Categorized | 2012-13 Season

Niemo’s Bourbon Breakdown | VT 80, etsu 62

OK, within 24 hours of each game*, I’ll give you a breakdown of the keys to the game as I saw it, and possibly re-saw it.  Warning: I may have a few bourbons, or in this case, victory Scotches in me.

* Guarantee only valid in the lower 48 states.  Actual cash value of guarantee is $0.0001, or 100 “Schrute-bucks”.

  • Play Up-Tempo: GRADE = A/B+… The ‘A’ is for effort.  Tech definitely pushed the ball up the court in most situations.  The ‘B+’ is for execution.  The Hokies tallied ‘just’ 9 fast break points.  I should note VT only scored 13 total fast break points in their final 5 home games last year and averaged just 4.4 fast break points in our 2012 home games last season.  So this is at least a step in the right direction of getting some easy buckets.  And not once did we come close to a shot clock violation until very late in the game when the outcome was decided, so that also was a plus.  But we did still pull the ball out at times when we had numbers.  I think this will improve with time, though, as guys realize they won’t get yanked after one failed push/drive.
  • Be Fun: GRADE = A… I think we’d all agree this offense was a heck of a lot more fun to watch than anything Seth or O’Cain-spring has rolled out there recently.  Tech shot it at their first open look, instead of bleeding the shot clock until Green would have to force something.  And we actually tried an alley-oop!  It failed, but it was still exciting to see us leverage our athletes.  And if Eddie had managed to throw that ‘oop down one-handed like Clarence/Coffee Black in Semi-Pro, it would have brought the house down.  As it was, it still got the crowd off their feet and gets them into the game.
  • Defense: GRADE = B… Normally holding a team to 39% shooting form the field and 19% from behind the arc would draw an A, but this was a very inexperienced east tennessee state team.  They had plenty of open looks but laid more bricks than Habitat for Humanity.  The effort was good and I liked our doubling down in the post, but rotations seemed a tad slow at times.  Again, let’s see if this improves as we get the rust off and get into the season.
  • Rebounding: GRADE = D… I’d give an ‘F’ if this wasn’t the first game.  Tech got dominated in the first half on the glass, giving up 8 offensive rebounds, and allowed 14 for the game.  etsu snagged 33% of their misses.  That may not sound like a lot until you consider they didn’t play a single player taller than 6’7″.  And it wasn’t just long misses bouncing far out, it was Tech being outpositioned and out-muscled in the trenches.  This has to improve to do even decent in the ACC, but I’m concerned this will be an issue all year.  The lone bright spot was Jarell Eddie, who fought for 10 rebounds including 9 on the defensive end.  He reminds me a bit of A.D. Vassallo on the glass.

The Players:

  • Erick Green – looked about the same to me as last year.  That’s not a bad thing, but just didn’t seem to be any better either, even after attending Chris Paul’s camp.  Beamer needs to get Green to play safety for him – Erick can still read and intercept passes with the best of them (2 steals).
  • Cadarian Raines – really looked rusty in the paint on offense.  Most of the moves and shots he had today, he’d have finished at the end of the season last year.  But he went just 3/9 from the floor and only had 4 rebounds and 0 blocks.  Needs to do more on the glass this year.
  • Jarell Eddie – my player of the game because of what he offered on the glass.  He stepped in to fill some of the void left by Doo-Doo’s transfer in the rebounding department.  Also hit 3/7 from 3-point land and showed confidence in his shot.  And he only committed 2 fouls after constantly being in foul trouble last year and fouling out 4 times.  The only negative was 3 turnovers – I can’t decide if I like him driving or not – TBD.
  • C.J. Barksdale – other than an early tipped pass (he didn’t get credit for the steal) and a nice rebound that led to a fast break, I wouldn’t have even known he played.  Attempted just 1 shot and grabbed just 3 rebounds, while committing 4 fouls that limited him to 17 minutes.  He must give Tech another option in the post when teams double Raines and needs to avoid foul trouble.
  • Robert Brown – looked fantastic today.  If you are going to be a star, you must make a leap forward between your freshman and sophomore years (like Dowdell, Delaney, and Green all did).  Brown looks like he is going to be a force this year and take some of the scoring heat off Green.  Hit 4/7 from behind the arc and 6/12 overall today.  Also had 5 assists (Tech needs that so Green can work off the ball more).
  • Joey van Zegeren – exceeded my expectations.  Provided 18 solid minutes.  Hit all 3 of his shots.  Did commit 4 fouls though, which isn’t a huge deal as a backup, but if Barksdale is in foul trouble JvZ has to limit his fouls.
  • Marshall Wood – I’ll say this – dude has confidence in his shot.  Too much, perhaps.  He was 1/6 from the field and the 1 make was a tip-in from 6 inches away.  Wood was 0/3 for 3 from 3-point range and they were all pretty far off.  And he also committed 4 fouls.  But obviously he was doing something right – the team was +15 when he was in, possibly thanks to his 6 rebounds.
  • Marquis Rankin – unavailable due to family matters – our thoughts go out to him and his family.
  • Will Johnston – when you need 13 minutes from a walk-on, that’s not a good thing.  Still, he played solid and hit a 3-pointer, but these minutes will evaporate when Rankin returns.
  • 3 other walk-ons got in, including Marcus Patrick to briefly play the point, but see above.
Random note: georgia tech scored more points that etsu… and georgia tech was playing football (68-50 over those dirty cheaters from c-hill).

Nice win and certainly builds some positive energy after the first game.  Need to keep it going Monday.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1198 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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  • Blue Collar Hokie

    Hey everybody, great to be back!

    Didn’t get to watch the game but all reports are encouraging. Good to see the kids have some fun on the court and not be handcuffed by coaching. Jury’s still out on this team but the scrimmage and game one got me feeling good.

    Let’s keep it going fellas, beat URI!

    • Niemo

      Blue Collar – I think the thing you’ll like is even when we lose (and we will), it won’t be like watching the grass grow.

  • Martin

    Nice write up Niemo; I like the new grading feature. I agree on pretty much everything. Although, it looked like EG improved on his passing a bit to me. He had a couple of really nice drives where he drew in the def then kicked it to an open man. Also, I think he had something like 6 assists (higher than his avg last season).

    Brown looked like he could handle PG in short stints if the need arises. And he is so long. He kind of reminds me of Jeremey lamb. Five assists too. Good stuff.

    JVZ exceeded my expectations as well. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t expect much from him. He did fine though. Eddie looks like a stud, and I think he should definitely be driving some. He’s gotta force defenders to respect it so they don’t play him too tightly.

    So much more fun to watch than Greenberg’s team, and I love the way they attacked the zone. There was nothing more frustrating than watching the team swing it aimlessly around the perimeter last year.

    • Niemo

      Martin – to be fair, I think I was focusing more on the other guys more than EG because we know what to expect from him. So I’ll try and watch him more. On second thought, he was doing a better job of finishing on drives… although this was etsu at the end of the day we’ll see how that goes.

      With Brown, we don’t really need him to handle the rock coming up. What will be key is EG bring it up, pass, and then be able to run off screens (with Brown taking the point once we are in the half court). So that will ease the pressure on Brown, which is a good thing.

      My problem with Eddie on the drive is he still makes too many risky and/or bad passes. But I do like him driving to force defenders to respect him outside (i.e. back off him). Plus, he has a nice pull-up which I’d like to see him use more (Brown’s pull-up jumper looked great yesterday).

      We did do a nice job vs the zone (i.e. knock down open looks from the outside). That is a nice point.

  • Danram

    The ball movement in our half-court set offense was better in this game than just about any Seth Greenberg-coached game I can remember, at least within the last few years. Our spacing was good on offense, we moved the ball crisply, and we did a good job of finding people in good position to take a quality shot (i.e.: on balance, shoulders squared to the basket, feet under them so that they can get their legs into the shot).

    I realize that it was just ESTU. Still, we looked better on Saturday afternoon than any VT team has looked in its season opener in quite a while, IMHO.

    • goodraisin

      I think your last point is a really good one. Those Greenberg teams always started out excruciatingly slow, as if they weren’t ready to start playing real games yet.

  • hokiegrad

    Our post play has to improve all around, and along with that I’d like to have seen a little more effort to get the ball inside and work on that in a game like this, but overall I was pleased with what I saw. They were obviously enjoying themselves, playing hard, passing well, etc. We can build on this.

  • RK in Roanoke

    Niemo – thanks for the post. My disappointment in the football season plus this saturday being my only opportunity to get the leaves off the grass made basketball sneak up on me. Appreciate the work you guys do.
    Your post leaves me with two very important questions:
    1) Was the foul trouble by our bigs because they don’t move their feet and play solid D or was it a question of not being able to guard smaller, quicker players?

    2) Probably more important at this time of year; What kind of Scotch? I prefer a nice peaty single-malt, Lagavulin or Laphroaig.

    • Niemo

      1) Part of the foul trouble was getting beaten on the glass and fouling on 2nd chance opportunities (whereas Eddie was actually able to get his rebounds on 50/50 balls). Another part of it was young bigs not knowing when to challenge shots aggressively and when to back off (van Zegeren and Wood). Freshmen bigs tend to rack up fouls as the understand how tight college games are called. Also, I think it is part of getting your game legs and getting used to us playing a little quicker – your legs get tired and you play with your hands (fouls) instead of your feet. But mostly I think it was
      2) My standard is Glevlivet 12, although I really like Laphroaig and some of the other Islay Scotches. They aren’t for tenderfoots!

      • RK in Roanoke

        Definitely no tenderfoots allowed.
        As a change of pace, the Balvenie Doublewood is nice and Oban is very smooth. But the Islay are tremendous. Almost came to blows once with a gent who wanted to mix a Glenlivet and Coke. That’s what J&B and Cuttysark are for.

        Hopefully the fouling will get corrected by film study and practice.

  • goodraisin

    I was pretty sure that a lot of people (not necessarily you Niemo, just Hokie fans in general) were too low on JVZ. I’m not saying I think he’s going to be a stud, I just think that he’s going to give us good minutes when he’s in there and he won’t remind anyone of Robert Krabbendam. Last night he actually blocked a shot or two after the whistle to prevent the “and 1″, and I think his length will bother teams with undersized bigs. He looked kind of slow-footed and unsure of himself on defense last night (there was one ugly moment where he didn’t realize his man had slid out to the wing and by the time he tentatively lumbered over to the guy it was too late to do anything about it), but I like what he brings in shot-blocking and possibly rebounding.

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