Spread: maryland by 4.5 (seems low but Vegas usually knows what they are doing).
The Hokies have a tight slate this week, with two games just 38 hours apart on Thursday and Saturday (both are at the Cassell). Let’s skip Thursday’s contest for now, because I’m GUARANTEEING A HOKIE VICTORY on Saturday against ‘Groupon’ Udofia and the georgia tech yellow jackets! How can I do that with a VT team that is 2-6 in the ACC this year and 6-20 in their last 26 ACC regular season games? Easy…
- VT is 7-0 all time against georgia tech in the Cassell, including 5-0 in ACC play
- The Hokies are 8-1 in ACC short-turnaround games (games played less than 48 hours after VT’s last ACC game), including this buzzer beater over gt last year – DORENZO HUDSON BEATS THE buzzER
- The lesser tech is 8-52 in their last 60 ACC road games. Paul Hewitt was 7-41, and since winning his first ACC road game at gt, Brian Gregory is now 1-11 away from the ATL.
- gt is coming off a devastating loss at home as un-bee-lievably they let Michael “Walk-Off” Snaer hit his 5th game winning shot (one thing he could do… is finger roll) in 13 months to sting the jackets 56-54.
- So, there you have it, I am guaranteeing a Tech victory (just kidding)… a VIRGINIA TECH victory on Saturday*
*Offer not valid in the continental USA and cash value of guarantee is $0.00000001
As for Thursday, well, we shall see. One thing that always impressed me about Coach Greenberg was his teams got better between Game 1 and Game 2 against an opponent. For example, VT lost by 35 at duke in 2005, but beat the devils later that year. In 2008, the Hokies lost by 39 at unc but lost by just 2 on a late Hansbrough putback in the ACC Tourney. Last year, VT lost by 15 at home to duke, then took them to OT later in the season at Cameron Indoor. On Thursday we will find out if Coach Johnson can also rally the troops and be more competitive against a team that pasted them by 23 points at maryland just a month ago. I think we will play them tougher and keep the margin in single digits, but I do expect 7’1″ Alex Len to be too much for the Hokies.
- Then: @md 94, VT 71 – RECAP - OPP HALL OF FAME – LAYMAN - PLUS MINUS - maryland led 34-31 with 6 minutes to go in the first half, but a 15-2 run helped the terps go into the break up 53-37 behind 18 first half points from Jake Layman (he hit 4 three-pointers). Green had 28 for VT, including 10/11 FTs. Brown had 11 but on 4/15 shooting and JvZ tied his career high with 10. C.J. Barksdale did not play (coach’s decision).
- Since: After exploding for 53 first half points against Tech and 94 for the game, the terps scored just 92 combined first half points in their next 4 games (23 per) including just 14 points at miami. And they were held to 52 points or less in 3 of those 4 games (i.e. less in a full game 75% of the time then they had in one half against VT). maryland had lost 5 of 7 before thumping wake forest 86-60 on Saturday to get to 4-5 in the ACC.
- The Match-Up: Tech gave up 4 offensive rebounds that resulted in 8 second chance points for maryland in the first 4 minutes, allowing maryland to go up by 9. The terps would also hit 7 first half 3-pointers. In this game, the Hokies must do a better job on the defensive glass (having C.J.B. will help) and defend the 3 better. Given Tech’s improved defense of late (66.5 ppg given up in regulation in their last 6 games after giving up 91.3 in their previous 4) and 3-point defense (unc was just 21% on 5/24 three-pointers… albeit just one game) I expect a much closer game. Tech must stop Len.
- Ho-Key: maryland is last in the ACC with a turnover margin of -6.4 (I should point out VT is next to last at -3.1). If Tech can limit their turnovers as they did against clemson and create live ball turnovers that lead to transition buckets, the Hokies will have a fighting chance.
- Stat to Watch: maryland is 3-0 in ACC action when Layman, who had a still career high 20 against the Hokies, scores in double digits, but they are 1-5 when he doesn’t.
- Then: VT 70, @gt 65 (OT) – RECAP - HIGHLIGHTS - PLUS MINUS - The Hokies trailed the entire second half but overcame an 11-point deficit with 14 minutes to go to tie the game with 24 seconds left. In overtime, VT jumped out to a 7-point lead and then held off the jackets thanks to two baskets from Robert Brown and 4/4 from line in the final minute. Erick Green had 28 points, 24 in the final 26 minutes of this 45 minute game. Barksdale chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Brown had 10 although he was 0/9 from the field in regulation.
- Since: gt started 0-5 in ACC play but have since won 2 of 4 (both at home – 82-62 over wake and then shocking uva on Sunday 66-60, outscoring uva 18-3 in the final 8 minutes to come back from 9 down). But the jackets just lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night at home to florida state as Michael “Walk-Off” Snaer scored on a finger-roll as time expired to give fsu a 56-54 win. It was Snaer’s 5th buzzer beater to win a game in the last 13 months (all ACC games). fsu jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the game but gt battled back to take a 5-point 2nd half lead thanks to an 18-4 run before the noles battled back to win.
- The Match-Up: Virginia Tech has owned the jackets in football and basketball since joining the league. While the jackets are an improved team this year, they still can’t win on the road, and until they do, I’m picking against them. Robert Carter can be a force at times inside but then gt forgets about him for a while. Plus, I don’t see gt making 8 three-pointers in this game – they are the worst shooting team in the ACC from the field and deep, and aren’t much better from the line. VT has a pretty good offense, gt has a really good defense. VT has a horrible defense, and gt has an atrocious offense. Whichever teams’ weakness steps up should win, and I think it will be the Hokies and their improved defense.
- Stats to Watch: VT is 8-1 in ACC short-turnaround games, VT is 7-0 all time at home vs gt, and georgia tech has lost 11 straight ACC road games.
Note: Tech clinches a winning home record with just one more win in the Cassell this season. Despite losing 4 of 5 at home, VT is 8-4 in the Cassell with 5 to play. The Hokies have had just one home losing record in 51+ years in the Cassell. That came in 2001 under ricky “program bomb” stokes, as Tech went 6-9 at home.