Archive | 2009-10 Season

Game Recap | Hokies (25-9) 72, rhode island (26-9) 79 | 3.24.10

Virginia Tech and Rhode Island in the 2010 NIT Quarterfinals.Box Score

Blacksburg, VA — For the second time in three nights, the Virginia Tech Hokies played a nail-biter of a game, this time against rhode island in an NIT quarterfinal matchup. Unlike Monday’s game against uconn, the Hokies were not able to hold on for the win, losing 72-79 to the rams, ending their season.

Tech blew a 12-point lead in the second half as rhode island used a 20-7 run to take the lead and the Hokies had lost their momentum and were unable to sustain a run of their own. The rams closed the game on a 31-12 run to win the game.

How bad was it? The Hokies made only TWO field goals in the final 16:07 of the game. Yeah, it was THAT bad.

Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 24 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 16 turnovers by the Hokies, including five in the first half as a result of the rams’ press. The Hokies kept trying to go over the top of the press, but it only resulted in turnovers.

Dorenzo Hudson had another outstanding performance with 19 points. Jeff Allen threw in a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. However, Allen also committed six turnovers, nearly a third of the team’s total.

The Hokies shot lights out in the first half, hitting 63 percent of their field goal attempts, including 3 of 6 from three-point range. The second half, however, was a completely different story as Tech went ice cold managing just 33 percent on 9 of 17 shooting, and just 1 of 6 from behind the arc.

Tech finishes the season 25-9, tying the 1994-1995 NIT championship team for most wins in school history.

We’ll have more later, right now we need to decompress, throw back a couple of shots and let this roll off our backs.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Recaps, NIT6 Comments

Preview | #2 rhode island (25-9) @ #1 VT (25-8) | Wed., 7 PM | ESPN2 | NIT Quarterfinals

Preview | #2 rhode island (25-9) @ #1 VT (25-8) | Wed., 7 PM | ESPN2 | NIT Quarterfinals

THE SETUP:

The Hokies will try and ram-jam rhode island on Wednesday and punch their ticket to New York City.  The winner of this game advances to the NIT semifinals, which will be played in the Most Famous Arena in the World (which the Hokies own), Madison Square Garden.  Tech will try and set a school record for wins, going for #26.  They also would add to their greatest home season in program history by locking up their 18th home win and finishing 18-1 in the Cassell.

Two years ago in the NIT I talked about how mississippi would be at a disadvantage having to fly to Blacksburg and play a game just 48 hours after a previous contest.  They smoked the Hokies by dominating VT inside.  Last year in the NIT I talked about how baylor would be asleep in the Saturday 11 AM contest at VT (10 AM their time).  They were up by almost 20 before McDonald’s started serving lunch.  So I’m not saying a darn thing here about rhode island having to play in the ‘Burg just 47 hours after defeating #6 nevada Monday night.  In fact, I believe rhode island has an advantage of sorts in this game because they play an aggressive full court press all game and Tech won’t have much time to prepare for it.  That said, the Hokies have abused presses over the last two years and at this point in the season they should have little trouble adjusting to it.

This marks the second game in a row where the Hokies face a former conference rival.  VT and uri battled as Atlantic 10 foes in the late ’90s.  Much like uconn owned the Hokies in the Big East, the rams were a real thorn in the side of Tech.  VT lost  five A-10 games in a row against uri during one stretch, including in the 1996 A-10 Tourney when VT was ranked 15th.  Tech did win their final A-10 game against the rams and beat them again in 2001 in a non-conference match-up.VT is 4-5 all time against the rhodies.

THE opponent:

Offense: rhode island has the 33rd fastest tempo in the nation, but they are a bit of a contradiction.  Some possessions they will rush the ball up the court and shoot the first open look they have inside half court.  But if their transition game is held up, they can show good patience on offense and move the ball very well until they find an open man.  The former style (crazy shots) they don’t really mind because the rams want to wear you down.  Their up-tempo style and full court press are intended to take their toll as a game goes on.  So even though it might cause them to waste some possessions, they still know it is forcing you to be more up-tempo and getting to your legs.  Plus, as you tire, they know they are more likely to get the rebounds on their misses.

Marquis Jones runs the point for the rams and he is a pass-only guard.  He averages less than 5 shots attempts per game and half of those are threes.  Jones has a fantastic assist-to-turnover ratio 2.7-to-1, so the Hokies may struggle to lure him into turnovers.

Keith Cothran is their other guard and leads the team in scoring.  He is an average three-point shooter (32%).  But Cothran, Delroy James, and Lamonte Ulmer (the latter two are starting forwards) all get to the line a lot.  They are aggressive and attack the tin.  Tech must do a better job guarding Jones and others off the dribble then they have done of late, especially against uconn. 

James is a fantastic athlete at 6’8″ and went for 34 against the unathletic nevada team.  But he is feast or famine.  He takes a lot of bad shots and shoots just 43% from the floor, a terrible percentage for an athletic forward.  Force him to shoot jumpers.

Ulmer is rhode island’s best offensive rebounder.  Tech must body him up and keep him off the glass, but if the guards are getting beat off the dribble the bigs have to help and that exposes VT to give up rebounds.

Will Martell has a Kevin McHale-like body.  That is a NOT a compliment.  It looks like the last time he lifted a weight was in junior high.  [Note: Larry Bird once said McHale's preseason training regiment consisted of switching from Miller to Miller Lite.]  Martell shoots 59% from the field but almost all his points are on easy layups as Jones feeds him, or on put-backs.

Off the bench Akeem Richmond is their three-point bomber.  He shoots a higher percentage on threes (39.6%) than on two-point shots (38%).  80% of Richmond’s shots are three, so you must get out on him and not leave him if possible.  He will not dribble penetrate and never gets to the line, so don’t back off him at all.

Defense: uri will use one of two presses – they will use a full court man press where they are trying to make it difficult to inbounds the ball and aggressively going after passes, or a full court trap where they are trying to get you stuck in the corners and get steals.

Martell is not a great shot-blocker despite being 7-foot but they have four guys averaging more than a steal per game.

SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:

  • Read the Press: Delaney must recognize which press uri is in.  If it is the trap, pass over it and get numbers up the court and attack it for layups.  nevada killed the rams early by throwing over the press and the ram’s free safety was pinching too much.  Expect uri to adjust and drop the deep man even deeper.  In the full court man, Delaney can wait for his teammates to get up the floor, then dribble it up himself.  Tech has had very little difficulties with presses so I’d hope that doesn’t change.  VT is 3-1 against pressing teams by my count this year (wins over clemson, georgia tech, and seton hall, a loss to maryland).
  • Star Power: Don’t expect Delaney and Allen to have back-to-back bad games.  Allen had been on a tear before the uconn game, with three double-doubles in the final four games before the NIT.  But he has scored just 6 in each NIT game so far.  And Delaney had put together ACC Player of the Week games against nc state and georgia tech before the miami stinker, then had a fantastic game against quinnipiac before his uconn struggles.
  • Share the Wealth: Malcolm has 29 assists in his last four games and his teammates have stepped up.  Bell has 8 threes in 17 attempts in those four games, and JT Thompson is shooting over 50% in his last six games as he is drilling his midrange jumpers.  Even if Malcolm is on shooting-wise, he needs to keep sharing the rock, especially on the break.
  • Get Some Rest: No one on rhode island averages over 30 minutes per game, no surprise with their pressing nature.  With the minutes Tech’s guards play, they are going to have to find ways to get Delaney and Hudson some rest.  That may mean using some timeouts in the first half, even if Tech isn’t struggling, or getting Green and Atkins some work.  This will be vital on defense too if the Hokies tire.
  • Get Stops: Tech has had several games of late where they have allowed opponents to get 40% or more of their offensive misses.  That cannot happen in this game because rhode island is one of the best teams in the nation at protecting the ball.  The rams turn the ball over on just 15.6% of their possessions, 4th best in the nation.  Tech cannot expect a lot of points off turnovers and must be sure to get rebounds when uri misses.  Plus, VT must find other ways to score, including beating the press up the court.
  • Be the Winningest VT Team Ever: With a victory, the Hokies not only set a program record for wins with 26, they also get a trip to New York City next week.  There’s a lot on the line.  Forget the NCAA Tournament snub and give 100% to win the tournament that wanted Tech, the NIT.  The guys have been diving all over the court in the first two games and need that same effort Wednesday.  VT couldn’t get it done the last two years in the NIT, but this is a new team.

STARTERS:

Pos VT uri
G 23 Delaney 6’3″ 5 Jones 6’1″
G 5 Hudson 6’5″ 22 Cothran 6’4″
F 1 Bell 6’6″ 15 Ulmer 6’6″
F 0 Allen 6’7″ 21 James 6’8″
C 14 Davila 6’8″ 32 Martell 7′

STATS:

VT Pts Reb Ast
Delaney 20.1 3.7 4.5
Hudson 15 3.5 1.9
Allen 11.9 7.3 1.2
Thompson 7.3 4.7 0.6
Bell 6.2 6.1 1.9
Davila 5.4 4.3 0.4
uri Pts Reb Ast
Cothran 14.3 3.3 2.1
James 13 5.2 1.6
Ulmer 11.9 7.4 1.3
Richmond 8.8 1.7 0.7
Martell 7.6 4.9 0.6
Outerbridge 6.1 3 0.3

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Previews, Games0 Comments

Game Film | Hokies 65, uconn 63 | Final Seconds

Recap | Box Score

Posted in 2009-10, 2009-10 Season, Highlights, NIT0 Comments

Game Recap | Hokies 65 (25-8), uconn (18-16) 63 | 3.22.10

Game Recap | Hokies 65 (25-8), uconn (18-16) 63 | 3.22.10

Box Score | Highlights | Game Film

Blacksburg, VA — The Virginia Tech Hokies (25-8) advanced to the third round of the National Invitation Tournament by defeating the uconn huskies 65-63 at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg. The Hokies now have 25 wins, which ties the school record set in 1995-1996, when Virginia Tech last won the NIT. Tech’s junior guard Dorenzo Hudson powered the Hokies’ offense with 27 points. Surprisingly, Hudson also led VT with seven rebounds.

It was a good thing Hudson was on his game tonight because Tech’s leading scorer, Malcolm Delaney, struggled to score for the second game out his last three. The junior from Baltimore had only six points, two of which were free throws. Delaney shot just 2 of 14 and missed all five of his three-point attempts. He did, however, feed Hudson off a curl for the game-winning basket, and he played hard the whole game – just couldn’t get his shot to go.

Jeff Allen, another junior, also struggled, despite not being in foul trouble. Allen also had six points, but only three rebounds, well below his season average. Like Delaney, though, he came up big when it mattered, blocking a uconn shot with five seconds left that would have given the huskies the lead.

JT Thompson was the only Hokie other than Hudson to score in double figures with 10. Victor Davila, a sophomore, had eight points, four of which were huge free throws in the final two minutes to keep the Hokies within striking distance.

Both coaches received technical fouls for mouthing off the officials. Seth Greenberg, Tech’s seventh-year head coach, got T’d up in the first half after expressing his frustration with several no-calls including several goal-tending calls against uconn that were not called.

Calhoun picked up his technical about five minutes into the second half after the Hokies took a 38-37 lead and uconn’s Stanley Robinson got called for an offensive foul for elbowing Malcolm Delaney in the face. Calhoun disagreed and quietly said something to the official who immediately T’d him up.

The Hokies struggled mightily in the first half and looked out of sync. They committed seven turnovers and trailed by 12 points, 28-16, with 5:28 to play in the half. However, Tech mustered a late run scoring 14 points in the final five minutes, including a halftime buzzer beater three-pointer by JT Thompson, just his third three of the season. JT’s shot pulled the Hokies within five at the break, 30-35.

Tech came out strong in the second half with an 11-2 run to take the lead, 41-37. From that point on, it was a dog fight that featured two ties and nine lead changes.

Tech gave back it’s lead and uconn eventually led by five, 50-45, at the midway point of the second half. However, the Hokies never let the huskies pull away and kept within striking distance. Trailing by three, 61-58, with 1:58 to play, Davila made a pair of free throws to pull Tech within one. A minutes later, Davila did it again to draw tech within one again, 63-62, which would prove key because Hudson came of a screen and hit a pull-up jumper with :14 left to put the Hokies ahead for good, 64-63.

uconn had a chance to take the lead with 11 seconds left, but Jeff Allen blocked Kemba Walker’s attempt with :05 left and Gavin Edwards missed a layup with :01 left before Terrell Bell pulled down the rebound and was fouled. Bell missed the his first free throw and was told by Greenberg to miss the second with :00.7 left, but instead, Bell accidentally made the free throw giving uconn one last shot for a miracle, but the long shot fell short and the Hokies won 65-63.

Tech returns home Wednesday night to host rhode island, which beat nevada tonight 85-83, in third-round NIT action. Game time is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Virginia Tech is 17-1 at home this season – its only loss was a double-overtime defeat to maryland.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Recaps, Home, NIT1 Comment

Game Film | VT 65, uconn 63 | NIT 2nd Round

Highlights from the Hokie win…


Watch VT vs uconn Highlights in Sports  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Posted in 2009-10, 2009-10 Season, Highlights, NIT0 Comments

VT 65, uconn 63 | The Final 22 Seconds

Here it is for those of you that missed it, the tense drama at the end…


Watch VT vs uconn NIT 2nd Round in Sports  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Home, NIT3 Comments

Preview | #4 uconn (18-15) @ #1 VT (24-8) | Mon., 7 PM | ESPN | NIT 2nd Round

Preview | #4 uconn (18-15) @ #1 VT (24-8) | Mon., 7 PM | ESPN | NIT 2nd Round

THE SETUP:

The uconn huskies, a NCAA Tournament Final Four team a year ago, come sledding into Blacksburg to face the Hokies on Monday night in the Second Round of the NIT.  Tech did not fare well against the huskies when the two teams were in the Big East, with uconn winning six of seven (Seth was 0-1).  But this is a uconn team that was struggling mightily down the stretch as their coach Jim Calhoun dealt with health issues.  The huskies lost 12 of 18 going into the NIT, including their last four games.

Seth Greenberg has always said he’d love a chance to coach a McDonald’s All-American.  Well, Jim Calhoun and the huskies are on a first name basis with the Hamburglar and Ronald.  uconn has four guys that were 5-star recruits on their roster.  But after going to the Final Four and returning three seniors that were major contributors this year, things just haven’t panned out.  I wouldn’t expect a lot of energy out of the huskies on the road in the NIT.  Tech needs to take advantage of that and go after them early.  Build up an early lead and the huskies may roll over and play dead.

Spread: The Hokies opened as a 4 point favorite.

SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:

  1. Keep the huskies off the offensive glass: uconn grabs 39% of their misses on offense, 20th best in the nation.  Of course, quinnipiac had the 3rd best percentage in this area and held them to 33%.  Tech must hold uconn to a similar number.  Edwards, Oriakhi, and Robinson will challenge the Hokies.  They average close to three offensive rebounds per game each.
  2. Pressure uconn: The huskies turn the ball over on 22% of their possessions which buts them in the bottom 20% in the nation.  They will turn it over a lot.  I’d love to see Greenberg use that half court trap and force the huskies to make extra passes – with Bell out top and Allen lurking for the steals.
  3. Take #2 and turn it into 2: Once the Hokies get turnovers they must turn them into points.  Tech had a 27-2 edge in fast break points against quinnipiac.  Don’t expect similar numbers in this one but the Hokies need to find ways to score other than in the half court.  uconn does play good defense inside so it is tough to score in the lane.
  4. Force uconn to hit jump shots: uconn does not have a great shooter.  Their two guards play 90% of the game and shoot just 40% from the field.  Both of them average just 1.1 made threes per game, tops on the team (so they don’t have any shooters on the bench).  uconn is dead last in the nation in percentage of points that come from 3-pointers.
  5. Make the extra pass: uconn isn’t good defending full possessions.  When in the half court, work the clock, move the ball, and find the open man.  uconn turns the ball over a lot and doesn’t force many (just 18% of opponent’s possessions).  There will be open men if you move without the ball and the man with the ball looks around.
  6. Win states: VT beat quinnipiac of CT in Bear Fight fashion (20 point victory equals a Jager bomb and car bomb).  Now Tech can take down the huskies and claim the Connecticut state title!

STARTERS AND SCOUTING REPORT:

Pos VT uconn
G 23 Delaney 6’3″ 15 Walker 6’1″
G 5 Hudson 6’5″ 11 Dyson 6’4″
F 1 Bell 6’6″ 21 Robinson 6’9″
F 0 Allen 6’7″ 33 Edwards 6’10”
C 14 Davila 6’8″ 34 Oriakhi 6’9″

This uconn team doesn’t have a force inside like a Thabeet or Okafor, thankfully, but can rebound the ball well.  They also have three seniors in their starting lineup.

On offense, uconn is very good in transition, even on the secondary break, and will look to push when they can.  But the huskies turn the ball over a lot, especially considering they have two All-Big East guards.  When they struggled down the stretch their turnovers really got out of hand.  They had double the turnovers their opponent had in two of their last four games, and were -6 in another game.  Tech needs to force them to make the extra pass and force them to work in the half court, then look for steals.  That half court trap VT has used at times could work very well against the huskies.

On defense you have to force uconn to defend the full possession.  The huskies are aggressive on D and will take chances.  If you can move the ball well, you are going to find open players as they get lazy as the shot clock wears on and aren’t great on help defense.

Hey, I’m all about leveraging what our readers know.  Regular poster King provided this insight on the huskies lineup (thanks King!):

PG: Kemba Walker vs Malcolm Delaney (Advantage: Delaney…hands down) [Niemo's Note: Walker made 3rd Team All-Big East.  Walker doesn't shoot a lot of threes but shoots a solid 34% from deep.  Kemba likes to attack the rim and gets to the line a lot.  He is very good in transition, but not a good spot up shooter.  He was just 1/9 against northeastern.]
SG: Jerome Dyson vs Dorenzo Hudson (Advantage: Dyson…but only slightly…if ‘Zo is healthy it might be a Tie) [Niemo's Note: Dyson, like Walker, made 3rd Team All-Big East.  So their starting back court was recognized by the league.  Dyson led the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg but struggling shooting.  Jerome shot under 40% from the floor and under 30% on 3s.  Dyson was especially bad down the stretch, hitting just 6/26 shots (0/7 on 3s) in their final three games, all losses.  He got benched early in the northeastern game for some defensive lapses but had a game high 18 points.]
SF: Stanley Robinson vs Terrell Bell (Advantage: Robinson…athletic freak w/ NBA length & DWash-like jumping ability; Bell will have to respect his jump shot, anticipate him going in for the alley-oop from the weak side, and work hard to keep him off the offensive glass)  [Niemo's Note: Robinson had 14 against northeastern on 7/11 shooting because they couldn't match him inside.  You must force him to beat you farther out, from 12 feet or more.  And he does turn the ball over a lot so be aggressive on him away from the hoop, he'll make bad passes or can get stripped.]
PF: Gavin Edwards vs Jeff Allen (Advantage: Tie…Edwards doesn’t start but plays starter’s minutes…Allen starts but often rides the bench since he’s prone to fouling early and often…Edwards is a smart player who has underrated post moves and soft hands…Allen has a lot more upside and can take Edwards off the dribble…very intriguing matchup)  [Niemo's Note: Edwards, a senior, did start the NIT first round game.  He is a great offensive rebounder and Tech must keep him off the glass by boxing him out. Not a great shot blocker so you can go at him even though he is 6'10".]
C: Alex Oriakhi vs Victor Davila (Advantage: Tie…neither one is very good and both are young…Oriakhi had a solid game against Northeastern while Davila had more rebounds against the Q than in the previous 3 games combined) [Niemo's Note: Alex is just a space-eater inside.  Decent but not great rebounder, not a good shooter unless it is a dunk, and terrible from the free throw line (55%).  Can block shots though.]
Bench: uconn vs VT (Advantage: Tech… uconn has very little depth…big opportunity for players like JT, Atkins, Raines, & Witcher to contribute)  [Niemo's Note: As King mentioned, their starters play a lot.  Four of them average over 30 minutes.  So they don't get a lot off the bench, but can bring in Lurch (Ater Majok - Martinsville, VA) to block shots.  He is listed at 6'11" but I've never seen him stand up straight.  The huskies get just eight points per game off their bench, so don't expect much of any offense.]
Intangibles: VT playing at home in the Cassell with eyes towards the NIT championship, proving the NCAA selection committee wrong (great job today Utah State…not) and setting a tone for next season. uconn is mailing this season in considering that they barely scraped by Northeastern. I also have to give credit to Greenberg for being a great motivator. Calhoun’s a hall-of-fame coach but he intimidates his players which causes them to stiffen up. They play to stay out of his doghouse and this explains why their psyche has been so fragile all season. I’m confident Seth will have the Hokies loose and ready to play.
Let’s Go Hokies!!!  [Thanks again, King]

STATS:

Pts Reb Ast
Delaney 20.5 3.7 4.3
Hudson 14.6 3.4 1.9
Allen 12.1 7.5 1.2
Thompson 7.2 4.7 0.6
Bell 6.2 6.1 1.9
Davila 5.3 4.3 0.4
Pts Reb Ast
Dyson 17.3 4.3 4.3
Robinson 14.7 7.6 1
Walker 14.5 4.2 5.1
Edwards 10.6 6.5 0.8
Oriakhi 5 6.7 0.4
Coombs-McD 3.3 1.2 0.6

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Previews, NIT2 Comments

Around the Web | VT and wvu Scheduling Banter

Expect anything that has even a remote connection to Hokie basketball scheduling to be a news story for the next eight months or more.  The Roanoke Times published an interesting story detailing attempts by VT and wvu to renew their rivalry.  It takes on a sort of “he said, she said” feel to it.  It amuses me that wvu and Coach Huggy Bear up there were obviously listening to what VT and Coach Greenberg were saying about stalled attempts to get the teams playing again and felt the need to respond.

Roanoke Times Article

To me, my feeling is maybe VT has to make some sacrifices right now and take a game that isn’t so appealing.  Yes, the game in DC would probably be close to 50/50 in terms of fans (maybe a slight edge for the Hokies), while the game in Charleston would be 90% wvu.  So?  That’s still better than playing the mountaineers in Morgantown, when all their students could be there and you risk getting pelted with who knows what.  The Hokies aren’t duke or carolina, or even wake or georgia tech for that matter in terms of being a name program.  Let’s make some sacrifices now while we build up our program, and can get invited to the major early season tournaments, and then start acting elite.  For now we just have to start playing the elite, wherever it may be.

Posted in 2009-10 Season10 Comments

NIT Update | Hokies to Host huskies Monday Night at 7 PM

NIT Update | Hokies to Host huskies Monday Night at 7 PM

VirgiNIa Tech’s second round game will be this coming Monday, March 22nd, at 7 PM in Cassell Coliseum against the uconn huskies.  Tech goes for the Connecticut state title, having already knocked off quinnipiac.  VT and uconn were former Big East rivals, with uconn taking 6 of the 7 meetings.  Tech’s lone win came in Blacksburg under ricky stokes.  The huskies were without Head Coach Jim Calhoun due to health reasons in that game.  As many of you may know, he has also battled health issues this year and earlier took a leave of absence.

uconn barely edged northeastern in their first round contest.  uconn won by 2 but northeastern missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have won the game.  I’ll have more on this match-up in my preview this weekend (up by noon on Sunday).

Also in Tech’s bracket, #2 rhode island rammed the #7 northwestern wildcats on Wednesday and #6 nevada shocked #3 wichita state.  The winner of nevada @ uri will face the winner of the Hokies and the huskies for the right to play in the self-proclaimed Most Famous Arena in the World, Madison Square Garden in NYC.  If Tech wins over uconn, they will host that quarterfinal game.

Around the rest of the NIT – #1 arizona state was bedeviled by the #8 seed jacksonville in a stunner.  How bad is the Pac 10 this year?  st. john’s lost to memphis, meaning their coach may soon be fired (Greenberg has been rumored as a candidate for that job).  And seton hall’s coach got fired after a pirate player punched a texas tech player in the doodle, and another former player got arrested this week.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, NIT4 Comments

Recap | VT (24-8) 81, quinnipiac (23-10) 61

Recap | VT (24-8) 81, quinnipiac (23-10) 61

Boxscore

IT’S A BEAR FIGHT!  The Hokies b- smacked the ‘piac, winning 81-61!  Malcolm Delaney went ape, scoring 19 points in the first half, just one below his average.  Delaney finished with 25 points to lead the Hokies to an easy victory.  He hit four three-pointers in the first 20 to push Tech to a 12 point halftime lead.  The doctor was 9/15 from the floor and 4/8 on threes, his third great shooting game in his last four games (we know what happened in the other – miami – game).  [Random thought: How much would it stink if Malcolm went nuts throughout the NIT and declared for the NBA Draft based on that?]

Dorenzo Hudson was the story in the second half, scoring 14 of his 19 points.  He finished just 5/17 from the floor but was the Cash to Delaney’s Tango (sorry, really stretching my movie references).

For the bobcats, leading scorer James Feldeine (who averaged 17 ppg) was held to 0.  Yep, a goose-egg.  A donut.  Zippy.  An inner tube.  A Jeff Allen.  A Gilbert Arenas (minus the .40 caliber weapon).  Second leading scorer Justin Rutty had 22 on 10/13 shooting and James Johnson scored 17 (most in garbage time).  Other than that, no bobcat had more than 7 points.  In fact, only four guys had more than 3.

JT Thompson chipped in his typical 9 off the bench and Victor Davila stepped up in Allen’s place, also scoring 9.  The two hit 7/10 shots.

The bobcats tried to slow down the tempo and it simply didn’t work.  If this game was a movie, it would have been the Fast and the Furious (I was going to use Smokey and the Bandit but I’m not sure people would have known what that was).  Tech outscored quinnipiac 27 to 2 on fastbreak points.  VT was a Ferrari, qunnipiac was an AMC Gremlin.

Tech limited the bobcats at their #1 strength, offensive rebounding.  The bobcats, who get 41% of their misses on the season, were outrebounded on the offensive end 18-12 by Tech.  The Hokies grabbed 50% of their misses, getting 18 offensive rebounds in 36 opportunities!  VT had 16 second chance points to just 10 for the bobcats.

Jeff Allen, who had reached double digits in 10 of the last 12 games, scored just 6 points while battling foul trouble.  Jeff hit just 2/8 shots, but his services were not necessary tonight as the Hokies woodshedded the bobcats.  He did grab a game-high 9 rebounds though.

Both teams did a good job protecting the ball.  Tech had just two turnovers at the half and quinnipiac had just three.  VT finished with just seven turnovers while quinnipiac had 10.

Yet the Hokies enjoyed a lead of 12 at the break, 39-27.  Delaney’s 19 points were the key to that lead, along with cold shooting from the bobcats.

VirgiNIa Tech advances to the second round of the NIT for the third year in a row and will face the uconn huskies, who barely beat northeastern in their first round game.  The other huskies missed a three at the buzzer to win the game.  uconn is 6-1 against the Hokies, all in the last 10 years, but are just a #4 seed in the NIT.  Tech will get this game at home.  Hopefully more than 3,000 Hokie fans will show up, the estimated crowd at 10k seat Cassell Coliseum.

Tip of the cap to…:  Jeff Allen is now the only Hokie to be ranked in the Top 10 in rebounding, steals, and blocks.  He is 10th all time in rebounds at 767, 8th in steals at 187, and 6th in blocks at 122.  Only five Hokies rank in the Top 10 in three major categories: Dell Curry (points, assists, and steals), Bimbo Coles (ditto), Ace Custis (points, rebounds, and steals), and Zabian Dowdell (points, assists, and steals), along with Jeff Allen.

Random ugly stat: Erick Green has missed 17 consecutive shots.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Recaps, NIT5 Comments

Preview | quinnipiac (23-9) @ VT (23-8) | Wed., 7 PM | NIT First Round

Preview | quinnipiac (23-9) @ VT (23-8) | Wed., 7 PM | NIT First Round

THE SETUP:

“We’ve been coming to the same party for years and in no way is that depressing,” Ron Burgandy in Anchorman.

Yes, virgiNIa Tech is back in the NIT!  We don’t like you very much anymore, but you sure seem to like us.  The NIT has lost some of its luster to Hokie fans.  Two years ago they were on par with a pretty darn good looking chick.  Not hot, mind you, but good looking with a decent body.  Now the NIT is like many of the fat ladies I saw at that “club” in Greensboro last week.  At the end of the night, when you’ve got no other options, you settle for the NIT and you bring her back to your place.  And for the third year in a row the Hokies will be shacking up with the NIT, bringing someone home to the Cassell for the sixth time in that span.  If Tech plays their cards right, they’ll get to bring home two more cows to the Cassell.

On Wednesday night the Hokies will do battle with the quinnipiac… hold on, let me look up their nickname… bobcats!  YOU CAN THROW OUT THE RECORDS WHEN THE HOKIES MEET THE bobcats!  Eche los tocadiscos!  Lots of bad blood between these two teams!

In all seriousness, please do head to the Cassell and support this team that has worked so hard all season.  Show them some support and give them some grief therapy for not making the dance.  They did about everything they could, let’s do the same in return.  As of Monday night, Tech had only sold 1,400 tickets.  That is not acceptable.

The Hokies won’t have Ben Boggs for this game.  He hurt his ankle over the weekend.  Dorenzo Hudson, who has been in a boot for two months and hasn’t been practicing much all year, went in practice on Monday and will be good to go.  He has been a warrior.  I’d also expect to see guys like Manny Atkins, Erick Green, and Cadarian Raines (if his shoulder is OK) see good minutes.  At this point you are building for next year in some ways, and it isn’t worth throwing Delaney and Hudson out there for 38 minutes each in the NIT.

TRIPLE SHOT OF KEYS TO WINNING:

Head Coach Seth Greenberg said it best on Tech Talk Live Monday night:

  • Rebound
  • Fight through ball screens
  • Be Virginia Tech

To me, the last bullet there is the most important one.  If the Hokies come out and play like the Hokie team we’ve seen all season, this will be a Bear Fight margin of victory (over 20 points).  If Tech mopes around, feeling sorry for themselves, who knows what could happen.   VT almost lost to duquesne (who was a NIT 7-seed) last year, finally pulling it out in double overtime after duquesne missed on chances to win at the end of regulation and the first extra session.  The Hokies need to win 50/50 balls, crash the boards, get out and run, and pound it at the bobcats.  Do that, and Tech moves on.  Don’t do that, and VT gives the Selection Committee and doubters another reason to crap on the Hokies.

Rebounding will without a doubt be a major focus of the Hokies.  quinnipiac ranks third in the nation in Offensive Rebounding Percentage, grabbing over 41% of their misses.  Only odu and wvu were better.  Tech grabs just 67% of the Defensive Rebounds, so this will be a factor.  While you may wonder how much that had to do with competition levels, they did grab 39% of their misses against rhode island (a 2-seed in the NIT) and 50% against umass, so they are good at crashing the boards.  Justin Rutty is their main man on the glass.  The 6’7″ forward grabbed 158 offensive rebounds this year, just under 5 per game.  quinnipiac is not a great shooting team, hitting 45% of their shots, so stopping them on the glass will help neutralize their offense.

Seth also talked about how they run a lot of ball screens.  They aren’t a great three-point shooting team, hitting 34% and making just 4 per game, so Tech can afford to run underneath screens on the perimeter.  Just 20% of the bobcat shots are threes, so don’t expect a lot of them.  But the Hokies will have to do a good job of help defense when the screens do rub off the defender, and watch for pick-and-rolls to the hoop.

THE opponent:

While quinnipiac is a great rebounding team, the Northeast Conference regular season champs do have weaknesses.  The bobcats turn the ball over on 20% of their possessions.  Since Tech is great at causing takeaways, this should play into the Hokies’ hands.  VT can use the turnovers to feed their transition game.

Another weakness of the bobcats is their defense.  They are just 221st in the nation in Defensive Efficiency.  In other words, teams don’t have much trouble scoring on them.  VT, in contrast, is 11th in the land in that category.

If the bobcats score, chances are it was someone with a name starting with ‘J’ that did it.  All five of their starters, and six of their top seven scorers, have names that start with a ‘J’.  James Feldeine leads the team at 17 ppg, while big man Justin Ruddy averages a double-double with 15 ppg and 11 rebounds.  James Johnson, their point guard, averages 12 ppg and 4 assists.  Feldeine, Johnson, and Deontay Twyman (off the bench) are their best three-point shooters but none of them have reached 40 makes on the season.

The bobcats are good from the line, hitting 72%.  They get to the line a good amount, too.  About 25% of their 73 ppg come from the foul line.  Hopefully if they are getting fouled they won’t be on Allen, or even Delaney who has had some recent foul problems.

Let’s meet quinnipiac:

  • Located in Hamden, CT
  • Private
  • Established in 1929
  • 6k undergraduates and 2 postgrads
  • Colors are blue and gold
  • Mascot is Boomer
  • Conference is the Northeast Conference.  They won the regular season basketball title but lost by 2 in the title game to Robert Morris.  They received an automatic bid to the NIT for winning the Northeast.

STARTERS:

Position VT quinnipiac
Guard 23 Delaney 6’3″ 3 Johnson 6’0″
Guard 5 Hudson 6’5″ 14 Feldeine 6’4″
F/G 1 Bell 6’6″ 5 Baker 6’2″
Forward 0 Allen 6’7″ 32 Cruz 6’7″
C/F 14 Davila 6’8″ 12 Rutty 6’7″

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Previews, Games, NIT0 Comments

Tech Talk Live Notes 3/15/10

• The team had a great one hour and ten minute practice today plus lifting and a film session on quinnipiac. The team had good focus. A couple of players are still having lingering effects of the NCAA snub and must be turned around, but Coach Greenberg believes everyone will be completely focused by Wednesday night.

• Greenberg talked to arizona state coach Herb Sendek on Monday. Sendek plans on going back and analyzing every at-large team over the last 10 years to look for common traits of each team selected.

• How teams finished up the regular season was not a criteria of the selection committee this year.

• Seth brought up the possibility of the ACC going to an 18 game regular season conference schedule, like the Big East and Big Ten, to even things out more and balance the schedules more. He feels this is really something the conference needs to evaluate.

• The Hokies will play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, California next season and “some other exciting things” are in the works for next season’s schedule. penn state comes to Blacksburg and the Hokies should have a much more attractive Big 10 opponent for the ACC-Big 10 Challenge based on their tying for third this season. Greenberg says the Hokies will not play at another power conference team who will not return to Cassell for a home and home series.

• The Tech ticket office had sold 1,400 tickets to Wednesday’s 7:00 PM quinnipiac game in the Cassell. It’s very important that fans who have supported the Hokies all season continue to show they are with the team. As a #1 seed the Hokies could potentially have three home games in the NIT.

• quinnipiac is pronounced kwin-i-pee-ack.

• Seth is good friends with penn state coach Ed DeChellis and consulted with him Sunday night about how he approached last season’s NIT (which they won) after being snubbed by NCAA.

• quinnipiac rebounds an astounding 46% of its shots. Obviously rebounding will be a priority on Wednesday night.

• william & mary’s RPI last year was 245, for everyone saying we should have played them this year. penn state’s RPI dropped from 70 last year to 193 this year. There were much better odds with scheduling a game with penn state that offered a prime time ESPN Saturday night audience. Seth also noted that georgia was coming off an SEC championship when that home and home series was scheduled.

• Virginia Tech is still in the infancy of their basketball program and basically 50 years behind the rest of the ACC in building a program according to Greenberg. Seth did not answer when asked if he thought unc would have gotten a NCAA bid with the exact same schedule, record, and resume as the Hokies. (I think we all know the answer to that)

• Seth took great offense to comments made by the “so called experts” on ESPN (Jay Bilas), who after the brackets were announced stated “If your team couldn’t make the NCAA Tournament this year then they’re just not that good.”

• Greenberg has no desire to play old dominion unless it was a nation television game or a single game in Cassell. It’s not in Virginia Tech’s best interest as they go about building and marketing their program.

• quinnipiac has a 23-9 record this season and are the regular season champs of the Northeast Conference. Their coach is Tom Moore, a former assistant to Jim Calhoun at uconn for about 15 years. They are kind of a mini-uconn. They will run when given the opportunity and will also run different sets and lots of ball screens on offense. They are a great rebounding team and the Hokie guards must rebound well.

• “Synergy” is a computer program which records every single televised game played during the season. Through this Greenberg and assistant coach James Johnson have already reviewed several quinnipiac games from this season.

• Malcolm Delaney is human and is going to have a bad game from time to time and is going to miss shots.

• Dorenzo Hudson played most of the second half of this season wearing a boot during the day and taking it off to play at night. Greenberg did not want Zo to practice on Monday but Zo insisted on practicing.

• Virginia Tech got good shots against miami but just didn’t make them. Durand Scott and miami deserve a lot of credit for how they played down the stretch against the Hokies. The canes did not receive a NIT bid despite their performance in the ACC Tournament. Seth talked to miami coach Frank Haith on Monday.

• Seth also mentioned he thought vcu got a raw deal by not getting an invite to the NIT.

• The uga game was originally supposed to be televised nationally by CBS. Seth did not elaborate as to what happened to that.

• Ben Boggs has a grade two ankle sprain that he suffered in practice. He rolled it right at the end of practice when he kind of got caught in a scrum. X-rays taken were negative and Boggs could possibly return for a third round NIT game if the Hokies can advance that far.

• Greenberg has already talked with next year’s seniors about playing a very competitive schedule next season. Everyone is on board.

• At 23-8, this year’s team still has a chance to set the school record for most wins in a season. The record is 25, held by the 1994-95 NIT championship team.

• This is the last Tech Talk Live show of the season.

Posted in 2009-10 Season2 Comments

ESPN’s Dick Vitale Questions NCAA Selection Committee

Posted in 2009-10 Season1 Comment

Virginia Tech a #1 Seed in the NIT; Face quinnipiac in First Round on Wednesday at 7 PM at the Cassell

The Hokies return to the National Invitational Tournament for the third year in a row and for the second time in that span as a #1 seed in an eight team bracket.  The Hokies will face the quinnipiac bobcats (Connecticut) of the Northeast Conference at 7 PM at the Cassell on Wednesday night this week in the first ever meeting between the schools.

Tech was also a #1 in the 2008 NIT and lost in the quarterfinals to mississippi after winning two games over morgan state and uab.  VT was a #2 seed last year and lost in the Second Round to baylor.  All five of Tech’s teams in the NIT in the last two years have been played at the Cassell and they will likely have their first three games at home if they can keep winning.  Tech was 15-1 at home this year.

Here is what Tech’s eight team bracket looks like:

  1. VIRGINIA TECH vs #8 quinnipiac (CT)
  2. rhode island vs #7 northwestern
  3. wichita state vs #6 nevada
  4. uconn vs #5 northeastern

Yes, that’s right, when the Hokies maul the bobcats, they should face the uconn huskies in the Second Round at the Cassell.  At least that should motivate the team and the fans.  Tech was 1-6 against uconn while in the Big East, with the one win coming over an 18th ranked uconn team at the Cassell in 2003 in what may have been ricky stokes’s biggest win (that’s a pretty short list).  So the Hokies will have to win the Connecticut state title in all likelihood to make the NIT quarterfinals.

Other #1 seeds include illinois, arizona state, and mississippi state.  cincinnati, ole miss, rhode island, and X are #2 seeds.  unc is a #4 seed and play #5 seed william & mary in the First Round.  nc state is a #6 seed.  And seton hall who many thought were right on the bubble, are just a #5 seed.  gus gilchrist usf is a #3 seed.  st. john’s, Seth Greenberg’s alleged suitor, is a #6 seed.

The ESPNU guy that broke down the NIT brackets picked rhode island to win VT’s bracket.  He picked illinois to win it all.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, NIT5 Comments

Looking at VT’s Undoing: Their Out of Conference Schedule

While Virginia Tech’s weak ACC schedule (playing the bottom five teams twice and the top six teams just once) didn’t help and the loss to last place miami in the ACC Tournament hurt, it was their out of conference schedule that did them in.  Tech played 14 out of conference games and their out of conference strength of schedule was rated 339th in the nation out of 347 teams.  Yes, it was that bad.  Tech played 16 games out of 31 against teams rated 101 or higher in the RPI, 9 games against teams ranked 200 or higher, and 3 games against teams in the 300s.  Basically, in hindsight, the Hokies had almost no chance at making the NCAA Tournament with this schedule unless they had an incredible ACC season (I thought they did with 10 wins) and a bit of a run in the ACC Tournament.

While some of that is Tech’s fault (scheduling teams like north carolina central, maryland-baltimore county, and charleston southern), some of it wasn’t.  Historically good teams like iowa were terrible this year, though VT didn’t even schedule them, that was part of the ACC/Big(11)Ten Challenge.  iowa finished with a RPI of 210.  penn state, who won the NIT last year, ended up with a RPI of 194.  georgia actually moved up in the world, finishing just outside the top 100 at 107 after a couple of really bad seasons.

Tech did have two nice games scheduled, neutral site games against temple (who finished with a RPI of 9) and seton hall (61 – but also didn’t make the NCAAs).  The Hokies won the seton hall game, but ultimately they needed a win over the much more highly rated owls, who won the A-10 for the third year in a row.

I won’t sit here and bash VT’s schedule.  I haven’t questioned it all year in terms of making the NCAAs.  I knew it was weak, but I figured by rolling through it at 13-1, Tech just needed to have a good ACC season.  Tech had a great ACC season, finishing 10-6.

While I won’t question VT’s schedule, the one thing that stands out to me is – where are the Virginia teams? The Hokies played just two in-state teams out of conference – longwood and vmi.  Those two teams also happen to be the two lowest rated RPI teams in the state, at 285 and 309 respectively.  Meanwhile, richmond had a RPI of 22 and old dominion at 27.  Both made the Big Dance.  william & mary had a RPI of 58 (and beat two ACC teams on the road this year that made the dance – wake and maryland) and vcu, Tech’s old Metro Conference rival, had a RPI of 66.  george mason had a semi-decent RPI at 157.  But that’s four teams in the state that had RPI’s in the top 70.

Obviously you cannot know that a year or two in advance when you set up these schedules, but you do know odu is always one of the better teams in the state, vcu is usually solid, mason made the Final Four four years ago, and richmond has been solid since joining the A-10.  The Hokies should be playing one or two of these teams every year.  And don’t you think Hokie fans would love having a game in NOVA (mason) or Richmond (richmond or vcu) or Hampton Roads area (w&m and odu) every other year or so?  Tech fans would have a chance to see the team close to home and have a chance at a quality road win, a plus in the selection process.

I’m sure we will see a beefed up schedule for the Hokies next year, with a name team or two and solid second tier teams.  And VT should get a much better draw in the ACC/Big(11)Ten Challenge based on their higher fourth place finish this year and likely high preseason rating in the ACC next year.  Also, Tech will be playing in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, CA in late November (VT didn’t play in a tournament during the season this year).  That tourney features two NCAA Tourney teams in oklahoma state and unlv, as well as stanford, depaul, tulsa, cal state northridge, andpenn state (whom VT is supposed to play in Blacksburg next year anyway).  But I’d also like to see more Virginia teams on the schedule.  It is good for the state and looks like it will be good for the Hokies on Selection Sunday a year from now.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Home, NCAA Tournament8 Comments

Hokies’ Bubble Bursts for Third Year in a Row

At least now we know the NCAA Selection Committee is certifiably insane. The third time was not the charm for Virginia Tech, as they did not receive an invitation to the Big Dance for the third consecutive year. Once again they will be relegated to the Junior Prom, the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). The Hokies became the first ACC team to win 10 conference games and not make the tournament, a dubious distinction.

For the second time in three years the Hokies were one of the first teams out, a bitter pill to swallow. Bubble teams that made it included florida, minnesota, utep, and utah state. Tech had the fifth highest RPI of teams that didn’t make it but CBS’s Seth Davis guessed that the Hokies were the first team out. He later asked the head of the committee, Dan Guerrero, about bubble teams and mentioned VT specifically and the first thing Dan mentioned was out of conference strength of schedule.

The ACC got six teams in with duke (1 seed), maryland (4), clemson (7), wake (9), fsu(9), and georgia tech (10). Notice something? Two of those teams (clemson and wake) lost in the ACC Tournament First Round, not even the quarterfinals. VT beat both of them and finished ahead of them. maryland and fsu also lost in the quarterfinals in their first tourney game.

We shall see how the Hokies respond in the NIT. Two years ago that young Hokie team was on a mission to show the committee was wrong and played well, blowing out two teams before losing to ole miss in the quarterfinals. Last year Tech seemed less interested and almost lost in the first round to duquesne before winning in two overtimes. In the second round they got absolutely blasted by baylor, a team that moved all the way up to a 3-seed this year in the Big Dance. With the bulk of this Hokie team represented by juniors, I’m not sure how hard they will play in the NIT. This has to be a huge disappointment, and they may have a “been there, done that” attitude. We shall see what the crowds will be like, too. Tech has gotten great turnouts from the students the last few years who have had the Cassell rocking, taking advantage of the general admission seating.

It is hard to believe a team that won 10 ACC regular season conference games, and 23 games overall, did not make the tournament. But VT’s extremely weak out of conference schedule apparently did them in. As did the loss to the last place miami hurricanes in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Tech’s weak in conference schedule (they played the bottom five ACC teams twice and the top six just once) also didn’t help. Still, this is tough to take and I’m sure the team is as sick as I am right now.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, NCAA Tournament12 Comments

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