.

    – Eddie needs to work on his ballhandling. He’s a good shooter and plays with so much energy; I think he still has a lot of potential. Just needs to continue to develop.

    – The entire team needs to shoot 100 free throws a day, at a minimum.

    – Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like we only have 10 guys on scholarship for next season as of today (Green, Rankin, Brown, Eddie, DFS, Wood, Harrell, Raines, JVZ, Barksdale). I think it’s unlikely Thompson comes back… so doesn’t that leave us with three available scholarships? We need bodies, in a bad way.

    • Niemo says:

      That 10 looks right to me. We’d have to officially declare Chaney out of action like we did with Swindle (if we haven’t already) and that frees up that scholarship (but Chaney remains on scholarship and can graduate). And yes, you get 13.

  6. Ryan W says:

    Definitely need some more guards and maybe a guy around 7 ft if you can find one…

  7. Les says:

    A JC transfer would provide more immediate help. Green is the only upperclassman in the backcourt. It would reduce the skewed distribution of their scholarships.

    SRs: Green, Thompson*
    JRs: Eddie, Raines*
    SOs: Barksdale, Brown, Finney-Smith, Rankin
    FRs: Harrell, Wood, Van Zegeren*

    * redshirt

    Two open spots remain.

  8. houndmound says:

    To me, the bottom line is that our offense is very vanilla, very stagnant, and we end up swinging the ball around the perimeter for 20-25 seconds each time down the floor.

    There are no backdoor cuts, barely any penetration, and when a guard does get in the lane they never look to kick out to the open jump shooter. I don’t know if this is a function of us not having true PG’s (Gordon/Dowdell were the closest to a true PG) or just bad coaching. We get it inside on post feeds a decent amount but our bigs are always undersized and have a tough time getting quality looks on the 6’10” guys every other ACC team is rolling out.

    Additionally, the coaching at the end of games plain sucks. Look at how FSU beat us and Duke – they drew up a play to penetrate and kick it out for a wide open 3.

    The talent level has been / is getting there but the philosophy on offense has been off since Greenberg has been around. He’s done great things for us but one more year without a bid and he’s toast.


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