A BIG thank you to Scott Burwell for a very generous contribution to the TechHoops.com 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…
THE BANDWAGON: Grade = A+
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.
THE DEFENSE: Grade = C
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.
BEING GREEN: Grade = A+
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.