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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

Highlights: Hokies 65, jackets 63

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

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Game Log: florida state (5-6) 73, Hokies (1-9) 65

Recap

It looks like the recent string of gut-wrenching, last-second losses has finally taken its toll on the young Hokies as they dropped their ninth conference loss this afternoon, 73-65, at home to florida state.

Statistically speaking, this game was pretty much a dead heat, save for one, very important category: field goal percentage. The noles shot an eye-popping 54% while the Hokies shot a respectable (especially for such a young team) 40%. That was the difference in the game, folks. Outside of that, they were pretty even.

True freshman Ahmed Hill scored 19 points including 4 3-pointers, both career highs. Redshirt junior Adam Smith extended his double-digit scoring streak to five games, matching Hill’s 19 points. No other Hokie reached double digits today.

They didn’t play horribly, they just ran into a hot-shooting team. Considering how poorly they played early in the season (see loss at home to radford), they have come a long way. I was skeptical after the first 10-12 games, but seeing how they’ve progressed and stepped up against better competition; how they’ve responded to Buzz; and how they gut it out… I’m all in with Buzz and his staff. I’ve never felt so optimistic about a 1-9 team. I see a bright future ahead and each game gets us a bit closer to it.

And now for an in-game observation… Satchel Pierce played just seven minutes. Considering he is the Buzz’s biggest player (at 7-feet tall *cough*) and he was playing a very big fsu team with three 7-footers, I figured Pierce would see some good minutes, but he got off to a bad start and quickly found himself on the bench for much of the game. Christina Beyer, whom Buzz admitted he second-guessed himself about not playing more in the syracuse heartbreaker, played 22 minutes today, scored four points, and had three assists.

In the first three minutes of the game, Pierce missed a jumper, committed two turnovers, and of course, a foul. It wasn’t his day from the get go. On the radio broadcast, Bill Roth said that Pierce averages one foul for every two minutes of action in conference play. In the biz, we call that “not good.” As a result, he played just 7 minutes, his fewest since December. This isn’t a knock on the kid at all. He’s a true freshman who’s getting significant minutes, which will benefit his development. Buzz knows what he’s doing and Pierce has great upside.

Preview:

Spread: Hokies by 2!!

It’s time to wash that stink off from the heartbrokie loss on Tuesday at syracuse and make the seminoles pay when fsu heads to the Cassell in a rematch of the noles 86-75 win over Tech on January 6th.

That was another one of those games were a horrible shooting team can’t miss that we know all too well.  fsu shot 73% in the first half and 7/10 (70%) on 3s!  They scored 53 points in the first half.  To put that in perspective, in 10 ACC games (including that game), they are shooting 44% from the field, 33% from deep (and average just 5 made 3s per game), and score 67 points for a game.  Needless to say the first meeting skewed those stats a wee bit.

Also, fsu had more offensive rebounds (15) than VT had defensive rebounds (14).  That’s… not… good.  The problem is fsu has three 7-footers to throw at us.

Since the VT game, fsu is 3-5 with wins over clemson, wake, and miami (they overcame a 16-point first half deficit), and losses to syracuse, pitt, nc state, unc, and clemson.  They’ve scored more than 65 points in regulation just once in those 8 games and have been held in the 50s (where they were at the half vs VT) 4 times.  Let’s hope last game was a fluke.

Adam Smith and Justin Bibbs combined for 49 points (65% of VT’s points) in the first meeting.  Tech must get better balance and hopefully Malik Muller continues his recent trend (almost 14 PPG in his last 3 games) and Jalen Hudson is coming off a career high 18 points.

The Hokies were 11/28 (39%) from deep in that first meeting.  If the Hokies can repeat that this time, and get at least 60% of fsu’s misses on the defensive glass, VT will win.

RealTimeRPI.com predicts a 73-68 VT win!!!  They had the pitt game for us, FYI.  And I think we will win this game, too (and so does Vegas).  fsu was way too hot last time, and shooting percentages usually drop on the road.  Plus, I think VT is better prepared to battle in the low post then they were a month ago when JvZ had just been suspended.

RPI:

  • fsu: 134 (2nd worst in the ACC)
  • VT: 208

Offensive Efficiency:

  • fsu: 101.6 (171)
  • VT: 101.5 (172)

Defensive Efficiency:

  • fsu: 98.9 (118)
  • VT: 100.9 (155)

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Game Previews, Game Recaps, Games, Home1 Comment

Highlights: Hokies 70, pitt 67

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s first ACC win of the season (and Buzz’s first ever), a 70-67 win over pitt in overtime behind 26 from Adam Smith and 22 from Malik Muller.

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Game Log: #15 unc (4-1, 14-4) 68, Hokies (0-4, 8-9) 53

Recap:

Box Score – The spread for this game was 22 points and that was before the odds makers knew that Virginia Tech’s leading scorer, Justin Bibbs, would sit out the game after suffering a concussion during Friday’s practice. So, considering the Hokies were without their leading scorer and their most experienced big man (JvZ is still suspended indefinitely), and playing a top 15 team on the road, a 15-point loss (and covering the spread) isn’t all bad.

The Hokies fell 68-53 to the unc tar heels in Chapel Hill. Senior Adam Smith led Tech with 11 points, while true freshman Shane Henry nearly notched his first collegiate double-double with a career-high 10 points and 9 rebounds.

Tech went down 0-7 right out of the gate (shocking, we know), but answered with a 9-2 run to tie the game up. The Hokies never looked solid in this game, but neither did the tar heels. How much of that was old Roy taking the Hokies too lightly and how much was Buzz’s guys playing hard on defense, we’ll never know for sure, but Buzz had his team as ready as they could be and they showed NO quit.

The tar heels looked to have blown the game open with a 11-0 that began mid-first quarter and powered unc to a 34-21 halftime lead. A second half blowout looked imminent. All Tech had to do was fold. But they didn’t. Tech dug in their heels (ha!) and refused to let the home team run away with a win. They were going to make them earn it. What made the outcome of this game even more surprising was that Buzz essentially played only 8 guys. Christian Beyer played just 5 minutes. Everyone else was at least 20.

Poor shooting doomed the Hokies. They shot an abysmal 45% from the free throw line including 1-7 in the first half. That’s just unacceptable. The last time I wrote a recap (syracuse), the orange had made nearly as many FTs as the Hokies attempted. Tonight, that was exactly the case. Tech attempted 11 FTs, while the tar heels made 11 FTs. From the field, VT shot 35.8% (19/53) and that’s not going to win you very many games.

Tech fought hard and eventually cut the lead down to 8 points with about 2 minutes to play. It wouldn’t be enough in the end, but all things considered, this was a gutsy effort by Buzz Williams’ inaugural Hokie squad. The Hokies may be down this year, but opponents are going to have to earn a W against this VT team.

And now for a new segment I like to call, “Stats that Niemo texted me!”

  • Our 13 steals tonight were a season high by far (previous was 9)
  • We made more 3s (10) than 2s (9). Also a first this year.

Preview:

Spread: unc by 22 (Ouch. Merited, but still hard to stomach game after game)

The Hokies continue their murderous stretch on Sunday night, heading to Chapel Hill to face the #15 unc tar heels.  After facing #6 louisville on the road, Tech has this game at unc, then #12 notre dame and #2 uva at home this coming week.

unc has won two in a row a row since losing by 1 point at home to notre dame.  unc beat louisville at home last weekend 72-71, overcoming a 13-point deficit with 9 minutes to go, winning on a Marcus Paige shot with 8.5 seconds to go (and two subsequent misses by the cards).  Then, the heels held on for a 81-79 win this week across the Triangle at nc state (though unc controlled this game).

The Hokies are 13-64 all time vs unc.  Tech is just 5-29 at unc, but won their first ever ACC game there 81-80 back in 2007 to complete a season sweep of the heels.  Tech has won just once in their last 10 games against the heels and are just 3-11 against the heels since joining the ACC.

The heels are led by ACC Preseason First Teamer Marcus Paige, who averages 13.9 PPG.  He’s 2nd on the team in assists per game at 3.9 and tied for steals at 1.2.  unc has five guys averaging between 9 and 14 points.

Team Stats: (VT – Stat – unc)

  • 69.0 – PPG – 79.6
  • 66.9 – Opp PPG – 65.6
  • 61% – FT% – 71%
  • 47.0% – FG% – 45.7%
  • 41.0% – Opp FG% – 36.6%
  • 40.5% – 3-Pt% – 32.0%
  • 6.8 – 3s Made – 4.8
  • 33.2% – Opp 3-Pt% – 26.7%
  • 3.9 – Blocks – 4.8
  • 12.1 – Assists – 17.9
  • 4.4 – Steals – 7.3
  • 62% – Def Reb % – 67%
  • 30% – Off Reb % – 44%

The heels dominate the Hokies in every stat except 3-point shooting.  Tech is #2 in 3-Point % and 4th in 3s made per game, but unc in #1 in the league in 3-Point % defense.  Obviously the undersized Hokies need to be hot from deep to stay competitive, so they must find a way to beat the solid unc defense.

Both teams are awful on the defensive glass, with unc 14th in defensive rebound % and Tech last.  But the heels, oddly, are the best offensive rebounding team in the league.  The heels should have no problem getting their misses back.  This could be another game where the only time Tech keeps their opponent from scoring is when they turn the ball over or a miss bounces out of bounds.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Game Previews, Game Recaps, Games, Home2 Comments

Game Log: syracuse (10-4) 68 @ Hokies (8-6) 66

Game Recap: syracuse 68, Hokies 66 – Box Score

Well, that turned out better than expected. Wouldn’t you agree? The Hokies came in 10.5 underdogs to a 9-4 syracuse team, and not only did the Hokies cover the spread, they darn near pulled off the upset.

Upon hearing the news that JvZ had been suspended indefinitely, Cope Tweeted the following:

Upon further review, having JvZ in the lineup could have made a huge difference. Though, would the Hokies have played the same with him? We’ll never know. But, what we do know is that the Hokies cut the cuse lead down to three with about 5 minutes to play in the game, but then lost their only two big men, Satchel Pierce and Shaney Henry, who both fouled out. Had JvZ not been suspended, Buzz would have had more fouls to give.

The Hokies came out ready to play in the first half and went toe-to-toe with the orange and trailed 15-13 with under 14 minutes to play. Then the wheels came off. The cuse reeled off a 20-3 run to take a 19-point lead late in the half. They led by as many as 22, but the Hokies got a late three-point play from Devin Wilson to cut the half-time lead to 42-23.

Whatever Buzz said to his team at the half did something get their minds right. The Hokies opened the second half with a 26-9 run to cut the cuse lead to two, 51-49. Sadly, that’s as close as they would get. Pierce fouled out with 5 minutes to play and Henry picked up his 5th foul with just under three minutes left. Losing those two guys forced the Hokies into a four guard set for the final 2:43.

Freshman Justin Bibbs tied his career-best 22 points while playing a career-high 39 minutes. The rookie is the team’s leading scorer at 12.7 ppg. While we’re talking statistics, Tech actually shot better than the cuse in FG, 3-pointer, and FTs. The difference in this game was rebounding and the number of free throws attempted. The cuse outrebounded VT 42-34, and made nearly as many free throws (17) as the Hokies attempted (16).

A loss is a loss, and Buzz Williams will eschew and talk of “moral victories” but considering how this team has played (and lost to) lesser competition this season, a two-point loss to a team like syracuse is nothing to be ashamed of. The Hokies are a very young team with a new coaching staff and a lot to learn. This is a learning season (sounds better than “lost season”) with little in the way of expectations. So to take the orange to the brink in the conference opener is something to be proud of.

One last note… I was impressed to see how the team responded to Buzz at the break. They came out and took it to the cuse. We didn’t see JJ’s teams do that very much. To come back from 22 down and come within two points late in the game, that leaves room for hope. And as all Hokie fans know, hope is a dangerous thing.

Update: JvZ has been suspended indefinitely, per a press release. This leaves the Hokies with just Pierce and Henry, and Beyer, down low. “Joey failed to meet the expectations we have for our team,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Buzz Williams said. “He demonstrated a lack of discipline and self-control at practice and as such this suspension was warranted.”

Spread: cuse -10.5

The Hokies tip-off ACC play on Saturday when Jim Boeheim and the syracuse orange get the pleasure of heading to Blacksburg for a noon tilt. Boeheim has now been forced to head to VT for the 2nd year in a row (he allegedly told the Big East he’d never travel to Tech and in VT’s five years in the league syracuse never once played at Tech — VT had to play at the Carrier Dome three times).

The series history is rather limited with the orange 5-2 all time vs the Hokies. Tech hasn’t beaten syracuse since 1978 and lost by 20 last year at home against the orange.

This is not your typical cuse team. They are unranked, and after starting 5-1, they lost 3 of 4 before their current 3 game winning streak. They are just 1-4 vs “name” teams — losses to cal, michigan, st. Johns, and #6 villanova (nova never led in regulation and the orange were up by as many as 15); and a win over iowa.

Tech is looking to wash the stink off their 31-point drubbing from wvu.

Last year, cuse won 72-52 at the Cassell. Current leading scorer Rakeem Christmas had just 2 points, while Wilson, van Zegeren, and Smith combined for 18. The difference was just 6 at the half before the orange pulled away as Tech got frustrated by the famous Boeheim zone.

Christmas leads cuse with over 17 ppg and almost 9 rpg. The 6’9″ senior Xmas hadn’t averaged even 6 ppg in any of his previous 3 seasons but has been thrust into the star role during this rebuilding year. Gone are Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant, and stud C.J. fair from last year’s squad, hence the struggles.

Tech is led by Adam Smith’s 12 ppg and van Zegeren’s 5 rebounds.

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

Highlights: Hokies 87, presbyterian 65

For those of you headed back from the Military Bowl, here are the highlights from Tech’s 4th straight win, an 87-65 triumph over the presbyterian blue hose at the Cassell.

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Highlights: Hokies 64, the citadel 61

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s nail-biter win over the #345th ranked bulldogs of the citadel at the Cassell.  The loss was the citadel’s 18th straight road loss.

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Highlights: Hokies 65, alabama a&m 55

The Hokies snap their two game losing streak and defeat the bulldogs 65-55 in front of fewer than 3,600 fans at the Cassell.  Since most of us weren’t there, here are the highlights!

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Highlights: penn state 61, Hokies 58

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s 3rd loss of the season, a 61-58 defeat to the nittany lions in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge.  Tech is now 0-6 vs teams not named ‘iowa’ in the Challenge, and 3-0 vs the hawkeyes (can we request them for next season?).

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Highlights: HOKIES 83, morgan state 63

Here are your moving pictures from Virginia Tech’s 83-63 Bear Fight victory over the bears of morgan state on Sunday at the Cassell.  Watch Wilson giveth, Smith light it up, and van Zegeren send it back.

 

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HIGHLIGHTS: HOKIES 78, miami-ohio 63

The Hokies bombard the redhawks 78-63 to capture the Bronze Medal of the Cancun Challenge.  Note: 3 of Tech’s last 6 wins have been against schools named “miami” with 2 others vs maryland-eastern shore, and 1 against liberty.  Go Hokies!  Beat the hoos XI!

Posted in 2014-15, 2014-15 Season, Highlights6 Comments

Recap: HOKIES (3-2) 78, miami-ohio (2-3) 63

Fun Fact: Of the Hokies last 6 wins, 3 have been against schools named ‘miami’ and 2 have been against maryland-eastern shore.

Boxscore

The Hokies turned the tables from a night ago and absolutely took the miami of ohio redhawks behind the woodshed, pounding them 78-63 in the Cancun Challenge Bronze Medal game.  Adam Smith was the star of the show, exploding for 26 points, just shy of his career high of 28.

Justin Bibbs also had a fantastic game, setting his career high with 22 points (albeit in his 5th collegiate game).  Bibbs and Smith were a combined 10/13 from behind the arc!

Tech shot 49% for the game, were 10/19 (53%) on 3s, and 18/24 on free throws.  That 75% from the line has to excite all of us.  The only downside was VT committed 22 turnovers, but so did the redhawks.

You’ll also want to check out the highlights to see two of Joey van Zegeren’s incredible dunks, especially the alley-oop from Muller.

The game was close for the first 10 minutes and after a VT turnover (that was a problem early) allowed miami to cut Tech’s lead to 4 at 15-11, Buzz called a timeout and went absolutely medieval on Malik Muller.  The Hokies responded by closing the half on a 24-6 run, including 10-0 in the final 4 minutes.  That allowed Tech to go into the half up 39-17.  Adam Smith had 15 points in the first half.

Give credit to the Hokies.  On Tuesday, northern iowa took advantage of the plethora of whistles, shooting 11 first half free throws (making 10) compared to just 1 for VT.  Tonight, Tech went to the line 14 times in the first half, making 11, well above their 58% FT%, while miami had just 1 free throw attempt.  The Hokies were very aggressive going to the rim, even off make miami baskets and were rewarded with the trips to the charity stripe.

After the break, VT pushed the lead to 25. miami cut the lead to 15 but Tech responded with a 9-0 run to put the game on ice.  Tech struggled down the stretch, hence them not winning in Bear Fight fashion.  But all in all this was a very positive win and game against another young team.

Tech returns to action on Sunday at home vs morgan state.

Shooting Stats:

  • In the Paint: 11/24 (46%)
  • Midrange Jumpers/Runners: 4/8 (50% — Smith made 3 of those)
  • 3-Pointers: 10/19 (53% — Smith and Bibbs made all 10)
  • Free Throws: 18/24 (75%!)

Go Hokies!  Beat the wahoos XI!

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home1 Comment

Highlights: northern iowa 73, HOKIES 54

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s (2-2) 73-54 loss to northern iowa (5-0) in the Cancun Challenge semi-finals from Cancun, Mexico.

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Game Post: HOKIES (2-2) 54, northern iowa (5-0) 74

Update: Tech will face miami of ohio tonight.  They are also 2-2 and had an 11-point win over liberty, so very comparable to the Hokies.  northwestern beat the redhawks by 9.

Recap:

Boxscore

The Baby Birds of Virginia Tech were thoroughly blasted by the experienced northern iowa panthers, 54-73.  The only question was would it be a Reverse Bear Fight (20-point loss) for the Hokies, but a late Satchel Pierce bucket helped Tech avoid that indignation.

The panthers returned all 5 starters and about 92% of their points from a year ago, compared to the Hokies who returned about 9% of their points on a last place club.  And the experience levels proved vital.  northern iowa came out unconscious from the field and line, hitting 6/8 three-pointers to start and 10/11 free throws in the first half (compared to just 1 free throw and 4/9 on threes for VT).

Also give uni credit for being aggressive early while the officials were calling the game tight and getting to the line.  The Hokies had been called for 5 fouls before a single one was called on uni, leading to Buzz’s first technical as a Hokie 4-minutes into the game.

The panthers used their hot shooting to take a 40-31 lead into the break.

After halftime, a Justin Bibbs jumper cut the lead to 40-33.  That’s when the wheels came off as uni destroyed the Hokies with the pick-and-roll, plus their guards off the dribble, and went on a 17-2 run to put the game away at 57-35.

Joey van Zegeren led Tech with 15 points and 6 rebounds on 7/10 shooting.  No other Hokie reached double digits.

uni shot 50% for the game, the first Tech opponent to surpass 42%.  They only hit 1 of their final 10 threes, but it didn’t matter.  The panthers nailed 18/20 free throws (90%) and had just 9 turnovers compared to 14 for VT.  The previous 3 opponents all had at least 15 turnovers and VT had a +15 turnover margin (+5 per game) coming in.

Tech shot a respectable 48% from the field and were 7/18 on threes just like uni, but the Hokies had just 8 FTAs and hit just 3 (JvZ was 1/5 from the line).  As you’ll see below, this team really has no midrange jump-shooters right now.  It is either a layup, a JvZ hook in the paint, or a 3-ball.  The Hokies have to be able to find more points in that huge space.

On defense, the Hokies did show some full court trapping, and did get a turnover out of it, but the half court defense was pretty lousy tonight.  Guys looked like they had tired legs and weren’t getting through screens (and got elbows from their teammates when they did), weren’t moving quick enough on help D on the picks, or just got burned off the dribble.  They better sleep fast tonight.

The Hokies will play the loser of northwestern and miami (Ohio) at 7 PM on Wednesday, also on CBSSN.

Shooting Stats:

  •  In the Paint:  12/17 (71%)
  • Midrange Jumpers/Runners/Hooks:  3/11 (27%)
  • 3-Pointers:  7/18 (39%)
  • All Field Goals:  22/46 (48%)
  • Free Throws:  3/8 (38%)

Preview:

For those of you that don’t get Watch ESPN, you’ll finally be able to see the Hokies play on regular TV Tuesday night when Tech takes on the 4-0 northern iowa panthers in the semi-finals of the Cancun Challenge from Mexico.  The panthers finished just 16-15 last year but had been to the postseason 5 years in a row before that (2 CITs, 1 NIT, and back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2009 and 2010 — and in 2010 they beat #8 seed unlv AND #1 seed kansas before falling to michigan state in the Sweet 16.  That team went 30-5… but like I said, that was now 5 seasons ago.

This panther club out of the Missouri Valley Conference is off to a 4-0 start, but they haven’t exactly beaten name opponents unless you consider nd (north dakota, not notre dame), stephen f. austin, morgan state, or north florida a name program.  Their closest game was a 2-point win at stephen f. austin in overtime that snapped Stone Cold’s 34-game home winning streak, so that’s mildly impressive (the list of teams they beat in that 34 game streak isn’t much to look at other than jmu).

That said, Vegas (and now Atlantic City since sports gambling is legal there) see northern iowa as the clearly better team in this match-up…

The panthers opened as 8.5-point favorites (and already been bet up to 10).

The Hokies are coming off their first loss in the Buzz Williams Era, a 65-63 heartbreaker on a lucky shot with a second to go (though, to be honest, appalachian state deserved to win given their huge rebounding margin — they grabbed 50% of their misses which is inexcusable given that appy state wasn’t very big or tall).

I was a little hard on the Hokies.  That was because:

  1. I was pretty ticked about the simultaneous Hokie football loss to 2-8 wake
  2. See #1 and repeat it about 1,000 times

Reality is I never expected to run the table on our 12 out of conference games leading up to Breakfast at Morgantown on December 30th.  I didn’t expect to a team that went 9-21 last year and had lost to ohio and furman by almost Bear Fight-fashion in both games, but I digress.  We knew there would be growing pains with a team that returned just 3 scholarship players with experience and has just 9 scholarship players available this year (with 0 seniors).  Perhaps I stated that appalachian state was “awful” one too many times in my preview, maybe the guys looked past the mountaineers.  And I can give the guys a pass — they were hours away from leaving frigid Blacksburg and heading to Cancun for an early Spring Break.  I assume visions of beach balls and sand already danced in their heads.

That said, this is one of Tech’s best out of conference opponents (I know, that is sad considering this team went 16-15 and plays in the MVC) and they have tons of experience, featuring 4 seniors and 2 juniors out of their main 9 players.  They have oodles more experience than the Hokies, especially in terms of playing together.  Let’s hope we see a better effort on Tuesday and start to see what Buzz-Ball really is.

Hokie Leaders:

  • PPG: Bibbs 11.7 (Smith 10.3)
  • RPG: JvZ 5.3 (Muller 4.3)
  • APG: Wilson 6.0 (Bibbs 2.0)
  • SPG: Wilson/Muller 2.0
  • FG%: Wilson 80% (Tech has 5 guys at 50% or better with at least 10 attempts!)
  • 3-PT%: Muller 4/9 (44%), Bibbs 3/7 (43%), Smith 5/12 (42%)

The Opponent: northern iowa

  • Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Enrollment: 13,168
  • Conference: Missouri Valley
  • Colors: (think jmu)
  • Famous Alums: Kurt Warner
  • Last Year: 16-15 (10-8 MVC), no postseason
  • Best Player: #10 Seth Tuttle – 6’8″ 240 lbs. Senior – 17 PPG and 7.3 RPG (both lead the team) — shoots an amazing 74% from the field!!! (23/31 FGs)  Has also made all 3 of his three-point attempts though he does a lot of his work inside.  Tuttle was 7/7 from the field and 4/4 from the line in their last game (think Laettner vs kentucky).
  • Other Key Players:
    • #11 Wes Washpun — 6’1″ junior guard — 12 PPG off the bench — shooting 76% from the field!!!; 3 APG.  Doesn’t shoot the 3 much though.
    • #4 Paul Jesperson (yep, that one from uva) — 6’6″ Soph wing — 8.3 PPG, 50% on 3s
    • #1 Deon Mitchell — 6’1″ senior point guard — 8.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 SPG
    • #12 Marvin Singleton — 6’6″ senior forward — 6.3 PPG and RPG
    • #20 Jeremy Morgan — 6’5″ Soph guard — 4.8 PPG
    • They go a legit 5 deep on their bench with 10 guys seeing 9+ minutes and 8 seeing 15+ minutes

Key Match-Up: VT allows opponents to shoot just 38% on the season, but northern iowa shoots 49%, including their two best scorers who shoot over 74%!!!  Yeesh.  Of course, if you allow a 50% offensive rebounding percentage, misses don’t matter as much.   Tech must limit Tuttle and Washpun and secure the rebounds/loose balls.  This panther team has no real 3-point threats (Jesperson, a uva transfer, has hit 7/14 but that’s about it).  VT can pack it in.

Prediction: Hokies lose by 8, barely covering the spread.  The panthers experience is just too much and they keep a close, but safe margin and put it away with good free throw shooters.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home10 Comments

Game Post: appalachian state (1-2) 65, HOKIES (2-1) 63

RECAP:

BOXSCORE

Gambler’s Note: If you had bet appt state and wake to win straight up and bet $100 per, you’d have won ~$2500 and probably feel a lot better about today. I didn’t.

If you thought the wake/VT football game was bad, you obviously weren’t watching the basketball team.  Today is officially the most embarrassing day in VT history (both teams were 15-point favorites).  The football team and the basketball team lost as 15 point favorites to teams in western NC.

The basketball Hokies lost on Saturday at home to an 0-2 appalachian state team that lost by 26 to ohio and 19 to FURMAN.  Yes, I capitalized an opponent’s name.  appy state scored with 1 second to go after a missed JvZ free throw to win 65-63.  Tech has shown progress under Buzz, but clearly this team was already on the plane to Cancun today before tip-off.  appy state was 9-21 last year, by the way.

No highlights are coming… you’ll thank me.

PREVIEW:

Before hoping on a plane to head to Cancun, Mexico (BRRRRR-I-BAAAAAAAAH!), the Hokies take on a strug-a-ling appalachian state team at 1 PM in the Cassell (yes, that is during the Hokies’ football game vs wake and the game will be on in the concourse level — not sure which game is more of a mismatch).

Through two games, Tech has displayed solid defense, holding both opponents below 43% shooting and forcing 36 turnovers (leading to 47 Points off Turnovers and 28 Fast Break Points).  On the flip side, the Hokies have shot over 52% in both games, including a blistering 61% vs liberty!

Offensively, in the first game it was the freshmen who led the way, scoring 52 of Tech’s 71 points (73%).  On Wednesday, the three veterans decided to get into the act, tallying 43 of the Hokies’ 73 points (59%).  Against appy state, they are so bad, the freshmen might score 60% of the points and the veterans might go for 72%.  It could happen, they are that awful.

appalachian state had enough troubles in the Southern Conference last year, finishing 9-21 (5-11 in conference play), and now they’ve moved to the Sun Belt.  But this move wasn’t about basketball, it was about allowing them to participate in the FBS for football after doing very well at the FCS level (remember that win in the Big House?).  And it is a better conference.

But, back to today — this is a very, very bad basketball team, possibly even worse than the 9-21 team from last year.  The mountaineers in their first two games lost to ohio by 26, and then to furman by 19.  That’s, uh, that’s not good.  ohio was decent last year and made the CIT (a step down from the NIT), but they just lost to florida golf course by 17.  And furman lost to college of charleston by 35.  By transitive properties, this isn’t a good match-up for appy state.  And this is a small team, so they will not present size issues inside like we worried liberty might (they didn’t — VT was too athletic).

FYI: if you are keeping track, Tech’s first 3 opponents had a combined record of 26-66 (28% win %).

The Opponent: appalachian state in Boone, NC

  • 2014-15 record: 0-2
    • ohio 73, asu 47
    • furman 84, asu 65
  • Top Player:
    • #15 Tommy Spagnolo – 6’7″ forward is averaging 13 PPG and 9.5 RPG.
  • Other Starters:
    • #21 Frank Eaves – 6’2″ Junior Guard – 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 APG
    • #10 Chris Burgess  – 5’8″ Junior Point Guard- 10 PPG, 2.5 APG
    • #0 Mike Kobani – 6’8″ Freshman Forward – 7.5 PPG
    • #3 Dustin Clarke – 6’3″ Junior Guard – 5.5 PPG
  • 2013-14 record: 9-21 (5-11 in the Southern but they are now in the Sun Belt)
  • Series History: VT 7-1
    • Last Hokie win: 87-76 almost exactly two years ago
    • Last VT loss: 1969 (VT has won 6 straight in the series)

Spread (our first of the year!  hopefully the hoops team does better against the odds than football has):

VT opened as 17.5 point favorites, but are now showing around -15.5 (football is at -15 — who will win by more?!)

Prediction:

Tech…. big.  Stock up on your Jager, Red Bull, Baileys, Jameson, and Guinness.  You’ll need it, possibly twice on Saturday.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home4 Comments

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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 - Hokies 83, morgan state 63

December

12/03 - penn state 61, Hokies 58
12/07 - radford 68, Hokies 66
12/14 - Hokies 65, alabama a&m 55
12/20 - Hokies 64, the citadel 61
12/22 - Hokies 87, vmi 74
12/27 - Hokies 87, presbyterian 65
12/30 - west virginia 82, Hokies 51

January

01/03 - syracuse 68, Hokies 66
01/06 - louisville 78, Hokies 63
01/18 - unc 68, Hokies 53
01/22 - notre dame 85, Hokies 60
01/25 - uva 50, Hokies 47
01/27 - Hokies 70, pittsburgh 67
01/31 - wake forest 73, Hokies 70

February

02/03 - syracuse 72, Hokies 70
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