miami (17-15) 57, Hokies (9-22) 53

Big thanks to Cathy F!

The Hokies put a bow on one of the worst seasons in program history Wednesday afternoon, losing to miami in the first round of the 2014 ACC tournament, 57-53.

Virginia Tech finished 9-22 on the season and just 2-17 in ACC play – the 17 losses are an ACC single-season record. The Hokies’ only two wins were against the hurricanes, so they had a shot today. But beating a team three times in one season proved too difficult for VT. Or rather free throws proved too difficult, as VT made just 9/17 and Joey van Zegeren missed both free throws with VT down 1 with 10 seconds to go.

As if VT’s overall and conference records weren’t depressing enough, here’s a little stat for you: the Hokies finished the season with just one, solitary win in 2014. That’s it. Since Jan. 1, 2014, some 70 days ago, head coach James Johnson and his battered and bruised team are 1-17. That’s it.

Niemo likes to break down the game and go through the key moments, but at this point, I’m done. I’m sure you, the fans, are done, too. The Hokies, despite not committing a turnover for the first 23 minutes of the game, couldn’t get out of their own way. They went through their typical scoreless/field goalless drought. They missed critical, must-have, free throws when the game was on the line. More specifically, Joey van Zegeren missed critical free throws with the game on the line.

You can’t pin the loss on JvZ, though. He’s actually played pretty well down the stretch this season. And the team had more than had its fair share of opportunities to win this game. But, as we’ve seen all season, the Hokies just didn’t have what it took.

After the game, JJ said he feels “optimistic” about being back next year. You think? He can do the math and so can we. The athletics department is one of only a handful in the country that are in the black each year. That’s not by accident.

Coach JJ is the lowest paid men’s basketball coach in the ACC. He still has three years left on his contract, so call me skeptical if I don’t think new AD Whit Babcock is going to shell out Frank Beamer-type money to bring in a Shaka Smart. Remember, Tech is still paying Seth Greenberg and Jim Weaver a hefty sum of money. I don’t see Whit paying two former coaches and going out and getting a big name.

JJ is going to get another year whether you think he deserves it or not. Personally, I don’t think he does, but he’ll get at least one more year. Gone are seniors Cadarian Raines (who was what, a 4-point guy at best?) and Jarell Eddie. Aside from that, everyone else should be back. Unless they transfer.

There’s enough hope (and hope is a dangerous thing don’t forget) that with the guys coming back next year, as well as some rookies coming in, the Hokies can improve next season. Ben Emelogu, Devin Wilson, and Trevor Thompson look like they could turn into solid players. JvZ needs to be more consistent and Adam Smith needs to stay healthy.

I’d say that next season couldn’t get much worse, but it could. The canes should be much better with transfers from texas and kansas state becoming eligible, so don’t chalk up wins against the u just year.

So there’s your nice pretty little bow on one of the most forgettable seasons in Virginia Tech basketball history. Now excuse me while I go get a damn drink.

Niemo’s Notes (I’ll keep it short):
– Tech reached the 30 point mark in the first half for the first time in 10 games, leading 32-31 at the break. They led by as many as 9 in the first half, 19-10.
– miami went on an 8-0 run early after the break to take control, up 39-34. But VT did battle back and led with less than 2 minutes to go in the game.
– The Hokies scored 53 points on 54 possessions. They finished the ACC season reaching 1.0 in points per possession just once. Not good. And the easy culprit today was FT shooting. 9/17 (52%) is not satisfactory. Wilson missed 4/5 at the end of the first half. And of course, with VT down 1 and 10 seconds to go, JvZ missed both free throws. He was a 36% foul shooter on the season.
– Tech’s 3 turnovers were easily a season low, eclipsing the 6 they had against wake.
– miami’s 57 points were the most scored in regulation in this series this season. Needless to say it was not a point friendly 3-pack of games.
– Devin Wilson had 5 assists, ending his season with 148, easily the VT freshmen record. He had 19 assists vs miami this season.

This post was written by:

- who has written 235 posts on Tech Hoops.

Cope is a Virginia Tech graduate and veteran sports journalist with a career spanning television, radio, and newspapers. He's the recipient of three Virginia Press Association awards for his writing and design, as well as a CASE Gold Award for his feature writing. Cope has covered the Hokies since 1993 for various local and national news organizations. He's been with TechHoops.com since 2007.

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  • hooleyhoopty

    Thanks Weaver.

  • http://batman-news.com Les
  • King

    Thank you sir! May I have another? Damn you and your logic. JJ HAS to come back now. Of course he does. On the bright side, I’m anxious to see the level of talent in JJ’s first proper recruiting class. Is it too much to ask to have everyone healthy for a full season? We’re due. Wood better take a long hard look in the mirror and ask himself if he wants to be an ACC level player? If so, he better work hard this offseason to shed the babyfat and put on some damn muscle so he can play like a man in the paint. Absolutely zero improvement from his freshman to sophomore year. I wouldn’t be butthurt if he transferred. Excited for all the returning freshmen. Wilson, Thompson & Emelogu are going to be remembered as a special class. JVZ could be a beast next year with some work. It’s going to be a LONG offseason.

    • http://batman-news.com Les

      I think he’s better suited for small forward. His handle looks to have improved.
      With the usual caveat for next season, bodies that stay in motion tend to stay in motion and those that don’t tend to stand still. Translated. Players that tend to have a history of missing games will keep missing them throughout their career. Some like JT and Emelogu carry this trait over from high school. He isn’t the only such player on the current roster.

  • Blue Collar Hokie

    I know its not all jvz’s fault but joey joey joey. . .

    • Pat Leonard

      There was zero reason for Joey to even be involved in that play. The team was DOWN one point and looked like they were trying to run out the shot clock. Nobody was moving around setting screens. Nobody was moving at all other than Wilson. And then with a few seconds left on the shot clock, they decide to throw it down low to the worst scorer on the floor? This is just such a poorly coached team, it drives me insane. There’s much more talent than is being displayed.

  • Drew

    I remember reading an interview with Babcock speaking about his time at UC and the gist of it was he knew that in revenue sports like football and men’s BB, you sometimes have to spend money to make money. So I’m hoping he still feels that way and won’t be afraid to fire JJ and get a new coach. Yeah, we’ll still be paying Greenberg, JJ, and the new coach. But I think the short term loss is worth it for the long term gain. JJ was the wrong hire from the start (thanks Weaver) and in 2 years, he has shown nothing court wise to indicate he can be the guy. He has no excuses. Doesn’t have his guys? He had a hand in recruiting everyone on the roster. He knows those players and how to use them. Injuries? Maybe, but even when he had serviceable depth there was still no coherent system in place. And that’s the bigger deal. In 2 years, I’ve yet to see any indication he is installing his up-temp, pressing style he claims he wants. 2 full seasons. How long does it take? If we lost every game 93-82, at least you could say we’re playing fast like he wants, but the talent level isn’t there. But we don’t. The games from the last 2 years look like a dysfunctional Greenberg team with even worse defense. The lack of awareness for the basics is glaring.

    If you’re pulling for JJ to get another year, its all based on hope. Hope that he’ll figure it out. And that’s fine. But he hasn’t earned it with his accomplishments so there’s no need for fans to make excuses. I’m just really hoping Babcock sucks it up and fires him. Because I can just see the nightmare scenario happen if JJ sticks around. We’ll get marginally better next year, say 12 to 13 wins. And people will be like “see! We’re getting better” so he’ll get more time. But we’ll just stay in mediocrity with 12 to 15 win seasons for the next 3 years. It’s the Ricky Stokes and Jeff Bzdelik playbook.

    And sorry for the rant. It feels good to vent. We all need it after this season. The spring football game can’t get here soon enough!

    • http://batman-news.com Les

      If he’s as good a fundraiser as they give him credit for, he should be able to raise the funds necessary to buy out Johnson with a package comparable to that given Seth Greenberg,1 years salary over the remaining three years of his contract. He should then move ahead with the decision to fire or keep him, irrespective of the Johnson buyout. The rest of the athletic department buyouts are sunken costs with the Weaver buyout having nothing to do with the basketball decision.

  • Hank_Ster

    JJ is a coach who will never bring this program victories, that much is obvious. For that reason, firing the guy and bringing in a good coach will save the program money over the long haul, as Drew discusses. If you are the new AD, your first action cannot be to stand behind a horrendous coach………..that will hurt your reputation right out of the block. Babcock has no choice but to fire JJ….unless the university ties his hands behind his back. Babcock would look like a laughingstock in the stands as we win 4 ACC games next year.

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2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - Hokies 73, liberty 63
11/22 - appalachian state 65, Hokies 63
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - n. iowa 73, Hokies 54
11/26 - Hokies 78, miami ohio 63
**********
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

Photos on flickr