Categorized | 2012-13 Season, Game Previews

Preview | #15 oklahoma state (5-0) @ VT (6-0) | Saturday, 2 PM | ESPN3

Spread: oklahoma state by 2.

Who’d have thunk it.  Who’d have thought before this season that if Tech beats the oklahoma state cowpokes for the fourth time in three seasons, they just might be ranked come Monday.  But that’s likely the case as the re-loaded osu team comes to Blacksburg for the first time ever.

We all remember Le’Bryan Nash for oklahoma state.  He was the cowboys’ top 10 recruit last year that went head to head with Doo-Doo Finney-Smith, with Doo-Doo getting the upper hand.  Well, Nash is still there, and he’s been joined by Marcus Smart, a top 10 recruit this past year from Marcus HS in Dallas, TX.

Virginia Tech forward Jarrell Eddie drives against Iowa defenders

Photo by Rachel Franks – Virginia Tech forward drives against Iowa defenders during the Hokies’ 75-79 win over the Hawkeyes.

Nash is turning into the star you’d expect – 19.2 ppg and 6.4 rebounds.  But check out Smart’s stat stuffers – 13.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg (this is a guard!), 5.8 apg, 2.4 steals, 1.4 blocks.  That’s nuts, and from a freshman.  He had 20 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks, and 4 steals in their 20 point win over then #6 nc state.  Yeah, he can play.  Brown will need to bring his A game on defense Saturday.  Eddie will likely draw Nash.

And remember Keiton Page, their 3-point bomber?  He’s gone, but they now have Phil Forte, a Page clone.  You will swear that’s Page on the court when you see him just with a different name on his back.  Forte loves to bomb treys and he’s quite good (50%).  Forte helped Smart lead Marcus HS to the Texas State title last year.

The cowboys beat akron (in OT), tennessee and nc state on their way to the Puerto Rico title.

osu is NOT a deep team.  They really only play two off their bench significant minutes since losing Jean-Paul Olukemi for the second straight season to injury (he got hurt against VT last year).

The cowpokes are a very solid defensive team thanks to their abundance of great athletes (except Jurick and Forte).  They allow less than 90 points per 100 possessions (100-to-100 is average).  So they are insanely good there.  They allow less than 60 ppg, but iowa had a similarly low average and we saw what VT did to them.  We’ll see though, this is a more athletic club.

So let’s pack the Cassell and try and propel the Hokies into the rankings!  Let’s go for a perfect Golden Sombrero (4-0) against the cowpokes!

Final thought: how odd is it to play an OOO team 4 times in 3 seasons?  Over the same stretch, VT have only played ACC foes unc and nc state twice!

This post was written by:

- who has written 1201 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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  • Krishna

    Rebounding is going to be huge again, but I did notice something last game, tell me if this makes sense to you. It seemed like Iowa was beating us on the glass for the first few minutes and to counter that JJ had the big guys start tipping the balls up which allowed our guards to help out with rebounding. I thought it worked pretty well, but I don’t know if it was necessarily a game adjustment or just something that was happening.

    • Niemo

      Krishna – I had noticed the tips. Hey, if you can’t win a 50/50, knock it somewhere else. That is a good way to counter height disparities. That said, I’m not as worried about osu on the glass. With their injuries inside, we match up well in terms of size.

  • goodraisin

    I haven’t been able to find anything more recent than Monday, but at that time Ford had speculated that he might have both Michael Cobbins and Marek Soucek back for our game on Saturday. If those guys don’t go for OK State, they’re going to be in trouble… they have no other post players on their bench (my guess is that they would have to use Nash in the post). Erick Green and the Hokies have a knack for getting Jurick into foul trouble.

  • schmitty

    what kinda of tempo do they play? Seems like the hokie tempo might be to our advantage looking at their ppg

    • Niemo

      Schmitty – they aren’t an up-tempo team, especially with their big, Jurick, being as slow as he is. That said, Smart is deadly in transition as is Nash. Brown isn’t bad either, but it isn’t their style of play. And with their depth issues/injuries, like the Hokies, they can’t afford to play too up-tempo or press.

  • schmitty

    who is this johnston kid, a walk-on?

  • juan

    yes, johnston is a walk on.

    Read somewhere here that during preseason joey racer was supposed to be the main walk on, but looks like johnston proved he was a better asset during practice and had managed to become the last man in the rotation (and is knocking down 3s like crazy).

    go hokies!

    • goodraisin

      You know, I’ve really wished that we had a guy like him on our bench for years now. If the Hokies find themselves down by 2 or 3 points and have the last possession, we have another guy who can just sit in the corner and bury an open 3-pointer if his defender collapses on a driving Erick Green. I always found it unbelievable that Greenberg couldn’t find a guy like that and instead counted on Malcolm Delaney to dribble around for 10 seconds trying to get a shot off before eventually losing the ball.

      • King

        Johnston was great in the first 5 games but I think that was more a product of the level of competition we faced. The Iowa game really exposed his liability on defense, mainly his trouble fighting through screens. That’s why JJ quickly yanked him. The one 3pt shot he got was on a fast break 3. He didn’t have any decent looks in half court sets and appeared to have difficulty creating his own shot. Not sure if he has enough quickness and agility to work off screens, skills that ACC-caliber 3pt shooters need to be successful. Maybe I’m wrong and he’ll thrive but I’ll be interested to see how much playing time he gets these next two games and against the stronger ACC teams.

        • http://www.heyhokie.com goodraisin

          I actually made this same point in another article… Johnston got rocked by Oglesby as he ran back and forth around screens. I was really only referencing the last possession of a half, although I will say that I think Johnston would be more effective defensively in a 2-3 zone than trying to play man-to-man (which we have seen from him against some of the weaker teams)… he might be serviceable if JJ ran that defense while he was on the floor. If Green and Brown keep driving to the hoop, they can get Johnston some open looks without him having to run off of screens. With that said, I don’t think he should be a focal point of our offense by any means… at best he’s a guy who keeps the opposing team honest.

  • juan

    that guy was supposed to be ben boggs.

    btw, it’s scary to see momo jones and erick green among the scoring leaders in the nation.

    we could’ve had something like…

    green – momo
    brown – boggs
    finney – eddie
    montrzl – cj – wood
    raines – jvz

    • http://www.heyhokie.com goodraisin

      We could have had them, but we would have had them with Greenberg’s offense rather than JJ’s, so you wouldn’t have seen any of those guys among the scoring leaders unfortunately.

  • juan

    + marquis / garland and not to forget allan chaney’s health issues, or that JT is still playing college ball.

    we’ve done things bad, but also have had tons of bad luck.

    • King

      Manny Atkins, too

      • jp_daddi0

        Nigel Munson, Benedict Arnold Gilchrist (as Niemo would say), Hank Thorns… the list goes on. It’s really quite sad.

        • HipHop_Hokie

          Seth’s graveyard is quite full

  • HipHop_Hokie

    As I eluded to on another thread, I’d really like to see us make a concerted effort to get Smart in foul trouble early. If he is ever caught guarding Green, then Erick needs to take him to the hole and see if he can draw some contact… or pump fake and get him up in the air. In each of their last 2 games, he has ended up with 4 fouls… and I’d love to see him saddled with 2-3 early ones in the first half so that he can watch us run and gun from the bench.

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