Spread: nc state by 11.5.
The Hokies try to put an atrocious ACC regular season behind them and make some noise in the ACC Tournament starting Thursday. Their opponent will be another disappointment, the nc state wolfpack, in the second game of the early session on Thursday, tipping off around 2:20 to 2:40 PM.
nc state was picked to win the ACC by the media in the preseason, featured the Preseason POTY (C.J. Leslie) and the ROTY (T.J. Warren, another stud state freshman, is the one who will likely win it). And while they are #28 in the RPI and all but a lock for the Big Dance, they struggled to an 11-7 ACC regular season record. It was partially due to PG Lorenzo Brown missing a few games due to injury, and it is partially due to the fact that they are nc state and always seem to underachieve. You don’t build a team around a guy like C.J. “Derrick Coleman, Jr.” Leslie. I could also call him 50-cent, as in he only plays hard 50% of the time. He ended up just 3rd Team All ACC.
For the Hokies, I say we go for broke and do everything we can to win this game with no regard for Friday. Forget saving guys for the long haul of back-to-back-to-back-to-back games in the ACC-T format. I say we do everything we can to survive this one, especially considering we will be huge underdogs and likely won’t survive to live another day. I’d like to see Coach JJ, fresh off his first ever technical foul, implement the things he wants to do next year, like the full court press. I’d use it from the get-go. He wants to run it next year, so why not put it in during practice the next three days and go for broke with it Thursday. state has no depth (they really only play 7 guys), so picking up the tempo could wear them out in the 2nd half. That said, nc state has a very good offense (12th most productive/efficient in the nation out of 347 teams), so this could backfire, they could shred the press and hit a dozen alley-oop dunks and win by 40… So what? We are huge underdogs and expected to lose. I’d like to see us try something different and start to look to the future in terms of JJ’s “system”. Why not? That’s my 2 cents.
The winner of this game will face the hated wahoos at the same time Friday in the ACC Quarterfinals. uva will look to end their pathetic trend in the ACC Tournament in that contest — the hoos haven’t made it to ACC Tournament Semi-Final Saturday since 1995. That’s a streak of losing in the First Round or Quarterfinals for each of the previous 17 ACC Tournaments. They just have to win one, against VT or state, this year to end that streak.
The game was a seesaw battle in the first half with neither team leading by more than 5 and Tech took a two point lead to the break. In the second half, the Hokies jumped ahead by 7 twice, including with 7:49 to go. But a 14-0 nc state run flipped the game to a 7-point state advantage with 3:30 remaining. Tech was down 6 with 20 seconds left, but a Rankin layup, Eddie 3, and 2/4 FTs for state gave Tech the ball down 3 with 8 seconds left. Green was intentionally fouled and hit his first FT. The next FT was one of the great Tech plays of the year — Green intentionally missed the foul shot off the right part of the rim, it bounced off the backboard, off to the right side of the lane, where a streaking Jarell Eddie rushed in from beyond the 3-point line (possibly too early), caught the ball, and put it in to tie the score.
In OT, Tech took an 84-83 lead behind two Eddie 3s, but state rattled off 6 straight FTs (they shot 43 FTs compared to 7 for the Hokies) and won 90-86 in overtime in Raleigh. Green had 29 for VT.