Gambler’s Corner: The Hokies are favored (yes, you read that right, that’s the Bzdelik adjustment) by 1.5 over wake on Wednesday. Update: spread is up Hokies -3. Clearly people believe in the Bzdelik jinx.
Rock Bottom: While most fans are more interested in the Hokies’s game at uva on Saturday, it is the game on Wednesday vs wake forest that I believe will truly show where this program is at (more on that in a minute). And if the Hokies lose Wednesday and Saturday and fall to 1-6 in the ACC, this program will be about as close to Rock Bottom as they could be outside of being put on probation, getting kicked out of the ACC, and/or hiring another unproven head coach because no one else would take the job. Here’s why:
To me, Wednesday is the more critical game for the Hokies to win. To be the worst, you have to be beaten by the worst. And Coach Bzdelik at wake forest is hands down the worst coach in the ACC right now, possibly ever (though Bob Wade of maryland might have a say in that). Bzdelik is worse than Sidney Lowe and Paul Hewitt, whom you long time loyal readers know I regularly loved to beat up on. And when you put Bzdelik on the road, you get someone who makes ricky stokes look like Bill Belichick. To lose to him at home would just be a flat out embarrassment, even if Ben Emelogu (ankle) and Adam Smith are still battling injuries. Check out these numbers from wake’s 4th year head coach:
- 0-4 on the road this season with 3 of the 4 losses by 15 or more points.
- 17 straight ACC road game losses (add in 0-2 in ACC Tourney games during that stretch and they are 0-19 outside of Winston-Salem)
- By Wednesday, they won’t have won an ACC road game in more than 2 full calendar years, dating back to 1/21/12.
- All told, Bzdelik is 1-27 in ACC road games… add in 0-3 in ACC Tourney games and he’s 1-30 away from wake. That’s a cool 3% winning percentage.
- It gets worse…
- His 17 game road losing streak in conference is NOT his worst streak of his career. He lost his first 23 road games in the Big 12 before colorado won their final road game in Bzdelik’s third and final year with the buffaloes.
- Add colorado up (1-23 on the road) and you have a combined 2-50 in true conference road games.
- Bzdelik is so bad he’s listed TWICE on the list of worst coaching tenures (for colorado and wake) over the last 30 years by Athlon — LIST
- Bzdelik and wake went 1-15 in the ACC his first season at wake (no other team has lost 15 regular season ACC games since the ACC expanded in 2004).
So, as you can see, if the Hokies lose at home to a coach that wins on the road about as often as Larry King gets married, it will show how truly bad the on-court product is right now.
Then, combine that with a loss at our arch rival (which would be Tech’s 4th straight loss to uva and 6th in 7 games — our worst such run vs the hoos since losing 6 in a row between 1996-2001), two straight seasons finishing at the bottom of the ACC (and on our way to a third), and you have all the makings of Rock Bottom. Does it sound like I’ve pretty much resigned myself to us losing both these games? Well, I’ll save that for the predictions.
- Wednesday (1/22) vs wake (2-3 in the ACC, 12-6 overall) at 7 PM on RSN
- Saturday (1/25) at uva (5-1 in the ACC, 14-5 overall) at 3 PM on ACC Network
Stats of the Week:
- How can you top 17 straight ACC road losses and 1-27 overall? So I’ll say it again.
- In ACC games only, VT is last in FT% (50%) and tied for last in FG% (39.5%). They are just 8th in 3-Pt% (33%)
- uva is #1 in the ACC in turnover-margin in ACC play
- The hoos are #4 in the nation in PPG allowed at just under 57 per game (clemson is still #1)
- VT is last in the ACC in steals per game (3.2) and just one player has more than 9 steals — Devin Wilson with 14 which is still less than 1 per game.
- uva, wake, and VT are all in the bottom third of the league in terms of FT shooting
Hokie Leaders (through Jan. 20):
- PPG: Eddie – 14.5; (Emelogu 11.5; Smith 11.0)
- Rebounds: Eddie – 5.8; (Barksdale and van Zegeren 4.8)
- Assists: Wilson – 4.9
- Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.2
- Steals: Wilson – 0.8
Hokie Team Stats — Overall (through Jan. 20 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):
- PPG: 69.7 (11th in the ACC)
- Opp PPG: 68.2 (10th in the ACC)
- FG%: 44% (13th in the ACC)
- Opp FG%: 39% (6th in the ACC)
- 3-Pt%: 40% (2nd in the ACC)
- Opp 3-Pt%: 32% (8th in the ACC)
- FT%: 66% (13th in the ACC)
Hokie Team Stats — ACC Games Only (through Jan. 20)
- PPG: 56.8 (14th in the ACC)
- Opp PPG: 64.0 (7th in the ACC)
- FG%: 40% (14th in the ACC)
- Opp FG%: 41% (6th in the ACC)
- 3-Pt%: 33% (8th in the ACC)
- Opp 3-Pt%: 36% (11th in the ACC)
- FT%: 50% (15th in the ACC)
VT vs the opponents:
- vs wake (RPI #64, BPI #80):
- Hokies 29-28 overall
- Hokies 9-4 in ACC games
- Hokies 5-1 in ACC home games (won 5 straight)
- Last Year:
- @Hokies 66, wake 65 (1/19/13)
- @wake 90, Hokies 79 (3/10/13)
- Tech’s won 5 straight at the Cassell over wake
- This is the only meeting this regular season between the Hokies and wake, so this is probably the last time VT will play against Bzdelik.
- vs uva (RPI #24, BPI #25):
- uva 84-53 overall
- uva 11-8 in ACC games
- uva 6-3 at uva in ACC games
- The teams have split the last 6 meetings at uva
- Last year:
- uva 74, @Hokies 58 (1/24/13)
- @uva 73, Hokies 55 (2/12/13)
- The two meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at VT (yep, we play there on a weekend and at home on a weekday… again!)
opponents’ Best Player(s):
- wake: Codi Miller-McIntyre – 6’3″ sophomore - Believe it or not, Travis McKie is not wake’s best player anymore. The senior and former HS rival of Cadarian Raines is just 4th on the team in PPG at 9.2 (down more than 4 ppg from last year and 7 ppg from his sophomore season). Meanwhile, Codi, a teammate of Montrezl Harrell at Hargrave, has doubled his scoring this year to lead the team with 15.3 ppg. He also leads the team with 3.8 assists. He kicks in a solid 3.1 rebounds per game and 0.9 steals, too. He is not a good 3-point shooter (25% — 12/47). Codi does his damage on the drive, especially in transition, and gets to the line a lot (5.7 FTA per game).
- uva: Joe Harris – 6’6″ senior – You say Harris by default because he’s been their star for a few years now, but is down 5 ppg from last year at 11.3 (though still leads the team). That’s in part to him playing just 2 minutes in the first meeting with fsu after suffering a concussion. Since then, he’s averaging 15 ppg, all in ACC play, so he’s getting it going at the right time for the hoos. He’s a deadly 3-point shooter – hitting 44% of his 68 attempts (makes 1.7 per game). But like I said, this is a balanced uva attack with six guys averaging between 6.7 and 11.3 ppg.
Prediction: VT goes 0-2 this week and I’m saying this whether Emelogu and Smith play or not. I think a loss at uva is all but a given the way uva is playing (5-1 in the ACC, just destroyed unc, and led at duke with 30 seconds to go in their only ACC loss). Maybe VT pulls off some magic like they did at uva two years ago when the Hokies won 47-45, and Tech has split the last 6 games at uva, but I just don’t see it happening this year given current trends.
As for wake, I think they are licking their chops. They are the superior team in terms of talent and if this game was at wake I’d predict a Bear Fight win for the deacons. The only reason this game is in question is because it is a road game for a Bzdelik-led team. Believe me — they know they haven’t won an ACC road game in 2 years and will see this as a golden opportunity. And like I say, bad teams find a way to lose and that’s Tech right now. It pains me to say it because I love recounting Bzdelik’s road woes, but I just can’t pick this Hokie team right now to win anything.
Or perhaps I’m trying to put the reverse mojo on after picking VT to beat bc and clemson at home and going 0-2. We’ll see. There are some powerfully pathetic forces at work on Wednesday night. Who will be crowned the worst of the worst?