Categorized | 2013-14, Game Previews

The Week Ahead: Jan. 7 vs #2 syracuse (9 PM) and Jan. 11 vs boston college (Noon)

Gambler’s Delight:

  • Tech is favored by 2.5 over (4-11) boston college at the Cassell.
  • The Hokies are 12-point underdogs against syracuse.  Reportedly Marshall Wood and C.J. Barksdale are battling the flu (but so was Jordan!) and Adam Smith is questionable with his calf injury.  Enjoy!

The Hokies this week begin a stretch of 17 ACC games over the next nine weeks to close out the regular season.  Staying undefeated in the ACC (VT is 1-0) will not be as the Hokies have to face the undefeated and #2 ranked syracuse orange on Tuesday, then the struggling boston college eagles on Saturday, both at the Cassell.

syracuse may be undefeated but they looked awfully vulnerable on Saturday, nearly losing their inaugural ACC game to a bad miami team at the Carrier Dome.  The final score of 49-44 looked more like a BCS game score, with syracuse trailing by as many as 6 in the 2nd half before going ahead for good with a little over 4 minutes to go.  miami, a bad shooting 3-point team, hit 7/19 (37%) from deep.  Tech will have to match their 3-point % of 43% and makes (8.7) to have any shot, and must limit their turnovers which will be tough against that vaunted zone of Coach Boeheim, who will be making his first trip to Blacksburg since I was crawling 36 years ago.

On Saturday VT has a great shot at a win, in what is almost a must win if the Hokies want to stay out of the ACC cellar this season.  The eagles have lost 7 straight games to Division I teams and bc is now 0-2 in the ACC after their 2nd ACC loss at home, this time to clemson.  The tigers led by 14 at the half in that game but bc made it interesting late with a full court press and had 2 free throws with a chance to tie with 1.3 seconds left, but Hanlan missed them both and clemson won 62-60.  If the Hokies can beat them, bc will be 0-3, and getting to at least 2-1 themselves, would really give the Hokies momentum as the ACC slate swings into full gear.

Here’s the week ahead:

  • Tuesday, January 9th at 9 PM at the Cassell on the ACC Network: vs #2 and undefeated syracuse (1-0, 14-0) - First ever ACC meeting!
  • Saturday, January 11 at Noon at the Cassell on Raycom: vs boston college (4-11, 0-2)

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • Steals: VT is last in the ACC in steals (2.9 per game) while syracuse is #1 (10.1)
  • Turnovers: The Hokies are last in the ACC in turnover margin (-5.4 per game) and syracuse is #1 (+6.3)
  • Luckily, bc is 14th in the two stats listed above.
  • Attendance: syracuse drew 28,135 fans for their home game against villanova.  The Hokies have drawn 41,750 fans total threw 9 home games.

Hokie Leaders (through Jan. 5):

  • PPG: Eddie – 17.4 (6th in the ACC) — (Smith 13.1 and Emelogu 12.2)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 6.3 (18th in the ACC) —  (Barksdale 5.3)
  • Assists: Wilson – 5.2 (4th in the ACC)
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 1.9 (6th in the ACC)
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.6

Hokie Team Stats (through Jan. 5):

  • PPG: 74.0 (10th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 69.2 (13th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 44% (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 38% (5th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 43% (#1 in the ACC and #7 nationally… also #17 nationally in makes per game at 8.7)
  • Opp FG%: 31% (6th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 69% (9th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs syracuse: 
  • orange 4-2 overall
  • Last Meeting: #5 cuse 69, VT 58 at MSG on 11/23/11
  • VT hasn’t beaten syracuse since 1978, which was the only previous meeting (that’s right, the orange never came to VT in Big East play) — Boeheim was in his 2nd year as the syracuse head coach back in 1978 if you can believe that.
  • This is the only meeting this regular season between the Hokies and syracuse.
  • vs boston college:
  • bc 15-8 overall
  • bc 9-6 in ACC play
  • VT 5-3 at the Cassell in ACC play
  • Last Year: bc 86-75 at the Cassell on 1/9/13
  • The two schools will play again this year at bc on January 29th

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • syracuse (ACC: 1-0, Overall 13-0): Beat #18 baylor to win the Maui Invitational and recently came back from a huge first half deficit to thrash #8 villanova 78-62 in the Dome.
  • boston college (ACC: 0-2, Overall: 4-11, losers of 7 straight games vs D1 teams): They’ve played a murderous schedule to date, with 10 of their 11 losses against top 110 teams and 5 against top 50 teams (lost all of those games).  They beat #135 washington at a neutral site. Their ACC losses were at home to maryland and clemson.

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • syracuse: They have 4 guys that average 11.8 ppg or more but C.J. Fair is the best of the best, and was picked as the ACC preseason player of the year. The 6’8″ senior averages 17.4 ppg (leads team) and 5.5 rpg (2nd).  Tyler Ennis is a heck of a freshman point guard, averaging 11.8 ppg and 5.4 apg, plus 2.7 steals out of that zone.  Trevor Cooney is their 3-point specialist and he’s deadly — 43/86 for a cool 50% from deep.
  • boston college: Olivier Hanlan – 6’4″ sophomore guard – 19.4 ppg (leads team), 3.2 apg (leads team), 0.9 spg (leads team).  If you didn’t see him at the end of the season last year, you missed out.  Hanlan is a deadly penetrator and get’s a lot of and-1s.  He put up 41 against georgia tech in the ACC Tournament last year and had 38 vs florida atlantic this season.

Prediction: VT goes 1-1 this week

I’m starting to slip in my predictions after a strong start.  No way I had unc-g right and I thought we’d pummel md-es by 30.

I am confident we will lose by double digits, if not a Bear Fight, to syracuse. That is unless we are insanely hot from deep against their zone (and if we can actually get a decent crowd at the Cassell, but I don’t expect that on a Tuesday night with the students still on break).  And while Tech has great recent history against #1 teams, Tech is just 1-7 all time against #2 ranked teams.  I expect that to go to 1-8.

I am predicting VT beats the 4-10 boston college eagles, but I don’t have a strong confidence level in saying that given their difficult schedule.  And bc has won 5 of 6 against the Hokies, including 2 of the last 3 in the Cassell.  But since both teams stink in turnover margin, I think Tech will win being at home.  I think the Hokies will play hard and pull this one out in a low scoring nail-biter.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1216 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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  • Slam Dunk

    Could this be a let-down game for the orange? NOT! But hey… the Hokies lead duke in the ACC standings right now (duke just loss to nd). Anything is possible right? That’s why you play the game. I just hope we’re respectful and show improvement. Under 20 would be nice… under 10 will just make me start doing the “what if” mind games.
    A win over bc is a must to keep the fan base at least a little bit interested.

    • Niemo

      I think syracuse’s game today was their letdown. Boeheim will do his best to have them ready for Tuesday, if he can get over having to travel to Blacksburg (jerk).

  • King

    I just want to see toughness this week. Mental and physical toughness from the team. Limit turnovers and fight for rebounds. And JJ shouldn’t be scared to get fired up either. Show some emotion on the sideline. Get a “T”. Someone needs to light a fire under this program.

  • Drew

    How about a throwback to the Greenberg days? The Hokies beat Syracuse in a huge upset and then lose to BC by 30.

    • Slam Dunk

      then we would be 1 and 1 for the week! I’ll take it. I’ll be sick, but I’ll take it!

    • Niemo

      Oh, man, I remember that bc game right after the win over #1 duke. What a letdown. We got blown out of our own arena. Talk about a hangover.

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