Categorized | 2012-13 Season

The Scott Burwell Breakdown | VT 81, okie state 71

A BIG thank you to Scott Burwell for a very generous contribution to the family, so we named this breakdown just for you!  I should point out he in no way has endorsed, and may not even drink, Wild Turkey.  So we took that out of the name for this breakdown (don’t want to get anyone in trouble or create any weird Google hits).

Speaking of which, I broke down a few too many Wild Turkeys and victory Scotches (Glenlivet) last night, but such is life.  What a win!  Here’s my tale of the tape and sticking to it…


Seriously, if you aren’t on the Hokie Bandwagon yet, you better hurry up because we are running out of room.  You can tell just by the volume of posts and tweets on social media how much Hokie Nation is getting behind this squad.  After a lousy football season (basketball already has more wins than football), our fans needed this.  Yesterday marked our first win over a ranked out of conference team since the Bill Foster Era back in 1995, a span of 14 straight losses since that win over the hoos.

Thanks, guys, for the great start!  And props to JJ and the staff for getting this rolling so quickly.  We are riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels.

OFFENSE: Grade = A+

We all remember how painful it was to watch Tech on offense in past seasons, especially against zones.  It was funny to listen to Greenberg describe on ESPN how to beat a zone this week — feed the high post — when our teams regularly did not do that.  And we actually pass the ball on the break, leading to lots of fast break points (14 against osu).  Let’s check out some of the accomplishments to date:

  • Erick Green – 3rd in the nation in PPG at 24.9 –
  • EG – #1 in the nation in FTs made per game (#2 in attempts)
  • EG – #1 in the ACC in scoring
  • EG – #4 in the ACC in assists per game (4.4)
  • Jarell Eddie – #1 in the ACC in FT % at 92%
  • Jarell Eddie – #1 in the ACC in 3-Pt % at 53% (also #1 in 3s made per game)
  • Jarell Eddie – #3 in the ACC in PPG at 17.1
  • VT – 4th in the nation in PPG at 86.1
  • VT – #29 in the nation in 3-Pt % at 40.4%
  • VT – #1 in the ACC in scoring
  • VT – #1 in the ACC in FT % at 78%
  • VT – #1 in the ACC in 3-Pt % (also #1 in 3-Pt % Defense at 22.2%)
  • VT is dead last in the ACC in Offense Rebounds per game, but per below (2nd chance points), Tech is taking advantage of what they get

4th in the nation in points per game?!  And keep in mind, we are not a team that averages a ton of possessions per game (we are 147th in the nation in tempo), so the fact we are 4th in points is even more impressive.

Tell me you don’t love watching this squad.  We move the ball, we hit 3s, we feed the post, we get on the glass (22 second chance points yesterday and a 35-13 margin in the last two games), and we just play free and loose.  And remember when Delaney would be upstoppable but we’d still lose?   Not this year – we have great balance on offense despite the fact Green is putting up huge numbers.  Tech had 4 guys in double digits yesterday, plus Wood with 8 (they had 5 in double digits against iowa plus Raines had 9).  I said yesterday, win or lose, this team is a joy to watch right now.


This is the area the Hokies can improve in the most.  Tech is #11 in the ACC in PPG given up at 72.1.  Yesterday, for the second game in a row, Tech’s post defense was absolutely awful.  The Hokies gave up 5 dunks and 3 layups in the first half to okie state.  The cowboys scored 38 points in the paint (iowa had 42).  So more than half of the opponents’ points are coming from about 10-feet in right now.  Here’s what appears to be wrong:

  • Doubling too far out – a guy like Jurick or Murphy isn’t going to hurt you 18-feet from the basket.  If a post player drifts that far out, the second man can fall back inside and release the helper to go back outside.  The result is the opponent has a lot of space to cut towards the hoop and receive a feed, or no one is collapsing inside to help.
  • Poor rotation – I just touched on it in the last sentence – someone comes to double, and no one (weakside wing or guard) is rotating down to help.  Or their positioning is bad (not between their man and the hoop).  The result is wide open layups.
  • Hesitancy – The double teamer is slow to come over, or stops halfway and thinks it over.  The result is they are doing nothing – they aren’t helping on the man with the ball, and you are leaving another post player open.  This has led to passes and dunks.

There are some bright spots, though:

  • 22.2% 3-pt % from opponents – that’s tops in the league
  • 96.9 points per 100 possessions for the opponents – that’s 117th in the nation, so in the middle third.  Not good, but not awful either
  • Tech has made adjustments after really bad post defense in first halves the last two games.  Whether or not you can correct your issues in-game is a big deal, and Tech has been able to the last week.

THE BIG DANCE: Grade = [not all precincts reporting]

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Tech’s RPI is just #59, and their SOS is a brutal 256th.  Here are Tech’s opponents’ RPI:

  • etsu: 297
  • uri: 149
  • vmi: 296
  • unc-g: 312
  • appy state: 313
  • iowa: 92
  • osu: 19

And wvu, who is just 2-3 to start, is just 156th in the RPI for Huggy Bear.

So it is good that VT has two top 100 wins (for now – iowa could drop) and a top 25 win (osu), again, for now.  But let’s just cool the NCAA talk until we get a quarter of the way into the ACC schedule.  SOS will drag VT way down.


Finally, big props to Erick Green.  He is so impressive right now on offense.  He can carry this team when he needs to.  Tech was -12 with him out in the first half yesterday, and +8 when he was in.  In the second half they were +13 with him playing most of the 2nd half.  Erick was also 4/7 from deep (he was just 8/25 coming in).  Dude can do it all, and still is averaging 4.4 assists per game.

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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11 Responses to “The Scott Burwell Breakdown | VT 81, okie state 71”

  1. I’m no hero, just a guy who’s been working a lot of overtime and is a huge fan of TH. Consider it a Christmas present for all your hard labors. Btw Niemo, I’m a drinker but dont do a ton of Wild Turkey. If we’re going brown, gimmee some Makers or Jameson.

    The buzz around the team is huge all of a sudden. Even people who dont usually get that into bball are talking about them. Good stuff.

    beat wvu

    • Niemo says:

      BCH – If you like Makers, try W.L. Weller. It is a wheated bourbon with similar taste to Makers but a tad cheaper. I just finished a bottle – good stuff.

      And thanks again for the Xmas present!

  2. HipHop_Hokie says:

    Such a night-and-day comparison between this year’s squads and all of the “sit on the ball and bore the fans to death” teams that Seth threw out there. This team plays basketball the way that it is supposed to be played… athletically, fast, efficient, unselfish. Those are all words that to me perfectly describe the 2012 edition of Hokie Hoops, and we really do have the amazing James Johnson to thank for that.

    Very much enjoying these boys play ball. But you are also spot-on in your analysis of our weaknesses. We don’t need to be helping on big men 12-15 feet from the basket… if they want to square up and take a jumper, let’s see if they can make it. But overall, we’re just nitpicking at this point. Our guys look like they can run with almost anybody out there after defeating an Oklahoma State team that is VERY talented, and which I think is going to be a real problem for other teams this year.

    In summary, absolutely loving this new era in Hokie Hoops… let’s keep it up!!

    • goodraisin says:

      Agreed… I think OK State will be a team who loses some head-scratchers in Big 12 play, but I also think they’ll have some big wins to cancel those out… that team has the talent to walk into Waco and hand Baylor a 20 point loss or walk into Allen Fieldhouse and quiet the “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” chants. Marcus Smart is the most impressive freshman I have seen this year and I thank God that he didn’t shoot very well on Saturday (and that he couldn’t contain Erick Green even a little bit).

  3. Charlie Mayo says:

    Andy Katz’s first bullet point in “Monday musings”:

    “Virginia Tech and SMU are two of the better stories so far in the first month of the season. Erick Green was a legit ACC player of the year candidate, but he doesn’t have much to work with on a depleted roster and yet he has led the Hokies to an undefeated start and wins last week over Iowa and Oklahoma State at home…”

  4. Mark says:

    A couple questions not directly related to our play….

    1. How do you think our current record and tempo of play will affect our upcoming recruiting classes? Hopefully the word gets out that JJ is a great coach to play for and we are a fun team to be a part of. Is it a bad thing that JJ has already mostly filled next year’s class?

    2. A lot has been said about how great of a job JJ has done with this team, but what about his Asst coaches? Do you think that they have helped put this style of play together? I know people were pretty excited about the 3 guys JJ hired around him.

    Cheers! Go Hokies.

    • Niemo says:

      Mark –
      1. It certainly should help but at the end of the day, it depends on what kind of a salesman you and your assistants are. Being a great recruiter and a great coach are two very different things. Lefty Driesell was a great recruiter but an average coach (you can’t spell ‘Driesell’ without ‘sell’). The coaches at bc and clemson right now appear to be solid developers of talent and a team system, but their recruiting has been weak. So who knows with JJ. As for this class, it is what it is. Most guys sign in the early period (which has already happened), so to wait would have meant either picking from the scraps that were left, or saving scholarships for the class of 2014 (which frankly I wouldn’t have minded).
      2. I can’t say much about this but I do think we have a solid group of assistants with good experience. Hopefully they can raise up our recruiting, too.

  5. Ben says:

    Really proud of Eddie this season. He was so clearly out of his comfort zone playing at the 4 last year, but I actually think it was good for him. He got a lot of rebounding and inside experience that he would not have gotten had he stayed on the perimeter his whole career. Now that he’s happily back at the 3, he has his shot back, but he’s still crashing the boards as if he was at the 4, and is leading the team in rebounds.

    Can’t say enough about Green, the guy is unbelievable. Can’t wait to see him go head to head against lorenzo brown and seth curry during ACC play!!


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