Categorized | 2012-13 Season

The Wild Turkey Breakdown | Will the Real Hokies Please Stand Up

Last week we were riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels. But after a shaky 52 hours between Saturday and Monday night, it makes you start to question if those wins over iowa and oklahoma state were a mirage or did Tech just simply have an off weekend? Or will this team simply be a Jekyll and Hyde team all season? Let’s take a look.

  • Thanksgiving Week – The Hokies struggled to beat unc-g-spot and appalachian state. Those two teams are ranked 331st and 336th respectively in the RPI (out of 347 teams) and are a combined 3-12 on the season.
  • Last Week – Tech drubbed #69 iowa and #36 oklahoma state by double digits
  • This Past Weekend – The Hokies fell respectably on the road to #76 wvu (albeit playing their worst game of the season) and then led 0-6 mvsu by just 6 at the break. This same mvsu team was the worst shooting team in the nation and was at just 28% at the half. (I should note that mvsu’s RPI is #115 largely because they’ve played a tough schedule, just getting hammered in all of them)

Scoring/shooting has been on the decline, too.

  • Tech went into the wvu game averaging 86.1 ppg
  • In their last two games, VT has averaged 68.5 ppg
  • Tech was shooting 40.4% on 3s going into wvu
  • The Hokies were 7/30 (23.3%) from deep over the weekend, including a 2/12 stinker against mvsu
  • Jarell Eddie scored just 13 points in 47 minutes over the weekend
  • Cadarian Raines tallied just 8 points in 44 minutes (both he and Eddie battled foul trouble)
  • Robert Brown managed just 4 points against mvsu in 17 minutes on 2/9 shooting

And, then there’s the Winchester Rifle.

  • He’s been awesome. Every game. Except that decision to pop out instead of taking the man driving at the end of the wvu game (although I still think that play before went off a wvu guy’s foot).

So, what can we gather from all this? I’ve noticed a few things we can count on.

  • Teams don’t shoot very well against Tech… Opponents are shooting just 23% from deep against VT, and less than 40% from the floor (of course wvu hit 10 3-pointers for 43% but that seems to be the exception to the rule and largely because the Hokies left them open and dared them to shoot, flat-footed no less, and they made us pay)
  • Tech is a very good free throw shooting team – 78% – in fact, Tech has shot 73% of better in each of the last seven games, and better than 80% in 5 of those last 7 games
  • The Hokies are going to turn the ball over a good bit as they figure out their more up-tempo offense – double digit turnovers in 6 of 9 games, and lost the turnover margin in 4 of the last 7 games — but this doesn’t seem to influence the outcome
  • Tech’s post defense is going to be poor at times — late with help defense or defending too far from the hoop (VT over-adjusted against wvu, falling too far off the man). The Hokies also don’t have great on-ball perimeter defenders. Rankin is the best but he hasn’t looked as quick this year. Brown gets beaten off the dribble easily, and Green is better defending off the ball intercepting passes.
  • Remember that stat from two years ago? The one about in Tech’s last 20-something games the team that shot a higher percentage from 3-point range won? Well, Tech has shot for a higher 3-point % in seven games and are 7-0 in those games, when they don’t they are 1-1 (they beat appy state despite shooting for a lower 3-pt %).
  • Tech is not a good rebounding team – the Hokies allowed 41 offensive rebounds over the weekend including 23 to wvu (the mountaineers snagged 48% of their misses — that’s a horrendous ratio for Tech to allow). On the season, Tech’s opponents are getting 31% of their misses (which actually is pretty decent for VT) but VT is collecting just 29% of their misses. Considering the level of competition VT has played, you would hope VT would have a distinct advantage in this area.
  • EG is really good.

Executive Summary – The heck if I know. I really don’t know what to think about this team. Having watched every second of every game (usually multiple times), I think we have a solid starting five that matches almost any other starting five in the ACC. I think JvZ and Wood are serviceable and are getting better (especially Joey). I think Marquis Rankin is really struggling and has shown no improvement over his freshman year, although he looked better against mvsu (again, consider the competition). It may be grieving, it may be mental, but it is what it is. I hope he’s OK and gets it figured out.

I think we will struggle on the glass all season, especially when we play byu and into ACC play like nc state. Tech will give up a lot of second chance opportunities because of this, and because we don’t force a lot of turnovers (we’ve committed more than we’ve caused), that’s a problem. It means you have to be very efficient on offense.

That said, I think we are a good shooting team that can nail free throws at the end of games and win games we let slip away last year. Not just because we are good from the line, but we have multiple weapons to go to in the clutch. There are four guys I wouldn’t mind seeing take the last shot for us (well, maybe not Raines since if he gets fouled he’s a liability from the line). Even Barksdale (85%) and Wood (72%) are good from the line, and Raines is better at 64%. Brown (67%) and Rankin (60%) are lower than expected, but getting Green and Eddie the ball at the end and you like our chances.

I still think we can make some noise in the ACC this year. I see no reason why Tech can’t hit the .500 mark in league play at 9-9. Will we? I’m not sure. There are the question marks like rebounding and depth, but I think a lot of other teams in the league would like to have our top level talent and issues. We are good. We just have to find ways to be consistently good.

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 Wild Turkey Breakdown | Will the Real Hokies Please Stand Up”

  1. schmitty says:

    we gotta have eddie solid every nite, his three’s and rebounding make this team hard to handle, but when he’s in foul trouble our tempo is not as affective. the wvu is prime example if eddie not on the bench, we win easily.

  2. goodraisin says:

    I still think Rankin will come around this season and that maybe yesterday’s game was the starting point. There’s a lot that I like about him already… he handles the ball well and is blazingly fast with it, he defends hard, he’s a decent shooter, and he sees the court well. The only thing that really bugs me about his game is that he plays out of control too often on both offense and defense. That’s something that should get better as the season progresses and he sees more court time.

    • Niemo says:

      With all due respect, Raisin, he has never looked like a decent shooter (34% FGs/39% 3s last year; 40% FGs/29% 3s this year; and he’s a low 60% FT shooter).

      • goodraisin says:

        He hit 39% of his 3-pointers last year and hasn’t really shot the ball enough this year for us to make an assumption based on stats. I remember most of Rankin’s misses from the field last year as being of the drive to the basket and blow the layup or get stuffed variety. So he may have been a very poor scorer last year, but I thought he looked like a decent jump shooter. He gets good lift, has good form, and it’s a smooth stroke. As for the free throw problems, that’s a mental thing rather than a mechanics thing. Robert Brown has the same problem. Jarell Eddie shot 69% from the free throw line his freshman year… it’s hard to put up a consistently high percentage if you are only shooting 1-2 free throws per game like Rankin is. I’m not trying to make excuses for the guy, but I think there are plenty of reasons to believe he gets a lot better rather than stays the same. Truthfully, he just hasn’t been thrown into the fire yet like Green was in his sophomore season. I think if you give Rankin 31 minutes per game, he’s going to look a lot different.

  3. Chris says:

    Luinardi released his first Bracketology today… and guess where our beloved Hokies fell in at? Oh, you know… first team out of course! Ah, it’s basketball season!

    On a serious note, he had UVA and Florida St. in his last four in… although I don’t agree with UVA in the last four in, but Florida St??? WTF! Somebody PLEASE explain that one to me!

    • Hank says:

      I think the fact that 7 ACC teams were in the field, and Tech didn’t make it , shows the problem with the way teams are picked. Lunardi’s methodology does mimic the way the tourney gets picked, so I believe it does demonstate the issue involved with looking at computer numbers too much, instead of how teams have played. We win all our games except for a last second loss at WV, and our wins include easy victories over Iowa and Ok St. Yet this level of accomplishment does not somehow match Flordia St.’s 5-4 record! Results matter, and Tech’s results are much better than what Flordia State’s………

  4. Ryan says:

    you lose a game by one point and win one by 20+ and the sky is falling…. come on man! we all know tech has weeknesses and making the NCAA tournament would be overachieving… but can’t we just appreicate a team thats gotten off to a good start? a team that underwent a lot of changes and turmoil and despite that has come out winning 8 of their first 9?? lets enjoy the ride… lets see if Green and company can pull off some big ACC upsets this year… lets see Green continue his level of play and possibly become an All-American… lets see if a team with a pathetic post play game can give the big guns of the ACC a run for their money… the way it looks rite now we’ll send some big dogs home crying!

    • Niemo says:

      Ryan – you are being a tad melodramatic – don’t think I said the sky is falling. The point is we did not play well in either of our last two games (at least for the first 20 minutes of mvsu). And wvu just lost to duquesne (#164 in the RPI). Plus, we didn’t play well in the two games before iowa. So, that’s four weak games in the last six.

      I have enjoyed the season to date as much as anybody (writing about this team is a lot more fun than last year). I had low expectations. But having seen this team, I really do expect more than what was predicted. Now, I’m starting to question that a bit. Have we just feasted on weak competition? Or are we better than advertised? We’ll see.

      We can appreciate this team while still wanting consistency, and to lose playing our best as opposed to our worst. Just enjoying things for what they are is why the football program is so stagnant and trending downward.

  5. Niemo says:

    …And wvu loses to duquesne (#164 in the RPI).

    • goodraisin says:

      Ugh… that loss is going to be a bad one at the end of the year. Not because VT missed a chance to beat an RPI top-100 school but because they lost to a school in the 200’s.


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