Stat of the Day: Free Throws Last 8 Games:
- Hokies: 129 (16.1 per game)
- Opponents: 211 (26.4)
- No, I’m not blaming the refs – it is allowing teams to get the ball too far inside and having to foul due to bad defense. And it isn’t like these were fouls at the end of games – most of these games either weren’t close or VT was still in it (like unc and nc state) and didn’t have to foul.
Bold statement: Shane Larkin should win the ACC POTY (explained below)
Not many positive things to say about this game, but we did avoid the reverse Bear Fight!!! The defense looked OK for a while in the first half, holding miami without a field goal for 11 minutes and 15 seconds. 11:15!!! But during that span, Tech was only able to outscore the canes 12-11 because they kept fouling the bigger canes after giving up 2nd chance opportunities. Yep, they made up just one point because miami simply was too strong and big inside. Marshall Wood does not have an ACC low post body. Neither does Joey van Zegeren. They simply cannot battle inside with guys that basically have a masters degree by now (Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji, and Julian Gamble are all 5th year seniors). Heck, miami’s average player age is 22!
With the score 15-14, Tech had four chances to take the lead and blew them all. The Hokies would score just 5 points in the final 10 minutes of the first half.
This is an anemic offense and a sieve of a defense. I hate to say this — but this season can’t end fast enough. It’s time to go back to the drawing board, and unfortunately, Tech will have to do it next year without their best player in Erick Green.
And let’s face it — VT walked into a bear trap again tonight. Last week they were facing a duke team that had just lost to maryland. This miami team had just been soundly beaten by the worst coach in the ACC (wake). Both teams were laser focused and absolutely pounded the Hokies by a combined 50 points.
Here’s a few of my thoughts:
- C.J. Barksdale is our 2nd best jump-shooter right now (I’m not kidding… and when your ’4′ is your 2nd best jump-shooter, that’s not good). He’s really playing well now.
- Shane Larkin is the ACC POTY. Period. I’m convinced. As much as I love Erick Green and the numbers he’s put up for a horrible team, Larkin is the best player on the best team in the ACC. He can score off the drive, shoot the 3, and played great denial defense on Green, although EG was struggling with that injury the last 25 minutes of the game. Larkin is 15th in the ACC in scoring (best on his team), 4th in the ACC (1st on the u), 1st in steals, 8th in 3s made, 7th in assist-to-turnover margin, and his team is #1. No disrespect to EG, but being the most valuable player on a 14-1 team is more valuable to me than being the same on a 3-12 team.
- Green was held under 20 points (he had 16) for just the 3rd time this season. It was partially great denial defense by Shane Larkin, and partially that hip injury. But no fret, his 24.9 ppg is still 1.7 ppg ahead of Momo Jones (remember him?).
- When fans count to 10 (or down from 10) when an opponent is shooting a FT, that is really the best heckle of all. That started against Karl Malone who was notorious for taking a half hour to shoot a FT (I used to go pee while he was on the line and I’d be back before his 2nd attempt). It is the one thing I think gets in a shooter’s head.
- miami is going to stink next year. They lose a ton, and if Larkin leaves for the NBA (he actually isn’t projected as a high pick), then the cupboard will be bare. But he will likely face an Erick Green situation next year – no supporting cast.
- After starting 7/18 from the field, miami made their next 13/19 FGs (68%), and 6/9 three-pointers (67%) to blow the game open to a 20+ point lead. That’s awful defense. Tech went over perimeter screens tonight (that’s a good thing), but they were so slow getting over them the guard was able to easily drive to the hoop and dish the ball for an easy bucket. A couple of times the low post defense drifted out to help, leaving miami bigs wide open under the hoop. I mean, have you seen how hard VT has to work for every bucket? Opponents get such wide open looks. It is bad on-ball defense from VT’s guards and poor help defense.
- In Tech’s last 8 games, they’ve shot 129 FTs. Their opponents have shot 211. You can’t blame the refs, that’s being outmatched inside, slow perimeter defense (and guarding with your ‘hands’ instead of your feet), and being overmatched (wait, I guess I already said that but it is worth a 2nd mention). Tech simply is too small, too skinny, too slow, and too fundamentally unsound in terms of help defense. And it could get worse next year when VT goes full court press (if JJ does instill that). Teams may just score quicker… but at least they’ll only be 2s.