Categorized | 2013-14, Game Previews

The Week Ahead: Nov. 25 – Dec. 1 (Tuesday vs furman at 7; Friday vs radford at 2)

The Hokies have started the season just as I expected, at least record-wise, with a 3-3 start.  That said, I have been impressed with the Baby Birds (or Jake Squad).  Ben Emelogu is for real, Trevor Thompson should develop into a good low post player (needs to add weight), Devin Wilson had a rough weekend but has shown flashes, and Adam Smith can really light it up offensively when it doesn’t matter.

After playing the #1 team in the nation and a Big East cellar-dwellar (both losses) this past weekend, the schedule gets considerably easier for the next week and a half.  The Hokies play their next three games at home against low tier conference teams (two from the Big South and one from the Southern) before opening ACC play at miami on December 8th.

This week the Hokies host two games at the Cassell, including their neighbors:

  • Tuesday at 7 PM vs furman (2-2) – ESPN3
  • Friday at 2 PM vs radford (3-1) – ESPN3 – Bring your leftover turkey sandwiches!

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • Virginia Tech was 34/63 (54%) on 3-pointers in their 3 games last week, but just 50/124 (40%) inside the arc.
  • The Hokies are shooting a blistering 47% on 3s on the season.
  • Of Tech’s 249 points last week, 41% were via 3s, 40% via 2s, and 19% from the line.
  • The Hokies were -28 combined in turnover margin last week in their 3 games.

Hokie Leaders (through Nov. 17):

  • PPG: Eddie – 18.0 (Emelogu 14.3)
  • Rebounds: Barksdale – 6.0 (Eddie 5.8)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.7
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.0
  • Steals: Wilson/Raines – 0.7

Hokie Team Stats (through 11/17):

  • PPG: 79.7
  • Opp PPG: 77.2
  • FG%: 44%
  • Opp FG%: 39%
  • 3-Pt%: 47%
  • Opp FG%: 33%
  • FT%: 71%

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs furman: VT 13-12 and 7-4 at home — the two schools haven’t played since 1964
  • vs radford: VT 5-1 with all 6 games at the Cassell — haven’t played since 2005 and VT has won 3 in a row

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • furman: 2-2 (gardner-webb is their lone D1 win with losses to florida golf course by 1 (the same team that made the NCAA run last year) and to college of charleston by 34)
  • radford: 3-1 (lost to gwu by 22, beat chattanooga, brevard (not D1), and binghamton

opponents’ Best Player:

  • furman: sophomore guard Stephen Croone – leads the team in PPG by over 9 (21.0 ppg), leads the team in assists (2.8), leads the team in steals (1.8), and is 2nd in rebounds of active players (5.3).  Also commits 4.3 turnovers per game.
  • radford: junior forward (but just 6’4″) Javonte Green – leads the team in PPG (16.8) and rebounds (7.3).

Things to Watch:

  • furman is not a good 3-point shooting team.  They average just 5 makes (29%) per game and no one has more than 6 made 3s.  furman’s top 4 scorers are all guards.
  • radford has no one taller than 6’8″ and their top 4 scorers are all 6’4″ or shorter – so stopping their guards is the key.
  • The Hokies have had a negative turnover margin in all 6 games, including a combined -28 last week in 3 games.  That has to improve.  VT is not forcing many turnovers, either (just 16 steals on the season).

Prediction:

The Hokies are going 2-0 this week [period]  Anything, while certainly possible, would be an embarrassment. Time to build up some momentum before the conference opener on December 8th, which is at miami (miami lost everybody and is very beatable, so VT needs to steal a game like that if they want to avoid the cellar, but we’ll get to that next week).

No prediction on the VT @ uva football game, or duke @ unc.  I mean, could VT lose 3 games they are double digit favorites in (VT is -13.5 in this one)?  And unc is -5.5 after their 80-20 win over odu.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1233 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • Rich Roberts

    “Adam Smith can really light it up offensively when it doesn’t matter” – Sounds like he is the next Jarell Eddie.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Man, I love me some Ben Emelogu. It’s easy to see why James Johnson likes that kid so much. He’s always talking, he’s tough as nails (did you see him blast that Seton Hall player on that 50/50 ball and win it?), his shot is beautiful, he plays hard on defense, and he gets points all over the floor. I’ll say this though, he does have some work to do on his defensive positioning… too often he gets sucked away from his man and can’t recover in time to contest the shot. He’ll learn how to position himself better in time, though.

    The next two games definitely need to be wins, and I hope to see the Hokies work on getting easier points in the paint. It’s good to give Raines and JVZ touches down there and let them go to work, but there also have to be timely cuts and backdoor passes. Oh and FINISHING ON THE FASTBREAK! Eddie had an awesome play to Emelogu for a dunk against Seton Hall, but he also missed two open dunks himself. 2 on 1 fastbreaks should be automatic points.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Oh, one more thing I wanted to say… zone defense. Both Seton Hall and Michigan State played a ton of zone defense against the Hokies. Will VT see a lot more of it this season now that the book is out? They REALLY struggle to score against zone defense in spite of having so many good shooters, and that just shouldn’t be the case. JJ has some quick teaching to do. Seton Hall’s 1-3-1 zone was like a Rubik’s cube for Tech. I must say, I can’t remember the last team I saw play a straight-up 1-3-1 with no trapping… was kind of fun to see even though it was working against our team.

  • Slam Dunk

    three things… 1) reverse the turnover differential, 2) get free throws up to 80% (that’s a couple of points a game), and 3) If you’re ahead with under 2:00 to go… finish them off!!!
    Let’s go build some confidence these next two games!

    • Vindictive_Pat

      80% on free throws is a little too ambitious. Only one team in the entire NCAA division I finished with a FT% higher than 80% last season… Davidson finished at 80.1% 76% gets you into the top ten.

      • Slam Dunk

        agreed. It’s just that poor free throw shooting is my pet peeve. I mean they are FREE after all. The difference between 70% and 80% could be from 1 to 3 points on a typical night. And those points in the last minute or two of a close game could make a big difference.

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2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - vs. liberty | 7pm, ESPN3
11/22 - vs. appalachian state | 1pm, ESPN3
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - vs. n. iowa | 7pm, CBSSN
11/26 - championship/consolation game | TBA, CBSSN
**********
11/30 - morgan state | 3pm, ESPN3

December

12/03 - @ penn state | 7:15pm, ESPNU
12/07 - vs. radford | 3pm, ESPN3
12/14 - vs. alabama a&m | 3pm, ESPN3
12/20 - vs. the citadel | 1pm, ESPN3
12/22 - vs. vmi | 7pm, ESPN3
12/27 - vs. presbyterian | 7pm, ESPN3
12/30 - @ west virginia | 2pm, ESPNU

January

01/03 - vs. syracuse | Noon, RSN
01/06 - @ fsu | 7pm, RSN
01/13 - @ louisville | 7pm, RSN
01/18 - @ unc | 6:30pm, ESPNU
01/22 - vs. notre dame | 7pm, RSN
01/25 - vs. uva | 1pm, ACCN
01/27 - vs. pittsburgh | 7pm, ESPNU
01/31 - @ wake forest | 2pm, RSN

February

02/03 - @ syracuse | 9pm, ESPNU
02/07 - vs. fsu | 3pm, ACCN
02/09 - vs. georgia tech | 9pm, ESPNU
02/14 - @ clemson | Noon, RSN
02/18 - @ miami | 7pm, RSN
02/21 - @ nc state | 6pm, ESPN2
02/25 - vs. duke | 9pm, ESPN2
02/28 - @ uva | 4pm, ACCN

March

03/02 - vs. boston college | 9pm, ESPNU
03/07 - vs. miami | Noon, RSN
**********
ACC Tournament
03/10 - 1st rd.
03/11 - 2nd rd.
03/12 - quarterfinals
03/13 - semifinals
03/14 - championship

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