Categorized | 2012-13 Season, Game Previews

Preview | VT (9-3) vs byu (9-4) in Salt Lake City, UT | Saturday, 2 PM | espnU

Hey, the Hokies have a better winning percentage than the cougars! So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance! Well, yes and no.

This game is not a good match-up for the Hokies in many ways. First, it is in Utah. And Frank, the story is Utah. byu is 8-0 in their home state (although all eight were at home, not in Salt Lake).

Next, byu is a solid program. They’ve made the Big Dance six years in a row and are a top 40 RPI team this year despite their four losses. How? Their four losses are to RPI #43 baylor, #55 iowa state, #74 notre dame, and #130 florida state. They’ve beaten four teams in the top 120 of the RPI (VT has beaten just two). And they’ve played the 13th toughest schedule in the land.

Third, they have 6’9″ senior Brandon Davies. He had 17 last year at VT and is averaging 20 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.4 steals, and 1.8 blocks. He is a real stat stuffer. He has tremendous low post moves and gets to the line a lot, which could put the depleted Hokies in foul trouble. Quite frankly, the Hokies can’t handle him alone. They will have to double him despite the disaster that was colorado state. The key will be releasing the double team if he drifts out from the basket (I’m fine giving Davies 16-foot jumpers — he can make them but this takes him away from the hoop in case of a miss and is a lower percentage shot) and rotating better than VT did against the rams. Tech should NOT double 6’11” Nate Austin in the post. He’s not a scoring threat (3.9 ppg and just 3.6 shots per game).

One good thing is byu is not a great 3-point shooting team (I know, I know, I said that against wvu and bradley and they torched us from deep). But, can that really keep happening? Third times the charm? Maybe, if Tech doesn’t rotate well and play good help defense. The Hokies will need to double Davies, have the oppo-side defender drop down to pick up the other big, and then rotate well with the two remaining perimeter defenders to avoid giving up wide open 3s and at least get a hand in byu’s face. Quite frankly, VT quit in the 2nd half Sunday, tired or not, they quit.

Another good thing is the cougars do like to push the ball. Don’t think just because they are a bunch of mormons (well, not all of them) that they’ll slow the pace. They have the 13th fastest tempo in the nation. Even on makes they’ll inbound the ball quickly and push it up the floor, trying to beat you up the court in transition. Tech must get back on makes or misses and look to push the ball themselves. Hopefully the altitude won’t be a factor and take the wind out of the Hokies.

The fact byu likes to run should help the Hokies. Let’s face it. VT’s offense has been offensive… smelling… of late. Getting more transition opportunities would be a huge plus. Guys like Brown and Eddie who have been in horrible slumps of late could get some confidence if they can get some easy early buckets. And JvZ is great at cleaning up junk on the glass for dunks or putbacks. The problem is Davies is a great shot-blocker if he gets back in time.

Davies is a great rebounder and Haws, a 6’5″ guard, also does a nice job on the offensive glass. But this is an average rebounding team. They only have two guys over 6’7″ that play significant minutes, so they don’t have their usual stable of tall mormons. Perhaps the Hokies will actually show some signs of life in the rebounding game and hold their opponent to a low Offensive Rebound %. Tech has allowed their opponents an average of 16 offensive rebounds per game over the last 5 games.

Also, byu played Thursday night at home against northern arizona (an 84-54 win behind 27/10 from Davies). That means they’ll only have about 41 hours between games. They don’t have a deep bench (they’ll only play around 7 or 8 guys significant minutes), so maybe the cougars will have tired legs on Saturday instead of the Hokies.

Plus, Tech got a much needed break after that woodshed blowout in Vegas. They got a chance to put that behind them with Christmas, and I’m sure are hungry to get back out there and play better, and finish the out of conference schedule on a high note.

The two teams are pretty even in most other stats including FG%, FT%, and Rebounding. As you see below, their Adjusted Offensive numbers are pretty even (~105 points per 100 possessions). The problem is that is trending WAY down for the Hokies (they were #3 in the nation with 109.0/100 going into wvu). And Tech’s Adjusted Defensive numbers are trending up (from 96.9/100 going into wvu to 99.7/100 in this game). But it is time to stop the bleeding and get back to knocking down 3s, pushing the ball, and playing what we thought was Hokie basketball. Let’s turn the calendar back to November.

Expect byu to use some full court man-to-man defense, and they’ll also run some zone in the half court. They’ll give the Hokies different looks which will challenge Tech to read and attack the defenses.

FYI: Erick Green, the nation’s leading scorer, will look to set a VT record with his 13th straight 20+ point game. Here’s hoping someone else gets close to 20 with him.

Note: the graphic below does NOT include stats from byu’s game on Thursday.

Preview VT byu

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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9 Responses to “Preview | VT (9-3) vs byu (9-4) in Salt Lake City, UT | Saturday, 2 PM | espnU”

  1. goodraisin says:

    Not to be a downer, but I give us maybe a 5% chance to win this game. BYU is so good at home (and yes, I am calling Salt Lake City their home even if officially it is not). I’m just hoping to see some growth… BYU’s Davies is really tough and I’m hoping we don’t see the double team 18 feet from the basket again this weekend.

  2. 69HOKIE says:

    Even if we lose, let’s be competitive. Crash the boards! Make some shots! Play some defense! HAVE FUN!!!

    This still could be a good year.

  3. Ryan W says:

    We will be a team that can beat anyone (if they are knocking down outside shots) or lose to almost anyone (if they are cold from downtown). The rebounding and defense needs to improve, simply put the effort has to get better or both of those will suffer. I think Brown just needs to attack the hoop in order to get some confidence back because he cannot hit any jumpers right now. Green will get his 25-30 because i don’t! think many guys in the country can cover him. Lets also hope Eddies stroke gets back closer to what it was earlier on. This would be a great win, essentially on the road, heading into ACC play. Go Hokies!

  4. Les says:

    It looks like CJ Barksdale is out for this game. No stat line for him in the first half.

    I’m really surprised at the horrid defence considering last year’s team was competitive during most games. You have to give that to Hudson, DFS, and Davila even if they had other weaknesses. Greenberg’s teams were known for switching off in man-to-man (which some teams would try to exploit) and we don’t see the effective rotation this year. It’s better to switch than constantly lose your man.

    • Niemo says:

      No, he started. JJ is playing Beyer over him.

      • King says:

        Beyer might be our best post player. Raines is barely sniffing the rim on free throws, just a sign of zero confidence. What happened to getting out and running? Did JJ decide that we should stop trying to get out on the break? That’s the reason we were winning. Seriously, what happened??

      • Les says:

        I see he started the second half, but didn’t stay in long.

        They tried to post-up Raines, JVZ, et al for awhile.

        It’s repeat of last year. Teams figured out. We don’t have the post play to keep opponents from extending their perimeter defense to shut down the stand-still shooters (see 2nd half Syracuse game).

  5. schmitty says:

    do we know how to play defense?

  6. Ryan W says:

    The defense is sad, I taped it and just FFwd when we played defense. I mean Haws was unconscious but where we r missing Greenberg is on the defensive end. We never got blown out last year like we have these last 2 games. Really pathetic and Maryland is the biggest and one of the deepest teams in the nation so get ready for next week.


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