Archive | 2010-11 Season

No Sting, All Gobble | Recap | #6 VT 59, #11 georgia tech 43

Boxscore

The Magnificent Seven rolled to victory, 59-43, against georgia tech on Thursday.  Virginia Tech did what they had to do — take care of business and win on Day 1 of the ACC Tournament (which consequently is Day 14 of the Big East UEFA Cup round robin double elimination Tournament — I haven’t seen a tournament this confusing since Base-ketball) in a near Bear Fight at the Greensboro Coliseum .  The Hokies locked up their 20th win of the season, and 10th ACC win.  The current senior class is now 11-1 in tournament openers (3-1 at the ACC Tournament).

In what was Paul Hewitt’s final game as coach of georgia tech, the jackets laid an egg.  The Hokies played like a team on a mission to get to the NCAA Tournament (where was this last week???) and sent the jackets, along with most of the crowd, home early.

The Hokies dominated this game from the start.  Tech jumped out to an 8-0 lead and pushed it to 15-2 shortly thereafter.  The yellow jackets had their fans feeling yellow — they had just 2 points 7 minutes into the game.  A Terrell Bell triple blew the doors open with 8 minutes to go in the first half, putting the Hokies up 27-9.  VT got 7 points each early from Delaney and Green (who struggled mightily in Atlanta against gt) to build the lead.  Tech led by as many as 18 in the first half, and after a sluggish start for both teams offensively in the second half, VT leaped out to a 20-point lead five and a half minutes into the second half.  When I say this game was all Hokies, I mean it was ALL HOKIES.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, YES, the stat of stats held true: for the 15th straight VT game, the team that shot a higher percentage from 3-point range won.  georgia tech couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat tonight.  They shot just 22% from deep (5/23) while the Hokies knocked down 27% (4/15).  georgia tech started just 3/21 from behind the arc and that sunk their ship.  Shumpert, who had a triple-double in Atlanta and 27 points in B’burg, finished with a pedestrian 12 points, 4 steals, 2 assists, and 1 rebound.  And Brian Oliver, who torched the Hokies in the gt win in Atlanta, did play for the first time in over a month tonight but was just 1/8 from the field.

VT shot 47% for the game compared to just 32% for the jackets.  The jackets, a poor shooting team on average, had no answer for the VT 2-3 zone (which they stayed in the entire game).  Tech also dominated tech in the paint as expected — beating gt 28-14 in points in the paint.  The Hokies even got 9 points from their ‘scholarship’ bench (all two of them) — Atkins had 6 while Garland had 3 — and Paul Debnam also added a free throw in garbage time.

The good news is this: Malcolm Delaney’s shot looked good tonight for the first time in a while, and Jeff Allen still had that sweet, sweet mid-range jumper.  The two combined to shoot 10/17 from the floor (a low shot total but I’ll take the efficiency).  Delaney tallied 15 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals on the night while Allen added 14 points and 11 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season and 45th of his career.  Erick Green added a solid 11 points to give three Hokies double figures.  Bell and Davila had just 9 combined points, but it didn’t matter tonight.

Tales of Jeff Allen’s demise were greatly exaggerated — the senior had 6 points and 8 rebounds at the break in 17 minutes.  The 8 rebounds matched in a half what he produced all of last week in 2 games.  Delaney led the Hokies at the break with 11 points and 4 assists, plus chipped in 2 of VT’s 8 steals.

VT exploded to a 55-31 lead with 8 minutes to go, and largely ‘iced the puck’ the rest of the game.  In fact, georgia tech had averaged less than a point per minute for most of the first 35 minutes.  VT scored just 2 points from the 8:23 mark of the second half to the 1:18 point, but it didn’t matter.  The game was for the birds.

The jackets, meanwhile, did one of two things on offensive early on: supply another brick for a house, or turn the ball over.  georgia tech shot just 23% in the first half, while the Hokies hit 50% of their shots.   If it hadn’t been for Glen Rice Jr., who was banking in more shots than Minnesota Fats, georgia tech might have been in single digits at the break.  He had 8 points, while star Iman Shumpert was largely invisible with just 5 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 0 rebounds, well below his triple-double (and near quadruple-double) against VT in Atlanta.

The only scare of the first half was, after building a 30-11 lead on a Tyrone Garland 3-point play, georgia tech went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 30-19 and had a couple of shots to get within single digits.  The Hokies were scoreless for almost 5 minutes, including 3 missed free throws by Delaney.  But Tech went on a 6-0 run to close the half and led 36-19 at the half.

The Hokies return to action on Friday night at the same time (~9:20 PM) against the #3 seed florida state seminoles… oh, and Chris Singleton might play after all (but I doubt it).  Win, and the Hokies are assured a NCAA Tournament bid (I think).  Lose, and look out fingernails on Sunday.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Recaps9 Comments

Sweet 16 for the hoos

One of the great streaks in the ACC continued Thursday on the first day of the ACC Tournament – the wahoos failed to make the ACC Tournament Semi-Finals for the 16th straight year.  And they accomplished this in epic fashion — uva led 53-43 with 45 seconds left in the game.  But thanks to two 3-pointers for miami, 3 uva turnovers, 2 missed uva FTs, a cane dunk, and a cane ‘and-1′ (though he missed the FT to give miami the lead), miami sent the game to OT and then buried the cavs.

uva has not made the ACC Semi-Finals since 1995.  And remember – there were only nine teams in the league until 2004 so they basically just had to win one game the first half of this streak.  They have been bad for a lot of years now.

Let’s hope the Hokies can start a push to the Semi-Finals tonight by at least making the Quarters.  VT made the semis in back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, ACC Tournament2 Comments

Jarell Eddie suspended for remainder of 2010-11 season

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Hokies, it did. Yesterday, Virginia Tech men’s head basketball coach Seth Greenberg announced that freshman forward Jarell Eddie will not dress or play for the Hokies for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.

According to a news release on HokieSports.com, the freshman Charlotte, N.C., was suspended as a result of his marijuana incident that occurred on Feb. 15 in Blacksburg, Va.

“Jarell Eddie is a excellent student, a fine young man and a great teammate,” said Greenberg in the release. “He made a mistake in judgment and is paying the price for that mistake.”

Losing Eddie is a huge blow to the Hokies as they enter the ACC tournament today. Senior forward Jeff Allen is hobbled by a bad ankle that severely limited him in practice this week, so that leaves sophomore Manny Atkins as the only scholarship forward on the bench.

Essentially, the Hokies will be playing with only seven players against georgia tech, assuming Allen can go. Freshman Tyrone Garland, who was recently named to the ACC all-academic team, and Atkins are the only scholarship players on the bench to relieve the starting five: Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, Terrell Bell, Victor Davila and Erick Green.

Tech lost its last two regular season games and is firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble heading into the ACC tourney. Realistically, they need at least two wins this week to make it into the dance. That is a challenge unto itself, never mind the fact they must do so with seven players.

If you’re looking for more details on this developing situation, you won’t get it from Greenberg, his staff or anyone in the basketball office. The official word in the release went something like this:

“This release will serve as the sole statement by the Virginia Tech Athletics Administration, Coach Greenberg and members of the basketball program on this matter. No further comments will be made on this matter during the remainder of the season and Coach Greenberg will not address this issue during press conferences at the ACC Tournament.”

Posted in 2010-11 Season, ACC Tournament, Around The ACC17 Comments

Preview | #11 georgia tech (5-11, 13-17) vs #6 Virginia Tech (9-7, 19-10) | ~9:20 PM Thursday

Spread: VT by 5.5.

Note: The game will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the 7 PM game between #7/10 game (maryland/miami).

One of two things will happen Thursday night when Virginia Tech and georgia tech battle at the Greensboro Coliseum in the First Round of the ACC Tournament:

  • Paul Hewitt will coach his final game at georgia tech, or,
  • Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, and Terrell Bell will play the final meaningful game of their career.

For the Hokies, they are hoping it is the former.  A win will get the Hokies to 20 wins on the season and 10 against ACC opponents.  It will also likely end the Paul Hewitt tenure in Atlanta (unless georgia state is hiring).

A little over a week ago the Hokies were riding the gravy train on biscuit wheels.  They had just knocked off #1 duke and were the talk of basketball.  But within a week they had seen the wheels come off, getting absolutely blown out of two gyms early on against boston college on VT’s Senior Night and at clemson.  They battled back in both games but eventually succumbed to the hungrier opponents.  And now Tech sits clearly behind bc and clemson in the ACC seedings and the NCAA Tournament bubble.

georgia tech, meanwhile is hotter than they’ve been in two months!  By that I mean they’ve won a whopping two in a row – a win at wake forest (their only road win of the season in 11 tries and just their 7th ACC road win in the last six seasons… you now see why Hewitt is going to be fired) and a win over miami at home to close the regular season.

The yellow jackets do seem to play well in neutral site games for whatever reason.  They beat utep and then lost to syracuse by just 4 in Atlantic City, and beat richmond in Atlantis this year.  Last year, georgia tech made a stunning run as the #7 seed in the ACC Tournament, beating unc, maryland, and nc state to make the ACC Finals, where they lost to duke.  But that was good enough to get them a NCAA Tournament bid (and possibly take one from VT).  Two years ago after a 2-14 regular season, they upset #5 seed clemson in the Georgia Dome and then lost to #4 fsu by just 2.

Virginia Tech is pretty good themselves, though, in tournaments (at least in tournament openers) and neutral site games.  Check out these numbers:

  • The current senior class is 14-1 in tournament openers (ACC, NIT, Aeropostale, PR, etc) or neutral site openers (BB&T, Mexico, Bahamas, Philly Hoop Group).
  • The current senior class is 10-1 in tournament openers (the lone loss was in the ACC Quarterfinals last year to miami).
  • Going back another year, VT is 17-1/12-1 in the two categories above.

In other words, history is on Tech’s side Thursday, along with the fact they have a better team.

For the second year in a row, Tech will be meeting a team for the third time that season in their ACC opener.  Here’s a look back…

THE FIRST MEETING:

gt 72, VT 57: The Hokies led most of the first half in Atlanta but faded late. VT was undone by hot shooting against their 2-3 zone by Brian Oliver (28 points on 11/18 shooting), and a boat load of turnovers in the closing minutes. Iman Shumpert, the jackets’ best player by far, had a career game. He secured the first georgia tech triple-double in over 20 years with 22 points, 12, rebounds, and 11 assists. He also added 7 steals for good measure and created a lot of the late turnovers by getting his hands in passing lanes.

The Hokies dominated in the paint early, but their guard play was poor. Erick Green had 9 early points but didn’t score in the final 30 minutes of the game, and Shumpert shadowed Delaney, holding him to 8 points.

Although the final score looked like a blowout, the game was close late. VT was down just 5 and had the ball with 2:30 to go, but that’s when the roof caved in due to turnovers. Tech had 6 turnovers in the final 5 minutes and Delaney had 8 for the game.

THE SECOND MEETING:

Malcolm Delaney made amends for his poor outing down in Atlanta (8 points, 8 turnovers) as the Hokies, in their throwback gray VPI uniforms, blitzed the visiting yellow jackets 102-77. Delaney scored 22 of his season-high 33 points in the first half while Jeff Allen registered his fifth straight double-double — the 12th of the season — with 25 points and 14 boards.

All five starters for Virginia Tech scored in double figures and the 102 points were the most ever by a Virginia Tech team in ACC play. Sophomore Erick Green, who had shot just 26 percent in his previous four games (11/42), seemed to have benefited from the week off. The Winchester Rifle scored 15 points on 5/9 shooting to go with six assists, three rebounds and a perfect 3/3 from behind the arc.

Senior defensive specialist Terrell Bell scored 13 points and Victor Davila had 11 points.

The Hokies jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead behind seven points from Delaney. Tech never trailed and held a 25-point lead, 42-17, with 7:41 to play. As the Hokies led by 20 about 12 minutes into the game and had come up with a steal just before the under-8 media timeout, georgia tech coach Paul Hewitt was tossed from the game after earning a pair of technical fouls. If he thought that his ejection would fire up his team, he was wrong.

The Hokies continued its woodshed beating of the jackets as the Hokies registered a season-high 53 first-half points en route to a 16-point half-time lead.  Shumpert went nuts in the second half from deep, but it was too little too late as the Hokies rolled.

SERIES:

The Hokies have owned the yellow jackets over the years. Who’s the real Tech? The Hokies are.

  • All-time: VT 11-4
  • In ACC Play: VT 7-3

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech georgia tech
Guard 11 Green 6-4 1 Shumpert 6-5
Guard 23 Delaney 6-3 3 M. Miller 6-2
Wing/Guard 1 Bell 6-7 41 Rice 6-5
Forward 0 Allen 6-7 24 Holsey 6-8
Forward/Center 14 Davila 6-8 5 D. Miller 6-11

STATS*:

  Virginia Tech georgia tech
RPI 64 161
PPG 70.2 (4) 67.1 (8)
Pts Against 66.1 (5) 68.9 (8)
FG % 44% (2) 41% (10)
3-Pt % 36% (4) 32% (11)
FT % 74% (3) 66% (12)
Leading    
Scorer Delaney 18.3 Shumpert 17.5
Rebounder Allen 10.0 Shumpert 6.1
Assists Delaney 4.3 Shumpert 3.5
Steals Green 1.9 Shumpert 2.7
Blocks Bell 1.1 D. Miller 2.2

*Team stats are from ACC games only (and ACC rank), player stats are for all games.

FYI: Delaney averages 16.2 ppg against gt (6 games), Allen 16.2 ppg/9 rpg, Davila 8.5 ppg (his highest against any ACC opponent; 4 games against), and Bell 6.7 ppg.

HO-KEYS TO WINNING:

  • Will the real VT team please stand up? After the big duke win, Tech seemingly had a hangover all of last week.  They need to come out with a chip on their shoulders and play for their NCAA Tournament lives – because they are (see bc and clemson for pointers).
  • Accelerate off the blocks: VT fell behind by 17 and 15 respectively midway through the first half in their last two games.   This is the complete opposite of their ACC games from January through last week.  In their 13 ACC games from the start of the calendar year through duke, Tech led by double digits in the first half in 9 of those games, and led at the half in 10 of those 13 games (went 8-2 in those games).  The Hokies are just 1-5 in ACC games when trailing at the half.  They need to get up early and get the jackets focused on their offseason.
  • Shoot the 3… well: In Tech’s last 14 games, the team that shot for higher percentage from behind the arc has won EVERY time.  Also, the team that made more 3s in the game lost just twice (one of those was gt @ VT).  Tech has not lost over that span when they made more 3s than their opponent.
  • Stump Everyone but the Shumpert: VT was 0/2 at slowing ACC-Second Team member Iman Shumpert.  Iman had a triple double plus 7 assists in Atlanta, and 27 points on 6/13 from 3-point range in VT.  The difference?  Brian Oliver had 28 off the bench in Atlanta, but didn’t play at VT (hurt).  He hasn’t returned to action since February 5th, and the Hokies certainly wouldn’t shed any tears if he cannot play Thursday.
  • Allen-Town: Let’s hope Jeff makes Greensboro Allen-town.  He had 8 double-doubles in 9 games, and 3 ACC Player of the Week honors this year before last week.  Then he combined for just 23 points and 8 rebounds in the two losses.  He needs to pick it back up.  Luckily, gt is very soft inside and he should be able to duplicate the 21.5 ppg and 12.5 rpg he’s averaging against the jackets this year.

BORING FACTS ABOUT gt:

  • Established: 1885
  • Type: Public
  • Mascot: Buzz
  • The term ‘ramblin’ wreck’ comes from the makeshift motor vehicles gt engineers were using for projects in South American jungles in the late 19th century.
  • Students: 13,750 undergrad (NERDS!) and 7,000 postgrad (NERDS!)
  • Notable Alums/Students: President Jimmy Carter, Jeff Foxworthy, several astronauts, Chris Bosh, Matt Price, Dennis Scott, Stephon Marbury, John Salley, Mark Teixeira, Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Anderson, and Stewark Cink. John Heisman coached gt.
  • ACC Basketball Titles: 3 (last in 1993)
  • ACC Football Titles: 3 (one less than the real Tech who has been in the league 25 fewer years) — last – ’09

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Previews10 Comments

All-ACC Teams Announced | Delaney 1st Team, Allen 2nd

Malcolm Delaney locked up First Team All-ACC honors for the second straight year.  He becomes the first Hokie to achieve that.

Meanwhile, Jeff Allen was Second Team.  It isn’t so much that fact that is surprising (though I thought he was a first teamer), it is the fact he received the fewest points of any sccond teamer.  In effect, he received the 10th most points in the league vote.  I find that a bit ridiculous for a guy that finished 13th in the league in scoring an 2nd in rebounding.  In conference games, he was 9th in scoring and 3rd in rebounding.  Jeff also collected 14 double-doubles, 9 in league play.  I wonder if his average last week hurt him 23 points and just 8 rebounds combined.  But he was Player of the Week three times.  I doubt anyone else that got it more than once wasn’t a First Teamer.

Nolan Smith (duke) was the Player of the Year, Harrison Barnes (unc) was the top freshman, and John Henson (unc) was the Defensive Player of the Year.  Tech did not have anyone on the Freshmen or Defensive teams.

Jordan Williams, Kyle Singler, and Reggie Jackson also were First Teamers.  Williams finished 2nd in voting points, Delaney 3rd, and Singler and Jackson 4th and 5th respectively.

Posted in 2010-11 Season1 Comment

Bubble Trouble | Hokies on the Fence Again

If the Hokies are anything, they are consistent.  They are always in the running for an ACC Tournament bye, and they are always on the NCAA Tournament bubble.  I’d say it was going to be a rough weekend for my fingernails, but I already shredded them all trying to keep my composure during the clemson game.  WE’VE GOTTA KEEP OUR COMPOSURE!

So let me update an article I wrote three weeks ago where I compared our bubble hopes this year to the past four years.  Let’s review…

Year Overall/ ACC Record* RPI (Overall/ RPI/SOS)*
2010-11 19-10 / 9-7 #63 / .565 / .537
2009-10 23-8 / 10-7 #59 / .573 / .514
2008-09 18-14 / 8-10 #61 / .570 / .578
2007-08 19-13 / 10-8 #53 / .568 / .566
2006-07$ 21-11 / 11-7 #34 / .594 / .577

Notes:

  • *For past seasons this was VT’s record and RPI on Selection Sunday.  ACC record includes ACC Tournament games.
  • $VT made the Big Dance in 2006-07 as a #5 seed.

The NCAA Tournament has expanded by 3 teams this year, up to 68.  That helps.  There are 31 automatic qualifiers, so now 37 teams will get at-large bids.  If there had been 68 teams last year, VT would have gone dancing.  But a few negative facts remain:

  • VT’s RPI is the worst it’s been in the five years, and they didn’t make it the last three with better numbers.
  • Tech was clearly the #4 team in the ACC a week ago.  Now you have to put them at sixth (not just in the ACC Tournament but in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee).  VT went 0-3 against bc and clemson, who both have better RPIs.  They have to be ahead of the Hokies.  And this is in a VERY down year for the ACC. Not good.

A few things are on the Hokies side:

  • They have a huge win over duke, a quality win they were sorely lacking the last several years (although you could argue that thanks to unc’s demolishing of the blue devils Saturday, that win has a little less luster.
  • Tech has a chance to make a run in the ACC Tournament.  A good chance… at least to make the semi-finals.  georgia tech is georgia tech, and Paul Hewitt is on his way out (though I’ll have more about them in my preview).  And fsu is without their only true star (though I’ll have more on that Friday… we hope).  And, if stars are aligned and VT can win two, you have to like their chances of getting in (even one gives us hope).  The semis even shake out better facing duke instead of a unc team that has won 12 of 13 and 17 of 19.  But again, it’s baby steps at this point… let’s just get to Friday.
  • The Tournament is taking 3 more teams as mentioned.

I know we don’t have to win the whole darn ACC to make it, but two wins sure would make me a lot more comfortable Saturday (though I wouldn’t want to be my finger-nubs).  Just have to TCB – take care of business.  Tech needs to play with fire, and for their lives, as they saw bc and clemson do last week.  Can VT regain that fire?  We’ll see Thursday, or else there’s nothing left to worry about, our fate will have been sealed.

Posted in 2010-11 Season5 Comments

Road to Greensboro | Tech is the #6 Seed

As expected, boston college thrashed wake forest today.  So bc, clemson, and VT finished tied for fourth at 9-7.  clemson gets the #4 seed by virtue of beating bc and VT.  bc gets the #5 since they swept VT.  And the Hokies are relegated to 6th for going 0-3 against those two teams.

The Hokies will play the #11 seed, georgia tech at approximately 9:20 PM on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.  The game will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the #7/10 game.

The yellow jackets will be the #11 seed no matter what happens Sunday in the miami @ gt  and fsu @ nc state games because the wolfpack have a one game lead and they beat georgia tech in their only meeting, so even if gt wins and nc state loses today, they’d have the tiebreaker.

FYI: If VT wins Thursday, they’d play the #3 seed, florida state, on Friday night at the same time as Thursday’s game.  Tech and tech split this season, with each team winning big at home.

Posted in 2010-11 Season13 Comments

Peat and Repeat | Recap | clemson (9-7) 69, VT (9-7) 60

Boxscore

If you saw Tuesday night’s game, you basically saw Saturday’s game.  For the second game in a row, you need to change the sheets, because we [pooped] the bed.  I don’t know what bar the Hokies have been at since their win over #1 duke last Saturday, but can someone please go and wake them the [eff] up???  For the first time all season, the Hokies lost two ACC games in a row.  And they couldn’t have picked a worse time…

Tuesday: Tech fell behind 27-10 in the first half to bc.

Today: VT trailed 24-9 (after a 16-3 clemson run).  FYI: VT was trying out their new Nike Cement Shoes – early on they lost every 50/50 ball.  clemson had 4 dunks in the first 10 minutes.  VT had 14 turnovers in the first half.  clemson grabbed several key offensive rebounds that turned into dunks (6 dunks to 0 on the game).

Tuesday: The Hokies made a run and trailed by just 8, 35-27 at the break.

Today: Tech went on a 12-1 run to close the game to 25-21, and trailed by just 34-30 at halftime.

Tuesday: Tech hit some 3s and were behind by just 45-39 early in the second half.

Today: VT hit a big 3 and trailed by just 39-35 with 16:29 to go in the game.

Tuesday: bc went on a 14-2 run to blow the game out at 59-41.

Today: clemson went on a 10-0 run to go up 49-35.  In fact, VT scored just 2 points from the 16:29 mark to the 7:58 mark.  That’s 8:30 minutes with 2 points.

Today: VT went on a 7-0 run to cut it to 51-44, but then the tigers used an 8-0 run to go up 59-44 and put the game away.

Honestly, does Virginia Tech deserve an NCAA bid right now?  Hmm.  Not sure we do.  We certainly don’t in the last week.

Here were the keys to the game:

  • Win the 3-pt % battle (the team that had shot from a higher % from deep had won 13 straight games):  clemson hit 4/7 to start that game and won this battle 41% to 30%.  Streak continues to 14 straight games.
  • TB + VD = win: the Hokies actually did great here.  Bell had a double-double with 10 points and a stunning 11 rebounds.  Davila had just 4, but those 14 combined points normally were an automatic win.  And Manny Atkins added 9 off the bench.  So this was a stunner.
  • Tech had 14 steals in the game, including 11 from their starters (but those turned into almost no fastbreak points because VT has no idea what to do on an odd-man rush).

So what went wrong?

  • Erick Green had 0 points at the half.
  • Instead of POW Jeff Allen we got MIA Jefff Allen – he had just 9 points and 5 rebounds for the game, and seemingly was invisible.
  • VT had 15 offensive rebounds – that sounds like a good thing but it isn’t.  The Hokies shot just 31% for the game.  clemson, meanwhile, shot 49% for the game because they made extra passes and got easy looks.  That’s that difference in this game.
  • The Hokies made just 18 shots in the game (18/59).  They only made 7 shots in the final 16:29 of the game.
  • Tech had no answer to clemson’s defensive intensity.  The Hokies spent more time 40-feet from the basket than they did in the paint.  Let me walk you through a possession…. Point guard dribbles it up.  Picks up his dribble near the jump circle.  Passes to other guard near jump circle.  Pass to Davila around the 3-point line.  Start offensive possession.
  • Here was a clemson possession: Push ball.  Feed inside.  VT double or triple team guy.  Feed to wide open dunk.  See ya, have a good night.

Flat out, the last two games, the Hokies played two teams that were hungrier than they were.  Tech has been fat, drunk, and happy since the duke win.  Considering they have a veteran, albeit small roster, that’s pathetic.

Tech had earned a first round bye in the ACC Tournament 4 of 6 years coming into this year.  All they had to do was win once this week for a 5th bye, and they couldn’t.  That’s pathetic.  These seniors want a trip to the Big Dance so much, yet they did nothing this week to earn it.

As much crap as we give Frank Beamer for never winning the big game, at least he wins ALL the games we should, and most of the 50/50 games.  Well, this Hokie basketball club could not this week.  And for the third time in five years clemson stole something that belonged to the Hokies on the final day of the regular season.  Eff you, clemson.

See you Thursday in Greensboro.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps21 Comments

Preview | VT (9-6, 19-9) @ clemson (8-7, 19-10) | Saturday at Noon | ESPN2

Spread: clemson by 3.

The stakes are clear and high for the Hokies on Saturday in the Battle for Fourth Place!

  • Win – See you Friday in Greensboro for the ACC Quarters and hello, NCAA Tournament!
  • Lose – Hello, Thursday in G-boro and good bye, finger nails – it’s going to be another nerve-racking Selection Sunday.

With a win the Hokies lock up at least the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament and earn their fifth First Round bye in seven years in the league (pretty darn impressive).  The Hokies could even move up to the #3 seed with a win if florida state loses at nc state this weekend (not holding my breath on that one, but the wolfpack could step up in Sidney Lowe’s last home game coaching for state).

Lose and the Hokies are all but assured the #6 seed and a date with #11 georgia tech on Thursday evening.  A game that won’t do much for their tourney resume (though the Committee does seem to value any win, even crappy ones — just look at gt last year).

Here’s how it all shakes out (fsu @ nc state, wake @ bc):

  • #3 seed: VT win, fsu loss
  • #4 seed: VT win, fsu win
  • #5 seed: VT loss, bc loss
  • #6 seed: VT loss, bc win

We knew going into the duke game the Hokies probably had to win two more regular season games and they could feel pretty confident on Selection Sunday.  Well, the fact they beat duke really solidified that.  A win at clemson Saturday would have to lock up a bid for the Hokies.  Tech missed an opportunity to seal their fate at home Tuesday, but they still control their own destiny.  Just have to regroup and take care of business.

This will be the third time in five years the Hokies finish the season with clemson (and all three times it has been the only meeting of the season… weird).  The first two times have not worked out so well for Tech.

  • 2007-08: VT lost a heartbreaker 70-69 at clemson.  The loss cost VT the #3 seed (which clemson took), and pushed VT to the #4, forcing them to play THE #1 tar heels in the semi-finals.
  • 2006-07: VT lost on a late shot to an average clemson team, 75-74, in Blacksburg.  The win cost the Hokies a share of the ACC regular season title and the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament.  Instead, they had to play their arch-nemesis, nc state, in the semi-finals and lost.

So it is payback time!

The Hokies have been Jekyll and Hyde on the road this year.  Hopefully we see the maryland/nc state/wake VT team, and not the at gt/bc/uva club.

SERIES:

The two teams have played nine times since Tech joined the ACC.  The first eight meetings were decided by just 19 points combined!  The largest margin of difference had been 5 points, with six of the eight meetings decided by 3 points or less.

Last year the Hokies took care of business after the second massive snowstorm of the season, beating clemson 70-59 (Recap) |  Highlights

  • All Time: VT 12-10
  • In ACC Play: clemson 5-4
  • At Littlejohn in ACC Play: 2-2
  • Streak: VT 2 in a row

So the Hokies have had success at clemson.  They won their last meeting there two years ago, knocking off a ranked clemson squad.

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech clemson
Guard 11 Green 6-4 2 Stitt 6-2
Guard 23 Delaney 6-3 11 Young 5-9
Wing/Guard 1 Bell 6-7 5 Smith 6-5
Forward/Center 0 Allen 6-7 45 Grant 6-8
Forward/Center 14 Davila 6-8 31 Booker 6-8

Don’t worry, that’s Devin Booker, not you-know-who.  Devin is just a shadow of his brother.  He’ll battle inside and scores 8 per game and grabs 5 boards, but his bro (now with the Wizards) was a beast – churning out double-doubles like they were nothing.

If you haven’t seen the tigers this year, you won’t recognize them from a year ago in terms of style of play.  Gone are the days of OPP (Oliver Purnell) and his press-you-from-the-time-you-get-off-the-bus style.  Their two talented guards, Stitt and Young, will pick you up full court, but they are just walking you up the court to make sure you don’t feel alone.  No more wild full court trap.  But they do still hang their hat on defense.  They are one of the top defensive teams in the country and will make you work for everything.  They get about 7 steals per game, but are average at rebounding and turnover margin.  They are just a bit offensively challenged.  And how weird is it to see them #1 in the ACC in FT% in conference games?  OPP really is gone.

Jerai Grant has improved night and day for them.  I’m not sure if OPP was really good at developing big men (I might think this based on how Booker developed), or if it is the regime under Brad Brownell.  Either way, the guy can play.  The senior has almost doubled his scoring from 7.2 to 12.2 this year and snags 6.7 rebounds and blocks 2.3 shots per game.  He has good skills in the low post.  Davila will have to really battle him.  Grant, who used to just be an athlete, may be too athletic for Davila to handle.  But we’ll see.  VT will need to double down on him at times if they are in man.

Stitt and Young are solid players – combining for 25 ppg, 7 rpg, and 6 apg.  Both are solid 3-point shooters around 37-38%.  Stitt can also attack the rim and score on penetration.  Young is almost exclusively a 3-point shooter and needs space since he’s just 5’9″.  Tanner Smith has shown more ability to attack the tin this year but he’s also mostly a spot up shooter.

Milton Jennings off the bench was a 5-star recruit, but has been a bit of a bust through two years.  He shoots just 27% from deep but scores about 8 per game subbing for Smith.

Bryan Narcisse is their JT Thompson.  He brings high energy off the bench.  I think of him as a black Kurt Rambis (he has goggles and throw his body around like a rag doll).

STATS (ACC Rank):

Virginia Tech clemson
RPI 63 65
PPG 70.9 (4) 66.4 (9)
Pts Against 65.9 (5) 62.8 (3)
FG % 45% (1) 42% (9)
3-Pt % 36% (4) 34% (8)
FT % 73% (4) 75% (1)
Leading
Scorer Delaney 18.8 Stitt 14.1
Rebounder Allen 10.2 Grant 6.7
Assists Delaney 4.2 Stitt 3.3
Steals Green 1.7 Stitt 1.4
Blocks Davila 1.1 Grant 2.3

Note: Team stats are from ACC games only, player stats include all games

HO-KEYS TO WINNING:

  1. Shoot for a higher 3-point %: If you didn’t see my article the other day, in VT’s last 13 games, the team that has shot for a higher percentage from deep has won.  Every time.  The good news is VT shoots 36% in conference play, third in the league, while clemson shoots 34% (8th best).
  2. TB + VD = Win: Again, if you didn’t see my article the other day, check out this… In VT’s last six wins, Terrell Bell and Victor Davila have combined for an average of 20 ppg.  In their three losses, that drops to 8 per game.  They had just 6 combined Tuesday.  VT has to get production from these guys… or hope Eddie gets hot like he did at wake or Atkins like he did at unc.  Point is they need a supporting cast for Green, Allen, and Delaney.
  3. POW Big Donut: We need to see the Jeff Allen that was player of the week three times from early January through the end of February.  But against bc the other night he grabbed just 3 rebounds (and 14 points).  It was just the 2nd time in 10 games he hasn’t had a double-double.  He’s averaged 10.5 points and 9 rebounds in 4 previous meetings.  Hopefully he doesn’t mind this bus ride to clemson too much (Gameday reference that might have been bulletin board material for clemson).
  4. tiger Killer: Malcolm Delaney has OWNED the tigers.  He’s averaged 24 ppg in four meetings, easily his high against an ACC opponent.  And we’ll never forget the 37 he put on clemson in 2009 – including a 60-footer at the half to give him 25 points at the break (VT choked that game away in the second half).  He needs to have a big game after a poor game against duke, and an average game against clemson.  His outside shot has been off of late, but maybe seeing orange will crank it up.
  5. Rechannel last Saturday: The Hokies were PUMPED last Saturday.  They were flatter than my 9th grade girlfriend on Tuesday.  They have to regain that energy they had and realize this is a NCAA Tournament play-in game, as well as a game that gets them an extra day off before the ACC Tournament.
  6. Keep Trending: Since losing at unc, the Hokies have responded to every ACC loss with two straight wins.  Well, they lost Tuesday, so I guess there’s only one thing left to do…!

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Previews6 Comments

Niemo’s Notes | I’ve Unlocked the Mystery

If you looked at one stat in the boxscore in Virginia Tech’s last 13 games, you would know who the winner was (and no, I’m not referring to total points).  Since the unc game on January 13th, the team that shot for a higher 3-point percentage won the game.  Period.  All 13 games.

Result VT 3-Pt% opp 3-Pt%
VT 94, wake 65 47% 33%
VT 74, maryland 57 36% 30%
VT 70, longwood 52 26% 25%
ga tech 72, VT 57 9% 33%
VT 72, miami 68 47% 30%
VT 77, nc state 69 25% 20%
bc 58, VT 56 21% 35%
VT 102, ga tech 77 53% 43%
VT 91, maryland 83 39% 29%
uva 61, VT 54 32% 48%
VT 76, wake 62 67% 17%
VT 64, duke 60 32% 20%
bc 76, VT 61 18% 46%

Also note that in those 13 games, the winning team him more 3-pointers in 10 of those games and tied for makes once (miami).  The georgia tech game at VT and the game at maryland are the only times the loser had more makes.

While it is hard for Hokie fans, me included, to swallow going 0-4 this season to uva and bc, it actually isn’t a surprise based on the statistics above.  In conference games, uva is #1 in 3-point percentage and boston college is #2.  The Hokies are #3.  And bc is #1 in made 3-pointers per game while uva is #3.  Even though we don’t think of the Hokies as a 3-point shooting team, efficiency from behind the arc has become critical to their success.

No where was this more evident than Tuesday.  bc hit 7/13 from 3-point range in the first half, VT was 1/9.  Tech hit their first two 3-pointers of the 2nd half and quickly were back within 5, then missed their final six 3-pointers of the game.  bc was 3/9 in the 2nd half and 10/22 for the game.  VT was 3/17.  Game, set, match.

Other Factors:

TBVD: When Terrell Bell and Victor Davila are on, so are the Hokies.  Look at their scoring in recent games…

Result Bell Points Davila Points
VT 72, miami 68 6 9
VT 77, nc state 69 13 6
bc 58, VT 56 7 4
VT 102, ga tech 77 13 11
VT 91, maryland 83 16 14
uva 61, VT 54 2 7
VT 76, wake 62 6 5
VT 64, duke 60 12 11
bc 76, VT 61 4 2

Over this nine game stretch, the two starters have averaged 20.3 points combined in VT’s six wins, and just 8.7 in their three losses.  The wake game is the only win where they didn’t have a big combined effort, but that night Jarell Eddie stepped up and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Player.

At uva, Bell and Davila had just 1 point on 1 shot at halftime.  Tonight, Bell hit a jumper in the first minute and then didn’t score again until less than three minutes were left in the game and the outcome was long since decided.  Simply put, when TB and VD are off (or someone like Jarell Eddie doesn’t step up), the Hokies seem doomed.

Down Low:

The Hokies should have big advantages inside against teams that play small and shoot the 3-pointer like bc and uva.  And you saw that at bc when Allen had 25 points and 19 rebounds.  But tonight Jeff didn’t get nearly enough touches.  And because he was chasing guys around the perimeter, he wasn’t under the basket to get rebounds and finished with just 3 boards, his lowest output of the year.

Davila also should be able to beat up these smaller teams.  It is almost as if Tech doesn’t realize they have a huge advantage inside, and instead try to match opponents shot for shot from 3-point range.  The Hokies’ 3-point shots have to come in rhythm, not forced as they were tonight.  Tech gets away from their strength and plays to the other team’s style.  Give bc credit.

I think VT presses and starts forcing shots from the outside when they get behind, instead of chipping away with points in the paint (VT had 22 at the half compared to just 5 for bc) and good defense, which we didn’t see any of tonight.

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back:

Here’s another wacky trend – since the loss at unc, VT has responded to every ACC loss with exactly two ACC wins.  The third game?  Always a loss.  That trend continued tonight.

The good news based on that is it means VT will win at clemson Saturday and lock up a first round bye in the ACC Tournament, win on Friday in the ACC Quarterfinals!  But then lose in the ACC Semi-Finals.

Anyway, all is not lost.  Tech still controls their own destiny for a bye.  Win Saturday, and Tech is likely the #4 seed in the tournament.  Saturday is basically a ‘winner-take-all’ for 4th place game, unless there’s a 4-way tie (maryland wins out, clemson loses to duke and beats us, bc beats wake) and then bc goes.

But let’s hope the Hokies can rebound from The Hangover and take care of business Saturday.

Posted in 2010-11 Season16 Comments

Senioritis | bc (8-7, 18-11) 76, Hokies (9-6, 19-9) 61

Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen puts up a shot against boston college

Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen puts up a shot against boston college

Box Score

Virginia Tech’s six-game home conference winning streak came to an end with a 76-61 loss to boston college. To call this loss disappointing would be a gross understatement.

Coming off an emotional win over the top team in the country three days ago, the Hokies returned to the court for their final home game of the regular season… and promptly laid a big egg. On senior night no less.

The Hokies were badly out-rebounded 38-24. Tech was bad in just about every category. They shot just 42.9 percent from the field (24/56) and a woeful 17 percent (3/17) from three-point range.

Sophomore Erick Green led the Hokies with 21 points. Seniors Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen has 17 and 14 points respectively. Allen had just nine offensive touches the entire game, yet still managed 14 points.

The Hokies got off to a promising 4-0 start, but the eagles used a 19-2 run to blow by the Hokies and never looked back. Tech managed just 10 points in the first 11:45 of the game.

boston college, like uva, was money from behind the arc, hitting a dizzying 7/13 three pointers in the first half to help the eagles to an 18-point lead. Tech responded with a short 15-5 run to cut the lead to eight at the half, 27-35.

The Hokies came out in the second half with a pair of three pointers to cut the lead to five, but that’s as close as they would get. Ice cold shooting and inability to play effective defense led to a 20-point deficit – the Hokies’ largest of the season. And when we say “ice cold” shooting, we’re talking multiple air balls. It was bad folks, really bad.

We could talk about the refs and the questionable calls, but give bc credit – they shot the lights out and frustrated the Hokies defensively. They did what they had to do to win.

Green summed it up in the post-game presser. Here’s the quote from the HokieSports.com recap:

“It’s simple,” Green said. “We didn’t come to play. We got embarrassed. I feel bad for the seniors because that’s not how you want to go out. But hands down, we got outplayed. They got ahead too quick, and we tried to ramp it up. But they just beat us.”

Unless Tech can pull off a road win against clemson and win 1-2 games in the ACC tourney, it looks like it’ll be another NIT appearance. Here’s hoping the Hokies can pull off an upset on the road to salvage any hope of an NCAA tourney bid.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps25 Comments

Jeff Allen Named ACC Player of the Week

For the third time this season and fourth time in his career, the Big Donut has been recognized by the ACC as their Player of the Week.  Allen scored 17 points and snagged 8 rebounds against wake, and following that up with 18 points and 15 rebounds in the Hokies’ win over #1 duke.  His passing has also been superb of late, and he dished out 2 assists in each contest.

The wake game snapped Allen’s streak of 7 straight double-doubles, but he quickly got back on track in that category against duke.

This marks the fifth time a Hokie has won the award this season.  Erick Green and Malcolm Delaney won it the other two times.  For Jeff, all three have been since the turn of the calendar year, and he’s won it twice in the last month.

Jeff has to be an ACC First Teamer now.  Player of the Week three times, 11th in scoring, and 2nd in rebounding?  That’s All-ACC, baby.

Posted in 2010-11 Season7 Comments

Senior Moments | For Whom the Bell Tolls: Thank You Seniors!

Senior Moments | For Whom the Bell Tolls: Thank You Seniors!

For the 66th and (hopefully) final time, Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, and Terrell Bell will lace up their sneakers and head onto the Cassell Coliseum court donning Chicago maroon and burnt orange.  Paul Debnam, the heart and soul of the team will also bid adieu.  And Prince Parker and Andrew Griffin, we hardly knew ya, but they will also be there for the final time.  It will be a night of sadness in seeing them go, a night of celebration for their careers, and a night of reflection on their accomplishments both individually and as a team.  Let us now reflect on their careers to date.

  • Career Record: 84-46 (65%)
  • ACC Record (Regular Season): 35-27 (56%)
  • Home Record: 52-13 (80%)
  • ACC Home Record: 23-8 (74%)
  • Toughest Loss: #1 unc 68, VT 66 (3.15.08 – ACC Tournament Semi-Finals – knocked the Hokies out of the NCAA Tournament and cost them a chance at an ACC title)
  • Biggest Win: Duh!  VT 64, #1 duke 60 (2.26.11)
  • Accomplishment: Tied the 1994-95 team for the school record for wins in a year with 25 in 2009-10
  • Nearing History: With 4 more wins, this class will have the most wins in a four your span in VT history, surpassing the Dell Curry days of 1982-86 (87 wins).

This year’s class is very similar to four years ago when Tech said good-bye to three great players in Zabian Dowdell, Jamon Gordon, and Coleman Collins.  Dowdell and Gordon are littered all over the Hokies’ top 10 career lists.  This year’s class has two great players itself, along with a solid complimentary guy in Terrell Bell.  Let’s look back at their careers.

MALCOLM DELANEY:

Definitely one of the 10 greatest basketball players in school history.  You could argue he’s top five, too (maybe that will be a project for me this offseason).  He will finish his career third on the all time scoring list and may become the all time assist leader.  He owns pretty much every free throw record in school history (by a wide margin), and is two 3-pointers away from 250 in his career.  Plus, he is all but guaranteed to finish as Tech’s first ever two-time All-ACC First Teamer, and was Third Team his sophomore year.

Delaney has been extremely dependable ever since the tail end of his freshman season.  He’s scored in double figures in 86 of 94 games over the last three seasons, and in 43 of 46 ACC regular season games.  Malcolm led the ACC in scoring a year ago and is second this year.  Can you believe he was actually coming off the bench behind Hank Thorns the first half of his freshman year?  That seems ages ago now.

Just look at where he ranks all-time:

  • Scoring: 4th (2126 – with 11 points on Tuesday, Malcolm will move into 3rd)
  • Assists: 2nd (520 – needs 28 assists to move into first)
  • Steals: Needs 21 steals to move into 10th (163)

Best Game: Wow, this one is tough.  The problem is most of his huge games came in losses like unlv this year.  The January ’09 game against clemson would have been an easy choice if VT had won.  Malcolm had 25 at the half, including a 3/4-court shot at the buzzer.  But VT choked up the lead and were defeated.  He had 17 points and 10 assists against unc in the 2009 ACC Tournament, but again, VT lost (he’s actually had four great games against unc… all losses).

He did have 22 points, 8 assists, and 5 steals in the Aeropostale Holiday Championship Game in 2009, but who really cares about that game.

I’ll have a split decision here (both against georgia tech):

  • 2.13.11 – 33 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals against georgia tech at home in a 102-77 win.  Delaney hit 9/14 from the floor, 3/4 behind the arc, and 12/14 from the line.  He had 22 points with 7:41 to go in the first half before foul trouble forced him to sit.
  • 3.6.10 – 32 points, 9 assists, and a steal in a key 88-82 win at georgia tech to finish the regular season at 10-6 in the ACC (and make the NCAAs, we thought).  Malcolm was 7/15 from the floor, 4/7 from 3-point range, and 14/17 from the line.
  • Again, though, if we were picking a game win or lose, you’d have to go with that clemson game two years ago.  He was unconscious.

Honors:

  • All-ACC Third Team – 2009
  • All-ACC First Team – 2010
  • ACC Player of the Week – 3 times

JEFF ALLEN:

The Big Donut.  He came in a bit doughy, then slimmed way down (perhaps too much), but has really become a Godzilla-like force this year.  In past years Jeff would terrorize lesser opponents but struggle in ACC play.  He never had more than three double-doubles in ACC regular season play in any of his past three years.

But this year that has all changed.  Agent Zero has double-doubles in 8 of 9 games (all ACC games), in 9 games overall he’s eclipsed the 10/10 mark, and has 15 double-doubles overall this year.  He’s 11th in the conference in scoring and 2nd in rebounding.  Jeff seems all but a lock for First Team All-ACC.

Jeff made a great impression on all of us right from the start.  He’s The Natural – great hands (in the post and making steals), great post moves, and now has a sweet mid-range jumper.  It has all come together for Jeff.  Is he top 10 all time at VT?  Eh, he’s close, and with his career numbers, it would be tough to leave him out.

For more on his career, read this recent postGo Nuts Big Donut

  • Scoring: 15th (1625 – Jeff needs 82 points to move into 10th)
  • Rebounds: 4th (1064)
  • Steals: 3rd (222)
  • Blocks: 5th (149)

Best Game(s): There are a lot to choose from recently, so I sold out and chose one new and one old…

  • 2.26.11 – 18 points and 15 rebounds against the #1 team in the nation, duke, quality as a pretty good night.  He also chipped in 2 assists and a block.
  • 1.17.09 – 30 point, 9 rebound, 3 steals and 3 block performance against bc at home.  VT won 79-71.  Dude has owned the eagles, including his 25 points, 19 rebound game a month ago.

Honors:

  • All-ACC Freshman – 2008
  • ACC Player of the Week – 4 times (3 times this year)

TERRELL BELL:

Came in as an athlete.  Was compared to Deron Washington early on, but that turned out not to be fair.  Terrell quickly developed into Tech’s best on-ball defender and has been matched with Tech’s opponents’ best for many of his years.

Has developed a deadly 3-point shot from the corner over the years that he consistently knocks down.  Terrell hit 36% of his 3s last year and is hitting 44% this year.

Probably Tech’s best dunker on the break, though he never really developed the ability to drive and get to the basket on his own.

Best Game: 2.15.11 – Went 5/5 from the field, all of with were 3-points (and 1/4 from the foul line… yeesh) to help VT to a 91-83 win over maryland at home with 16 points.  He also stuffed the stat sheet with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block.  What a game for T-Bell.

Runner up would be 2.16.10 when he had 5 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists, and a steal in a huge home win over wake forest, 87-83.

PAUL DEBNAM:

Best Game: 1.02.11 – Had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block in Tech’s blowout win of mt. st. mary’s this year.  Oh, and a LOT of smiles.

If you’re looking for lessons on how to do the Dougie, Paul’s your man.  He is a cheerleader on the bench.  He is the match to VT’s fire.  Paul is the guy that gets the team going before a game and passionately roots them on throughout.  And when he has had a chance to play, he’s done pretty darn well.

Paul is a true crowd favorite.  “We want Paul!” has become a regular occurrence at the end of home blowouts, sending the crowd into a frenzy when he gets in.  And nobody smiles bigger than Paul when he scores in a game.   Heck, sometimes you think he’s going to stop the game and ask for the ball.

Paul loved the ESPN College Gameday atmosphere.  He hammed it up in the crowd during the show, and then danced his butt off before and after the game on the ESPN cameras.

Believe me when I say he will be tough to replace next year.  You have to have a guy that keeps everyone up during a long season.

Personally, I can still hear him yelling, “Va-sigh-YOOOOO” in practice time and time again as A.D. would do something.

And Paul is the only Tech player to arm-curl me!

PRINCE PARKER:

Joined the basketball team after football season ended this year.  Scored on the only field goal attempt of his career against wake at home.  He’s shooting 100%!  Played in three other blowouts.

ANDREW GRIFFIN:

Walk-on that joined the team this season.  Played against mt. st. mary’s and hit the only shot of his career.  Saw action in two other blowouts against wake and gt.

NIEMO’S FINAL THOUGHT:

Tuesday night will be tough.  It will be sad to see these guys walk out that tunnel for the final time.  This was a truly special class.  Thankfully, two members of this class will be back next year – cousins Dorenzo Hudson and JT Thompson.  But Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney were truly special.  Thankfully, it now looks like they will get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament and end their careers in style.  A win Tuesday on Senior Night would certainly help their case.  We’ll miss you, seniors.

Posted in 2010-11 Season4 Comments

Senior Night Preview | bc (7-7, 17-11) @ VT (9-5, 19-8) | Tuesday at 9 PM on ESPNU

Tuesday is Senior Night!  PLEASE come out and support the Senior Class the same way you supported the Hokies all day Saturday.  This article will focus on the game.  Please see the follow up article that honors the senior class.

The good news is, since losing at unc to fall to 1-2 in ACC play, the Hokies have answered every ACC loss with two consecutive conference wins.  The bad news is VT has won two in a row heading in to their game against boston college.  Can the Hokies finally win three ACC games in a row?  Or will they continue their two wins, one loss trend?

It’s Late Night with the Hokies for the second straight game with a 9 PM tip-off.  Perhaps someone should tell ESPN we aren’t a West Coast team.  This is Tech’s fifth or sixth 9 PM game by my count.  Oh, well, at least this one is at home.  The Hokies will look to close out their second straight 7-1 ACC home season with a win, and 12-2 overall at home.

The Hokies will look to avenge their loss at bc a month ago (one of the worst performances of the season by VT) and bury the eagles in the ACC races.  A win eliminates bc from finishing ahead of VT in the standings, while a loss gives the eagles the tiebreaker and just one game behind Tech with VT having a tough road game at clemson to finish.

Good teams can turn it on even when they aren’t playing #1. And since this is a veteran team for the most part, I expect the Hokies to come out and clip the eagles’ wings early.  I think this will be a blowout, but if it isn’t, the Hokies need to keep playing as if their NCAA Tournament lives depended on it.  The duke win gave VT a signature win, something they didn’t have last year when they went 10-6 in the ACC.  But VT needs one more ‘W’ to get to 10 ACC wins and Saturday, at clemson, will be a lot harder to do it.  Plus, a win would all but clinch a First Round bye in the ACC Tournament for the Hokies, so there is still a lot on the line.  Tech desperately needs the bye if they want to win the ACC, given their lack of depth.

SERIES:

  • All-Time: bc 12-7
  • In ACC Play: bc 6-5
  • At VT in ACC Play: VT 1-4

FIRST MEETING:

bc 58, VT 56 (Recap) – The Hokies played one of their worst games of the year and fell for the fifth time in six tries at bc since boston college joined the ACC.  Tech fell behind by 10 early thanks to 3/15 shooting to start the game, but fought back and took the lead a couple of times in the second half.  But Malcolm Delaney missed the front end of a 1-and-1 that could have tied the game with 24 seconds left, and then Erick Green missed a 3-pointer that would have given the Hokies the lead with under 5 seconds to play.  Jeff Allen was a monster in this game (stop the presses), scoring 25 and snagging 19 rebounds.  VT shot just 35% for the game and were just 3/14 from behind the arc.  No one for bc had a huge game.  Trapani had 14 and Reggie Jackson had a late 10.  Delaney had 19 for the Hokies.  Erick Green was 0/8 from the floor.

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech boston college
Guard 11 Green 6-4 0 Jackson 6-3
Guard 23 Delaney 6-3 5 Paris 6-1
Wing/Guard 1 Bell 6-7 11 Raji 6-6 or 31 Rubin 6-6
Forward 0 Allen 6-7 12 Trapani 6-8
Forward/Center 14 Davila 6-8 52 Southern 6-10

STATS (ACC Rank):

Virginia Tech boston college
RPI 52 44
PPG 71.6 (4) 67.9 (7)
Pts Against 65.1 (4) 70.1 (8)
FG % 46% (2) 43% (9)
3-Pt % 38% (2) 36% (4)
FT % 73% (4) 71% (5)
Leading
Scorer Delaney 18.8 Jackson 18.4
Rebounder Allen 10.5 Trapani 7.5
Assists Delaney 4.2 Jackson 4.4
Steals Green/Delaney 1.6 Jackson 1.1
Blocks Davila 1.2 Trapani 0.9

Note: Team stats are from ACC games only, player stats include all games

Career Numbers vs bc:

  • Allen: 18.3 ppg (6 games) and 9.2 rpg
  • Delaney: 15.9 ppg (7 games)
  • Bell: 4.0 ppg (6 games)
  • Davila: 2.8 ppg (5 games)

HO-KEYS TO WINNING:

  • No Hangover: Saturday was great, it really was, and while a loss Tuesday wouldn’t wipe out the positive NCAA Tournament effect of Saturday, it would tarnish it a tad.  Refocus, take care of business on your home floor Tuesday and then the Hokies are at 20 wins overall and 10 in ACC play.  I think there’d be no doubt the Hokies would be in with that.
  • Zeroed In: Jeff Allen has arguably been the best player in the ACC over the last month.  He’s averaged 18.1 ppg and 15.0 rpg over his last nine games, including 8 double-doubles.  Jeff had 25/19 in the first meeting against the eagles, and that was no fluke.  bc simply has no one that can guard him – Southern is too slow and Trapani is too weak (and slow).  Expect another big one from the Big Donut.  He started off his Cassell career with an ACC Player of the Week performance and I expect another great effort Tuesday.
  • Feeling Green: Erick Green has started 18 consecutive games and scored in double digits in 16 of those games.  But he was 0/8 at Boston and tallied just 1 point, while also missing a 3-pointer at the end that would have won the game.  Look for him to play inspired ball Tuesday, even though he’s not a senior.  He’ll have a chip on his shoulder.  The key is him attacking with penetration, especially in transition.  He had three ‘and-1′ opportunities against duke with his aggressive play.
  • Big Shot Bell:  When Bell is ringing them from the outside, the Hokies are tough to beat.  Tech is 7-1 when he reaches double digits this year and 6-1 when he hits at least two 3-pointers.  While he’s a complimentary player who specializes on the defensive end, it’s his offense that really puts the Hokies over the top.  Terrell needs to be aggressive with his shot on Tuesday.
  • Don’t Let Mr. October be Mr. March:  Reggie Jackson is a real talent.  He only had 10 in the first meeting, but he was killing the Hokies off the dribble in the second half.  Tech will have to work hard to force him to give the ball up and prevent him from driving.  The problem is if Tech comes over to help, it frees up one of the many good 3-point shooters for bc.
  • Defend Deep: bc leads the ACC, averaging 8.8 made 3-pointers per ACC game.  Trapani, Jackson, Raji, Paris, and Rubin all stroke it well from 3-point range, and often.
  • Dialed in Delaney: This is it (we hope) for Malcolm in the Cassell.  By no means did he have a good game against duke Saturday, but that huge, late 3-pointer had to give him confidence.  You know he wants to go out in a big way and I think he’ll be hotter than a pistol Tuesday.

BORING FACTS ABOUT boston college:

  • Established in 1863
  • Type: Private – Jesuit
  • Undergrad: 9k
  • Postgrad: 4.5k
  • Location: Chestnut Hill (just west of downtown Boston)
  • Mascot: Baldwin the eagle (get it? Bald eagle… win games… Baldwin)
  • bc participates in the Beanpot Tournament – a hocket tourney of bc, bu, northeastern, and harvard at the Boston Bruins (and Celtics) arena.
  • Their football stadium seats just 44.5k (and they still don’t sell it out for big games)
  • ACC Football and Basketball Titles: 0 (lost to VT in the 2007 and 2008 ACC Football Championship Game)

Famous Alums:

  • Ed McMahon (Yes!)
  • Chris O’Donnell
  • Leonard Nimoy (no relation)
  • Amy Poehler
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck
  • Tip O’Neill
  • John Kerry
  • Mike Lupica
  • John McLaughlin
  • Bob Ryan
  • Lesley Visser
  • Jared Dudley
  • Bruce Pearl
  • Matt Ryan
  • and of course, Doug Flutie – Flutie Hail Mary against miami

 

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Previews1 Comment

Game and College Gameday Highlights | VT 64, #1 duke 60

Here are the highlights from College Gameday in Blacksburg, the Hokies victory over the #1 blue devils, and some of the post-game theatrics.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Highlights3 Comments

See You at the BIG DANCE! | VT (9-5, 19-8) 64, #1 duke (12-2, 26-3) 60 | 2.26.11

Boxscore

The Hokies got the signature win that everyone has been looking for over the last four years, and all but punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 64-60 win over #1 duke at the Cassell. Tech used an extremely balanced effort to take down the devils. All five Hokie starters reached double-digits in points, including double-doubles from Jeff Allen and Victor Davila. The Hokies are now 3-2 against #1 teams under Coach Seth Greenberg, and this was Tech’s fourth win all-time against a #1 (Tech is 3-1 against #1 teams in the Cassell overall).

Things looked bleak for the Hokies as the game got to the later stages of the second half. Tech trailed 55-50 with 6:11 to go, but used a 9-0 run to jump out to a 59-55 lead with 2:39 left. duke never got closer than two after that point, though things got interesting at the end. Up 62-57 with 1:30 to go and with the ball, a lazy pass led to a Mason Plumlee dunk. And in the final minute, Tech was awful from the foul line, as they were all game. Tech won despite their free throw woes. The Hokies hit just 8/19 (42%), well below their 72% average, and they had been the #1 FT% team in conference games. But just enough free throws made and cold shooting from behind the arc for duke gave Virginia Tech the win.

After shooting 50% in the first half, Tech really struggled in the second half, hitting just 30% of their shots. The Hokies didn’t score for four and a half minutes in the middle of the second half, allowing duke to go on a 7-0 run and take a 51-45 lead. The two teams traded baskets, and the devils led 53-47 with 6:30 to go when an Allen 3-pointer closed the gap to three.

After a Nolan Smith jumper with 6:13 to go made it 55-50 (Smith’s 18th and final points of the night), it was hustle that got the Hokies back in it. Green missed a 3-pointer, but Bell skied across the paint to grab an offensive rebound. He fed the ball to Allen, who missed a jumper, but Davila slammed home the miss for the play of the night. Then Bell drained a 3-pointer with 4:42 to go the game was even. Tech had trailed for more than 10 minutes straight at that point.

Two Bell free throws with 4:19 to go put Tech back in the lead, and a Jeff Allen layup made it 59-55 with 2:39 to go. After a Singler layup, it was time for Malcolm Delaney to dust off his cape and hit a huge 3-pointer, giving VT a 62-57 lead with two minutes to go.

The Hokies were just 2/6 from the foul line in the final minute, but duke could not hit a jumpshot and the Hokies pulled it out. The fans stormed the court and Coach Greenberg hugged his daughters on the floor, seemingly in tears. Yep, everyone gave everything they had tonight — fans, coaches, and most of all, players. And now they should get want they want, barring a collapse in the next two weeks — a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Tech won thanks to several things:

  1. Davila’s hands – Victor was catching passes he hasn’t caught all year, and he was converting inside. He made a nice catch and finish to get the Hokies on the board and that set the tone.
  2. My ball – Jeff Allen dominated the glass, as did the Hokies. Tech grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 11 second-chance points.
  3. Balance – The Hokies had it, duke didn’t. Smith and Singler combined for 40 of duke’s 60 points. Meanwhile, all five starters from VT scored between 11 and 18 points.
  4. Ball security – duke committed just 5 turnovers on the night, but keep in mind they had just ONE turnover with 10 minutes to go in the game. They committed 4 turnovers down the stretch, leading to Hokie transition opportunities (VT had 15 fastbreak points to just 4 by duke). And Tech committed just 6 turnovers on the night, including just 2 in the second half.
  5. All In – Simply put, VT wanted this game. The whole team, especially the seniors wanted Tuesday to be their final home game. They didn’t want to have to come back to the Cassell for an NIT game.  And when the chips were down, they sealed the deal.  They outhustled the blue devils to 50/50 rebounds and kept possessions alive.

Jeff Allen was the man of the night for the Hokies, as he’s been for the last month. He racked up 18 points and 15 rebounds for his eighth double-double in nine games. He even knocked down two huge 3-pointers, just his fourth and fifth of the season.  Jeff also made some terrific passes inside that led to easy buckets for Davila when duke doubled Jeff.

Victor Davila also had a night.  He scored 11 points and collected 10 rebounds for just his second career double-double and first ever in ACC play. But he was just 1/6 from the foul line, highlighting an awful team effort from the stripe.

The star of the second half for the Hokies was Terrell Bell. He scored five points early in the second half to help the Hokies build a 42-37 lead with 17:19 to go, had a huge offensive rebound that led to the Hokies getting within three, trailing 55-52 with 4:42 to go, and then scored five straight to put the Hokies ahead 57-55. His 3-pointer tied the game at 55 with 4:42 to go. Bell had 10 points in the second half.

Erick Green tallied 12 points but 10 of those were in the first half. He had three ‘and-1′ opportunities tonight but converted just one. After a month stretch where he hit 32/33 from the foul line, he has since fallen into a horrible slump and was just 1/5 from the line tonight.

Notice I haven’t mentioned somebody… Malcolm Delaney, in what he called the biggest game of his life, struggled all night thanks to a suffocating duke defense. But Malcolm answered the call when it mattered most, hitting a gigantic 3-pointer with 2:02 to go, putting the Hokies up 62-57. He finished with just 11 points on 4/15 shooting (1/6 from behind the arc), but he hit the big shot when the Hokies needed it.

The much ballyhooed return of Seth Curry to the Cassell was a non-factor. Seth picked up two quick fouls in the first half, and two more early in the second half, and finished with a big goose egg, fouling out at the end. Nolan Smith, the ACC’s Player of the Year this year, had a solid game with 18 points on 9/18 from the floor (slightly below his average). Kyle Singler had 22 for duke, but most of his damage was from the line. He was just 6/19 from the floor but 9/10 from the line.

duke really struggled from deep. They finished 4/20 from 3-point range, going 2/10 in both halves. The blue devils shot just 40% for the game thanks to an all out defensive effort for the Hokies.

Random duke thought: When have you seen Coach K call all five timeouts in a game?  He makes a point of having his guys play through rough stretches, not giving the opponent the satisfaction of letting them know they have the devils on the run.  But Coach K burned all five, and just one was at the end.

Overall, what a great day for Virginia Tech basketball. Tech had a great turnout for ESPN College Gameday, inspiring Rece Davis to call it one of the loudest, if not the loudest he had been to. But then when the real show started, the Hokies persevered and found a way to win the big game, what they hadn’t been able to do the last 3+ seasons. Now let’s pack the Cassell on Tuesday night for the next big game against boston college. Tuesday is SENIOR NIGHT!  Let’s send Malcolm, Jeff, Terrell, and Paul out right.

Halftime – VT 33, duke 31 – First half recap…

If I told you Delaney would have just 4 points at the half and duke would have 0 turnovers, yet VT was leading, you’d have told me I was certifiably insane! But that’s just what happened. The Hokies shot 50% from the field in the first half and led by as many as seven. Tech jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead at the first media timeout and kept the lead most of the first half.

duke briefly took the lead at 16-14 with under 9-minutes to go in the first half, but an 8-2 run by the Hokies gave them a 29-22 lead. The run was thanks in large part to fast break points. Tech had 8 in the first half.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps27 Comments

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