Spread: wvu by 7.5.
The last time these two teams met on the court both teams were still in the Big East. Now neither one is, with Tech in the ACC and the ‘neers in the Big 12. And while the Hokies haven’t enjoyed much success against wvu (29-46 all time), especially in Morgan-hole (10-25), the Hokies did sweep the ‘neers back in 2004 including a 69-67 win at wvu in Greenberg’s first year.
Erick Green has moved up to second in the nation in scoring at 24.9 ppg. He is just two behind Bimbo Coles’s Tech record streak of nine 20+ point games to start the season. Green will need a big game against wvu to help Tech stay unbeaten.
This is not the most talented wvu team we’ve seen, especially under Coach “Huggy Bear” Huggins, a wvu ‘grad’. There are no Jerry Wests or Piss-knuckles on this team. The ‘neers did go to the Big Dance last year, losing in the 2nd (1st) Round to gonzaga. Gone from that team are their two leading scorers – Kevin Jones (neither the one that was a RB for VT nor the reporter with terrible conference realignment sources) and Darry Bryant. Those two averaged almost 37 ppg and Jones averaged 11 rebounds.
This wvu team features no one averaging even half of what Erick Green scores per game — Staten at 11.0, Murray at 9.7, Browne at 9.2, and Kilicli at 11.3 (he had a huge game against marshall) provide a lot of balance. But they don’t have a star or a go-to guy.
The ‘neers are just plain awful from 3-point range. They are making just 23% from deep (VT is at 40%) and no one has more than six made 3-pointers for them after 6 games. They average 3.3 makes per game, while their opponents make more than seven.
wvu got throttled at gonzaga (losing by 34 although the game was played at 2 a.m. EST), lost to davidson, and lost to oklahoma. But if you look at their numbers, they are in the top 100 in the nation in adjusted offense (points per possession) and adjusted defense. How? Feasting on weak competition – they beat marist by 43 and vmi by 25 (Tech beat vmi by 15). They also just beat marshall by 10.
So what do the ‘neers do well? They average 17 offensive rebounds per game while giving up just 11. They grab 41% of their misses (insanely high) while their opponents get just 30%. The key is not missing – the ‘neers’ opponents do shoot for a higher percentage from the floor and 3-point range than them. The Hokies also have to limit their second chance opportunities and points (VT had a 35-13 margin in second chance points against iowa and okie state combined).
wvu also turns the ball over just 12 times per game while they force 16 per game, so protecting the ball will be key, although Tech has turned the ball over more than their opponent in three of their seven wins. Just keeping it close should be fine.
wvu must win in second chance points and turnover margin to have any chance in this game to compensate for their lack of 3-point shooting.