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.
Posted on 27 January 2015.
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.
Posted on 17 January 2015.
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!”
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.
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 on 02 January 2015.
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:
So, JVZ has been suspended for tomorrow's game against cuse. Would it make a difference in the final outcome?
— TechHoops (@TechHoops) January 2, 2015
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 on 27 December 2014.
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.
Posted on 20 December 2014.
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.
Posted on 14 December 2014.
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!
Posted on 03 December 2014.
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?).
Posted on 30 November 2014.
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.
Posted on 26 November 2014.
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 on 26 November 2014.
Fun Fact: Of the Hokies last 6 wins, 3 have been against schools named ‘miami’ and 2 have been against maryland-eastern shore.
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.
Go Hokies! Beat the wahoos XI!
Posted on 25 November 2014.
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.
Posted on 24 November 2014.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The Opponent: northern iowa
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 on 21 November 2014.
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.
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
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?!)
Tech…. big. Stock up on your Jager, Red Bull, Baileys, Jameson, and Guinness. You’ll need it, possibly twice on Saturday.
Posted on 19 November 2014.
Here is a 4-minute montage of the highlights from Wednesday’s Virginia Tech win over liberty 73-63 at the Cassell…
Posted on 14 November 2014.
Highlights from Virginia Tech’s season opening, Bear Fight victory over the maryland-eastern shore hawks 71-46:
Posted on 14 November 2014.
Added Reflections from last night and the Plus/Minus stats:
Note: Plus/minus is calculated by your team’s scoring margin while you are on the floor (so if you enter with your team up 10 and leave with them up 14, you were +4… take every stretch you play in and add them up and that’s your game plus/minus).
The Buzz Williams era at Virginia Tech began with a Bear Fight victory as the Hokies easily beat maryland-eastern shore 71-46 at the Cassell in front of 6,191 fans (pretty good turnout based on recent history and lots of students!). The highlight for umes might have been seeing Ace Custis return to Blacksburg as a coach for the hawks.
As for the Hokies, there were lots of positives to take from tonight. First, they won… just Tech’s second win since defeating this same umes team back on New Year’s Eve of 2013. Second, their three leading scorers were freshmen — Justin Bibbs and Malik Muller with 15 each and Ahmed Hill with 11.
The most impressive thing though was VT went more than 31 minutes to start the game without a turnover, and that’s with such a new, young team. VT finished +9 in turnover margin for the game and that helped Tech pull away.
Tech shot 52% from the field while holding the hawks under 30% shooting.
Free throw shooting still needs improvement for the Hokies (17/29 for 59% and missed three front ends of one-and-ones) and some defensive assignments were missed and there was some poor shot selection, but all in all this wasn’t a bad first game of the season.
SHOOTING STATS FOR VT:
Tech returns to action on Wednesday at home versus liberty.
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!
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11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - Hokies 73, liberty 63
11/22 - appalachian state 65, Hokies 63
11/25 - n. iowa 73, Hokies 54
11/26 - Hokies 78, miami ohio 63
11/30 - Hokies 83, morgan state 63
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
01/03 - syracuse 68, Hokies 66
01/06 - louisville 78, Hokies 63
01/18 - unc 68, Hokies 53
01/22 - vs. notre dame | 7pm, RSN
01/25 - vs. uva | 1pm, ACCN
01/27 - vs. pittsburgh | 7pm, ESPNU
01/31 - @ wake forest | 2pm, RSN
02/03 - @ syracuse | 9pm, ESPNU
02/07 - vs. fsu | 3pm, ACCN
02/09 - vs. georgia tech | 9pm, ESPNU
02/14 - @ clemson | Noon, RSN
02/18 - @ miami | 7pm, RSN
02/21 - @ nc state | 6pm, ESPN2
02/25 - vs. duke | 9pm, ESPN2
02/28 - @ uva | 4pm, ACCN
03/02 - vs. boston college | 9pm, ESPNU
03/07 - vs. miami | Noon, RSN
03/10 - 1st rd.
03/11 - 2nd rd.
03/12 - quarterfinals
03/13 - semifinals
03/14 - championship