Update: miami stats have been updated… miami just lost at nebraska by 11 in the ACC/Big(12)Ten Challenge, scoring just 49 points (that’s 11 more than uva)…
Believe it or not the 5-3 Hokies kick off ACC play this week with a road game against the defending ACC regular season and tournament champions, miami. But first Tech has a Tuesday night home tilt against winthrop.
- Tuesday vs winthrop (5-1) at 7 PM – ESPN3
- Sunday at miami (5-4) at 12:30 PM – ESPNU – ACC Opener
Obviously miami was really, really good last year. But you will need a program to know this team. Their top six scorers from last year are all gone and they return just one player that averaged more than 10 minutes per game or 2 points per game. The canes, after winning both the regular and tourney titles in the ACC last year, were picked to finish 12th in the league this year, barely ahead of wake. And they look like a team that could contend for the ACC cellar (along with VT). Check out who they’ve played and lost to already below in the Opponent’s Records This Season section. But miami did beat 7-2 arizona state in the 5th Place Game of the Wooden Legacy Tournament
This is a critical game for both VT and miami because:
- Teams picked near the bottom love to get an early win and get some momentum going.
- This is a match-up of ACC bottom-feeders (at least predicted to be). Losing to another bottom-feeder can really put you in a hole for your ACC season.
Oh, and the winthrop eagles will not be a cupcake on Tuesday – they beat usc-upstate by 8, jmu by 12, and their only loss was to vcu by 21. The eagles average 81 PPG and 8 steals per game, so they no doubt will put pressure on the Hokies who have struggled with presses.
Stat(s) of the Week:
- Tech is just 1-8 in ACC openers and have lost 6 in a row.
- The Hokies are 4th in the nation in 3-Point % at 46.9% and 18th in 3s made per game (9.0)
- Virginia Tech outscored their opponents by a combined 34 points in their two games last week on their way to two Bear Fight (20+ point) victories.
Hokie Leaders (through Dec. 1):
- PPG: Eddie – 16.9 (Smith 15.0)
- Rebounds: Eddie – 6.9 (Barksdale 6.8)
- Assists: Wilson – 5.3
- Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.0
- Steals: Wilson – 0.6
Hokie Team Stats (through Dec. 1):
- PPG: 79.3
- Opp PPG: 71.6
- FG%: 46%
- Opp FG%: 38%
- 3-Pt%: 46%
- Opp FG%: 30%
- FT%: 72%
VT vs the opponents:
- vs winthrop: VT 1-0 (a 62-55 win at the Cassell way back in 1998)
- vs miami: miami 13-10 overall, VT 9-7 in ACC games — The Hokies won 8 of the first 10 ACC games vs miami but the canes have won 5 of the last 6, including both games last year (73-64 at the ‘Burg and 76-58 at miami)
opponents’ Records This Season:
- winthrop: 5-1 (Of note: wins over usc-upstate, east tenn state, and jmu, lost to vcu by 21)
- miami: 5-4 (Of note: Lost to st. francis (NY) in their opener, needed OT to beat georgia southern, lost to central florida and gwu, and barely beat cal state fullerton — i.e. not impressive. Their lone resume win was a win on Sunday over arizona state, 60-54. Last game – lost by 11 (60-49) at nebraska).
opponents’ Best Player(s):
- winthrop: The eagles have a 3-headed monster on offense/ defense with Andre Smith (14.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG), Keon Johnson (13.2/2.3/1.8/0.8), and Joab Jerome (12.7/3.8/2.3/1.3).
- miami: Rion Brown – The 6’6″ senior leads the team in PPG (13.8 – had 25 against nebraska), rebounds (6.6), and assists (3.0). Brown is the only returning hurricane that averaged more than 10 minutes per game last year. But he was just 7th on the canes scoring list last season, averaging just 6.4 PPG.
Things to Watch:
- winthrop, like the Hokies, shoot very well from deep. They hit 41% of their 3s and make over 8 per game on average. Their 3 stars shoot a combined 43/83 (52%) from deep, and Smith is 20/38 from deep so Tech must guard him tight on the perimeter.
- miami is dead last in the ACC in PPG and FG% (and 2nd to last in 3-Pt %). If Tech can force miami to play half court on offense and earn their points, the Hokies will have a good shot at a W. In fact, I’m not really sure what miami does well — they are near the bottom in almost every statistical category in the ACC and they haven’t exactly played stiff competition.
- miami is scoring challenged but really emphasize defense under Coach Larranaga. Look for miami to slow the pace and try to keep this game in the low 60s. miami hasn’t scored more than 63 points in regulation in their last 4 games. VT will need to get some easy buckets in transition to win and force their up-tempo pace on miami as much as possible.
So far I’ve been spot-on picking VT’s record each week (but not necessarily the games). I see Tech going 1-1 this week, with either game possibly being the win or loss (though I’ll say VT beats winthrop and loses at miami). Going on the road is tough in this league and miami will be inspired in their first ACC home game of the season as defending champs and will overcome their numerous departures. That said, this is a bad miami team, especially right now while they are trying to find their identity with so many new faces. The Hokies really need to win this game if they want to avoid a third straight year at the bottom of the league, but I’ll go ahead and say they lose a game like this (similar to the seton hall game) until they prove me wrong.