In Virginia Tech’s last seven road games, they have:
- Had a 9-point lead at fsu with 75 seconds to go (fsu would go on to win the ACC Tournament)
- Possessed the ball at #7 duke with the score tied and the shot clock off
- Had the same situation at unc as with duke (possession with a chance to take the final shot)
As you know, the Hokies lost all three games to the three best programs in the ACC. An epic fail from the line and Mr Big Shot Snaer did them in at Tallahassee (the only road venue VT has not won at since joining the ACC), neither Green nor Raines could make their shots at the end of regulation at duke (and they’d lose a close one in OT), and Green took a tough step-back jumper at unc with a taller defender in his face before Tech would get blown out in overtime at unc.
3 road games, 3 chances with VT in control at the end, 3 losses. This is a bitter pill especially in the final two instances because you don’t get many chances to win at Cameron Indoor or in Chapel Hill (just ask clemson about the latter considering they’ve never won there in 50+ opportunities). Tech has won at unc and duke since joining the league (both were in 2007), but wins like this are program builders, or perhaps program rebuilders, and the Hokies missed their chance on Saturday… again.
THE GLASS HALF FULL:
- Quick Starts: Tech came out and did exactly what I thought they’d do yesterday – play their tails off on the big stage that is the Dean Dome. Too bad they couldn’t quite finish it and walk off the court a winner yesterday, but they showed again they could compete. After not scoring in the first five minutes against uva or clemson, Tech jumped out to a 28-16 lead vs miami and a 12-0 lead over unc yesterday. It is a heck of a lot easier playing with a lead then it is playing uphill all game.
- The Other Side of the Nation’s Leading Scorer: Erick Green is a really good point guard, and not just at scoring, but protecting the ball. In Tech’s last three games he has 12 assists to just 1 turnover (he had 4-to-0 yesterday). As you’ll see below, everyone else has not been as efficient.
- Raines’s Days: After scoring just one point at clemson, Cadarian responded with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks this week.
- Defense: In a four game stretch from colorado state through bc, the Hokies gave up an average of 91 ppg and no less than 86 in any of those four contests. In the six games since, VT has given up an average of 66.5 ppg (in regulation, not counting OT) and held 3 of those teams under 65 points.
- 3-Point Defense: Holy cow, an opponent had an off night from behind the arc! This is the first time in 8 ACC games, or 12 games overall, that a VT opponent did not shoot a higher 3-Point % than their season average AND have more makes (3s) than they average. Tech held unc to 5/24 behind the arc for 21%, both well below their averages. Reggie Bullock, a 45% 3-point shooter (#2 in the ACC), was just 1/8 from deep. Zones are usually susceptible to 3-point shooting but it didn’t hurt Tech yesterday, so let’s credit it to improved perimeter defense. More on the zone below…
THE GLASS HALF EMPTY:
- I didn’t like the play at the end. I’d have liked to have seen EG drive and either try to finish (and possibly get fouled) or dish to a post player. What’s the worst that happens? If you charge with possession of the ball, there are no free throws for the opponent, so it’s low risk. Didn’t like the step-back jumper considering Strickland was taller than EG. But, hindsight is always 20/20. It goes in and I have this up in the other section.
- Turnovers: Tech had just 3 turnovers at the half but committed 11 in the second half. Too many possessions wasted on bad passes. Brown and Eddie each have 8 turnovers in the last two games (Erick Green has ZERO).
- Offensive Rebounds: Zones are not good for defensive rebounding and the Hokies proved that point yesterday. unc snagged 19 offensive rebounds in 43 opportunities (44% – way too high).
- 2-3 Zone Defense: JJ played the zone to counter their foul trouble in the post and to save energy but I felt he should have scrapped the zone in the final 5 or so minutes and gone back to man, even if it meant some guys fouling out sooner.
- Zone Part 2: The high post killed us. Namely McAdoo. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds. How many of his points came on wide open jumpshots from the foul line when unc fed the high post? Why Raines wasn’t flashing out on him faster (or at all in some situations), I don’t know. But Tech did not adjust and this burned the Hokies all game.
- Fading Offense: Tech shot 47% in the first half including 4/9 (44%) from behind the arc and had just 3 turnovers. In the second half, they didn’t attempt a 3-pointer, shot just 32% from the floor, and had 9 turnovers. In OT they hit just 2/7 FGs, 0/4 on 3s, and had 2 more TOs.
- Brown: After hitting 3/5 shots including 2/3 three-pointers against miami, Robert fell back into his slump yesterday, going 3/12 on FGs and 0/2 on 3s. He’s now shooting 26% in ACC play and 13% on 3-pointers.
- Whistles: unc shot 27 free throws, VT 10. That’s BS. The refs game the heels a lot of home town calls which I would not have expected in an off year for them. And shouldn’t the best player in the ACC get some calls? He didn’t shoot a single free throw despite averaging almost 8 per game. Hopefully this was just bad officials and not a sign of things to come.
Well, Saturday was progress. I remember Tech losing by 39 at unc five years ago. At 2-5 and as 14-1/2 point dogs, Tech could have laid down yesterday. If only we could have pulled out that game that quite frankly was ours, it would have been great to shut up those snobby blue bloods. Hopefully Tech can keep this positive play going AND find a way to win this week, and snap this 4-game skid.