Archive | Games

Join the TechHoops Bracket Challenge

Sure, our team isn’t in the Big Dance this year. In fact, it’s been seven years since the Hokies last appeared in the NCAA tournament. But that doesn’t mean we stop being college basketball fans, right? So, let’s get to work filling out those brackets, shall we?

First, click here to download a customized TechHoops.com-themed printable bracket, complete with lower-cased team names.

Second, go to http://y.ahoo.it/eB1KIZ7o and join our private group (password is babcock).

Posted in NCAA Tournament0 Comments

Virginia Tech fires James Johnson after two seasons

It’s official. James Johnson has been fired as the men’s head basketball coach at Virginia Tech. His tenure lasted just two seasons and less than two full calendar years. It got off to inauspicious start and never got on track. JJ finishes his VT tenure with a 22-41 (35%) record (6-30 in ACC regular season games and 0-2 in the ACC Tournament). That percentage is third worst of Tech’s 23 basketball coaches, and the worst that any Hokie coach has had in the last 80 years. (For reference, ricky “program bomb” stokes won 40% of his games aided largely by a year in A-10.)

I’m both surprised and not surprised. I’m surprised that Virginia Tech is going to eat three years of a contract, especially after former athletics director Jim Weaver gave JJ his blessing for another year.

Also, Tech has a history of underpaying coaches. In fact, Johnson was the lowest paid men’s basketball coach in the ACC and the Hokies got what they paid for; a team that finished dead last in each of JJ’s two seasons at the helm.

At the same time, I am not surprised that new Athletics Director Whit Babcock, who has been on the job for exactly one month, decided to make a change. His hiring made headlines, especially given his salary. To come in and do nothing with a program that has finished last three straight seasons, and seen declining attendance for seven straight years, likely would not have gone over well with the dwindling fan base.

As most rational fans would agree, JJ was in over his head from the beginning. No one begrudges him for taking the job. If you want to be a head basketball coach and an ACC team offers you a job, you take it. The fault of JJ’s failed tenure lies squarely at the feet of former AD Jim Weaver. Instead of conducting a national search after botching the Seth Greenberg firing, he chose the easy way and hired an assistant coach with no previous head coaching experience. JJ was the only ACC coach who had zero head coaching experience before taking over at an ACC program. And his teams performed about as well as you’d expect.

So, here we are, for the second time in two years, looking for a new head coach. Babcock’s shown he’s not afraid to drop the ax, but what he does next will determine the future success or failure of not only the basketball program, but also his tenure as AD.

Below is the official release from HokieSports.com:

Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced today that James Johnson has been relieved of his duties as head men’s basketball coach. In making the announcement, Babcock said a national search for Johnson’s replacement will begin immediately.

“I want to thank Coach Johnson for his dedication and hard work for our university and our basketball program over the past seven years,” Babcock said. “A change of this significance affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change and a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interest of our department.”

Johnson just completed his second season as head coach of the Hokies. He spent the previous five seasons on the Tech staff, serving as an assistant from 2007-2011 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012-13 season. He had accepted an assistant coaching position at Clemson on April 13, 2012, but returned to Blacksburg soon thereafter to take the head coaching position previously held by Seth Greenberg.

Babcock will meet with the media at 9:30 am on Tuesday in the Shott Media Center. The media session will be streamed live on hokiesports.com.

This will be Babcock’s only media availability until the announcement of the new coach.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Around The ACC, Cope's Corner15 Comments

The season that was a trainwreck

Well? How’s everyone feeling this morning? Relieved? Anxious? Ready for a change? Whatever may be going through your minds this morning, we here at TechHoops want to take a moment to thank you, the fans, for supporting this site by reading our articles, sharing them, commenting on them, and spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter.

According to Google Analytics, more than 20,500 of you visited our site this season and racked up more than a quarter million pageviews. In seven years, we have had 250,000 unique visitors to our site. A quarter million people. Just, wow. We’re honestly humbled. So, thank you!

Last season, we ditched paid advertising and went to a simple donation system that appealed directly to the fans. NPR style, if you will, only, we’re not a nonprofit, so any donation to the site is based purely on your love and/or appreciation of TechHoops and our efforts.

Below are the donors who have contributed to this site over the last two seasons. We are so grateful for their support. And we’re brainstorming ideas on how to take this Wild Hokie Club to the next level. If you have any ideas, we’re all ears!

2013-2014

2012-2013

  • Daniel K.
  • Chris D.
  • Patrick L.
  • Matt D.
  • Andrea T.
  • Steven S.
  • Jon K.
  • Patrick C.
  • Jon P.
  • Ryan L.
  • Lucian L.
  • Scott B.
  • Matthew W. (x2)
  • Brandon S.
  • Andrew M.
  • Ryan W.
  • James B.
  • Tushar P.
  • Bryan S.
  • Ben F.
  • Dan R.
  • Timothy B.
  • James S.

This season, we didn’t put the donation form up until late in the season, hence why that list is a bit smaller than the previous year. We weren’t sure how much content we could contribute coming into this season, so we were hesitant to accept donations. Niemo and his lovely bride had their first baby, plus Niemo’s coaching these days. And me, I’m working on another degree in addition to coaching and scout leading, and etc. However, as it turns out, we were able to keep up with the season, and thus decided to put the appeal back up with zero mention of it, and people noticed.

When this site started, there were about six contributors, but, unlike Wick, the other Jay, StreetBallaRob, and davey “I love Stiney” woods, who all bailed, Niemo and I have stuck around. Our hope is to make it to at least 10 years. And we hope you guys will be right there with us.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Cope's Corner, Featured Columns9 Comments

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

Big thanks to Cathy F!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in 2013-14 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Recaps, Games, Home9 Comments

#15 HOKIES ACC Tournament Preview — Wednesday vs #10 miami at ~3:30 PM

Odds: miami is favored by 6.

The final preview of the season.  I’d be lying if I said I’m shedding any tears as I write this.  While I’m sure we all want to shock the Milky Way and go from dead last in the ACC (#15 seed — at least we only have to worry about bringing our road uniforms) to win five days in a row and capture the ACC title, I think many of us already have tee times set for Thursday. 

Boo-hoos: The more interesting thing for me will be to see what happens with the #1 seed virginia cavaliers.  uva has a double-bye and won’t play until Friday at noon in the Quarterfinals.  With a win over the #8/9 game winner (florida state vs maryland), uva will advance to ACC Semi-Final Saturday.  Big whoop, right?

Actually, it would end one of the longest ACC Tournament streaks of futility — uva has failed to make it past the Quarterfinal Round for the last 18 years.  The last time they did, I was a freshman at Virginia Tech (that wasn’t yesterday).

It is unbelievable to think they’ve gone that long without a semi-final appearance.  Many of those years all they had to do was win one game, especially from 1996-2003 when there were only 9 teams in the league.  And before you say “but when have they been the #1 seed?”  Well, never during that stretch.  But they did tie for the regular season title in 2007 and were the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament, but lost to the #10 seed nc state in the Quarters (of course, state would then knock off VT in the semis, costing Tech a trip to the Championship Game).  Last year as the #4 seed and a first round bye, the hoos lost to #5 seed nc state in the Quarters.

Tech made the semis 3 out of 4 years between 2007 and 2010, although they were never able to get over the hump and make a title game appearance.

HOKIES: OK, enough about the hoos (but I had to draw light to that pathetic stat given this may be the last time I get to mention it and given all the positive publicity they’ve been getting of late).

The Hokies face the miami hurricanes on Wednesday… the team they swept this regular season for their only two ACC wins and their only win in the calendar year of 2014.  Oh, the irony!!!  Could it be a 3-peat?  Before you say no, keep in mind an awful nc state team (5-11) beat the Hokies three times back in 2007, the greatest Hokie team of the last 17 years.  A Hokie team that was one basket away in the regular season finale against clemson from tying for the league title and getting the #1 seed in the tourney.  I’ll say this — it is a lot easier to win 3 games against a team if you’ve won the first 2 (thank you, Captain Obvious).

  • @HOKIES 52, miami 45 – 2/15/14 — RECAP
  • HOKIES 61, @miami 60 (OT) – 12/18/13 — RECAP

Stat Comparison:

Note that these are the per game averages for ACC games only, along with the team’s ACC rank in parenthesis (out of 15).  You’ll notice a lot of 15s next to VT.

Stat (Per Game) HOKIES miami
PPG 55.3 (15) 59.2 (14)
Opp PPG 65.6 (6) 59.6 (3)
FT% 61% (15) 65% (13)
FG% 37% (15) 41% (13)
Opp FG% 42% (5) 41% (2)
3-Pt% 31% (13) 32% (10)
3s Made 5.9 (6) 5.6 (8)
Opp 3-Pt% 34% (7) 36% (12)
Blocks 3.7 (t-7) 3.2 (11)
Steals 3.8 (15) 4.3 (t-14)
TO Margin -3.6 (15) -0.3 (8)
Def Reb % 69% (6) 67% (8)
Off Reb % 32% (11) 34% (7)

Game Notes:

  • Neither team scored more than 56 points in regulation in either game — this could be a real snooze-fest
  • No Hokie reached double digits in both games — Eddie had 24 in the first meeting (mostly late to overcome a 10-point deficit late), but just 7 in the rematch
  • Devin Wilson had 14 assists in the two games combined
  • Garrius Adams had 14 in the first match-up and 13 in the ‘Burg game to lead the canes both times
  • miami shot 26% on FGs, 21% on 3s (7/34), and 47% on FTs in the game at Tech
  • The canes shot just 31% from the floor in the two games, including 22% from deep (they settled for a ton of 3-pointers in the 2nd meeting… expect them to attack the zone via overloads or the high post and not settle for 3s this time)
  • While miami only made 15 field goals in the game in the ‘Burg, VT made just 17… it was not the prettiest game you’ll ever see.

I can’t even imagine how empty the G-boro Coliseum will be for this game.  The Opening Round games aren’t even included in the ACC Tournament ticket package, and tickets for these games will be “general admission”.  Since nearby wake forest plays right before VT, there might be a few people there at the start.  But if wake falls to 0-4 in the ACC Tournament under soon to be unemployed Coach Bzdelik, the VT/miami game might have all the life of a rec league game.

TECH’S ROAD TO THE ACC TITLE:

  • Wednesday – ~3:30 PM – #10 miami
  • Thursday -  7 PM – #7 nc state
  • Friday – 7 PM – #2 syracuse
  • Saturday – ~3:30 PM – #3 duke or #6 clemson or #11 gt or #14 bc
  • Sunday – 7 PM – If we are still alive at this point, I’m assuming the rest of the league has been wiped out by some scandal or bird flu epidemic

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

georgia tech 62 (6-12), HOKIES 51 (2-16)

Boxscore

The Hokies completed their regular season by setting the record for most ACC regular season losses, falling 62-51 at georgia tech.  Tech notched their 16th ACC loss, the first time an ACC team has lost that many in the regular season.  Granted, this is just the 2nd year of an 18-game ACC regular season, and past ACC teams have gone 0-14 and wake went 1-15 three years ago, but this still is obviously not a record you wish to own.  Tech is now just 1-16 in 2014.

Joey van Zegeren notched a career high 21 points for the Hokies but it wasn’t enough.  It was to see the big Dutchman playing well.  He had surpassed his previous career high of 14 (set against maryland earlier this week) with more than 15 minutes still to go in the game!  Heck, he even hit 3/5 FTs, well above his 36% FT%!  But Joey had absolutely no help offensively for the first 30 minutes of the game and that ultimately did in the Hokies as the jackets started to shred their 2-3 zone.

For the most part, this looked like a game between two teams with no postseason aspirations walking through the motions and killing time until they get eliminated from the ACC Tournament.  Tech and tech both played uninspired ball until a couple of alley-oop dunks got the jackets, and their crowd, into the game in the 2nd half.  The simple fact was their lifeless effort was more productive than ours, and so they won.

Ben Emelogu was back and played 27 minutes, but clearly wasn’t at full strength.  He rarely attacked the basket and settled for 3-pointers (3/8 on FGs, 2/6 on 3s for 6 points).  Barksdale, Raines, and Smith were all out with injuries and VT only played 7 guys until the last minute.

KEY STATS:

HOKIES gt
FGs 20/53 (38%) 24/49 (49%
3s 6/23 (26%) 6/19 (32%)
FTs 5/9 (56%) 8/11 (73%)
PPP 0.91 1.12
Turnovers 11 8
Scorer JvZ – 21 Carter – 16
Longest FG Drought Final 4:30 of the game

Note: The Hokies finished with a Points Per Possession (PPP) of better than 1.0 just once this season in their 18 ACC games.  According to Cvillehoops13 of TSL, that’s some kind of a record.  I do know this, in a season where points are as high as they’ve been in years, that’s not a good thing.  Tech had a PPP of 0.77 in the first half before a nice run midway through the 2nd half pulled it up to at least a non-embarrassing 0.91 for the game, but still well below 1.0.

GAME SUMMARY:

Well, when you are right 23% of the time, it means you are either a below average baseball hitter or a terrible predictor.  I’m the latter.  I picked the Hokies to win this game largely because:

  1. georgia tech isn’t good and hadn’t won consecutive ACC games all year (they won earlier this week at syracuse)
  2. VT has owned the jackets, going 10-4 vs gt before today in ACC games, including 4-2 in the ATL
  3. I’m dumb (and didn’t account for how much better this gt team is with big man Robert Carter back — he had 16 points on 7/9 FGs to lead the jackets)

For the 2nd game in a row, VT gave up a layup in the final seconds of the first half when they should have had the last shot.  Today marked the 9th straight game the Hokies have failed to reach the 30 point mark in the first half.  georgia tech led 29-22 at the half.  And just like on Tuesday, this game was lost in the first 10 minutes after the break.

the Hokies’ “offense” completely fell apart in the 2nd half:

  • Tech had 8 points in the first 7:45 of the 2nd half… all 8 were on Joey van Zegeren dunks.  That’s right, 0 points not on dunks through almost 8 minutes of play.
  • No one other than JvZ had more than 3 points through the first 27:45 of the game (like I said, JvZ had no help)
  • Tech started just 2/14 from 3-point range
  • georgia tech, up 32-26 with 17:57 left, went on a 12-2 run to blow the game apart and take a 44-28 lead with 13:27 to go.

Tech did not shoot well other than van Zegeren:

  • Jarell Eddie started 1/8 on FGs for the game and finished 2/10 for 5 points (and 8 rebounds)
  • Devin Wilson started 1/7 on FGs and finished just 2/8 for 6 points
  • Only two Hokies made more than 2 FGs for the game… Ben Emelogu with 3 FGs and JvZ with 9
  • Only 3 Hokies shot FTs for the game — Wilson 1/2, Thompson 1/2, and JvZ 3/5 (you know it is bad when Joey has your highest FT% for a game)
  • Tech shot 4 airballs in this game, including two on the same possession that led to a shot clock violation

One particular stretch was really a microcosm of the entire season.  With VT down 13 and 11 minutes to go, here’s how it played out:

  • VT had the ball for an inbounds under their own hoop — Marshall Wood made a horrible pass that forced Devin Wilson to fall out of bounds and turn the ball over.  An inbounds!
  • gt got an alley-oop dunk on the resulting possession (by Georges-Hunt)
  • VT came up the court and fumbled the ball, resulting in another turnover.
  • gt pushed the ball and got an alley-oop dunk (this time by Carter)
  • VT, down 17, had to launch a fadeaway 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on the next possession.  It bricked, leading to another turnover.
  • gt got an easy baseline jumper to go up 19

After that, the Hokies finally woke up (or perhaps gt fell asleep).  Tech scored on four straight possessions to cut the jackets’ lead to 10 at 54-44 (an 11-2 run).  But again, when you go down by 19 with under 10 minutes to go, it is just too late.

The Hokies would later get it down to 8 at 58-50 with 4:30 to go, but could manage just 1 point in the final 4:30.  Heck, they almost went a full game without a 4 minute FG drought, but alas, this is the Hokies.

And you just scratch your head at the lack of urgency from this team down the stretch…

  • Coming out of the under-4 timeout at the end of the game and with the Hokies down 11, they held the ball until finally losing the ball out of bounds with 4 left on the shot clock — Tech hadn’t even gotten the ball inside the 3-point line at that point!
  • Down 12 with gt in possession of the ball and 2:19 to go, VT didn’t trap or foul
  • Same scenario with 1:45 to go, same result (Dino Gaudio, calling the game, even commented he didn’t understand this)

In other words, the Hokies had given up and couldn’t get to their plane fast enough and get to the bars of Blacksburg.

The game actually started out going just the way VT needed it to.  georgia tech started just 1/10 from 3-point range, settling for outside jumpers against the zone.  But VT couldn’t really take advantage of the slow jacket started and led just 18-16 with 4:24 to go in the first half.

Finally gt started hitting 3-pointers and made 4 of their next 5 from deep to start pulling away.  But the biggest difference was their inside presence.  Their two biggest low post players, Daniel Miller (who has been at gt since the Bobby Cremins era) and Robert Carter combined to shoot 13/16 from the field and score 30 points.  They found the soft spots in the zone at the high post or on the baseline underneath the hoop to beat Tech’s defense.

With miami’s win over wake forest, the Hokies will get to face the canes for a third time on Wednesday at 3:30 PM in the #10/#15 game of ACC Tournament Opening Day.  Tech swept miami in the regular season for their only 2 ACC wins.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps3 Comments

maryland 64 (8-9), HOKIES 47 (2-15)

Boxscore

The Hokies got absolutely obliterated in the 2nd half and lost 64-47 to the maryland terps in the final meeting between the schools as ACC foes.  After leading by a point, 29-28 at the break, Tech was doubled up after the half by a 36-18 margin.  Sad as it is to say, at least the Hokies avoided their 2nd straight Reverse Bear Fight defeat to the terps thanks to 3 late free throws after VT fell behind by 20.

Tech fell to 9-20 overall and 2-15 in the ACC, setting a new mark for most conference losses by VT (in any conference — the previous mark of 14 had been done in 2000-01 in the Big East and last year in the ACC).  This is also the first time Tech has lost 20 games in almost 60 years, dating back to the 1954-55 season when the Hokies finished 7-20.

In front of a mostly empty and pretty much dead Communist Center in college park, md, Tech actually played exciting, interesting, and fun to watch basketball for the first 12 minutes of the game and led 23-17.  But the final 28 minutes of the game marked the worst Hokie basketball I’ve maybe (maybe) ever seen, scoring just 19 points and going on three different stretches of 5 minutes and 30 seconds or more without a point.  Granted, Tech was reduced to five scholarship players due to a C.J. Barksdale ankle injury early in the game, but it was Hokie fans’ eyes that hurt the most having to watch this hot mess. The Hokies would finish with more turnovers (17) than made field goals (15).

While Tech struggled in the 2nd half to even get up a shot (they had 5 turnovers on their firsts 6 possessions of the 2nd half), maryland got blazing hot from deep.  They hit 5 three-pointers in a 3:15 span early in the 2nd half to blow the game open.

Jarell Eddie and Joey van Zegeren each had 14 points to lead the Hokies (no one else had more than 6).  maryland had a balanced attack as 5 different guys scored between 8 and 13 points.

The attendance was announced as 10,517 at the center that holds just under 18k, but most of those people were dressed as empty red seats.  Not good for Coach Turgeon, though he’ll take the win.  And give him credit — he held Tech to just 12 combined field goals in the 2nd halves of the two games against Virginia Tech (7 in the first meeting, 5 today).  Tech was just 12/45 in the 2nd halves vs maryland this season (27%).

Tech is now just 1-15 in 2014 with one regular season game remaining, a Saturday tilt with the other tech who won at syracuse tonight.

Game Stats:

  HOKIES terps
FGs 15/39 (31%) 24/60 (40%)
3s 6/18 (33%) 10/32 (31%)
FTs 11/16 (69%) 6/7 (86%)
Turnovers 17 5
Pts Per Poss 0.76 1.04
Top Scorer JvZ/Eddie (14) Layman (13)
FG Droughts 5:35  
  7:32  
  5:59  

Game Summary:

Tech started their final game at maryland as icy cold as the weather, missing their first 5 shots.  But the Hokies rebounded to hit 5 of their next 7 shots to pull within a point (13-12) after the under-12 timeout. Unfortunately, Tech who was without Smith, Emelogu, or Raines for the game, lost C.J. Barksdale with an ankle injury at this point, leaving them with just 5 scholarship players for the final 30 minutes.

Joey van Zegeren was playing like a man possessed early.  He dunked over Seth Allen of maryland and shouted towards the maryland bench.  He blocked shots.  He snared offensive and defensive rebounds.  He made sweet back-door-cut passes.  Unfortunately his 2nd foul forced him to the bench later in the first half.

After a maryland layup, the Hokies and their 2-3 zone put the clamps on maryland, holding them to just 2 points over the next 5 minutes.  Tech went on an 11-2 run thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Jarell Eddie and another by Will Johnston to take a 23-17 lead!  They were pushing the ball up the court when they had the opportunity.  They were shooting the ball on their first good look, even if, gasp, there were more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock!  Tech was pounding the offensive glass!  The Hokies were playing, dare I say it, basketball!  They had 23 points in less than 12 minutes!  And then… (death, taxes, and…)

[INSERT RIDICULOUS SCORING DROUGHT DESCRIPTION HERE, PART 1]

maryland started going to a passive full court drought.  To JJ’s credit, Tech handled it much better than they did at duke and advanced the ball easily (except for a travel/10-second violation on Johnston at the end of the half).  But, it slowed Tech down and they reverted back to their “offense” of the last several weeks — taking the air out of the ball.  The result was ZERO points for the next 5:35 (0/5 FGs and 4 turnovers).  maryland responded with a 7-0 run to go back on top 24-23 with 3 minutes to go in the half.

After 335 seconds without a point, Virginia Tech answered with 5 points in 24 seconds culminated on a transition 3-pointer by Jarell Eddie, his third triple of the half.  Tech regained the lead at 28-24 with 2:20 to go in the half.

[INSERT RIDICULOUS SCORING DROUGHT DESCRIPTION HERE, PART 2]

The Hokies would have the ball for the final shot of the half up 29-26… or so it seemed.  But this is Virginia Tech, and the Hokies saw Trevor Thompson get stripped of the ball with 8 seconds to go, leading to a breakaway dunk by Nick Faust just before the halftime buzzer.  Tech led 29-28 at the break but Uncle Mo had shifted back to the terps.

This game marked the 8th straight Tech has failed to reach the 30-point mark in the first half (they’ve done it just 3 times in 17 ACC games), despite being 5/10 from deep in the first half to help power their lead.

Virginia Tech opened the 2nd half like they ended the first, with a turnover leading to a maryland dunk.  That would be the story of our life in the final 20+ minutes.  Check out some of these facts:

  • No points in the first 4:16 of the 2nd half… coupled with no points in the final 1:36 of the first means a scoreless drought of 5:52
  • Between the final 8 seconds of the first half and the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half, Tech committed 6 turnovers (in 7 possessions) while getting just one FG attempted
  • maryland went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 34-29
  • Tech had just one FG attempt in the first 5:10 of the 2nd half that even hit the rim (they had 2 bricks to go along with the one miss on target)
  • The Hokies would end up going 7:32 before they made a field goal, finally making a bucket for the first time in the 2nd half with 14:48 to go.
  • All told, between the 8:19 mark of the first half and the 14:48 mark of the 2nd, Tech would make just 2 FGs and score just 8 points over that stretch of 13:31.  And those 2 FGs were 24 seconds apart.

At that point, maryland turned the game into a Shoot-Around.  The terps hit 5 three-pointers in a 3:15 span to turn a 31-29 lead into a 46-34 cushion (5/6 during the stretch from deep).

The rest of the game looked like a layup line for maryland.  Perhaps JJ figured uncontested dunks were better than 3s (since it is one less point).  maryland had 4 dunks in the final 10:03 of the game.

[INSERT RIDICULOUS SCORING DROUGHT DESCRIPTION HERE, PART 3]

Even with the game over, Tech still couldn’t muster any field goals.

Between 8:19 to go in the game and 2:20 Tech would not score a point, a run of almost 6 minutes.  This was their third stretch of 5:30+ without a point in the game!!! Between the 8:19 mark of the first half and the 2:20 mark of the 2nd, Tech would make just 6 field goals and score just 14 points in that stretch of almost 26 minutes.

  • Tech only made 5 FGs in the entire 2nd half (23% on FGs, 1/8 — 12.5% on 3s)
  • The Hokies made just 7 FGs in the final 28 minutes of the game
  • The Hokies had more turnovers (17) than made FGs (15) for the game
  • Tech has surpassed the 1.0 mark on points per possession in just one ACC game this season (which would be a record according to Cvillehoops13 of TSL).  They posted a horrendous (anemic, whatever adjective you like) 0.76 tonight.

At the end, Tech cleared their bench… that meant bringing in one player, Greg Donlon, that’s all they had left.

Worst of all, the team quit.  At least up to this point you could say they had fought all the way all year.  But they quit in the 2nd half.  They weren’t fighting over screens and weren’t hustling after loose balls or on help defense.  What made me the most upset was Jarell Eddie was clearly fouled on a 3-pointer with 4:30 to go but no call was made.  We were down 17.  It was the chance for JJ to get T’d up and show he still cared.  That he was still “playing” hard.  But he just softly spoke to the refs as maryland went down for a dunk and we slept walk to the media break.  So I quit on them at the under-4 timeout.  Our tee time for next Thursday can’t come soon enough.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps1 Comment

The Week Ahead: Tuesday @ maryland (8 PM) and Saturday @ georgia tech (2 PM – ESPN2)

Spreads: georgia tech is favored by 7. maryland was favored by 12.

The regular season mercifully comes to an end this coming Saturday for the 2-14/9-19 Hokies after trips to maryland (7-9) and georgia tech (4-12).  Tech has already matched the 2000-01 Hokies in two categories of futility:

  • Losing Home Record: The Hokies went 8-10 at the Cassell this year, matching the ’00-01 stokies (6-9 at home) as the only two times in the 53 years of the Cassell VT has had a losing record at home.  But even that team won 2 conference games at home, this year’s Hokie squad went 1-8 in conference play at the Cassell.
  • Most Conference Losses: The ’00-01 Hokies went 2-14 in the Big East, and this year’s version has matched that mark for conference losses, and will likely surpass it this week thanks to two extra games.

With boston college’s win at wake forest on Saturday (can you say another nail in Bzdelik’s ridiculously huge coffin?), the Hokies clinched the 15th seed (i.e. dead last) in the ACC Tournament.  And the Hokies can only finish, at best, tied for last place in the league, marking the third straight year they’ve been in the cellar.

The Hokies will play the #10 seed in the ACC Tournament, which is… miami (as of today)!  So you are sayin’ there’s a chance!

Predictions: 1-1

Call me crazy but I see Tech knocking off georgia tech next Saturday.  The lesser tech has lost 5 of 6 with the lone win over bc.  A loss will surely put Gregory on the hot seat at gt, though he’ll likely get another year.  Plus, VT OWNS the lesser tech, with VT 14-5 all time against the jackets and are 4-2 at the Thriller Dome since joining the ACC.

Meanwhile, I think maryland is too deep (they’ll play 11 guys) for the razor thin Hokies to beat on the road in their final trip to the Communist Center as ACC rivals.  But wouldn’t it be sweet to return the favor to the terps, who beat us in our house in football this past fall, and knock off maryland in their building in their sport — hoops.  My brain just won’t let me pick it.

Schedule:

  • Tuesday (3/4) at 8 PM at maryland (7-9, 15-14) on the ACC Network
  • Saturday (3/8) at 2 PM at georgia tech (4-12, 13-16) on ESPN2 (why the heck is this game featuring teams with 6 total ACC wins on ESPN2?)

Trending:

  • maryland is 2-5 since defeating the Hokies on 2/1 and just lost to clemson in double OT (clemson held the terps to 56 in regulation and VT will likely take the air out of like the tigers did)
  • The jackets have lost 6 of 7 (they were beaten soundly at fsu on Sunday night) and 10 of 13 since January 11th.  They have not won back-to-back games since December 16th (and have lost at least 2 in a row for every 1 they win).

Team Stats  – ACC Games Only (through March 1st)

Note that this is where each team ranks in each major statistical category in ACC Conference Games only.

VT md gt
PPG 15 3 12
Opp PPG 7 11 10
FT% 15 7 13
FG% 15 10 11
Opp FG% 5 10 12
3-Pt% 12 8 6
Opp 3-Pt% 7 10 11
3s Made 7 3 9
Blocks 5 8 7
Assists 12 10 8
Steals 15 5 12
TO Margin 14 9 15
Off Reb% 11 12 13
Def Reb% 6 2 3

Of Note:

  • The Hokies were 17/21 from the line vs unc.  The four misses were all by Devin Wilson (8/12) including missing the front end of TWO one-and-ones.  That’s six points left on the table by your point guard in a four point loss.
  • Tech was 23/28 from the line for the week (82%). They were shooting just 59% from the stripe in ACC play before last week.
  • Joey van Zegeren is 5th in the ACC in blocks per game with 1.8.
  • Devin Wilson is 2nd in the ACC in assists per game with 4.8.
  • Tech has held 7 straight opponents to 71 points or less.
  • VT has no one in the top 20 in scoring in the ACC in conference play.
  • georgia tech played some zone at fsu Sunday and had a walk-on at the 2-guard.  It’s like looking in a mirror!

Hokie Leaders (through March 1st):

  • PPG: Eddie – 13.4
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 5.4
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.8
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 1.8
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.8

Hokie Team Stats  — Overall (through March 1st — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all 28 games):

  • PPG: 64.2 (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 67.6 (9th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 41% (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 40% (5th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 36% (4th in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 33% (8th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 65% (12th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents

  • (VT’s RPI is 224 and their BPI is 153):
  • at maryland (RPI #76, BPI #49): 
    • maryland is 31-10 overall vs VT
    • maryland has won 4 straight in the series
    • maryland is 8-6 vs VT in ACC play
    • maryland is 5-1 vs VT at home in ACC play
    • maryland beat VT 80-60 in Blacksburg a month ago – RECAP
  • at georgia tech (RPI #169, BPI #131):
    • HOKIES are 14-5 overall vs gt
    • HOKIES have won 4 of 5 and 7 of 9 (won at gt last year before losing at home to the jackets)
    • HOKIES are 10-4 vs gt in ACC play
    • HOKIES are 4-2 at gt in ACC play
    • This is the only meeting this season

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • maryland: Dez Wells – 6’5″ Junior Small Forward - Dez had 19 points off the bench in 30 minutes in the first meeting on 6/9 shooting and 7/8 FTs.  Dez leads the team in scoring with 14.8 ppg.  He’s not a 3-point threat but attacks the rim and gets to the line a lot.
  • georgia tech: Trae Golden – 6’2″ Senior Point Guard (transfer from tennessee) - The former vol has led the jackets in PPG (12.6) and APG (3.0) in his first season in Atlanta.  He’s a decent 3-point shooter (1.3 makes per game at 31%), but shoots just 39%.  He’s not that good, and neither is this team.  Georges-Hunt and Carter, Jr. are two physical players that the Hokies will have to battle with inside, but VT did a good job on the unc bigs so I think they’ll be fine here.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews7 Comments

unc (11-4) 60, Hokies (2-14) 56

Hope is a dangerous thing. The Hokies, who fell to 9-19 after today’s 60-56 loss to north carolina, have given fans hope in the last five games by playing tough defense and keeping games close, or at least interesting, for the most part.

However, despite much improved play over the last several games, the Hokies have only one win to show for their efforts. Today’s loss was an even tougher pill to swallow because it means a losing record at home (8-10) for the Hokies for only the second time in the 53 year history of Cassell Coliseum.

Tech started slowly (shocking, we know), but so did the tar heels. After falling behind 11-6, the Hokies used a 10-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Freshmen Devin Wilson and Trevor Thompson played particularly well against the heels. They didn’t seem intimidated or overwhelmed. They still made some freshmen mistakes, but they’re showing the league’s best that they can compete.

Wilson finished with 15 points and 7 assists, while Thompson had 8 points and 6 rebounds.

Back to the game. After taking that 16-11 lead, unc woke up and closed the half with a 17-5 run that put them up 28-21 lead at the break.

The Hokies, remember, were without Adam Smith, Ben Emelogu, and of course, Cadarian Raines, who did not see a single second of action in his final home game ever as a Hokie. Officially, Raines was out because of an ankle injury, even though he warmed up before both halves and didn’t seem to be favoring either ankle.

In the second half, unc’s James McAdoo finally came to life and started gashing Tech’s defense with a seemingly endless supply of thunderous (and uncontested) dunks. He scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half.

Still, the Hokies didn’t quit. Late in the game, despite trailing by nine thanks to a bad offense charge call against Jarell Eddie that negated a bucket, which then led to a McAdoo dunk, Tech managed to keep it close and even cut the lead to three late.

Eddie, who led all scorers with 18 points, converted a layup with 5.6 seconds left to make it a 59-56 game. Leslie McDonald made one of two free throws to seal the four-point win for the tar heels, who have now won 11 straight games, their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has lost 14 of its last 15 games and have only one win in 2014. With two games left, the Hokies are in dead last in the ACC standings. Tech has clinched the 15th seed in the ACC tournament (i.e. last place for the third straight year), and they’ll play on Wednesday, March 12, against the No. 10 seed, which is miami right now.

One other note on this game: As we mentioned earlier, senior Cadarian Raines, who hasn’t played much at all this season, didn’t see one minute of playing time today. It was his last appearance in a Hokie uniform at the Cassell, and he didn’t get in the game. That just seems odd, but then again, this whole season has been odd in terms of players disappearing on the bench for unexplained reasons. Remember that guy Marshall Wood?

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Games1 Comment

#6 duke 66 (12-4), HOKIES 48 (2-13)

Boxscore

In the land of NERDS the Hokies fell by a score of 66-48 to #6 duke.  The Hokies entered as 21 point underdogs and fell behind by 20 points in the first 10 minutes and 10 seconds of the game (24-4), but battled back and only trailed by 8 with 14 minutes to go in the game.  But an 8 minute FG drought did in the Hokies, who narrowly avoided their 7th Reverse Bear Fight of the season (however this is the 8th time VT has lost by 18+).

Considering the 20-point deficit early and the fact VT lost by 28 and 32 points to duke last year (VT has lost by 35, 35, and 28 in the past at duke), this game could have really gotten ugly, but Tech battled throughout.

The Hokies actually shot for a higher FG% and FT% than duke, were just -2 in FTs made (even though this game was at Cameron Indoor), and held duke to just 30% from 3-point range.  Yet Tech lost by 18.  How?

  • -6 in turnover margin
  • Tech had an offensive rebounding % of just 15% while duke was at 35%, meaning duke got a LOT of extra possessions and 15 extra FG attempts.
  • VT hit just one 3-pointer in each half
  • Tech got out-coached (more on that below)

KEY STATS:

VT duke
FGs 20/47 (43%) 24/62 (39%)
3s 2/9 (22%) 10/33 (30%)
FTs 6/7 (86%) 8/11 (73%)
Pts Per Poss 0.78 1.06
Lead Scorer Thompson – 15 Hood – 21
Long FG Drought 7:05 (1st) 4:14 (1st)
8:21 (2nd)

GAME SUMMARY:

If you had any illusions of the Hokies winning on Tuesday night, those thoughts pretty much evaporated in the first few minutes.  A few things told me early on Tech had zero chance of winning:

  • duke came in as the #1 three-point shooting team in the ACC in terms of makes and %, and that is the weakness of a zone.
  • On the first possession of the game, duke missed a 3-pointer and Devin Wilson did a great job of boxing out his man.  However, he was called for a foul for rooting out/under-cutting the duke player even though the dukie clearly jumped over his back.
  • The blue devils came out in a full court trap.  Keep in mind the Hokies had just one scholarship guard on the trip, so pressing was pure genius (seriously, why don’t more teams do this?).  The result was an exhausted Devin Wilson from expending energy just to advance the ball into VT’s offense.
  • The Hokies were completely unprepared at the start (shocker).

This game started as poorly as possible for the Hokies.  Check out the opening 12 minutes:

  • VT trailed 15-2 at the first media timeout (15:05 to go in the 1st half)
  • duke was up 17-4 at the 2nd media break (11:59)
  • The Hokies were down 24-5 at the under-8 media timeout (7:47 to go)… And VT trailed by 20 at one point, 24-4.  This marked the 8th time in 15 ACC games Tech has trailed by 10+ in the first half and
  • Tech was 2/14 (14%) on FGs to start the game and went more than 7 minutes without a FG in the first half (yet this wasn’t their longest FG dry spell of the game)
  • duke had a 45% offensive rebounding percentage in the first 12 minutes (10 offensive rebounds in 22 opportunities).

I don’t care for Coach K but he is #1 in wins all time for a reason:

  • He exploits a team’s weaknesses: pressing the Hokies really exposed Tech’s lack of guards and forced numerous early turnovers
  • He pushed the tempo via primary and secondary breaks, further wearing down the VT starters.
  • He found the soft spots in the VT 2-3 zone.  At first this was shooting the 3-pointer, but duke was missing early.  So he focused on finding the other soft spot in the zone, the player at the high post (usually Rodney Hood) who flashed to the foul line and got a lot of open 12-16 foot jumpers.  Once that got going and VT had to collapse their defense, duke moved the ball along the perimeter (or kicked it out from the high post) and got open 3s.

The Hokies responded very admirably, though.  After ‘spotting’ duke that 24-4 lead, the Hokies went on a 8-0/12-2 run to cut the lead to 10 at 26-16 with 4 minutes to go in the first half.  C.J. Barksdale went 4/4 during that run for 9 points.

Barksdale is clearly Tech’s best shooter right now, even as a big man.  He started the game, right?  Nope, he came in 4 minutes into the game after VT was already down 9-2.

The rest of the first half went back and forth like that the rest of the way and Tech entered the locker room down ‘just’ 12 at 32-20, but all considering, that wasn’t a bad thing.

The Hokies came out firing and opened the 2nd half on a 7-2 run, cutting the duke lead to just 7 at 34-27 with 18 minutes to go.  But Tech would get no closer.

duke, who started 4/18 (22%) from 3-point range, got hot after that.  They hit 4 of their next 6 triples and pushed the lead back up to 14 (54-40) with 10:48 to go.

As mentioned above, with Tech trailing by 13 with 11:06 to go, Tech embarked on an 8-minute field goal drought, scoring just 4 points from the line during that stretch and allowing duke to go up by 19 at 63-44.  In fact, Tech scored just 6 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.  At least they avoided the Reverse Bear Fight thanks to a Trevor Thompson layup with a minute to go, setting the final margin at 66-48.

There were some real positives for the Hokies:

  • Trevor Thompson keeps getting better and better.  He tied his career high with 15 points (most in an ACC game) on 6/9 FGs and did a great job on Jabari Parker on defense.  Trevor limited the ACC POTY candidate (and lock for Frosh of the Year) to just 11 points on 3/11 shooting.  Jabari did have a double-double with 12 rebounds, but all in all TT did a great job on him.  Trevor had a nice block on a Jabari dunk attempt and had 3 steals.
  • Frosh evolution — early in the year it was Emelogu.  Then Wilson.  Now Thompson.  All three of those freshmen have shown streaks of brilliance and a bright future for the Hokies.  Trevor has averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds per game over the last 5 games, all as a starter.
  • Joey van Zegeren also improves with each game.  He had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks tonight.  His play of the game was after his missed a shot, he stripped the duke player of the ball and then flushed it for a BRRRRAHHHH.  Just as importantly, he committed just 3 fouls in 27 minutes, allowing himself to stay aggressive on defense.
  • Together, TT and JvZ are turning into a shot-blocking force inside.
  • Barksdale was 4/4 from the floor but scored all 9 of his points in a 2 minute and 30 second span in the first half.  He played just 12 minutes for the game.  C.J. played less than 4 minutes in the 2nd half.  Why?  No idea.
  • Tech held the best shooting 3-point team in the league (better than 40%) to just 10/33 from deep 30%… the problem was they gave up 14 offensive rebounds.

Random Thought:

Seriously, are there bigger losers than the duke student body?  A crowd shot of a L.A. Lakers home game is a who’s who of celebrities (or at least it used to be).  A crowd shot of the duke student section looks like a Big Bang Theory casting call (not including the duke female who is a porn star — true story). I mean, if these nerds went to any other school, they’d never leave their room.  I went to the game at duke two years ago and I was tempted to start doling out wedgies and I was 36 at the time.  These people would be the face of bullying if they went to, say, florida state.  Yet they go to duke and actually think they are cool.  Seriously, you get dates because you’ll earn money some day, not because you pop your back zits with a protractor.

The Hokies return home on Saturday at 2:30 to face the ranked unc tar heels in the final home game of the season.  It’s a Maroon Monsoon, people!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps2 Comments

The Week Ahead: Tuesday at #6 duke (11-4) at 7 PM; Saturday vs #19 unc (11-4) at 2:30 PM

Update: unc won their 10th in a row on Wednesday, winning 85-84 at nc state in overtime thanks to 35 from Marcus Paige. He hit 7 threes after halftime and scored the winning layup over TJ Warren with less than a second to go in overtime.

Gambler’s Corner:

  • unc, winners of 10 in a row, are favored by 10 at VT.
  • duke: The Hokies were 20.5 to 21.5 point ‘dogs depending on the site.
Niemo Curls Eddie

Niemo Curls Eddie

Tech finishes their Research Triangle tripleheader (state, duke, and unc) with a trip to Tobacco Road to play duke and then Senior Day on Saturday for Jarell Eddie and Cadarian Raines (if he’s allowed to play).  Saturday is Maroon Monsoon so expect Tech to wear any jersey color other than maroon.

Also, best wishes to departing seniors Jarell Eddie and Cadarian Raines.  I’ve arm curled both and they were always nice to me every time I met them.  All the best!

Prediction: 0-2

Big Man meets Big Guns

Big Man meets Big Guns

Two ranked teams on tap this week.  I certainly don’t see the Hokies winning at Cameron Indoor.  And the heels are the hottest team in the ACC not named uva, having won 10 straight since losing to the hoos by 15.  I fear this week will be another 0-for.  But if it isn’t, that will be a real feather in the cap of Coach JJ who is working hard to save his job here in the latter stages of the season.

Schedule:

  • Tuesday (2/25) at 7 PM at #6 duke (11-4, 22-6) on ESPNU
  • Saturday (3/1) at 2:30 PM vs #19 unc (11-4, 21-7) on ACC Network – MAROON MONSOON!

Of Note:

  • Devin Wilson is the all time VT leader for assists as a freshman (123), surpassing Hank Thorns’s 113.  With Devin’s 23 assists in their recent 3-game home stand, Wilson is now 2nd in the ACC with 4.7 APG (behind fellow frosh Ennis of syracuse who is way ahead at 5.7).
  • VT sits at 8-9 at the Cassell this year with the unc game to go, meaning Tech will not have a winning record at home this season, marking just the 3rd time in 53 years at the Cassell this has happened.  One time they finished .500 (88-89) and one time finished with a losing record (2000-01 at 6-9 under stokes).  The game vs unc will decide which side VT falls on for this season.
  • Tech is last in ACC play in PPG, FG%, and FT% (by large margins on the latter two), and 12th in 3-Pt%.
  • duke is #1 in the ACC in FT% and unc is 14th.
  • duke and unc are #1 and #2 in ACC play in PPG so this will be a good test for Tech’s improved defense.

Hokie Leaders (through Feb. 23):

  • PPG: Eddie – 13.4
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 5.3
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.7
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 1.8
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.8

Hokie Team Stats  — Overall (through Feb. 23 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):

  • PPG: 65.2 (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 68.0 (tie-9th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 41% (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 40% (6th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 37% (2nd in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 33% (9th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 64% (13th in the ACC)

Hokie Team Stats  – ACC Games Only (through Feb. 23)

  • PPG: 56.7 (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 66.4 (8th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 37% (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 42% (6th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 31% (12th in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 35% (9th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 59% (15th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents — it ain’t pretty

  • (VT’s RPI is 228 and their BPI is 154):
  • at duke (RPI #6, BPI #8): 
    • duke is 42-8 overall vs VT
    • duke has won 6 straight in the series and 10 of 11
    • duke is 13-3 vs VT in ACC play
    • duke is 6-1 at duke vs VT in ACC play (won 4 straight)
    • duke majorly swept the Hokies last year (85-57 at duke and 88-56 at VT)
    • This is the only meeting this season
  • vs unc (RPI #22, BPI #26):
    • unc is 63-13 overall vs VT
    • unc has won 3 straight in the series and 8 of 9
    • unc is 10-3 vs VT in ACC play
    • unc is 4-1 vs VT at unc in ACC play (won 4 in a row since VT won the first meeting at unc back in 2007)
    • This is the only meeting this season

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • duke: Jabari Parker – 6’8″ Freshman Forward - The 2013 top 5 recruit is 2nd in the ACC at 19.1 PPG and has gotten better as the season has gone along, largely due to the fact that is settling less for outside shots and attacking the tin more (i.e. who could do to VT what T.J. Warren did except duke actually has complimentary scorers to boot).  Then, add in the fact that Parker is leading the ACC in rebounds per game at 8.8 (as a freshman, no less), and you might just have your leading candidate for ACC Player of the Year.  This will be your last, and only, year to see him in a duke uniform.
  • unc: Marcus Paige – 6’1″ Sophomore Point Guard - [Paige had 35 at nc state on Wednesday, including the game-winner with less than a second left In overtime.]. The lefty is 6th in the ACC in PPG at 16.9 and 5th in assists at 4.6 (just behind Devin Wilson).  Marcus leads the ACC in FT% at 89.9%.  Considering the heels shoot just 63% from the stripe as a team and it shows how bad the rest of the squad is from the line.  Paige is 4th in teh ACC in 3s Made Per Game (2.3… Eddie is 2nd at 2.5).  Marcus is 7th in the ACC in steals per game at 1.6 (i.e. he’d be deadly in fantasy bball).  Paige is silky smooth at the point, just like (insert the name of every unc PG over the last 10 years).

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

nc state 71 (7-7), HOKIES 64 (2-12)

Boxscore

It was the T.J. Warren Show at Saturday at Cassell Coliseum as the nc state wolfpack evened their record in ACC play at 7-7 behind 31 points from the ACC’s leading scorer.  state was simply too athletic for the short-handed Hokies.

With the loss in front of 5,268 at the Cassell (VT’s 2nd largest crowd in ACC play), Tech is now 8-9 at home on the season with one game to go next Saturday versus the red hot unc tar heels.  The Hokies have now clinched not having a winning record at home for just the 3rd time in the 53 year history of the Cassell.  One other time they finished .500, which they could do with an upset next Saturday, or they’ll produce their 2nd ever losing season at home with a loss, matching the 2000-01 Hokies.

KEY STATS:

ncsu VT
FGs 26/64 (41%) 18/42 (43%)
3-Ptrs 4/24 (17%) 6/18 (33%)
FTs 15/25 (60%) 22/37 (60%)
Leading Scorer Warren – 31 Wilson/Eddie – 14
Longest FG Drought 8:08
Pts Per Possession 1.02 0.99

T.J. Warren, a sophomore and former 5-star recruit that was a bit of a disappointment last year, came in leading the ACC in PPG at 23 per contest (almost 4 points ahead of #2) and he was too much for Tech to guard.  After hitting two early 3-pointers, he shredded the Tech 2-3 zone with runner after runner from 6-12′ on his way to 31 points on 12/21 shooting, 3 short of his career high 34 he had at home vs (shocker) wake forest.

Warren was the recipient of many of Tyler Lewis’s 11 assists (he had 9 assists just in the first half).  Lewis looks like he belongs on The Big Bang Theory more than an ACC basketball court, but beat the defensively challenged Hokies off the dribble easily today.

The Hokies came in having playing three great games in a row, but winning just one.  Today was not a fourth straight great effort.  We should note that Tech was without Adam Smith as usual, but also Ben Emelogu and Cadarian Raines were out with ankle issues.  That left Tech with just one scholarship guard available today.  Will Johnston had to play the off-guard and logged 33 minutes (he’d sit whenever he got as red as the state uniforms).  Jarell Eddie ran point for the 1 minute Devin Wilson sat today.

Don’t let the final score fool you — nc state was in control of this game for the entire 25 minutes, usually leading by 8 to 12 points.  The Hokies never got closer than 6 after the 5-minute mark of the first half until the final minute of the game, with state leading by as many as 15 with 7:23 to go.  Tech simply didn’t have the energy they had on Tuesday versus uva and played pretty lethargic basketball (JJ included who on at least two occasions should have either gotten a T or let the refs know they made a bad call).  While the final margin was just 7, nc state simply is not a good team outside of T.J. Warren.  They have some athletes but they are not very skilled.  They have almost no shooters — after Warren hit his first two 3-pointers, state went 2/22 from deep the rest of the game and were just 4/24 (17%) overall from deep).  Tech simply had no one who could guard the 6’8″ Warren (who is basically a ’3/wing’).

Tech did scrap until the end, though, but just couldn’t take advantage of late chances.  They missed a layup under the basket down 7 with 2:30 to go, then after getting an offensive rebound the next possession, missed a 3 that would have cut the lead to 3 with 1:40 to go.  Barksdale had an open look at a 3 with Tech down 5 and 30 seconds to go, but again, the Hokies couldn’t hit and state put the game away from the line.

Tech lost for a few key reasons:

  • No one athletic enough to guard T.J. Warren.  Devin Wilson was on him a lot when Tech wasn’t in the zone, but Devin gives up several inches and just is not a good on-ball defender (no one is on VT).
  • Tech was just 22/37 (59.5%) from the foul line.  Even worst, their bigs were a combined 7/17 including 3/9 by van Zegeren.  Eddie and Wilson were 14/17 while everyone else was 8/20.
  • The Hokies committed 17 turnovers.  It marked just the 2nd time they’ve had more than 14 in their last 8 games.
  • Tech shot very poorly outside the charge circle in the paint for the first 29 minutes…

Tech did not shoot well early today.  Here are a few (not so) fun facts:

  • With 11 minutes to go in the game, Tech had just 3 made FGs outside of the paint for 8 total points.
  • Tech went more than 8 minutes without a field from the final 6 minutes of the first half through the first 2 minutes of the 2nd half.
  • The Hokies went more than 11-and-a-half minutes without a field goal that wasn’t a dunk in that same span.

Here is the scoring breakdown for VT:

  • Free Throws: 22
  • 3-pointers: 6 for 18 points
  • Dunks: 4
  • Tip-ins/layups: 5
  • Other shots in the paint: 2
  • (Total points in the paint: 11 FGs for 22)
  • Midrange shots: 1 for 2 points

Some bright spots for Tech:

  • Devin Wilson had 14 points and 9 assists.  For the 3 game home stand he had 39 points and 23 assists (13/8 per game — pretty darn good).  He already owns the VT freshmen record for assists in a season.  He did have 5 turnovers though.
  • Trevor Thompson had 9 points and 9 rebounds, including a couple of monster dunks over nc state defenders (one 2-handed, one 1-handed).  Unfortunately, he added 4 turnovers.
  • Jarell Eddie hit 3/6 three-pointers and 5/6 FTs and had 6 rebounds for 14 points.
  • Tech actually got what they wanted on defense from the 2-3 zone.  nc state shot 24 three-pointers, well above their season average, and made just 4.
  • Also, Tech barely missed averaging a point per possession.  In fact, with just one more made free throw, they’ve have surpassed it.  According to Cvillehoops13 on TSL, they’ve surpassed 1 point per possession in ACC play just once this season.
  • From Cvillehoops13: “The Hokies have only reached 1 point per possession in 1 ACC game this year. If that holds the remainder of the schedule they will be the first ACC team in the shot clock era to not get to 1 ppp in at least two conference games – that despite playing more conf games than many of those teams and in a year when points per possession is at an all time high since the shot clock.”

Tech trailed 35-25 at the half.

The Hokies return to action on Tuesday at duke at 7 PM on ESPNU.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Home7 Comments

uva 57, HOKIES (2-11) 53

Boxscore

First off, Happy 1st Birthday to my son (unfortunately his VT jumpsuit didn’t will us to victory and he hasn’t seen us beat the hoos in hoops yet).  Second, go U-S-and-A!  Beat the czechs!  Third, big props to Mr. P. Shannon.  Your generosity is overwhelming.  THANK YOU!  Ok, on to the recap…

Happy 1st Bday from Capt America/Niemo

Happy 1st Bday from Capt America/Niemo

In front of 5,316 fans (the most at a VT ACC home game this year) and a rowdy student section, the Hokies played their hearts out and led for 28 consecutive minutes (and were up by 11 with 14 minutes go go)… unfortunately, that run ended with 2:30 to play and the virginia flyin’ elbows, I mean cavaliers, escaped with a 57-53 victory at the Cassell.  The win was uva’s 4th straight at VT, just the 2nd time they’ve ever had a winning streak at VT that long (and first since the 40s).  Tech is now 8-8 at home on the season with two home tilts to go.

Hats off to the Hokies and I’m really proud of them.  They played their guts out from the opening tip until the final horn.  And believe me, uva was, too.  Tech was on their game (as much as they can be) and had uva off theirs for most of the night.

The stars of the game were Joey van Zegeren (a career high 13 points) and Devin Wilson (13 points and 5 assists – giving Wilson the VT freshmen record for assists with 114). Those two were a combined 11/14 (79%) from the floor.  Unfortunately, the rest of the team was just 8/29 (28%).

But really everyone was a star tonight.  Will Johnston had two great defensive rebounds on long rebounds where he had to cover a lot of ground.  Trevor Thompson had a couple of great blocks, including a left-handed pin on Joe Harris.  Jarell Eddie was diving for loose balls, trying to make up for his 1/8 effort on FGs (1/7 on 3s).  Ben Emelogu had a couple of huge 3s.  In the end, though, it wasn’t enough.

While this did show a potential bright future for the Baby Jakes, there are no moral victories for coaches.  Had we won, I honestly would have flipped my stance to the “Give JJ another year” side.  But with the loss, VT has now lost 5 in a row to the hoos and stay firmly rooted in 15th place in the ACC.  To be fair, though, this was the third straight game the Hokies have played well and forced their opponent to play down to their level, so to speak.  If JJ can continue this trend the rest of the way, I may end up flipping my (meaningless) vote.

KEY STATS:

  uva VT
FGs 20/51 (39%) 19/43 (44%)
3-Ptrs 9/25 (36%) 6/17 (35%)
FTs 8/15 (53%) 9/15 (60%)
Leaders:    
Scoring Brogdon – 12 Wilson/JvZ – 13
     
Score Trend: 1st Half 2nd Half
Under-16 uva 10-8 VT 35-27
Under-12 uva 14-13 VT 40-34
Under-8 VT 22-14 VT 45-42
Under-4 VT 22-18 VT 46-42
Half/Final VT 28-21 uva 57-53

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Key to the Game: uva needed to be cold from the outside against the VT 2-3 zone

Zones are susceptible to 3-point shots because they are focused on stopping penetration and if you rotate the ball well, or kick it in and back out, you can get easy looks.  So you have to hope the other team isn’t on from deep.  Early on it looked like the hoos were hot from behind the arc.  London Perrantes, who had just 14 made 3s on the season, hit two early triples and uva jumped to an 8-2 lead early.  But uva would miss their next 9 attempts from deep and went into the half just 3/13 from long range (though more on that last one in a bit).

Meanwhile, the Hokies drilled 4/9 from 3-point range in the first half with four different Hokies (Johnston, Wilson, Eddie, and Barksdale) hitting one each.

In the second half, the hoos continued to be cold against the 2-3 zone, starting 3/8.  But then trailing 46-42 with 3:30 to go they hit three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 9-0 run and all but put the game away up 51-46 with 1:46 to go.  Their 9/25 for the game (36%) was right on their average (though way more attempts than usual, largely due to the zone).

  • Flip the Script: Avoid the drought

Tech, who is notorious for long scoring droughts, turned the tables on their opponent for the 2nd straight game.  The Hokies held miami scoreless for almost 8 minutes in the first half to fuel a 9-0 run.  Tonight, again, Tech went on a 9-0 run in the first half, holding the cavs scoreless for 5:55 (and without a field goal for 7 minutes).  VT used this to turn a 14-13 deficit with 12 minutes to go into a 22-14 lead with less than 6:00 left before the break.

Unfortunately, Tech followed with their own dry spell.  The Hokies didn’t score from the 7:24 mark until 64 seconds were left in the first half, a sahara desert of more than 6 minutes.  The hoos, however, could muster just 4 points during this stretch and with a 3-pointer by Barksdale and 3 free throws by Eddie, Tech took a commanding 10-point lead at 28-18.

In the second half, once again both teams would hit a rough patch.  uva scored just 1 point from the 9:20 mark until 3:27 was left, a span of almost 6 minutes without a field goal.

Unfortunately, Tech was even worse during the latter part of that span.  The Hokies scored just 1 point from the 7:34 mark until 31 seconds were left in the game, 7 minutes without a field goal.  By that point, their 4-point lead had turned into a 6-point deficit.

  • Uncle Mo: Momentum is Key

The crowd was going nuts with the Hokies up 10 and the hoos struggling to get a shot off at the end of the half, but Malcolm Brogdon hit a fallaway 25-footer at the buzzer (it left his hand with 0.1 left on the clock) to take some of the air out of the Hokies and the rowdy student crowd.

Tech had held uva’s two leading scorers (Brogdon and Harris — who average 24 ppg combined) scoreless for the first 19 minutes and 59.9 seconds until that late 3 Brogdon.  Harris, who has torched the Hokies for more than 18 ppg in the last 2 years, was 0/6 for the half and missed the front end of a one-and-one and fouled Jarell Eddie on a 3-pointer.  He was clearly off his game and rattled.

In the second half, it seemed like everything was going the Hokies’ way.  Up 6 with 16 minutes to go and the shot clock running out, Ben Emelogu threw up a Hail Mary that bricked badly.  But JvZ was there and put the miss as the shot clock ran out and got fouled (and actually made the free throw) to put VT up 9 at 36-27.

But Uncle Mo would change shortly after on a swing of an elbow by Joe Harris that started a uva 13-3 run at a time when they were down by 11 at 40-29.  The refs somehow missed Joe Harris’s running elbow to Will Johnston’s head on the perimeter.  That possession, instead of an offensive foul, turned into a uva 3-pointer and they’d go on a 13-3 run to cut the VT lead to one at 43-42 with 8 minutes to go.

Harris struggled most of the game but had the critical 3-pointer, from NBA range no less, that put the hoos up 48-46 with 2:40 to go after trailing for more than 28 straight minutes.  He finished with just 7, though.

  • Be Aggressive – B-E Aggressive

Tech, who hadn’t made a free throw in the first half of a game in over two weeks, got to the line 7 times in the first half and hit 6 of them.  Unfortunately, they were just 3/8 from the line in the 2nd half and 9/15 (60%) for the game.

However, it was the hoos that got awfully aggressive in the 2nd half.  With the Hokies up 40-29 and less than 14 minutes to go, Harris’s elbow came as mentioned earlier, starting a 13-3 run to get the hoos within 1.

Then, with VT in forced foul mode with 18 seconds to go, Devin Wilson fouled Brogdon in the back court as Brogdon swung his elbow and caught Wilson on the jaw.  uva was up 54-50 at the time and things could have gotten interesting.  But uva made both their free throws and VT’s Eddie could hit just 1 to make it 56-51.  After a Wilson layup cut it to 3 at 56-53, Brogdon made just 1 of 2, but that put it away at 57-53 (unless of course the opponent fouls you shooting a 3… which they didn’t).  Had Eddie made both free throws, the Hokies would have had a chance to tie at the end.  Ifs and buts…

Random Officiating Whine:

  • First of all, the missed call on Harris’s elbow.
  • Secondly, they don’t give JvZ a timeout he’s asking for with the ball on the ground right in front of the official (they claim he was already out of bounds, which he wasn’t when he asked for the TO), but they give uva’s coach a timeout from 80 feet away as their worst foul shooter, Akil Mitchell (who earlier air balled one) was getting fouled.  Really?  How can you give a timeout when the player is being fouled while in the air getting a rebound?
  • Those things didn’t cost VT the game, but the first couple definitely didn’t help.

Tech finishes their 3-game home stand on Saturday against the nc state wolfpack at 2 PM.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps5 Comments

HOKIES 52 (2-10), miami 45 (3-9)

Boxscore

VICTORY!!!  And for yours truly, victory Scotch! (see picture — in honor of our 10 game losing streak it is a 10 year old Scotch… nah, let’s move on up to 18 year old Johnnie Walker Platinum!)

Victory Scotch!

Victory Scotch!

I had a good feeling about tonight (although this isn’t the first time I’ve said that), and it proved right!  The Hokies snapped their 10 game losing streak and picked up their first win of 2014 with a clean sweep of the miami hurricanes, 52-45 at the Cassell on Saturday (won if football – check; won in bball twice — check).  With the win, VT avoids falling below .500 at home this year (8-7).  Tech must win 1 of their final 3 home games to avoid just their 2nd losing season at the Cassell in 53 years.

First of all, let me say how proud I am of the guys and happy they won tonight in front of 5,105 of the best fans in the world (there was a spirited student crowd there — but I’m sure it had nothing to do with the chance to win a free Spring Break trip).  Last Saturday was a heartbreaker and I’m glad the Baby Jakes could feel the sweet taste of victory tonight.  And congrats to JJ.  Yes, I want him fired at seasons end, but I’m glad he got the guys focused again tonight and got a win.

The Hokies won largely due to one reason: miami put on the worst shooting exhibit I have ever seen for the first 29 minutes (and despite the fact Tech wasn’t lighting it up, VT kept a comfortable lead throughout):

  • miami started the game 1/14
  • miami went almost 8 minutes in the first half without a point (VT went on a 9-0 run to go up 17-5)
  • The u shot 18.5% on FGs in the first half
  • The canes were 3/17 from 3-point range (17.6%) in the first half
  • The u went more than 6 minutes without a point in the 2nd half
  • miami had just 3 points (all on the same shot) in the first 9 minutes of the 2nd half
  • With 11 minutes to go in the game they were shooting 15% from the field
  • miami shot 26% from the field for the game and 21% from deep (7/34)

Keep in mind VT was dead last in the ACC in 3-point % defense in ACC play coming in (39%) but held miami to almost half that.

And if you had the under you were sitting pretty:

  • It was 19-15 at the half.
  • Tech led 27-18 with 11 minutes to go
  • VT went scoreless from the 14:45 mark of the 2nd half for more than 4 minutes… and yet miami didn’t score either.

I.e. it wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.

C.J. Barksdale was the key tonight.  He’s been Tech’s best plus/minus player for the last two years, and tonight he went 5/9 from the field (including 2/3 on 3s) for 12 points in his first game in almost 3 weeks. He had 7 points in a 4 minute span after entering the game midway through the first half to help Tech jump out to their lead.

Oh, and I guess because CJB was back, Raines didn’t play.  (Can’t have more than one upperclassmen big play, right?!)

The Hokies went ahead 17-5 early, marking their first double-digit lead in ACC play this season.

The two teams were ice cold in the first half — they combined to shoot 55% (if you combined their individual FG%s).

The Hokies did NOT make a free throw in the first half for the third straight game (0/1).  But Tech was 12/19 in the 2nd half from the line, good enough to hold onto the win.  miami was 8/17 (47%) from the line.

Jarell Eddie did not score in the first half as the Hokies went young but finished with 7 points.

Devin Wilson had 12 points to match Barksdale’s 12, although Devin was 2/9 from the field (8/11 on FTs).  Wilson just missed a double-double with 9 assists and now just needs 5 assists to set the VT freshman record.

Here’s how the Baby Jakes did:

  • Wilson (12 points, 9 assists)
  • Thompson (8 points, 12 rebounds)
  • Emelogu (9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block)

The Baby Jakes had a very good game and combined for 96 minutes.  JJ is trying to sell his futures.

The Hokies shot 37% for the game but were 6/15 (40%) from deep.

Tech led wire to wire, the canes never led in the game.

Garrius Adams (miami) had 13 points to lead all scorers (albeit on 4/12 shooting and 0/5 on 3s).  Rion Brown, their best player, had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards, but he was just 4/16 on FGs and 3/12 on 3s.

Random Thought: This game was a Blackout. Did we wear black? No. They did. That’s as poor of planning and as dumb as can be.

I’ll say in one more time — WINNING IS AWESOME!  Now let’s beat those dang 12-1 hoos on Tuesday night at the Cassell at 9 PM!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps7 Comments

The Week Ahead: 3 Home Games — Sat., 2/15 vs miami (6 PM), Tu., 2/18 vs uva (9 PM), and Sat., 2/22 vs nc state (2 PM)

Gambler’s Corner: nc state is favored by a measly 1.5 points.
miami was favored by 3.5.

You want three previews for the price of two?  You got it!  This extra preview is courtesy of Jon King — our #1 supporter (literally).  Thanks Joking!

After Winter Storm “Action” Pax pummels the South, the hurricanes will blow into Blacksburg to kick off a 3 game home stand for the Hokies (0-5 at home in ACC play).  This is a rematch of their December 8th contest in Coral Gables that the Hokies lost by… let me check… hmm, it says here that the Hokies won that game 61-60 in overtime.  Really?  We won a game?  Wow.  It really does feel like a year ago.

While it may not mean much to the average fan during a horrible season, this 3-game home stand means a ton to historians like me.  This is Tech’s 53rd season playing in the Cassell.  In that span, they’ve had a losing season at home once.  ONCE.  That was under you-know-who back in 2000-01, Tech’s first season in the Big East.  VT went just 6-9 at the Cassell that year.  The Hokies have finished .500 just once, with that coming in 1988-89 under Coach Frankie Allen.

Well, the Hokies stand at 7-7 in the Cassell this season after starting out 6-1 at home.  There are four games left (a hot unc team is coming two weeks).  The math is pretty simple:

  • Win 3 of 4 and finish with a winning home record (Low probability… very low)
  • Win 2 of 4 and finish .500 at home for just the 2nd time in 53 years of the Cassell (eh, I’d give this about a 20-25% chance at best)
  • Lost 3 or all 4 and put a bow on our 2nd ever losing season at home. (smart money is on this scenario)

And it’s pretty simple — Tech really needs to beat miami to have any shot at winning at least 2 of these 4.  Lose Saturday and you can pretty much put JJ in the stokes Hall of Shame.

Schedule:

  • Saturday (2/15) vs miami (3-8, 12-12) at 6 PM on RSN
  • Tuesday (2/18) vs uva (11-1, 20-5) at 9 PM on ACC Network
  • Saturday (2/22) vs nc state (6-5, 16-8) at 2 PM on RSN

Yet again the ACC schedulers are doing us no favors — having a weekday game vs uva will keep attendance down from what it would have been on a weekend, then couple that with the fact it is at 9 PM and it will severely hurt the turnout at the gate.  I realize if we were actually good this wouldn’t matter and we’d gladly get home after midnight after pounding the hoos, but that era is gone. I know, I know — pathetic to be making excuses for poor attendance vs your arch-rival, but that’s the world we live in now.

Predictions:

  • Win vs miami (I know, I know — I just believe in the power of the Cassell!!!) — Why I’ll be wrong: miami is 0-6 at home in ACC play, including that loss to the Hokies… but this game isn’t in Coral Gables.  In an odd reversal of fortune, the canes are 3-2 on the road in ACC play.  3-2!  Including wins at unc and fsu.  So this team clearly is better away from the beach but again, I believe in history.
  • Loss vs uva: [just threw up in my mouth a little bit]
  • Loss vs nc state — Tech really needs to win this and the miami game to avoid a losing record at home, but there’s no way I can pick a 1-10 team to win 2 of 3.

Stats of the Week:

  • VT and miami are a combined 0-11 at home in ACC play
  • boston college is 0-for-December, January, and February against D1 teams other than Va Tech. 0-14 vs the field, 2-0 vs VT.
  • Devin Wilson will set the VT freshman record for assists with 14 more this season (he has 100, Hank Thorns had 113)
  • Tech is dead last in the ACC in FT% and FG% in ACC play, but miami is also in the bottom third of the league, too (don’t expect a shooting display)
  • nc state basically does nothing really well in league play — they aren’t in the top 5 in any major statistical category
  • nc state is 14th in Defensive Rebound % while VT has been very good of late at this
  • T.J. Warren leads the ACC in scoring in ACC play, averaging 22.1 (almost 5 points ahead of 2nd)

Hokie Leaders (through Feb. 12):

  • PPG: Eddie – 14.0;  (Emelogu 11.1)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 5.6; (van Zegeren 5.0)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.3
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 1.9
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.9

Hokie Team Stats  — Overall (through Feb. 12 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):

  • PPG: 66.3 (12th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 69.3 (11th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 41% (14th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 41% (8th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 37% (3rd in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 35% (12th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 65% (13th in the ACC)

Hokie Team Stats  – ACC Games Only (through Feb. 12)

  • PPG: 56.8 (14th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 68.7 (9th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 37% (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 44% (9th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 30% (11th in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 39% (14th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 59% (15th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents (VT’s RPI is 218 and their BPI is 165):

  • vs miami (RPI #99, BPI #93): 
    • miami 13-11 overall
    • VT 10-7 in ACC games
    • VT 4-2 in ACC games at Tech vs miami
    • VT won 61-60 in overtime at miami on 12/8/13
  • vs uva (RPI #18, BPI #17):
    • uva 85-53 overall
    • uva 12-8 in ACC games
    • VT 5-4 in ACC games at Tech
    • uva has won 4 straight in the series and 3 straight at Tech
    • VT hasn’t beaten uva at home since Feb. 13, 2010
    • A loss to the hoos would give Tech their 2nd longest losing streak ever at home vs uva (4).  Tech lost 6 straight from 1939-47 in Blacksburg to uva.
    • uva won 65-45 at uva on Jan. 25, 2014
  • vs nc state (RPI #51, BPI #72):
    • nc state 37-14 overall
    • nc state 9-5 in ACC play
    • 3-3 in games at VT in ACC play
    • state has won 3 in a row in the series (after VT won 4 in a row… after state won 6 in a row… so it is a series of streaks)
    • Only regular season meeting between the teams

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • miami: Rion Brown – The 6’6? senior leads the team in PPG (14.5 — no one else is in double digits), rebounds (6.0), and is third in assists (2.3).  His 46 made 3s easily leads the team.  Brown is the only returning hurricane that averaged more than 10 minutes per game last year.  But he was just 7th on the canes scoring list last season, averaging just 6.4 PPG.
  • uva: Joe Harris – 6’6? senior - You say Harris by default because he’s been their star for a few years now, but is down 5 ppg from last year at 11.6 (2nd behind Brogdon at 12.2).  He’s a deadly 3-point shooter – hitting 43% of his 106 attempts (46 makes just like Rion Brown).  But this is a balanced uva attack with six guys averaging between 6.9 and 12.2 ppg.
  • nc state: T.J. Warren – 6’8″ sophomore – With guys like C.J. Leslie gone, Warren has become the star of the ACC.  His 23.1 ppg easily leads the ACC and is almost double his 12.1 ppg from last year where he was the 3rd or 4th option.  He had 34 points and 10 rebounds against wake on 2/11.  In fact, he’s scored at least 20 in 7 straight games and has eclipsed the 30-point mark 5 times this year.  Oh, and he leads the team with 7.4 rpg (8th in the ACC), leads the ACC in FG% (52%), is 6th in steals (1.6 — leads the team).  His weakness is he’s a below average 3-point shooter at 29% but does average a make per game.  He’s a strong candidate for ACC POTY (especially given that Erick Green won it last year on a last place team).

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

#25 pitt 62 (8-3), HOKIES 57 (1-10) – 2 OT

Boxscore

The first meeting in 10 years, and first ever as ACC foes, was a memorable one between the Hokies and panthers.  But the Hokies would drop their 10th in a row in heartbreaking fashion, falling 62-57 in double overtime.  Major props to the guys for battling their rear ends off today at a tough environment in the Oakland Zoo.  It’s too bad they couldn’t have pulled this out.

Tech had every chance to win this game but just couldn’t get it done.  The Hokies led by 4 with less than a minute to go in regulation, but committed a dumb foul and gave the panthers a 4-point play to tie the game with 40 seconds left.  Even after that, VT would have the final possession of regulation and overtime, but in both cases the Hokies were unable to get a shot off and let the game continue.

And the biggest killer for the Hokies was they went both overtimes without making a field goal:

  • 0/13 on field goals in the two overtimes
  • Just 2 made field goals in the final 20 minutes of the game (and both were on consecutive possessions).  Tech was just 2/20 on FGs from the 10-minute mark of the 2nd half on.
  • Tech did hit 9/10 free throws in the overtimes
VT pitt
FGs 17/53 (32%) 18/48 (38%)
3-Ptrs 7/22 (32%) 6/21 (29%)
FTs 16/20 (80%) 20/28 (71%)
VT pitt
Leading:
Scorer Eddie 15 Wright 18
Rebounds Raines 11 Zanna 7
Assists Wilson 4 Patterson 5

Crazy stat of the game: The teams combined to go 1/19 from the field in the overtimes.  pitt had the only make, a layup to start the 2nd OT.  The other 21 points of overtime were all free throws.

The Hokies did a lot of things good in this game:

  • Tech’s much maligned senior class (Raines and Eddie) both had solid games.  Jarell Eddie hit 5/12 three-pointers for 15 points after going 1/12 from deep in his previous two games.  And Cadarian Raines had 8 points and 11 rebounds, narrowly missing his 3rd career double-double and forcing JJ to update his zings.  Raines had NINE offensive rebounds and really got after it on the glass.  He played hard.
  • They held pitt’s leading scorer, Lamar Patterson (17.7 ppg), without a point for the first 43 minutes and 32 seconds of the game and he didn’t make a field goal until the 2nd overtime.  He finished with just 5 points on 1/9 shooting.
  • Devin Wilson, who entered this game hitting just 57% of his FTs in ACC play, went 8/11 from the line including two to tie the game with 43 seconds to go in overtime.
  • Free Throws: The Hokies hit 16/19 FTs between the 2nd half and overtimes.  They hit 80% for the game, well above their 56% average in ACC action.
  • Tech had 17 offensive rebounds (44%) compared to just 6 by pitt (19%).
  • I was going to give JJ credit for taking the air out of the ball and shortening the game, but our possessions at the end of regulation, the end of the first OT, and with a minute to go and down 4 in the 2nd OT were horrendous and 2 of those 3 were after timeouts.  But slowing the game did help, largely thanks to our defense.
  • No Reverse Bear Fight, avoiding a 5th straight (which would have been a VT record).

Game Summary: There were a couple of times in the first half where you said to yourself, “Here we go again.”  The first was right out of the gate.  pitt started 5/6 from the field including hitting 3 three-pointers to jump out to a 13-5 lead before the first media timeout, causing Coach JJ to burn a timeout.

For once, the Hokies responded to a timeout, holding the panthers without a point for just over 6 minutes, and took a 14-13 lead thank to a 9-0 run.  Yes, the Hokies actually flipped the script holding the opponent scoreless.

pitt responded with a 5-0 run of their own to go back up 18-14 and you wondered again if the VT of the last month would surface.  They didn’t.  The Hokies of the early part of the season make an appearance and continued to battle, and at the break, Tech trailed by just 1, 27-26.  Keep in mind VT had been outscored by 80 combined points in their previous 6 games, so this was a great sign.

Would the Hokies roll over and play dead after the half?  Nope.  Ben Emelogu drained a 3-pointer to start the 2nd half and put the Hokies back in the lead at 29-27.  It marked the first time Tech has led in the 2nd half since the clemson game (7 games ago).

Virginia Tech increased their lead to as much as 5, going up 34-29 with 16:28 to go.

Tech’s defense was absolutely stellar in the 2nd half, holding pitt to just 11 points in the first 13 minutes after the break, thanks to a couple of blocks by van Zegeren and Raines each.

James Robinson hit a 3-pointer for pitt to put them ahead 41-39 with 6:50 to go, pitt’s first lead since 40 seconds into the 2nd half.

After Tech tied it at 41, perhaps the play of the game came when the Hokies should have had a layup in the paint but the ball was fumbled away and was about to go out of bounds on the left sideline, but Cameron Wright of pitt tipped the ball up the court as he jumped over the scorer’s table and Josh Newkirk grabbed it and sailed ahead for a right-handed dunk to give pitt the lead with 5:01 to go at 43-41.

Once again you wondered if Tech would pack it up and head for the airport after the panthers extended their lead to 44-41.  At that point, Tech hadn’t made a field goal in more than 6 minutes and had just 2 points during that stretch.  But Jarell Eddie hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to tie it at 44 with just under 4 minutes to go.  Then Devin Wilson hit an acrobatic layup, switching the ball from his right hand to his left hand mid-air (ala Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals vs the L.A. Lakers), to put the Hokies up 46-44 with 3 minutes to go.

After a couple of stops, Joey van Zegeren went to the line for a one-and-one with 40 seconds left and VT up by 2.  The 26% foul shooter in ACC play BANKED the first one in, then like Ollie in Hoosiers, calmly swished the second free throw to put VT up 4.

Four points should guarantee you keep the lead for your next possession, right?  Wrong.  This is the 0-for-2014 Hokies.  Jarell Eddie giveth, and he taketh away.  And on pitt’s next possession he fouled James Robinson from the left corner as hit nailed a 3-pointer.  Robinson made the subsequent free throw to tie the game and give the Hokies the ball with the game tied at 48 and the shot clock off.  In pitt’s last game in a similar situation, they lost on a shot in the final second by uva.

The Hokies milked the clock for the final shot of regulation, but that would never come.  Jarell Eddie was stripped of the ball by a help defender (James Robinson again), and a jump-ball gave the panthers possession with 2.7 seconds left.  After a timeout, pitt’s 40-footer at the buzzer (anyone have flashbacks to the duke/Dockery shot nine years ago?) bricked harmlessly off the backboard and the Hokies were headed to overtime.

In overtime, neither team scored in the first 2 minutes until Raines hit a couple of free throws to put VT up 50-48.  After a Tech turnover, Devin Wilson had a flashback to his football days in nearby McKees Rock, PA and tried to tackle Lamar Patterson and was called for an intentional foul.  Patterson, all alone on the line, missed both attempts but pitt got the ball back.  Two Robinson free throws tied the game back up at 50 with 100 seconds to go.

After each team hit a couple of free throws, and a Hokie stop on defense, Tech again would have the last shot.  This time JJ elected not to take a timeout, and the result wasn’t any better than in regulation.  Again, Tech would turn it over without getting a shot off, this time Devin Wilson lost possession of the ball going up for a jumper in the paint and overtime ended with the game tied at 52.  Neither team made a field goal in overtime, with both teams hitting 4 free throws.

The 2nd overtime saw the Hokies start to run out of bodies.  After playing the first 45 minutes with just 7 guys, Joey van Zegeren and Trevor Thompson both fouled out early in the 2nd extra session and pitt made the Hokies pay from the line.

Random Notes:

  • First Half FT Woes: Tech has not made a free throw in the first half of their last 2 games.  They had just one attempt before the break today (which is the equally large concern – the lack of aggression on offense).
  • Flurry of Fouls: Trevor Thompson and Joey van Zegeren both fouled out for the 2nd game in a row.
  • Turnovers: Tech committed 20 turnovers (7 by Wilson), their 2nd most of the season (27 vs vcu) and most in ACC play.  pitt committed just 11.
  • Devin Wilson, in his return to his hometown, continued to struggle from the floor.  He was just 1/9 and is now 7/36 (19%) on FGs over the last 5 games.

Hokies Respect Moment of the Game: With pitt about to miss their first free throw of the game, Trevor Thompson stepped in the lane early so that the panther would get another try, which he made.  Hokies respect, that’s what it’s all about!

Tech has their “bye” during the week this week and don’t return to action until next Saturday, facing the miami hurricanes at 6 PM in the Cassell.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps6 Comments

The Wild Hokie Club!

The Hokies experienced their worst season since the ricky "program bomb" stokes era. Sure, it would have been easy to quit on you, but did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!

 

And we do it for free! But, just like NPR, we rely on the generosity of our loyal fans to help keep this humble Hokie website alive. That being said, see how you can help TechHoops.com make it to 10 years!

 

Jon King, Ben Floyd and Dan Rickenbach all got in on the action and we encourage all TechHoops heads to do the same.

 

Any donation amount earns you a spot in our Wild Hokie Club. We'll even give you a shout out on Twitter and Facebook. We may even let you get armcurled by Niemo.

 

So join the TechHoops.com Wild Hokie Club today!


Choose your level of support!




New Poll Question

Has the hiring of Buzz Williams influenced your plans for attending games next season?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Get TechHoops Updates via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Photos on flickr