Categorized | 2012-13 Season

Niemo’s Bourbon Breakdown | VT 95, vmi 80

Nice victories by the Hokies and the heels last night (I had two victory Scotches — Glenlivet XII — one for the Hokies and one for the end of uva’s bowl hopes).

Let’s dive into my tale of the tape…

  • Rebounding: GRADE = A… Tech held vmi without an offensive rebound in the first half last night despite missing 14 three-pointers (which tend to lead to long rebounds and more offensive rebounds).  That’s amazing.  Yes, vmi grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the 2nd half, but a lot of that was after the outcome had been decided.  Tech still gathered 78% of vmi’s misses, which is a very good ratio.  Cadarian Raines had his 2nd straight double-double, and is now tied with Eddie averaging 8.7 rebounds per game.  And van Zegeren chipped in 8 rebounds.  Tech has improved exponentially in this area in the last two games, though they are playing smaller opponents.  But trending up is a good thing.
  • 3-Point Shooting: GRADE = A+… Tech is hitting 40% of their 3-pointers on the year (including 11/24 last night), and their opponents’ are hitting just 16%.  That’s assault, brother!  Green and Johnston are at 50%, and Eddie and Brown are at 41%.  Tech is taking good shots from the outside, and hitting them.
  • Be Fun: GRADE = A… Three or four dunks last night and 21 fast break points.  Part of that was vmi’s aggressive defense and the fact it is easy to get outlet passes off missed 3s, but still, Tech took advantage.  Tell me you aren’t having a lot more fun watching this team than in past years.
  • The Bench: GRADE = B/F… B for early in the game (both Wood and van Zegeren played very well and were around +20 leading up to the final 5 minutes of the game, and Johnston nailed 3 big 3s), but when the walk-ons came in the wheels came off.  vmi went on a 16-0 run as soon as VT cleared their bench.  But I would focus more on the B than the F here since the walk-ons, other than Johnston, wouldn’t have played in a close game.
  • Balance: GRADE = A… All 5 starters reached double digits, Johnston had 9 and Wood 6 off the bench.  That’s balance.  No more games of Delaney with half our points… at least for now.
  • Overall: GRADE = A… You can tell the guys are playing loose but still playing hard (a tough combo to reach).  Guys aren’t afraid to take shots early in the shot clock for fear of getting pulled.  And everyone is working hard on defense – that is why opponents are shooting such a low % from deep — guys are hustling out to get a hand in their face.  Give JJ a solid A so far.

The Players:

  • Erick Green – man, does he look dominate right now.  He is deadly shooting 3s from the corner, his pull-up jumper is automatic, and he is finishing his drives which is something he struggled with in past years (he got to the line but couldn’t finish a lot).  His offensive game is great all around right now.
  • Cadarian Raines – Tech did a better job of involving him last night.  He looks as sharp as he did last year at the end of the year on offense (that spin-a-rama was sweet).  The biggest good news is how much his rebounding has improved — two straight double-doubles, the first two of his career.
  • Jarell Eddie – man, does he have a sweet shot.  His penetration game is still a work in progress but when he has an open look, put 3 on the board and head back on defense.  And as with Raines, he is doing an amazing job on the glass (8.7 rebounds per game).
  • C.J. Barksdale – it was good to see him play well against vmi.  He had 2 points on the season coming in, but tallied 11 last night on 4/8 shooting and with 6 rebounds.  Hopefully the light is coming on… and any nagging injuries are healing.
  • Robert Brown – His game is close to Green’s offensively, he just doesn’t get to touch the ball as much.  Outside shooting is fantastic, pull-up jumpers are nearly automatic, and he’s a decent finisher but that will improve with time.
  • Marquis Rankin – It was good to see him on the court as he gets back from all the emotion he likely had to deal with for his family matters.  But he was clearly rusty last night – 2 turnovers in 3 minutes and a -16 rating.  Luckily, Tech has time to ease him back in.  It will be interesting to see how he has progressed from freshman to sophomore.
  • Marshall Wood – Nice to see him hit a couple of 3s after starting 0/8 on the season.  He was aggressive last night though not quite as aggressive as he was against rhode island.  Tech needs that fire every night when he’s in.
  • Joey van Zegeren – Really nice game from him last night – 2 dunks, 8 rebounds, and another block in 18 minutes.  He is playing with a higher motor than I expected and is a lurking shot-blocker in the paint.  I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with his game.
  • Will Johnston – 3 made 3s off the bench – that’s huge.  Even if he only plays a few minutes, if he can come in and be a ‘microwave’ with a quick 3, he could contribute.  And Tech could go zone while he is in to minimize his defensive and rebounding weaknesses and play him on the wing.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1221 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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  • jp_daddi0

    I concur! What an all-around great game. Aside from the walk on debacle late, I think we played a really complete game. A couple things I noticed from last night, and the season so far:

    1. Is our 3 point defense really that good or have teams just been bulding Brick City? I’d like to think its a little of both but VMI and URI missed a littany of open threes. We’ll have to shore that up soon because we can’t bank on ACC competition to shoot 1/21 and 8/37 from deep (URI and VMI, respectively).

    2. I really like Cory Alexander as a color commentator. Despite being a UVA grad (and a pretty solid player guard, himself), he called a great game, made me laugh, and seemed to really respect like VT. Specifically, he had a great call on Erick Green’s dirty crossover to lefty layup finish.

    3. It doesn’t look like JvZ is going to score a lot of points this year but man is it nice having a lanky guy in the post to grab boards! Raines is nice but doesn’t have the length.

    4. Barksdale had a better game but still looked a little confused at times. He took an ill-advised jumper from the top of the key that JJ didn’t like and then tried to throw it down over somebody on a fast break and missed when he had a pass for an uncontested layup. JJ gave him the death stare at the media timeout, it was definitely GIF worthy.

    5. Can’t say enough about Robert Brown and Jarell Eddie. These guys are so crucial to us this season and both are so confident in their shots.

    6. Marcus Patrick, lol. You can tell the kid is full of heart but everything is just too fast for him right now. I know his minutes will disappear when Rankin is back but I hope the best for him; he’s definitely trying. I was stoked for him on that fast break and then he did what I probably would have done in front of a couple thousand people. At least he got the assist though.

    7. Lastly, Erick Green is playing like a man possessed. The chip on his shoulder is so obvious and it’s awesome. That was the most fun I’ve had watching him play in 4 years. Our season absolutely depends on him and I hope that he can stay healthy and leave VT as one of the all time greats.

    • Niemo

      JP – all great comments. As for the 3-pt D, I’d agree it is 50/50 – teams missing shots and us playing good D. Remember, last year we were #1 in the nation in 3-pt D entering conference play, so this isn’t an anomaly. I think it is partly our length (especially against these shorter teams), partly our hustle – we are running out at guys, and partly them missing shots they shouldn’t. So their % will go up, but I still think we are playing good D.

    • goodraisin

      When I watched the game again, I noticed what JJ was saying to Barksdale after that ill-advised shot from the top of the key: “that’s not your shot… that’s not your shot”. And he’s right… two steps in and Barskdale can shoot that as often as he likes, but a step in from the 3-point line is not his shot. Still, it was really good to see him playing with some confidence yesterday.

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