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Highlight: Jalen Hudson Dunk

The Jalen Hudson dunk from the first half of the 2015 ACC Tournament game vs miami…

Posted in 2014-15, Highlights0 Comments

Game Log: miami 59, HOKIES 49

Recap:

Proud.  That’s all you can say about the Hokies the last few days.  After losing by 24 in miami, and getting run out of our own gym by this same hurricane team on Saturday (by 28 in the first half and 21 overall), Tech played the canes pretty much wire to wire tonight, but fell short losing 59-49.

Boxscore

The Hokies scored just 18 points in the first half Saturday and trailed by 28 at the break.  They scored just 19 tonight in the first half… but trailed by just 6 (25-19).  Both teams were ice cold shooting tonight.  In fact, with 8 minutes to go in the game, both teams had just 2 made 3-pointers despite being two of the better long range shooting teams in the league. miami hit 10 three-pointers in the first half Saturday and 15 for the game but made just 5/14 tonight.

Tech was tied at 39 with 8 minutes to play, but miami finally took control after that.  They hit 3 three-pointers down the stretch to take the lead (VT finished with just 3 makes from deep… 5 below their average).

The final margin was actually the biggest of the game.  Tech led for most of the first half until late (but just by a few points) and did take a lead with 8:30 to go in the game at 38-37.

Adam Smith and Ahmed Hill paced VT with 10 points each.  No other Hokie reached double digits as VT shot just 40% for the game, 20% (3/15) from range, and 50% (4/8) from the line.  The Hokies did not attempt a FT in the first half.

Jalen Hudson, who scored 32 on Tuesday, was 2/7 for 5 points today.  Justin Bibbs was 2/13 for 4 points.  We need to get pre-concussion Bibbs back next year.

Sheldon McClellan had 16 to pace the canes and Devon Reed added 10.  miami was 5/14 from deep and 14/18 on FTs (including 7/8 down the stretch) to put the game away.

Tip of the cap to Christian Beyer.  In the final game of his career before medical school at unc, he scored 9 points on 4/4 FGs and 1/2 FTs.  Hats off to him and Will Johnston for all they did the last 3 years as walk-ons.

This concludes the 2014-15 season.  What a way to finish, though — a big win vs wake and a great effort vs miami.  I’d have loved to have won this to revenge the ACC-T loss in 2010 against a crappy miami team, costing VT a NCAA berth, but oh well.  We add 5 new players next year to a solid, young cast.

And if this is it for me and recaps, what a wild ride it has been.  Thanks for following us, I’ve loved the last 9 years.

Preview:

Spread: miami by 10.

One down, four to go!  The Hokies survived opening day of the ACC Tournament for the first time since the Greenberg Era and bring some momentum into the night cap on Wednesday.  [Note: The late game brings back fond memories… like our quarterfinal win 4 years ago over fsu where it looked like fsu had won with a buzzer beater, only to have the refs overturn it on replay and give the Hokies the win… I was in the UK at the time and the game ended around 4:30 AM, sending me into screams of joy]

I’m not going to bother posting a preview.  We just played miami at home 4 days ago and they woodshedded us by 21, but it was even worse than the final score.  miami led by 28 at the half… on our floor.

In the meeting in miami in mid-February, VT trailed by just 3 at the half but saw the canes drub them by 21 in the 2nd half and win by 24.

  • The bad news: Between the 2nd half in Coral Gables and first half in Blacksburg, miami outscored VT 93-44 (-49!!!).
  • The Good News: Take the 1st half at miami and the 2nd half in the ‘Burg and VT outscored the canes 69-65!  Let’s go with that.

Angel Rodriguez, miami’s 2nd leading scorer, is questionable for this game… but he missed their last two games, both wins, including the win at VT.  So it may not matter.  That said, there’s no way miami hits 10 three-pointers like they did in the first half Saturday… is there?

Posted in Home9 Comments

Highlights: HOKIES 81, wake forest 80

Here are all the highlights from Virginia Tech’s 81-80 win over wake forest in the opening round of the 2015 ACC Tournament.  Catch all of Jalen Hudson’s 10 made field goals on his way to 32 points, and enjoy 3 BRRRRRRRRRRAHHHHHHHHHs!

 

Posted in 2014-15, Highlights2 Comments

Game Log: #14 Hokies 81, #11 wake 80

Recap:

The Hokies survived another day thanks to 32 points from Jalen Hudson!  Tech, the 14th seed in the ACC Tournament, defeated the wake forest demon deacons 81-80 at the Greensboro Coliseum.  Tech will take on miami (who beat the Hokies by 20+ in both regular season meetings, including last Saturday at VT), the 6-seed, on Wednesday night at ~9:30 pm (the canes, who lost to wake during the regular season, must be celebrating as we speak).  But hey, we are playing with house money!  Victory you-know-what!

Boxscore

Hudson banked in a runner to give VT the lead with 13 seconds to go.  wake brought the ball up and the ball fumbled out of bounds.  Replays clearly showed the ball went off Miller-McIntyre of wake last, but the refs kept the ball with the deacons with 6 seconds to go.  wake had 3 shot attempts in the final 6 seconds, but couldn’t get one to fall and the Hokies escaped with the win.

The Hokies led 41-31 at the break behind 14 points from Hudson, and led 47-36 with 17 minutes to play.  wake responded with a 17-2 run, largely behind Codi Miller-McIntyre (23 points for the game), to go up 53-49 with 12 minutes to go.

Tech hung around after that and took a 5 point lead into the final minute before back-to-back wake 3s put the deacs up 1 with 20 seconds to go and set the stage for Hudson’s winning shot.

Ahmed Hill was the only other Hokie in double figures with 12.  Bibbs had 9, Muller 8, and Smith and Beyer with 7.

Satchel Pierce committed 4 fouls in just 5 minutes of playing time.  New… league… record!

The Hokies committed just 4 turnovers for the game, while getting 8 steals (VT averaged less than half that many steals in ACC play this year).

Devin Thomas had 22 points for wake, wake’s Hudson had 14 (4 three-pointers in the 2nd half), and Mitoglu had 11.  The rest of wake’s team had just 10 points other than those 4 guys.

Preview:

Spread: wake -4.5.

In the finale of the two Tuesday games, the Hokies will look for revenge against the wake forest demon deacons in the 11/14 game.  The winner plays 6-miami at ~9:30 pm on Wednesday (oh, goodie).

The only regular season meeting saw wake defeat the Hokies 73-70 (RECAP LINK) in what was the closest Tech came to a road win this season.  VT had 6 guys in double figures that day, their most balanced ACC effort, and were tied with a minute to go but couldn’t cash in on a 3 to take the lead, and fumbled a rebound out of bounds after wake missed some foul shots to give them the ball back.  Bibbs missed a 3 at the buzzer to tie the game.

In fact, both teams went a perfect 0-9 on the road this year in league play (wake is an insane 2-41 in ACC road games over the last 5 seasons!).  This game is obviously a neutral site game… and when I say neutral, I mean NEUTRAL.  I’d be surprised if there are more than a few thousand people at the Greensboro Coliseum, even though the arena is 30 miles from the wake forest campus and a little over 2 hours from VT.  Both teams are wrapping up frustrating seasons under first year head coaches (Danny Manning at wake).

wake lost 5 of 6 to close the regular season (win over pitt), including getting spanked by bc on Saturday (what the heck has gotten into the eagles?).  VT has lost 7 in a row.

wake’s Leading…:

  • Scorer: Codi Miller-McIntyre (14.3… 19 in the first meeting)
  • Rebounder: Devin Thomas (8.8 RPG… note VT held him to 9 points in the first meeting)
  • Assists: CM-M (4.1)
  • Stealer: Mitchell Wilbekin/ Madison Jones (1.1)
  • 3-Pt Shooters: Mitchell Wilbekin (49/124 – 39%) / Konstantinos Mitoglu (49/129 – 38%)

Stats:

  • Offensive Efficiency:
    • wake: 103.5 (137)
    • VT: 103.8 (128)
  • Defensive Efficiency:
    • wake: 99.9 (123)
    • VT: 106.1 (247)
  • Tempo:
    • wake: 68.6 (25 — CM-M loves to push the ball and is great in transition off the dribble, Devin Thomas is a good big man on the break)
    • VT: 63.9 (222)
  • RPI:
    • wake: 113
    • VT: 227

Series:

  • All-time: wake 30-29
  • In ACC play: VT 9-6
  • In ACC Tournament games: VT 1-0 (beat wake in the 2007 tourney in Tampa)

Posted in Home8 Comments

Announcement

Loyal readers (and random drifters stopping by to shave and go BM),

I've arm curled an ACC POTY!

I’ve arm curled an ACC POTY!

I wanted to let you know that I plan to take a reduced role next year on this site.  That doesn’t mean TechHoops.com is going away, nor am I riding off into the sunset.  I just plan to do less ‘game day’ type stuff (previews and recaps, and probably fewer highlights).  I’ll focus on the occasional articles (I love digging into stats, sabermetrics for basketball, some highlights — BRRRRRAHHHH!, how we have the 13th best student fans in the ACC, random updates on how wake hasn’t won on the road since President Carter, etc.).

md TailgateI know what you are thinking, “Why leave now?  I know we’ve finished last in the ACC 4 years in a row, but things are surely on the way up next year!”  And you are right.  I’ve just decided after 9 seasons (can’t believe its been that long), over a dozen arm curls of VT players, and almost 1,300 articles/posts, I want to be a fan again.  This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to this season or a game (though the @cuse game this year really took a lot out of me), it’s something I’ve been thinking about since last year, but wanted to continue full force through Buzz’s first year.  Now, I want to enjoy watching games and not worrying about getting a recap up on a weeknight after a 9 PM game, or doing highlights until close to midnight.  As we (hopefully) get more competitive, I want to sit back and have an adult beverage (well, I guess I’ve already been doing that), and enjoy the rebirth of Virginia Tech basketball.  Consider this a Jay Z-type retirement.  You think I’m gone but I keep popping up every week.

TechHoops GuysThe simple fact is this site started as the Wick’s brain child (sorry Davey) because 9 years ago there wasn’t much coverage about Hokie hoops.  We loved the game, especially Virginia Tech basketball, and wanted to bring the info to the masses that we sorely wanted.  Today, everyone and their mother has previews, recaps, and other info.  Heck, even the recruiting sites do that stuff.  So the value of our previews and recaps has greatly diminished, and I’m, frankly, tired.

Niemo with extremely short Rob Lowe at duke

Niemo with extremely short Rob Lowe at duke

I also wanted to thank you all for your support.  I can’t believe our site exploded like it did to the point where we could fill a sports bar for viewing parties, or get recognized at games by strangers, or people donate their hard earned money to us to help run this site, or even get yelled out by a player’s mom for an article I wrote!  A person close to the program even hooked me up with tickets behind the players’ bench at duke!  That was amazing.
Our popularity has curtailed over the past few years but this has still been a blast, but I’ve still tried to give everything I had as if we were still in the upper half of the league.  I’ve seen how much some of you enjoy this site even more as we battled through these 4 straight ACC last place finishes together.

My sonSo… this isn’t good bye.  Just wanted to thank you for making this a great 9 years (and counting), and see you all soon… just not as often.

Posted in Home11 Comments

Game Log: miami (10-8) 82, Hokies (2-16) 61

Recap:

The Hokies closed out their 2nd straight 2-16 ACC season (they are the only school ever to lose 16 ACC regular season games… and they’ve now done it twice), and 4th straight last place finish by getting absolutely drubbed at the Cassell with their 2nd straight horrific performance at home, losing 82-61 (trailing by 20+ the final 24 minutes of the game).  I know Angel Rodriguez, the miami PG was out hurt (12.3 PPG), but how in the world was VT only 4.5 point underdogs in this game?  Should have bet the house.

Boxscore

The students were on Spring Break, and best I could tell, so was the Hokie team.  On my Mom’s 75th birthday, it looked like we might lose by 75 (I’m only slightly exaggerating — we were down 29 with time left in the first half).  Let this set the storyline: miami made 10 3-pointers in the first half… VT only had 18 points total in the first half.  Manu Lecomte went 4/4 from deep in the first half and 5/6 for the game.  James Palmer, starting in place of the injured Angel Rodriguez, who came in 17/53 from deep (32%) on the season, went 3/3 in the first half from deep.  He had never made more than 2 from deep in a game in his brief college career and he made 5 of 5 on the day.

hurricane destruction:

  • miami went 10/16 on 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes (they came in shooting 33% from deep in ACC action with 7.7 makes per game).  The canes would go on to hit 15/25 (60%) from behind the arc for the game, tying a school record for made 3s in a game.
  • miami had 3 runs of 10-0 or more in the first 28 minutes of the game.
  • miami took a 10-point lead just 7 minutes into the game (16-6), marking the 11th time in 18 ACC games this year VT trailed by double digits in the first half (they led by 10+ just once in ACC play).  Tech never got the lead under 10 in the final 33 minutes.
  • miami took a 20 point lead (34-14) with 4:41 to go in the first half.  VT never got the lead under 20 in the final 24:41 of the game.
  • miami led 46-18 at the half.
  • miami outscored VT 93-44 if you combine the 2nd half of the game in miami 2 weeks ago and the first half today.  49 points in 40 minutes!
  • miami took a 30-point lead (58-28) with 12:28 to go in the game.

miami players:

  • Ivan Cruz Uceda had 51 points on the season coming in (3.9 PPG with a high of 11 in a game)… he had 18 points on 7/11 shooting and 3/4 from deep.
  • James Palmer averaged 3.6 PPG with a high of 11 coming in… he scored 17 points on 5/5 from 3-point range.
  • Manu Lecomte hadn’t scored more than 10 in his last 14 games and averaged 7.8 PPG… he scored 20 points on 5/6 from deep.
  • Tonye Jekiri who had 15 points and 15 rebounds in Coral Gables vs VT only had 4/4 today!  There’s something positive!  Maybe we focused on him a bit too much.

VT had droughts of:

  • 5:31 (10-0 miami run)
  • 5:44 (13-0 miami run)
  • 3:59 (10-0 miami run)

Scoring-wise, Ahmed Hill led VT with 17 points, Satchel Pierce had a career high 13, Justin Bibbs had 11, and Jalen Hudson 9.  Freshmen scored 53 of VT’s 61 points (Adam Smith had a season low 3 points).

It was Senior ‘Night’ for former walk-ons Christian Beyer (2 points) and Will Johnston (hit a late 3-pointer), and unfortunately this ‘contest’ went a lot like many of the games the last four years.  But here’s a tip of the cap… heck, here’s a standing O to those two guys — they absolutely busted their butts the last several years giving max effort, and who knows how bad we’d have been without them.

This was also the final home game we’ll see sophomore Devin Wilson (0 points) start in the Cassell, in my opinion.  While he’s on pace to break the all-time assist record at VT (277 coming into today), he just isn’t a strong enough ballhandler and simply has no jumpshot.  His limited offense abilities make him a liability as defenses don’t have to check him on the perimeter.  Tech must find a better option at the point next year, and will likely look to Seth Allen and Justin Robinson (maybe Jalen Hudson) to do so.

Let’s face facts, people.  The Hokies lost 7 in a row to close the season (all since the infamous argyle sweater) and are playing their worst basketball of the campaign right now.  By comparison, bc started 1-14 and won 3 in a row to close the regular season, with all 3 wins in convincing fashion (they trounced wake in Boston… leaving wake 0-9 on the road this year… the Ghost of Coach Bzdelik lives on!!!).  To fall behind a 2-14 bc team by 22 at home, and by 30 to a 9-8 miami team is inexcusable.  Yes, the duke and uva games were close, but if VT is going to be competitive in this league they have to be able to elevate against the teams closer to their level.  And VT put up 5 absolute stinkers out of their final 7 games.  Even with the uva and duke games, VT lost by an average of 15 points in their final 7 games.

The Hokies, the 14th seed (no cuse) in the ACC Tournament, will close their season on Tuesday afternoon, playing wake forest in the 11/14 game at approximately 3:30 PM.

Preview:

Preview: miami -4.5 (What? Does their whole team have the flu and we just got Lebron?)

It’s Senior Night (at noon) on Saturday for the star-studded Hokie Class of 2011!  We’ll bid good bye to Doo-Doo Finney-Smith, Robert Brown, C.J. Barksdale, and Marquis Rankin!  Oh, wait, they are all gone already after playing 8 combined seasons (234 games and 112 starts) amongst the 4 of them.

We will, however, honor former walk-ons Christian Beyer and Will Johnston, who became major contributors over the last 3 seasons.  They’ve played in 159 games with 30 starts.  I think that says it all about the last 4 years that two walk-ons ended up playing in 68% as many games and had 27% as many starts as 4 ‘stud’ signees of the same class.

Johnston has 23 career starts and 215 career points (61/169 – 36% from 3-point range), and averaged 2.5 PPG for his career.  He was limited by injuries this year but has still played in 23 games.

Beyer played in 22 games so far this year and has averaged 3.5 PPG and 3.2 RPG.  He has 151 points for his career and 198 rebounds, but seems destined for even bigger things in life after this year as he’s an outstanding student (almost a 4.0) and will continue his education in medical school at unc.

The Hokies have clinched their 4th consecutive last place finish in the ACC, but with a win over miami on Saturday they’ll move into a tie for last place with georgia tech (3-15) for sure, and possible bc if wake forest finds a way to rebound from their 43-point loss to duke on Wednesday and win their first ACC road game in about 20 years.

With a win, VT will move into the 13th seed for the ACC tournament, ahead of georgia tech (and syracuse isn’t playing).  If VT wins, they’ll play bc in the 12/13 game.  If VT loses, they finish dead last in the ACC for the third straight season and will play wake forest in the 11/14 game on Tuesday.

Odds are Tech will be playing in the 11/14 game.  While the Hokies swept miami in the regular season last year for their only two ACC wins, the canes avenged that by barely knocking out Tech in the ACC First Round and absolutely woodshedding the Hokies in miami on February 18th, 76-52.  The margin was just 3 at the half, but opened up after the break with a 17-4 run to make it 46-30 and put the game away.  In that game, VT made 7′ Tonye Jekiri look like Shaq (he had 15 points and 15 rebounds in 28 minutes… VT only had 19 rebounds for the entire game).

For more on that game, here’s the RECAP (Link).

Tech, with a loss, will finish 9-9 at home, avoiding a losing season.  Tech has had a losing season just twice in the 50+ years of the Cassell, one was last year under JJ and the other was in 2000-01 under ricky stokes.  Tech has finished .500 at the Cassell just one other time, going 6-6 in 1988-89.

Series:

  • All-Time: miami 15-12
  • In ACC Play: VT 10-9
  • At VT in ACC Play: VT 5-2

Stats:

  • RPI: miami 71, VT 226
  • Off Eff:
    • u: 109.3 (50)
    • VT: 103.9 (131)
  • Def Eff:
    • u: 98.9 (104)
    • VT: 104.8 (225)

Posted in Home5 Comments

Recap: boston college (3-14) 66, hokies (2-15) 59

“To be the worst, you’ve got to lose to the worst.”  With a chance to climb out of the cellar in the ACC standings for the first time in the last 4 seasons, the 2-14 Hokies lost to the 2-14 boston college eagles at the Cassell 66-59 while putting together their worst, and most embarrassing, effort of the Buzz Williams Era.  While the final score doesn’t look that bad, keep in mind this was a game VT was favored in, against a 2-14 team, at home.  And Tech trailed by as many as 22 in the game… to a 2-14 team… at home.  So while the Hokies made it close at the end, that was largely due to the fact bc was just killing time.  Tech was never closer than 6 points in the 2nd half, and that came with 2 minutes to go after trailing by 10+ for the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half.

Boxscore

The eagles, who routed nc state Saturday but hadn’t won back-to-back ACC games since March of 2013, used runs of 11-0, 11-0, and 8-0 in the first half while shooting 63% to take a commanding 41-28 lead into the break.  The lead would balloon to as many as 22 (52-30) before the 15-minute mark of the 2nd half.  (FYI: Tech lost their 6th game in a row and haven’t won back-to-back ACC games since January of 2013.)

bc shot over 50% for the game (52% compared to 39%) and both teams were 7/20 from deep.

With the loss and just one regular season game remaining, the Hokies have clinched finishing last in the ACC for a 4th consecutive season, and unless they beat miami at home on Saturday, they will finish dead last, all alone at the bottom of the sea, for the 3rd consecutive season.  And kiss appearing in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge good-bye for next year.  This season can’t end fast enough — I’m just tired of [stinking] at basketball.  Serenity now!

This loss was Tech’s 4th consecutive defeat to bc, and 8th in 9 meetings.  Note: this is boston college, not duke.  bc is just 18-51 in ACC games over the last 4 seasons… but 5-1 vs VT.  The eagles own the Hokies and swept Tech in football and basketball this season in Blacksburg.  [SMH]

Olivier Hanlan, the ACC’s leading scorer at 19.6 PPG, had a good but not great game.  He scored just 15 points on 5/13 shooting.  The key was limiting everyone else… that didn’t work out.  Dimitri Batten, a senior transfer from odu and Newport News, more than doubled his average of 6.7 PPG with 18 points on 4/5 3-point shooting (his most made 3s of the season), tying his previous season high.  Aaron Brown added 13 (just below his 15 PPG average) and Dennis Clifford had 10.  For a team where Hanlan and Brown averaged 63% of their points in the last 5 games, they had 5 guys in double figures vs nc state in their win Saturday and 4 tonight.

The Hokies were led by 22 points from Adam Smith… but there was no balance.  No one else scored more than 8 for VT.

Game Flow:

The Hokies jumped out to a 10-6 lead with 4 minutes gone thanks to 5 points from Adam Smith, but then went scoreless for the 4 minutes (stop the presses!) and saw bc go on an 11-0 run to take a 17-10 lead.

Justin Bibbs, who was 1/10 from the field against uva, hit his first 2 shots (a 3-pointer and a sweet pull-up midrange jumper).  He wouldn’t score the rest of the game after that, finished 2/6 from the field (and now 3/16 in the last 2 games).

Devin Wilson buried just his 8th 3-pointer of the season and VT had a 9-0 run of their own to go up 19-17 with 8 minutes left in the half.

Then bc responded with a couple of Dimitri Batten (an odu transfer) with a couple of 3s and the eagles had a 11-0 run to go back ahead 28-19, bc’s 2nd 11-0 run of the half.  This is a 2-14 team, people.

Heck, even 7-foot Dennis Clifford hit a 3-pointer… he had 1 make on the season before that in 3 attempts.  That put bc up 31-21 and the Hokies trailed by double digits in the first half for the 10th time this season.  An Aaron Brown 3 put the eagles up 39-26 with 2:48 to go in the half, followed by a Brown layup to make it 41-26 (an 8-0 run for the eagles).  THIS IS A 2-14 TEAM, PEOPLE!

The eagles, who averaged just 64 PPG in ACC play, had 41 with 2 minutes to go in the first half.  They really extended their defense in the half court, leading to bad shots and turnovers, then pushed the ball in transition to VT’s surprise, leading to a 7-0 advantage in fast break points in the first half.

boston college went into the break up 41-28.

The eagles shot 63% for the first half (17/27), including making 9 in a row at one point.  They also hit 5/11 three-pointers.  They didn’t get a single offensive rebound, but it didn’t matter.  Hanlan had 11 points, Batten 10, and Brown 7.

VT shot just 39% (4/9 on 3s), led by Adam Smith’s 7 points and 5 from Bibbs and Pierce.

The eagles opened the 2nd half with Batten’s 3rd 3-pointer in 3 tries (he was a 32% shooter from deep coming in) and a Clifford dunk to go up 46-28 with 19 minutes to go.  This is a 2-14 team!!!!

bc basically started taking a knee with 18:30 to go in the game, holding the ball near mid court for the first 20 seconds of the shot clock.  The lead would increase to 50-30 at the first media timeout and peak at 52-30 with 15 minutes to go, and bc really started taking the air out of the ball.

Tech responded by going on a run of 16-2 to cut it to 54-46 with 8:18 to play as Adam Smith scored 8 points to get to 15 for the game.

Batten responded with his 4th three-pointer of the game and a driving layup to push the lead to 59-46 with 6 minutes to play.

A Malik Muller 3-pointer got Tech back within 8 with 5 minutes to go at 59-51. After a scoring lull, an Adam Smith triple got VT within 6 at 60-54 with 2 minutes to go and bc promptly turned the ball over against the press.

But Adam Smith missed a corner 3 with 75 seconds to go and VT had to go into foul mode against a very good free throw shooting team.  bc hit 6/8 down the stretch in the final minute and put the game away.

***Jim Weaver, I hope you feel responsible for this.  Not this game, per say, but this run of 3 straight last place finishes since you fired Seth.  You could have gotten a head coach 3 years ago and while we may have stunk that next year, the healing process would have started a lot earlier.  Thanks.***

Posted in Home10 Comments

13th Place Mega Bowl Preview!: boston college (2-14) @ Hokies (2-14) | Monday, 9 PM | ESPNU

Spread: Hokies by 1.5.

The stakes are clear when the boston college eagles head to Blacksburg on Monday night: win, or finish last in the ACC.  Two teams enter the arena at 2-14, tied for last place in the ACC, one goes home in 13th place (the winner will tie georgia tech at 3-14 for 13th but both teams beat gt and will own the tiebreaker).  And capture a Mega Bowl Championship!!!

Mega Bowl Press Conference Video Clip

With just one home game remaining after this for each team (bc vs 4-11 wake, VT vs 8-8 miami), the loser will have to win their finale or finish all alone in the cellar.  Considering Tech in their last 3 seasons has finished tied for last, dead last, and dead last, you cannot underestimate the importance of this game.  While finishing 13th or 14th may be but a baby step in terms of getting back to respectability, at least it is some progress.  A loss leaves Tech right where they’ve been — the bottom.

The Hokies have not fared well with the eagles of late.  In fact, bc has owned the Hokies, winning 7 of the last 8 meetings.  That includes the final 3 meetings of the Delaney/Allen era.  And while Tech has been awful the previous 3 seasons, so has bc, leading them to fire their coach (Donahue), too, after last season and bring in Jim Christian from ohio university.  Obviously, he’d like nothing more than win a 2nd straight game (bc thrashed nc state in stunning fashion, 79-63, in their last game) and take bc out of the cellar.

Virginia Tech is just 12-56 in ACC games over the last 4 seasons, easily the worst in the league.  But bc is just 17-51 over that stretch.  But boston college is 4-1 against the Hokies in the last 4 years.  That’s an 80% winning clip vs VT, and 13-50 (20.6%) against everyone else in the league.  That needs to change… Monday.  WE’RE GOING TO WIN THE MEGA BOWL!!!!

Last 5 Games:

bc vs Score VT vs Score
miami L-89-96 (2OT) @clemson L-75-54
@fsu L-69-60 @miami L-76-52
notre dame L-87-70 @nc state L-69-53
@pitt L-71-65 duke L-91-86 (OT)
nc state W-79-63 @uva L-69-57

bc Stars:

There’s one:

  • #21 Olivier Hanlan – Junior – 6’4″ guard

Hanlan will be the best player on the court Monday.  Period.  He leads his team with 19.6 PPG, 4.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, and in 3-point shooting (37% is tops on the team with 60 makes also on top).  Hanlan leads the ACC in PPG by a full point, is 9th in assists, and 10th in steals.  He will be a First Team All-ACC player (he was Third Team last year by the coaches and media).  Hanlan has only gotten better as the season has gone on, scoring 30+ points in 4 of their last 7 games and has not been held to less than 15 in the last 9 games.  He had 39 in a loss to pitt last week (bc only scored 65).  And he’s shot 50% or better in each of the last 5 games while averaging 29 PPG.  So he’s going to get his.

Others of note:

  • #22 Aaron Brown – Senior – 6’5″ forward

The southern miss transfer has averaged 15.2 PPG for the eagles and he loves to shoot from deep.  He’s 54/170 for 32%, so he’s not great but can be streaky.  He’s just 1/14 in his last 3 games from 3-point range, so expect him to have a huge game Monday based on our history.

Brown and Hanlan have combined for 227 of bc’s 360 points in the last 5 games (63%!!!), so they are not a balanced team normally.  That said, all 5 bc starters reached double figures against nc state.  This team gets very little off the bench (just 3 players combined for 43 minutes and 7 points vs nc state).  Like I said, Hanlan will get his, and like with Delaney, often when he’s scoring the most is not a good thing for the eagles.  If Tech can at least challenge Hanlan and keep the supporting cast from getting hot, they definitely can win.

  • Tech used a bit of token pressure against uva.  I’d like to see that again against bc because it will help get the ball out of Hanlan’s hands and force the tempo a bit against a bc team that has no depth (I know the Hokies don’t either but they are more athletic and would fare better in an up-and-down game).

Stats of Note:

  • Offensive Efficiency:
    • bc: 104.6 (114)
    • VT: 104.5 (117)
  • Defensive Efficiency:
    • bc: 101.6 (157)
    • VT: 104.7 (222)
  • Tempo:
    • bc: 63.9 (236)
    • VT: 64.1 (218)
  • RPI:
    • bc: 166 (2nd worst in the ACC)
    • VT: 218
    • RealTimeRPI Prediction: VT 70-65!
  • Free throws: bc is 3rd in ACC play (72.2%)
  • FG% Defense: bc is last in the league, VT is 13th
  • 3-Pt%: VT is 2nd (38.3%), bc is 7th (33.9%); and bc is 14th in 3-Pt% Defense (38.6%); VT is #1 in 3s made at 8.5 per game, bc makes 7.1 (tie for 5th)
  • Both teams are at the bottom in shot blocking and steals, so neither team has an eraser inside or a good on-ball defender other than maybe Hanlan (1.4 SPG)
  • Both teams are at the bottom in Offensive Rebounding % — VT must not allow 2nd chances

Trending:

  • Bibbs has averaged just 9.3 PPG since coming back from his concussion (over 20 PPG in the 3 ACC games before it).
  • Adam Smith has scored in double digits in 11 straight games, and has scored between 12-19 points in the last 9.
  • Malik Muller has scored 22 and 17 in VT’s 2 ACC wins, but averaged just 6.1 PPG in VT’s 14 losses.
  • Christian Beyer is averaging 5.3 PPG and 5.7 RPG over the last 3 games.
  • Shane Henry has 1 point and 4 rebounds in the last 5 games in limited action.

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Game Log (and My 4 Wishes): uva (15-1) 69, Hokies (2-14) 57

Recap:

Monday night is for all the marbles now.  boston college crushed nc state to move to 2-14 and will square off with the 2-14 Hokies Monday night at 9 PM in the Cassell in the battle for 14th (or maybe even 13th) Place!  It’s a Mega Bowl!!!

Oh, what happened in the uva game, you ask?  Well, the 20-point underdog Hokies played the #2 hoos tough once again.  But this time they couldn’t keep in close down the stretch and lost 69-57 for their 7th straight loss to uva.  It was another solid effort for the Hokies… but again in a losing cause.

Boxscore

Tech hung right with the hoos for 25 minutes, but with uva up 35-33 and 15:30 to go, uva went on an 11-0 run to take a 46-33 lead.  Game, set, match?  Not quite.  The Hokies buried three 3-pointers and eventually went on an 8-0 run to cut the margin back to 50-46 with 7 minutes to go.

That’s when Tech took a death blow — uva went on a 12-0 run, holding the Hokies scoreless for more than 4 minutes and took a 62-46 lead with 3:30 to go.

Early on it looked like the bounces might go Virginia Tech’s way again.  Malik Muller opened the scoring by banking in a 3-pointer, and later had a NBA-range 3-pointer deaden off the part where the hoop meets the backboard and fall gently in.  5 points from Ahmed Hill later and the Hokies found themselves up 11-4 early on.

Anthony Gill then stepped up in place of the injured Justin Anderson.  The 6’8″ 230 lbs junior was too much inside for Bibbs and the Hokies and he scored 7 consecutive points to tie the game at 11.

The game went back and forth after that for the rest of the first half, with neither team leading by more than 5.  The hoos took a 28-24 lead to the locker room.

Justin Bibbs, who looked better against duke, had a really tough day (to put it mildly).  He finished 1/12 shooting — 1/10 on FGs, 1/6 on 3-pointers, and 0/2 from the line.  And the one make was with 26 seconds to go and VT down 15.

Adam Smith had his usual solid shooting effort — 5/9 on FGs and 4/7 from deep to lead VT with 19 points.

Ahmed Hill added 10 for VT, the only other Hokie in double figures.  Malik Muller was 3/3 from deep, but for just those 9 points.

Jalen Hudson, who had 23 vs duke for a career high, went 0/1 for 0 points.

uva had 4 guys in double figures — Malcolm Brogdon with 19, Anthony Gill with 16, Darion Atkins with 16 (and put on a dunk contest at the end), and Phantom of the Opera London Perrantes who returned from a broken nose with a mask in the first half and hit 4/4 FGs and 3/3 from deep to tally 11.  The rest of the team only scored 7 points for uva, but they didn’t need it.

Tech hit 9/19 (47%) from deep compared to 6/13 (46%) for uva.  The big difference was uva outscored the Hokies 34-18 in the paint.

VT had just 1 offensive rebound in the first game, but did much better on the glass today — they actually outrebounded the hoos 31-29, including 9-7 on the offensive glass!  This was just the 2nd time in ACC play VT won the rebounding margin.

uva shot 51% from the field overall, while VT hit just 38%, thanks in large part to 7 uva blocks.

See you Monday night late for the Mega Bowl!!!

4 Wishes to Close the Season:

RK had a good idea — what are our 4 wishes based on the fact we may only have 4 games left in the season (3 regular season and at least 1 in the ACC-Tournament).  Here they are:

  1. Beat bc
  2. Beat bc
  3. Beat bc
  4. Watch the uva game on mute (check — Tim Brandt is awful)

The last one I can control and simply don’t want to hear the announcers pump up their team, or listen to their pompous, nerdy fans.

The first 3 are simply — with a win next week at the Cassell over bc, the Hokies have about a 95% chance of not finishing in last place (or even tied for last place) in the ACC, snapping that 3 year run of bottom dwelling.  bc would have to beat nc state and wake to tie VT for last if they lose at the Cassell, and considering they are 1-14 to date, good luck with that.  I’ll touch more on why this is a needed win, even more so than duke (though that would have been sweet and a real program lifter) next week.

Preview:

Spread: uva by 20.

The then 0-6 (ACC) Hokies stunned the cavs in Blacksburg a month ago, taking a 10-point lead over the #2 cavs with 10:30 to go in the game.  But VT managed just 4 points the rest of the way and missed a long 3-pointer by Adam Smith at the buzzer to tie the game, losing 50-47: Recap

That’s a good omen for Saturday, right?  Well, maybe not.  Tech played uva tough in the first meeting… and so did wake when they lost 61-60 at uva a few weeks ago (and had the ball with a chance to win at the end but couldn’t get a shot off).  How did wake fair against uva the 2nd time around this week?  They lost by 36 — 70-34.  And it wasn’t even that close.  wake had just 25 points with about 8 minutes to go.  It was a drubbing.

Maybe I should take that attitude.  I said VT had no chance against duke, and they had a shot at the end of regulation to win the game.  So even though uva is without then-leading scorer Justin Anderson (Malcolm Brogdon now leads them with 13.5 PPG).  In the first 2 games since Anderson got hurt, uva did look shaky — beating nc state by just 4 (although state is on a roll) and wake by 1.  But in the last 3 they’ve beaten pitt by 12, fsu by 10 (though that game was very close until the end), and wake by 36.  The scary thing about the wake game is uva’s point guard, London Perrantes (4.4 APG) didn’t play, either.  So let’s stick with the reverse mojo and say uva is going to win big Saturday.

Tech is just 13-34 all time at uva, and they’ve lost 6 straight overall in the series (but half of those losses have been by 4 points or less… the other 3 were absolute blowouts).  VT did upset uva 47-45 there 4 years ago to capture their 3rd win in ch’ville in 5 tries at that point.  VT is 3-7 at uva since entering the ACC.

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Game Log: #4 duke 91, Hokies 86 — Overtime — Final

Boxscore

There seemingly was magic in the air Wednesday night at the Cassell.  The same magic that saw VT beat #7 duke 67-65 at the Cassell back in 2005, avenging a 35-point loss earlier in the season at duke.  Or the same magic Tech had almost 4 years ago to the day (2/26/11) when VT beat #1 duke 64-60 on the same day they hosted ESPN GameDay.  Four years, three coaches, and 7-straight duke wins later, #4 duke strolled into the Cassell.

But with the ball and the shot clock off at the end of regulation, Jalen Hudson was not able to make a difficult, but makable, short bank shot and the Heartbrokies fell in overtime, losing 91-86.

If Jahlil Okafor isn’t the best player in the country, then I haven’t seen who is.  He looked like a man amongst boys, and in reality he was against the undersized Hokies.  He had 30 points on 13/18 FGs (plus 9 boards).  But these boys came to play tonight.

Speaking of boys, Jalen Hudson showed he’s ready to step up.  After hearing for over a month from Buzz that he’s the most talented player on the team, he showed it tonight.  He scored a career high 20 points (9/20 FGs), had 6 rebounds, and a monster block on the aforementioned Okafor.

Devin Wilson had a gigantic game, too.  He had 10 points and 11 assists, just short of the school record of 12 assists by Bimbo Coles and tying his career high.

Add to that 15 points from Adam Smith, 11 from Ahmed Hill, and 10 from Justin Bibbs and you have 5 Hokies in double figures.  Plus, Satchel Pierce had 8 and Malik Muller 7.  Like I said, it was a team effort in every respect.

In fact, almost every Hokie had their best game of the season.  This team shot 70% in the first half, then followed that up making 8 of 12 three-pointers in the 2nd half (12/22 – 55% for the game) and shot a solid 48% from the field.  VT finished shooting 53% for the game and 80% from the line (12/15).  They even held their own on the glass — or should I say they were awful on the defensive glass (grabbed just 16 of 29 opportunities), but were great on the offensive glass (snagged 10 offensive rebounds in 28 chances).  They also committed just 7 turnovers in the final 40 minutes after committing 4 in the first 5 minutes.

The problem was duke had too much star power and ultimately took over after Pierce fouled out halfway through overtime.  duke had the 30 from Okafor, 26 from Quinn Cook (21 after halftime), and 15 from Justise Winslow.  They shot an amazing 59% for the game… and still need overtime to win.  duke was 5/9 from deep in the 2nd half and hit 10/23 (44%) for the game.  This was no surprise since the Hokies were the 2nd most prolific 3-point shooting team in the league… and gave up the most 3s.

This was simply the most efficient offensive effort for Tech.  In one stretch over the last half of the first half and beginning of the 2nd half, Tech scored on 18 of 19 possessions for 41 points (that’s 2.16 points per possession, which is about double a really, really good team).  For the game, VT averaged 1.30 points per possession, easily their best effort (I’m guessing) in ACC play.  This was fun to watch.

Now, Tech must find a way to regroup and win at #2 uva on Sunday.  The cavs, who beat wake by just 1 at home 2 weeks ago, beat the deacons at wake 70-34 tonight.  But hey, miracles can happen, we almost saw one tonight.

1st Half:

Tech jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 4-2… and then things turned as expected.  The 16-point underdog Hokies didn’t score for over 4:30 and duke went on a 13-0 run to go ahead 15-4.  Jahlil Okafor, the likely #1 overall pick in this upcoming NBA Draft, did return from an ankle injury and looked pretty much like 100%.  Game over, right?  Nope.

The Hokies responded by scoring on 11 consecutive possessions.  That’s right, 11 straight!  The Hokies scored 25 points in 8:13 and climbed back within a 31-29 duke lead with 5:04 to go in the first half (VT had been as close as 1).

After two media timeouts in less than a minute and one failed possession on offense, the Hokies started clicking again.  Tech scored on 5 straight possessions after that and led 39-35!!!  That’s right, this Hokie club scored on 16 out of 17 possessions against the #4 team in the land (for 35 points in 12 minutes).

Jahlil Okafor closed the first half scoring with a jumper after committing an offensive foul (not called) to give him 14 points at the break.

The Hokies went into the break leading #4 duke 39-37.  How, you ask? (especially since many of you couldn’t watch the game since richmond blew a 6-point lead over vcu with 45 seconds to go and needed double OT to win before ESPN2 could switch to the game — get WatchESPN, people!)

Jalen Hudson paced the Hokies with 11 points, including 9 points in less than 2:30 to get Tech back in the game.  Devin Wilson added 8 points and was very aggressive off the drive.  Keep in mind, Hudson’s 11 in the first half was more than he had scored in any of his last 5 games (and 8 of 9), and Wilson’s 8 was more than he’s had in any of 5 of his last 6 games.

The Hokies just shredded the slow duke half court defense, and in transition, off the dribble.  duke tried to press like they did vs clemson, but the Hokies had no issues with it and made duke pay for guarding the perimeter tightly to take away the 3.

It just seemed like there was magic in the air.  A Tyus Jones 3-pointer literally spun around the inside of the rim 3 times before rolling out.  Where as Tech could not miss, including a fadeaway 3-pointer by Adam Smith.

The Hokies shot an outrageous 69.6% from the field in the first half.  duke shot 57%… and trailed!  And both teams were awful on the defensive glass (VT got just 7 of 13 misses, duke got just 4 of 7).  Tech had 20 points in the paint (thanks to the drive and 7 2nd chance points in 3 opportunities) compared to 22/12 for duke.

2nd Half:

The Hokies stayed hot to open the 2nd stanza, hitting a pair of 3-pointers to take an 8-point lead at 45-37 less than a minute into the 2nd half.  For those of you keeping track, like me, that was 41 points in 19 possessions (and scoring on 18 of 19).

Tech stayed red hot from deep for the first 8 minutes of the 2nd half, hitting 4 of 6 and led 57-51 with 12 minutes to go after a sweet hook shot by Satchel Pierce to give him 8 points with 12 minutes to go (his career high was 10).

Then, the tide turned blue and the duke offense turned as hot as hell.  duke scored 8 points in just 54 seconds to go ahead 59-57 with 10:50 to go.

That was all she wrote, right?  Nope.  Adam Smith answered with his 3rd 3-pointer and VT led 60-59 with 10 minutes to go in the game.

After a layup from Okafor and a 3-pointer by Quinn Cook, duke was up 64-60 with 9:24 to go.  But once again Tech came back, with consecutive 3s by Bibbs and Hudson to go back ahead 66-64.

Cook answered with another 3-pointer (he had 14 points in the first 12 minutes of the 2nd half, including 4 three-pointers), and duke led 69-68 with 7 minutes to play.

Jalen Hudson blocked an Okafor shot with authority, and on the ensuing possession drove and finger-rolled a layup to put VT up 70-69 with 6 minutes to go, giving him a career high 21 points.

After duke went back in front, Malik Muller scored in the paint then drilled a 3 and the Hokies found themselves up 75-71 with 4 minutes to play and the huge upset.

Tech suddenly went cold, and duke managed to score 6 straight to go up 77-75 with 1:04 to play.  But again, these Hokies responded and Bibbs hit a jumper off an inbounds pass to tie the game at 77 with 49 seconds to go.

After Okafor missed 2 free throws with 21 second to go, the Hokies had the ball with the shot clock off.  Jalen Hudson made an athletic up-and-under move, but couldn’t quite bank in a short shot and the game was headed to overtime.

Overtime:

In the extra frame, Ahmed Hill hit his 3rd triple to put VT up 80-79 early.  duke answered (Okafor’s 30th point) and they led 81-80.

The next sequence was a critical moment in the game.  Devin Wilson missed both free throws, and Satchel Pierce fouled out with 2:30 left and Tech down 1.

With VT behind 83-80, they did manage to foul out one of their mismatches, stud frosh Justise Winslow, with 1:21 to go.  Hudson hit both free throws to make it 83-82.

On the ensuing possession, Tech lost track of Quinn Cook in the corner and he hit his 6th three-pointer of the game to make it 86-82.  After a VT miss and duke 1 free throw, Adam Smith missed a 3 and the game was pretty much over.

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duke @ VT: A Look Back, a Look to Wednesday, and a View Forward

Four years ago this Thursday (2/26), the Hokies answered the call on their grandest stage ever and knocked off the #1 duke blue devils 64-60 at the Cassell on the same day they hosted ESPN College GameDay (link to highlights below)!  Fast forward (and boy do I wish I could fast forward this time period) almost exactly four years to Wednesday night, when duke comes to the Cassell again.

We all know what has happened since that historic night.  Tech has gone 12-56 (18% win percentage) in ACC regular season action since then, is on their third coach, and is still looking for the NCAA Tournament birth they thought they locked up back in 2011.

I don’t bring this back up to morbid, rather, I bring it up to be somewhat theraputic to me.  Theraputic because I truly believe we’ve hit rock bottom (and yes, this is at least the third time I’ve said that over the last 4 years).  But can it possibly get any worse than 3 straight years at the bottom of the ACC (and possibly a 4th if VT losses to bc)?  Could it get worse than all the seasons with 7 or 8 “healthy” scholarship players left by the end of the season?  Or having basically one true low post player?

Yes, it potentially could.  Virginia Tech could get saddled with NCAA violations, although we’d have to be the worst cheaters of all time to be this bad and corrupt.  Or Buzz could decide he got in over his head and bolt and we’d have to start over again from scratch.

But I still believe in Buzz and I like some of the key ingredients on this team and coming in via recruiting.  Yes, Buzz has flaws that will annoy us over time, but so did Seth and so does Beamer.  You take the good with the bad, and we haven’t seen any good in a while, but I truly expect to see a step forward next.  I truly expect to go at least 6-12 in the league, and would be thrilled with 8-10, plus a NIT appearance.  Sad to set the bar as a losing record, but wouldn’t that be great to finally be winning almost as many as we lose?  To actually be competitive in most games, and maybe even win some games where we didn’t have to hit a 3 at the buzzer?  It would finally show a trend in the right direction.  Even if it isn’t a huge leap, anything other than the near bottom would be a success to me next year.

Wednesday:

Spread: duke by 16.5 (so similar to RealTimeRPI’s 15-point differential)… and note that Coach K said Monday he ‘hopes’ Okafor will be able to play Wednesday… I don’t…

The Hokies (2-12) will lose this game to duke (11-3).  Period.  Coach K won’t take this game lightly, he never does.  That’s how he’s won over 1,000.  I’d expect to see them come out and press some based on Tech’s struggles with the press against wvu, louisville, and syracuse at the end of the game up there.  duke pressed clemson on Saturday to exploit their weakness and it helped blow the game out early, which is what I believe will happen Wednesday night (late).

At least it should be a packed house (I believe the game is sold out) and a lively environment.  And maybe we’ll actually fill the student section!  Although I’m sure they are very busy on a Wednesday night at 9 PM.

duke is led by all-world freshman Jahlil Okafor.  But he didn’t play Saturday nursing an ankle injury suffered in the unc win.  He averages 17.9 PPG (3rd in the league) and 9.4 RPG (4th) with 1.5 blocks per game (6th) and is 6’11” 270 lbs with great athleticism.  Tech has no answer for him other than hoping he can’t dress.

duke is better than VT at the one thing Tech is good at — 3-point shooting.  duke’s Quinn Cook leads the league with 2.7 makes pre game (Adam Smith is 4th at 2.5), duke is 3rd with 7.5 makes per game (VT is 4th at 7.3), and duke hits 38.7% of their 3s (2nd) compared to 38.5%  for the Hokies (3rd).  Then take into account that duke is better than VT in every other statistical category except for field goal % defense (Tech is one spot ahead of them), back at 375-degrees, and you have the recipe for a rout.  Even without Okafor on Saturday, duke beat clemson by 22… who just beat VT by 21.

Tyus Jones (11.7 PPG and 5.6 APG) is an excellent freshman point guard who also looks like the kid from the Munsters.

duke is 7-0 since kicking Rasheed Sulaimon off the team, so they just deal with adversity and keep plugging along.

Side note: My wife mentioned how ugly the duke team was.  I told her that’s because, while they get great players, they get the guys who don’t care about being on a campus with nerdy, ugly chicks… and that’s duke.  So you have to recruit ugly star players.  But I digress…

Series:

  • All-time: duke 43-8
  • Streak: duke has won 7 straight over VT
  • In ACC Play: duke 14-3
  • At VT in ACC Play: duke 5-2

RPI:

  • duke #5
  • VT #222
  • Prediction from RealTimeRPI: 84-69 duke (closer than I’d have thought)

One more time of happiness

Let’s end on a positive — here’s a look back at that win four years ago…

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Game Log: nc state (7-7) 69, Hokies (2-12) 53

Recap:

Boxscore

The Hokies capped the final game of their 3-game road trip in the same fashion as the first 2 games — by getting crushed.  Tech lost 69-53 in Raleigh to fall to 2-12 in ACC play with 2 weeks to go in the regular season.

The game was close for 28 minutes.  After falling behind by 16 in the first half, Virginia Tech then made 11 straight field goals to get back within 3 and trailed by just a 43-39 margin with 14:08 to play.  Justin Bibbs, who had just 24 points combined in his last 4 games, scoring 16 points in a 14-minute span for Tech and would finish with a team high 18.

The wolfpack responded with a 21-6 run over the next 8:15 to put the game away at 64-45 with 5:56 to go.  state hit 5 three-pointers during that stretch to bomb VT away.

Bibbs (18) and Adam Smith (16) combined for 34 points for Tech on 14/26 shooting (6/13 on 3s).  Beyer was 3rd in scoring for VT with 8 points on 4/4 shooting.  The problem was the rest of the team was just 4/18 (1/7 from deep) for 11 points.

The other problem was Malik Muller, who had been averaging 13 PPG over the last 7 games, did not score (just 1 FG attempt).

Ralston Turner led state with 18 points.  Trevor Lacey added 14 and Cat Barber had 10.  nc state shot 52% for the game, including 10/26 from deep (39%).

Tech did hold their own on the glass (-5 for the game but just -1 on offensive rebounds).

For the road trip, Tech was outscored 220-159.  And all 3 teams shot lights out — clemson 47%, miami 51%, and nc state 52%.  At least the Hokies avoided a 3rd straight Bear Fight loss.

In case you were wondering, VT has made 116 three-pointers in ACC play, 2nd most in the league.  But they have given up 102 three-pointers to their opponents, tied for most in the league.  And if you add up their opponents’ average made 3s per game, they should have only made 83.4 from deep.  That’s 19 more than you’d expect, and shows that it isn’t just inside where Tech gets beaten like a rented mule.

The Hokies didn’t make a field goal in the first 6:44 of the game (and had 5 turnovers at that point) and fell behind by as many as 16 in the first half (30-14).  This marked the 8th time in ACC play that Tech has trailed by 10+ in the first half (they’ve led by 10+ just once — georgia tech).

That was the bad news.  The good news is Justin Bibbs finally showed up.  After making just 6/28 shots (21%) and averaging just 6 PPG over the last 4 games, Bibbs went nuts.  He scored on 4 consecutive possessions, including 2 three-pointers, tallying 10 points in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Adam Smith would close the half with a 3-pointer (his 10th point), capping an 11-2 run for Tech, and the Hokies went into the break trailing just 32-25.  Virginia Tech has now trailed at the half in 13 of their 14 ACC games (all but the pitt game).

nc state shot 56.5% in the first half, including 4/10 on 3s, allowing them to jump out to the big lead.

Rebounding was not a story in the first half, though, as both teams had exactly 12 rebounds (5 offensive and 7 defensive).

Cat Barber from the 757 led state with 10 first half points.

The 2nd half started just like the first half ended, with the Hokies red hot from the field.  The Hokies cut the nc state lead to just 3 at 34-31 at the culmination of a 17-4 Hokie run.  Bibbs had 12 of those 17 points for the Virginia Tech.

Tech would make 11 consecutive shots (including 4 three-pointers) over a 9-minute stretch to stay close.

The problem was, once that streak ended, the Hokies faded fast.  state used an 8-0 run to go ahead 51-39 with 10:38 to go, and would make 3-pointers on 3 straight possessions to increase the lead to 57-43 with 9:05 to play, and that was all she wrote.

Oh, and at the end with the shot clock off, a state sub shot, and made, a floater.  I know those are walk-ons at the end of the bench, but I still find it classless not to hold the ball to run out the clock and this is the 2nd time the state coach has done that to VT in the last 3 years.

Preview:

Spread: nc state by 13.

PDXHokie on TSL said it best: “I’m so tired of being bad at basketball.”  It’s been a lonnnnng 4 years.  And a rough couple of road games on this 3 game road trip.  Forget trying to end the 17 game road losing streak on Saturday.  Tech needs to try and just be competitive when they head to Raleigh for a Saturday evening tilt with the wolfpack on ESPN2.  Can the Hokies keep the final margin under 20?  Under 10?  That’s what I want to see.  I don’t want to start debating about pulling toe nails out in the 2nd half because I think it would be less painful than watching this team.  Sure, you play to win the game.  And a loss is a loss is a loss.  But give me the heartbreaks of the uva game, or both syracuse games, any time over what we watched at clemson and at miami.  A team that got so badly outcoached after the half (38-8 in the first 6 minutes after the break in the last 2 games) that the bus was warming up with 14 minutes to go.  That’s what I ask for.

It won’t be easy on Saturday.  nc state is coming off a 74-65 win at then #9 louisville.  They’ve had the week off to get over the hangover and prepare for the Hokies.  Joe Lunardi currently has the pack as one of the Last 4 In, so state cannot afford a slip-up against the 14th place Hokies in their only regular season meeting.

Plus, state features one of the most efficient offenses in the nation (28th best), scoring 112 points per 100 possessions (11 higher than VT).  Amazingly, that’s only 6th best in the ACC, but still very good and this comes after VT got taken behind the woodshed by a horrible clemson offense (201st in the country — worse than the Hokies) and a solid miami offense (51st best in the land).

state is led by 6’3″ junior transfer (from alabama) Trevor Lacey.  He’s averaging 16.5 PPG in his first year able to play with state.  He’s an excellent 3-point shooter, making 2.4 per game at a 41.5% clip, so he’ll stretch the Hokie defense.  Lacey also is a good passer, averaging 3.4 APG (just behind Cat Barber’s 3.6 APG.

Speaking of Barber, the Virginia native is a much improved shooter this year, though he only shoots a little more than one 3-pointer per game (and makes 38%).  He does his damage off the drive and is lightning quick, again, testing the Hokie D.  When he penetrates, he can score or dish to 6’9″ Kyle Washington (7.4 PPG), 6’8″ Abdul-Malik Abu (5.9 PPG), or 6’9″, 300 lbs. Beejay Anya (4.8 PPG).  Anya is my prediction to have a huge game, well above his season average.

Barber can also kick it out to Lacey or Ralston Turner for a 3-pointer — Turner hits 38% and has made 65 three-pointers on the season.  state is the 4th best 3-point shooting team in the ACC at 36.6% per game in ACC action, and 7th in makes at 6.8 per game.

state is an average offensive rebounding team at 32.5%… you know what, it doesn’t matter — we all know they are going to get ~50% of their misses in this game.

The pack are solid in almost every statistical category except they are dead last in steals per game at 4.2 per game (VT gets 4.5).

  • RPI: nc state #47, VT #220
  • RealTimeRPI Game Prediction: state 83-61 (Uncle!  Uncle!)
  • Offensive Efficiency: state – 112.0 (28), VT – 101.0 (181)
  • Defensive Efficiency: state – 99.1 (117), VT – 102.4 (176)
  • Tempo: state – 65.9 (134), VT – 65.5 (151)

Series:

  • All-time: state 38-14
  • In ACC play: state 10-5
  • At nc state in ACC play: state 4-2
  • Streak: state has won 4 in a row in the series, before that VT had won 4 in a row, before that state had won 6 in a row… so we’re due!

Just make it interesting, boys.  Please!  My liver begs it of you.

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Game Log: miami (7-6) 72, Hokies (2-11) 46

Recap:

Niemo asked me (Cope) to write the recap for this game since it was his son’s birthday. I said sure, why not? I lucked out and didn’t have any clinical rotations this week. But then, I saw the game and realized it was the worst game I’d seen all season and that is wasn’t really worthy of a recap.

Seriously, do you really want to read about how badly we got outrebounded by the worst rebounding team in the conference? Or about how we suddenly couldn’t hit the ocean if we were 1,000 miles out to sea without a boat? How about stats? What would the purpose be at this point?

So, what are we to make of back-to-back embarrassing performances? Well, it could be that the team is just gassed after so many close games and they simply don’t have anything left in the tank. It could be that most of these guys were playing high school ball last season and have been through the ACC ringer and are done. Maybe the Hokies played some teams tough and close and the rest of the schedule took notice and is now exploiting weaknesses previous teams either didn’t see or ignored. Who the hell knows.

So, instead of the usual post-game stats and “they’ll learn from this” mumbo jumbo, I thought it would be way funnier to show you the Tweets between Niemo and myself. Enjoy.

Niemo and Cope text about the miami game, part 2

Niemo and Cope text about the miami game, part 2

Niemo and Cope text about the miami game, part 1.

Niemo and Cope text about the miami game, part 1.

Best. Recap. Ever.

Preview:

Spread: miami by 11.

From a logistical standpoint, this game sets up about as well as you could have hoped.  The hurricanes were scheduled to play in Boston on Sunday, but due to 17″ of snow, had the game moved to Monday afternoon.  The game went 2 overtimes before the canes finally beat lowly bc, then had to hop on the 3-hour flight back to Miami, and get ready to play the Hokies (who have been off since Saturday) on Wednesday night.

Plus, the Hokies beat the canes twice in the regular season last year, including their ACC road opener back in December of 2013 (that was also Tech’s last road win — here we are 15 losses later).

All that said, this is still a 2-10 Hokie team.  A team that got drubbed on Saturday by a clemson team that turned around and lost by 11 at 2-11 georgia tech (clemson scored just 52 points in that game… they had 52 vs VT with 17:26 still to go in the game).

However, the Hokies can’t play any worse, or see a team play any better than clemson did… can they?  We can only hope.  Tech should at least get a nice day or two out of this (it’s 83 in Coral Gables on Tuesday, and 71 on Wednesday).

The canes are led in scoring by Sheldon McClellan.  The 6’5″ junior wing averages 14.6 PPG and 5 RPG.  He’s a decent 3-point shooter at 37% and has 36 makes.

Angel Rodriguez (5’11” redshirt junior point guard) averages 12.7 PPG and 4.4 APG (the latter leads the team).  If the name sounds familiar, he played 19 minutes, scoring just 1 point, for kansas state back when they came to Blacksburg in December of 2011 (ksu won that game 69-61… but that’s the night we found out VT made the Sugar Bowl so it wasn’t all bad).

Tonye Jekiri is a live wire inside.  The 7-footer (though just 235 lbs) averages 8.2 PPG but 10.2 RPG (he leads the ACC in rebounding).  He also averages 1.6 blocks (4th best in the ACC), half his team’s totals.  He’s very athletic for a guy of his height.

Davon Reed is an absolutely dead eye shooter (6’6″ soph guard).  He’s 24/45 from deep (53%).

Manu Lecomte is another good 3-point shooter, coming off the bench (40/90 — 44%).

As you probably gathered from the above players, miami depends on the 3-point shot a lot.  37% of their points in ACC play have come from behind the arc (Tech gets 40% of their points from 3-point range).  miami is #8 in the league in 3-point % at 34.6% (VT is 3rd at 37.6%), and the canes make 8.3 per game, 2nd only to VT at 8.5.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that whomever shoots the 3-pointer better will likely win… though the difference could be miami is #1 in the ACC in free throw % at 73.7%, while Tech is 11th at 66.3%.  So if the Hokies are behind late, it could be game over.

Defensively, miami is pretty average except they are 4th in the ACC with 5.8 steals pre game.  Tech must protect the ball and not give up live-ball turnovers that can lead to easy buckets.

Another good thing for the Hokies is miami is 14th in Offensive Rebounding % at 25.4% (only ahead of VT).  So the Hokies should not get dominated on the glass… but we’ll see about that.  Of course, fsu and clemson shouldn’t have been raining 3s on VT either and we saw what happened.

Series:

  • All-time: miami 14-12
  • In ACC play: Hokies 11-8
  • Last year: VT won both regular season meetings, but lost in the ACC Tourney
  • At miami in ACC play: Hokies 4-3

Expectation:

These teams are really very similar, but with miami being the more experienced team.  Given miami’s nightmare travels over the weekend and long flight, plus the fact they won (so you don’t learn your lessen as well as after a loss to a bad team), I think the Hokies will stay in this game and have a very real shot of wining at the end.  But they must be able to knock down 3s and get a better shooting performance from Justin Bibbs than they have of late.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Game Recaps, Games, Home8 Comments

Game Log: clemson (7-6) 75, Hokies (2-10) 54

Recap:

Boxscore

While the final score doesn’t do this justice, the Hokies were absolutely embarrassed by a 6-6 clemson tigers team on the road, getting woodshedded 75-54 for Tech’s 16th straight road loss.  Tech trailed by as many as 35 early in the 2nd half before a late run.

The game was over before most fans were even in Littlejohn Coliseum (WHATTT).  clemson started the game on a 10-0 run and were up 19-4 at the first media timeout before your Wild Turkey had a chance to melt your ice cubes (WHATTTT).  They’d stretch the lead out to 22 before the break and led 41-22 at the half (the 3rd time VT has trailed by 20+ during the first half and been behind by exactly 19 at the half in ACC play).

There would be no lucky sweater today, the 2nd half was just as bad… clemson didn’t exactly take a knee, jumping out with a 17-2 run after the break to go up 58-24 on the Hokies.  The lead would get as big as 35 points before clemson took their foot off the gas.  To Buzz’s team’s credit, they turned up their intensity in the final 10 minutes.  The Hokies used a 16-2 run to cut a 34-point clemson lead to 20 with 6:20 to go, but it was way too little too late.

How, you ask?  Well, you’d never have expected the reason..

  • clemson came into the game shooting 29.9% on 3-pointers, 13th in the ACC, and 5.5 made per game, 9th in the league
  • They started 5/5 from deep in the first 6 minutes (including 3/3 from Jordan Roper, a 29.6% shooter)
  • The tigers went 1/10 from long range the rest of the first half (6/15 – 40% for the half)
  • Then, they opened the 2nd half 5/5 again!!!  They were 11/20 from deep at that point and Roper (again, a 29.6% shooter) was 5/5 for the game.
  • For the game, clemson was 10/10 (100%) from behind the arc in the first 6 minutes of halves.
  • They were 1/19 (5%) the final 14 minutes of each half.
  • The 11 made 3s were one short of the clemson high of 12 under Coach Brownell (5th season at clemson)

Actually, if you took out the first 6 minutes of each half (VT was outscored 40-11), Tech was pretty competitive!

Jordan Roper led the clemson charge with 11 points in the first 6 minutes and 21 points for the game, just the 2nd time in his 3 year career he’s gone for 20+.  He was 5/6 from 3-point range for the day and 8/11 from the field.  This wasn’t completely out of the blue as he had a career high 24 points on 6/8 three-point shooting vs bc recently… but, in case you didn’t read this the other two times, he’s just a 29.6% three-point shooter.

Jaron Blossomgame added 14 points on 6/8 shooting.

The Hokies were led by 17 points from Malik Muller (6/13 on FGs and 5/11 on 3s).  He’s been Tech’s best player lately, scoring 81 points in his last 6 games (13.5 PPG).  And that’s despite how hard he has to work on the defensive end playing the 4-spot at just 6’3″.

Adam Smith added 13 points, but on just 4/11 shooting and 2/6 from deep.  No other Hokie reached double digits.

Justin Bibbs’s struggles continued — he’s now just 3/18 for 13 total points in his last 3 games (0/3 for 2 points today).

clemson shot 47% for the game compared to 38% for VT.  Tech saw clemson make more 3s (11) than them (8) and shoot a higher percentage (38% to 35%), despite a big advantage to VT in both stats coming in.

The start of this game was just unbelievably horrible for the Hokies.  clemson came in with a really, really good defense, 2nd best in the ACC in PPG allowed behind uva.  And they delivered, forcing the Hokies into 6 turnovers and just 3/15 (20%) FG% in the first 15 minutes.  The Hokies would go into the break shooting 30% with 8 turnovers and more made 3s (4) than 2s (3… Tech was 4/9 from deep and 3/14 inside the arc).

The stunning part was the tigers offense.  They came in 301st in the nation at 62.1 PPG, and dead last in the ACC in league games at 57.7 PPG.  But here’s all they did in the first 6 minutes of the game:

  • Started 5/5 on 3-pointers (as mentioned)
    • They only averaged 5.8 made 3s per ACC game
  • Jordan Roper had 11 points on 4/4 FGs and 3/3 threes
    • He had as many FGs as VT had points
  • clemson scored 19 points on their first 10 possessions (1.900 per)
    • They averaged just 1.001 points per possession coming in, 199th in the land
  • Satchel Pierce had 3 fouls and he didn’t even start the game!
    • He was channeling his inner-Shane Henry
  • VT started 1/7 on FGs with 3 turnovers while clemson was 7/9 with 2 turnovers
  • At this point, clemson was on pace to beat VT 126-26

Things did become more ‘normal’ after that, but clemson was still able to outscore VT 22-18 the rest of the half.  That was despite shooting just 1/10 on 3-pointers for the remainder of the first stanza, but the damage had been done.  In fact, the Hokies weren’t outscoring Jordan Roper (13 points in the first 11:40) until there was 5:30 left in the first half.

clemson’s 41 points were their highest mark in the first half this season.  Note that clemson had scored just 42 points for the whole game at uva, and had been held to 45 or less three times… for entire games.

clemson had 62 points with 15 minutes to go in the game… that matched or surpassed their total in 8 other entire ACC games and 11 games overall.

The tigers 75 points were a season high in ACC play, eclipsing the 71 they had at pitt (the only other time they reached 70).  This was the most points clemson had scored since getting 86 in their first game of the season vs florida a&m.

Preview:

Spread: clemson -8.5

On Saturday, the Hokies can put together their first ACC winning streak since mid-January 2013 with a win at Littlejohn Coliseum — Yeahhhh!  But to do that, they’ll have to snap their 15-game road losing streak (13 straight in ACC play — What???).  Tech has won just 1 of their last 21 ACC road games.  But hey, streaks were made to broken (road loses) AND started (ACC wins).

To do it, Tech will have to beat the most overachieving team in the ACC this season, in my opinion.  c-l-e-m-s-ohhhh-n was picked to finish 11th by the media, they currently sit alone in 7th place (so sort of in the upper half), the biggest upward movement of any ACC team.  They’ve done it by beating the teams they can/should.  They are just 1-4 against the teams ahead of them in the standings (the win was over syracuse), but 5-2 against the teams in the lower half of the league.

I never expected this after clemson opened with a win over famu, but then loses to winthrop and gardner-webb!  After that, they re-grouped and beat 3 of 4 SEC teams they played (lsu, arkansas, and auburn… lost to south carolina).

This team may have needed some time to figure out how to play without freakish athlete K.J. McDaniels, who led the team with 17 PPG (almost double anyone else), 7.1 RPG, 1.1 SPG, and 2.8 blocks.  Plus, he led the league in highlight dunks with Vince Carter like hops.  But he took his show to the NBA (with the 76ers now).

But Jaron Blossomgame has really seen his game blossom (had to do it) in his place (what a perfect name on Valentine’s Day!).  After averaging just 4.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG last year as a freshman, the 6’7″ 215 lbs sophomore leads the team with 13 PPG and 8.2 RPG.  He’s not the Human Highlight Film like McDaniels, and he only averages 0.4 blocks, but he is still a really good athlete and can sky above the rim.  He does his damage near the hoop, averaging just 0.5 threes per game in 2 attempts (26% average).

The offense is run by 6’1″ senior Rod Hall.  He scores 8.7 PPG, but dishes 3.5 APG.

Donte Grantham is a 6’8″ freshman that averages 9.4 PPG (2nd on the team) and 4.5 RPG.

Landry Nnoko, a 6’10” 255 lbs junior, isn’t a big offensive threat (7.4 PPG), but does work on defense, grabbing 5.4 RPG and 1.8 blocks.

clemson does not shoot the 3-pointer well (29.9% on the year, 31.1% in ACC games — 14th in the league).  And they make just 5.8 per game (VT makes 8.5 — tops in the league).  So, for the 100th game in a row, I’ll say it — the Hokies must shoot a higher percentage from deep and make more than clemson to win.  That actually wasn’t the case against gt, though, where VT destroyed the jackets off the dribble and shot over 50% for the game, while making just 1 more 3-pointer (but shooting a much higher percentage).

The tigers are defense-oriented.  They are last in the league in PPG in ACC play, but #2 in scoring defense.  They are also #2 in FG% defense and #4 in 3-point % defense, so Tech will have their work cut out for them shooting-wise.

clemson is middle of the pack in almost every other stat in the ACC, including offensive and defensive rebounding, so they don’t present a huge challenge inside like some teams.  That said, they are a very sound team that won’t give up easy buckets and make you work for every point, much like uva.  They are #36 in the nation in Defensive Efficiency at 93.3 points per 100 possessions.

The tigers are methodical, averaging just 61.5 possessions per game (322nd in the nation — VT averages 65.5 for 157th).  So expect a slow it down game at Littlejohn without a lot of shots shots shots shot-shots, that will likely be in the mid-50s.

RPI: clemson – #88, VT #215 (RealTimeRPI predicts a 72-57 win for clemson)

Series:

  • All-time: VT 15-14
  • In ACC Play: clemson 9-7
  • At clemson in ACC play: clemson 5-2 (tigers have won 3 straight at Littlejohn vs VT… What?)

Posted in Home3 Comments

Highlights: Hokies 65, jackets 63

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s Battle for 13th Place Mega Bowl Championship!

Posted in Highlights1 Comment

Game Log: Hokies (2-9) 65, jackets (2-10) 63

Recap:

Boxscore

Real men wear argyle

Real men wear argyle

The Hokies won the Battle for 13th Place Mega Bowl!!!  Or put another way — Buzz out-buzzed the buzz!  Tech took down the lesser tech, overcoming a 10-point deficit with 4:30 to play and win 65-63 at the Cassell.  The Hokies are now 2-9 in the ACC, good enough to move out of last place and into 13th ahead of gt (2-10) and bc (1-9).  Tech also surpassed their total wins of a year ago (10 this year, 9 last year) and tied their total ACC wins (2).

The heros tonight were Malik Muller and Buzz Williams’s sweater (he switched out of a suit at the half and into a maroon-orange argyle sweater).  History was not on the side of Malik Muller when he shot a corner 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go, having missed late 3-pointers to tie the game or give the Hokies the lead against syracuse (at VT), uva, and pitt.  But instead of shooting from the left corner, this time he calmly drained a 3 from in front of the Hokie bench to give Tech a 64-63 lead.

Score at each media timeout

Score at each media timeout

A Hokie stop on the next possession then sealed the win and assured Tech will not have a losing record at home this season (they are now 9-6 at the Cassell and have had a losing record at home just twice in the history of the Cassell).  And to think ESPN didn’t think enough of this game to even send an announcing crew (the game was called by announcers in the ESPN studio).

With a three game road trip looming, this was a critical win for the Hokies to avoid falling too deep into the cellar.  Virginia Tech responded early jumping out to a 14-2 lead, but blew that quickly and trailed 31-26 at the half.

Tech would not take the lead at all in the 2nd half until that 3-pointer with 15 seconds left, and trailing 58-48 with 4:30 to go.  But this team doesn’t quit.

The Hokies were led by Malik Muller’s 17 points.  Adam Smith also added 15 and Shane Henry scored 10 points before fouling out (again) in 12 minutes.

Justin Bibbs struggled for the 2nd game in a row — had had just 3 points with 5 minutes to go on 1/7 shooting before hitting a 3 and a layup down the stretch to give himself 8 points.  He had just 3 points on 0/6 shooting vs fsu, so he’s 3/15 in the last two games (and 4/9 from the line).  Not sure if he’s hit the freshman wall, or just isn’t all the way back from his concussion.

Devin Wilson also scored just 2 points for the 2nd game in a row and once again was on the bench down the stretch, except for the last second when he was in for defense.

Here’s a crazy stat for you — in Henry’s last 3 games he has 25 points and 11 fouls in 29 minutes (and fouled out twice).  He has to be tops on the team in points and fouls per minute!  Henry is also 7/7 on FGs in the last 2 games.

Muller has been hot of late, averaging just under 13 PPG in his last 5 games.

georgia tech was led by 17 points from Charles Mitchell (a teammate of Seth Allen’s at maryland last year), 11 for Marcus Georges-Hunt, and 10 from Tadric Jackson and Chris Bolden.

The Hokies sold fewer than 5,400 seats, and many of those 5,346 were dressed as empty seats.  It was the 2nd lowest crowd for an ACC home game.  The student turnout continues to be pathetic.

The Hokies are now 11-5 against the lesser tech since joining the ACC (and 15-6 overall).

Keys to the Game:

  • Hold your own on the glass: (have a defensive rebounding % of at least 60%)
    • gt DOMINATED the boards, getting 19 offensive rebounds in 41 opportunities (46%)
    • VT didn’t get a single offensive rebound until 7 minutes into the 2nd half and finished with just 5.
    • How bad was it for VT?  Their best rebounder was ‘Team’ with 6 rebounds — if the ball gets knocked out of bounds on a rebound attempt and you get the ball, it’s a team rebound and VT had 6 of those… no player had more than 5.
    • gt was +13 in the first half on the boards, but VT was actually +1 in the 2nd half, a key to their comeback.
  • Dominate from deep: (make more 3s and shoot a higher % than gt)
    • VT was 5/12 from deep at 42%
    • gt was 4/19 at 21%
    • gt is and was awful from deep (3 airballs), but they also did a fantastic job of preventing the Hokies from launching 3s… until the critical Muller shot
  • So, based on my two keys, gt should have won — why didn’t they?  The Hokies found ways to penetrate and score in the paint — VT shot 48% in the first half and 56% in the 2nd half (52% on FGs for the game)!  That helped compensate for the extra possessions gt had thanks to offensive rebounds.  gt shot just 38% for the game.
    • gt had a 19-3 advantage in 2nd change points, but…
    • VT actually had a 38-36 edge in points in the paint thanks to all those driving layups against the extended jacket defense

Game Flow:

The Hokies jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first 4:33 of the game on the woeful yellow jackets!  And then they got absolutely taken to the woodshed for the rest of the half.  georgia tech would close the half outscoring VT 29-12, jumpstarted by an 11-0 run to cut the Virginia Tech lead to 14-13.

The run was fueled by Charles Mitchell, a transfer from maryland that was teammates with Seth Allen just last year.  Mitchell, who is 6’8″ and 269 lbs, had 40 pounds on any Hokie other than Satchel Pierce.  Mitchell scored 11 points in an 8 minute span, capped with a tip-in with 7:35 to go in the half that tied the score at 18-18.  Tech would score just 4 points in a 9 minute span as their early lead faded bye-bye.

The Hokies took their final lead of the half with 4:37 to go before the break, but georgia tech closed the stanza with a 9-2 run to take a 31-26 lead to the break (gt scored just 27 points at uva for the entire game).

Both teams looked horrendous on offense, committing a combined 17 turnovers in the first half.  The difference was the jackets grabbed 11 offensive rebounds in 21 opportunities, leading to 11 2nd chance points.  The Hokies didn’t get a single offensive rebound on their 12 misses and were -13 on the boards at the break.

The Hokies made just 1 three-pointer in the first half on 5 shots (gt, one of the worst shooting teams in the league, was 3/13 — a horrible average but they were getting the rebounds).

Mitchell led the jackets with those 11 points (no one else had more than 5) while VT got 8 points and 3 fouls from Shane Henry in 7 minutes, and 7 points from Adam Smith.

Shane Henry has 23 points and 9 fouls in 23 minutes in his last 3 games.

At the break, Buzz Williams ditched the suit for a sweet maroon and orange argyle sweater.  After another low post bucket for a 6’8″ 270 lbs. yellow jacket (this time it was Demarco Cox), Tech responded with a 9-2 run (thanks to 5 points from Malik Muller) to tie the game at 35.

The key for the Hokies to get back in the game was attacking the rim in the half court set.  georgia tech was focused on taking away VT’s best offensive strength, the 3-point shot, and played 4 guys on the perimeter.  So the Hokies started pump-faking and driving the wide open paint for layups (needless to say Cox and Mitchell aren’t exactly spry).  Or VT would run the pick-and-roll to Beyer for a few layups.  And when it didn’t get buckets, it also racked up the fouls on the jackets — VT was in the bonus with 14:30 to go in the game and the double bonus with 9:30 to play.

In a game of runs, georgia tech would push back out to a 7-point lead at 46-39 with 11:34 to go.  VT answered again and cut the lead to 1 at 46-45  After an Adam Smith 3-pointer made it 51-48 gt, the jackets responded with a 7-0 run to make it 58-48 with 5 minutes to go, georgia tech’s biggest lead of the game.  The run was capped by Tadric Jackson’s 2nd 3-pointer of the game (he was 7/58 from deep coming in — that’s 12%!!! — but he was 2/4 from range tonight).

The Hokies once again wouldn’t raise the white flag, and went on a 7-0 run (including 5 points from Justin Bibbs) to cut the lead to 58-55 with 2:45 to go.

The teams alternated points for the next few possessions, but VT finally got a stop thanks to a shot clock violation with 53.1 seconds to go and the Hokies down 62-59 (sound familiar?).  On the ensuing possession, Jalen Hudson went to the line and hit both free throws to make it 62-61 jackets with 34.5 to play.

Shane Henry fouled out with 28 seconds to go while fouling a 68% foul shooter, the mammoth Mitchell, but he was just 2/5 on the night — he made 1 of 2 and the Hokies responded with a corner 3-pointer from Muller to go up 64-63 with 15 seconds to go.

After a gt timeout, Marcus Georges-Hunt went at the rim but 3 Hokies collapsed and forced a miss and a deadball rebound to VT with 2.5 seconds to go.

Smith hit 1 of 2 to put VT up 65-63 with 1.8 to go and gt having to go the length of the court, and a desperation inbounds play led to a shot… but after the buzzer and Buzz beat the buzz 65-63.

Preview:

Spread: jackets by 2.5

It’s the mother lovin’ Battle for 13th Place Mega Bowl!  Despite losing 9 of 10 games to open ACC play, the Hokies can move out of the cellar and into 13th place with a win on Monday night.  That’s because 2-9 georgia tech buzzes into town.

The jackets may be just 2-9 in the ACC, but they are 96th in the RPI (VT is 218).  georgia tech has won 2 of their last 4 ACC games after starting 0-7 in the league.  The first win was a 70-50 stunning blowout of #23 miami in Miami, and they beat wake forest 73-59 on Saturday.  So when they’ve won, they won big.  And 8 of their 9 losses in ACC play were by 7 points or less, 2 of them were in overtime, and 4 were by 3 points or less…  Then there’s the trip to uva… in that game georgia tech lost 57-28 (and despite us not having an editor, that’s not a typo).  The georgia tech football team outscored the basketball team against uva.

georgia tech is not an explosive offensive team.  They shoot just 41.7% from the field on the year (and below 40% in ACC play) and 28% from deep.  Chris Bolden and Quinton Stephens average 1 made 3-pointer per game at 34% and 35% respectively, and they lead the team.  This is good for the Hokies because it will allow them to pack in their defense, dare gt to shoot from deep, and pound the glass.

The jackets aren’t tall, either, which is good news for the Hokies.  But they do have 2 defensive tackles they play in the post — Charles Mitchell (maryland transfer) is 6’8″ 269 lbs and Demarco Cox is 6’8″ 276 lbs!  The jackets are 2nd best in the ACC in Offensive Rebounding %, so Tech must get all 5 guys on the boards.  The thicks for gt will present issues for the Hokies in the post and both shoot over 50% from the field, but like I said, VT can collapse and double them in the post because of the jackets’ lack of 3-point threats.

The jackets are solid on defense and hang their hat there, posting a Defensive Efficiency of 93.9 (44th best in the nation and 8 points per 100 possessions better than Virginia Tech — so expect the Hokies to struggle to score).

Best Player: #3 Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5″ junior) — he is the only jacket averaging double figures, and he’s just at 13.9 PPG.  He also chips in 5.7 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.4 steals (the latter leads the team).  He likes to attack inside.  He’s just a 26% 3-point shooter (so expect him to be hot Monday).  MGH gets to the line more than 5 times per game, doubling anyone else on the team.

The Hokies: For the Hokies, they’ll be looking to get over the florida state loss after just 52 hours.  In that game, Justin Bibbs was held to a season low 3 points on 0/6 shooting.  Both Bibbs and Devin Wilson were on the bench down the stretch (Wilson had just 2 points on 0/3 shooting).

Ahmed Hill had his best game of his young career, though, with 19 points (career high) including 4/7 from deep (mostly in the corner), and Adam Smith chipped in 19 (he had 43 points this season against fsu).

But Tech just couldn’t counter the size, and ability to get to the rim, of the noles.  That shouldn’t be an issue against the thick, but slow, jackets.

Key Stats (ACC games only):

  • georgia tech 74.5% on FTs (2nd in the ACC), VT 67.9% (11th)
  • Both teams are in the bottom of the ACC in FG% at 39.9% (VT) vs 39.1% (gt)
  • VT hits 37.7% of their 3s (4th) vs 29.3% for gt (last)
  • VT makes 9.0 threes per game (1st) vs 4.3 for gt (14th)
  • gt 38.5% offensive rebounding % (2nd) vs VT 60.8% defensive rebounding % (last)
  • gt is 13th in turnover margin (-1.8) and last in assist-to-turnover ratio — hopefully the Hokies can cause live ball turnovers that can lead to easy buckets

Tech must dominate 3-point shooting in terms of % and makes in this game (broken record, I know — but they didn’t do that against fsu with both teams making 8 and fsu shooting a higher percentage.

The Hokies also must rebound at least 60% of the jackets misses (they got 61% vs fsu, which is solid).

Series:

  • All-Time: VT 14-6 (VT’s best record of any ACC rival)
  • In ACC Play: VT 10-5
  • Trend: Since winning 7 of 8 vs gt between 2008 and 2013, the Hokies have lost 2 in a row to gt including a 62-51 loss in the ATL last year
  • At VT in ACC Play: VT 5-1 (the only loss was in the last meeting in Blacksburg in February of 2013)

This is the only meeting of these teams in the regular season.

RealTimeRPI predicts a 68-64 Hokies win! Although they now have us down to 3 total ACC wins (they picked us to beat fsu and now have us losing to miami).  Let’s hope the jackets have the same shooting woes they had in their last trip to the Commonwealth.

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