That title doesn’t mean I’ve been teetotaling (haven’t had a drop). It means I’m pretty much immune of emotions at this point. No more swearing as I watch games, no more temper tantrums towards couch cushions, no more scaring the dog into hiding under the bed (accidentally, that is, she seems to recognize the ‘f’ word and instantly has a panic attack).
Anyway, let’s break down this game…
THE GLASS HALF FULL:
- That’s two games in a row Tech has gotten a layup off an inbounds pass under the basket where if the defender has his back to the ball, the inbounder just throws it over his head and the Hokie leaps, grabs it, and puts it in on a one-touch. Green missed it against gt, but Brown converted it today. Kudos to JJ for this play.
- Marshall Wood looked the best I’ve seen him look offensively all year. He came in shooting under 30 percent from the field and under 20 percent from deep, but hit 3/5 shots including 2/4 from behind the arc, and had confidence plus was aggressive with his shot. With Eddie really struggling, we need someone else to step up and produce, especially from deep which can stretch defenses out and give Raines more room to operate inside.
- Wood’s 8 points were his highest total since miss valley state back in early December, and he had scored just 5 total points in his 6 games played since his return from injury (2/8 FGs and 1/4 3s). He’s now hit 3/5 three-pointers in his last two games. Maybe he can take the pressure off the other shooters and let them relax.
- Wood also chipped in 5 rebounds.
- VT had just 9 turnovers. You can live with that, especially against a team that plays such good defense and had a +1.8 turnover margin coming in (#3 in the ACC). However, uva had just 6 turnovers. That’s how they win – 3s and protecting the ball. It’s all about offensive efficiency, not tempo or how much you shoot the ball.
- Rebounding: Raines had an eye-popping 7 offensive rebounds and VT had 11 as a team to just 6 for uva. Tech held uva to just a 21 percent offensive rebounding percentage which is an awesome effort by the Hokies.
THE GLASS HALF EMPTY:
- Joe Harris had a career high 26 points on 5/7 shooting behind the arc. Keep in mind he had 17 on 4/6 3-point shooting in the first game. Maybe we should have guarded him? Guys (Brown at first, then Barksdale, then Rankin) were slow curling around screens, giving him plenty of room to get his shot off, and allowing him to go 3/3 from deep in the first 4 minutes and 5/5 in the first half. A couple of times defenders slipped (Barksdale then Rankin) but a good defense always has an eye on the opponent’s best shooter and helps out when needed. Joe now has 15 made 3s against VT in 3 years. Maybe we’ll learn to guard him next year. Maybe VT’s strategy was to tire him out by giving him so many open shots — he missed both his second half 3s and uva went from 50 percent from the field in the first half to 38 percent in the second.
- Speaking of which, Tech’s 3-point defense continues to be abysmal. Eleven ACC games played and 10 of Tech’s opponents have shot for a higher 3-point percentage than normal AND made more 3s than they normally make. unc is the only time a team has shot below in either case. uva came in shooting 40.2 percent from deep (No. 2 in the ACC) and making 6.3, and VT gave them 47.4 percent and 9 makes.
- VT, which allowed uva to go on a 24-3 run at Tech with VT up 7 midway through the first half, gave up a 12-0 run tonight with the Hokies down just 1 point midway through the first half. Again, it was a big run in the latter part of the first half that put the game almost all but out of reach by the break.
- Jarell Eddie had a -19 in 14 minutes of play tonight. Whatever message JJ was hoping to send, or fire he was hoping to light, as punishment for Eddie’s temper tantrum on the bench last Saturday didn’t work. Jarell looked lost out there when he finally got in after being benched the first 10 minutes. He immediately turned the ball over twice, including him passing up a wide open shot for the first time in his career (I mean that in a “we need him shooting that shot EVERY time but appears to have lost his confidence” way) and instead passing, which resulted in a turnover.
- Jarell was just 1/5 from deep in the game (1/17 since the start of OT at unc) and is just 2/21 from the field in Tech’s last three games.
- Robert Brown was just 1/5 from the field and 0/3 from deep. He’s shooting 24 percent on FGs in ACC play (24/100) and 14.7 percent from deep (5/34).
- Erick Green’s shooting percentage dropped a full percentage point this game, down to 47.3 percent after going 4/17. His 3/8 from behind the arc did help him stay at 45 percent shooting from deep in ACC play, 4th best in the league. Green’s shots weren’t that bad in the first half, when he was 0/8, but he just didn’t seem to have confidence in them for whatever reason. And Tech has no prayer of winning when he’s held to 1-point in the first half and shoots under 25 percent.
- Tech only had 6 FTs not by Erick Green and they missed them all. That’s not being aggressive enough (don’t blame the refs – fouls were 15-13 in favor of uva and FTs were 23-19 in favor of the hoos). But uva made 20/23, VT just 11/19.
- While just 9 turnovers is great, VT also had just 7 assists (uva had 14 assists to 6 turnovers… again, that’s why they win). In Tech’s 11 ACC games, they’ve had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio in 8 games, even once, and positive twice (one of the wins was in this latter category). Conversely, Tech’s opponents have had a positive ratio in 9 ACC games vs VT, even once, and negative just once (and that was just a one turnover difference). That pretty much sums up why VT is 2-9.
- VT has lost three in a row to the hoos and five of six. Not uva vs VT in football bad (we’ve had the Commonwealth Cup for 3,000 consecutive days), but it is starting to sting a bit.