Archive | Game Previews

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

Odds: miami is favored by 6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stat Comparison:

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

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

Game Notes:

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

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

TECH’S ROAD TO THE ACC TITLE:

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

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predictions: 1-1

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

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

Schedule:

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

Trending:

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

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

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

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

Of Note:

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

Hokie Leaders (through March 1st):

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

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

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

VT vs the opponents

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

opponents’ Best Player(s):

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

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews7 Comments

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

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

Gambler’s Corner:

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

Niemo Curls Eddie

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

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

Prediction: 0-2

Big Man meets Big Guns

Big Man meets Big Guns

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

Schedule:

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

Of Note:

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

Hokie Leaders (through Feb. 23):

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

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

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

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

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

VT vs the opponents — it ain’t pretty

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

opponents’ Best Player(s):

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

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schedule:

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

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

Predictions:

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

Stats of the Week:

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

Hokie Leaders (through Feb. 12):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

opponents’ Best Player(s):

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

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

The Week Ahead: at florida state (Wednesday at 9 PM) and at pittsburgh (Saturday at Noon)

Gambler’s Delight: fsu is favored by 15 over VT.

Predictions: VT will go 0-2

You probably don’t need a rationalization for why we’ll lose games 9 and 10 in a row on the road versus two Top 50 RPI/BPI teams, but here’s some fuel on the fire:

  • Tech is 0-6 at fsu since joining the ACC.  This is the only ACC venue Tech hasn’t won at of the ACC schools that were in the league before this year since joining the league.  VT had won at every other ACC venue by their 4th try, and it took Tech just 3 tries to win at duke and unc.  But the Tucker Civic Center?  0-6.  Last time there VT blew a 15-point 2nd half lead (and they were up 9 with 90 seconds to go).  If the Hokies couldn’t win then, they certainly can’t win with this squad against a team that, despite a 13-8 record, is #38 in the RPI and #41 in the BPI (VT’s RPI is over 200).
  • pitt has lost two in a row at home, but they are 13-2 overall at home this season with the lone losses to duke and uva (on Super Bowl Sunday on a shot with less than a second to go).  We are not duke or uva, and we never faired well with pitt in the Big East in football or basketball (went 0-4 in hoops vs the panthers).

Schedule:

  • Wednesday (2/5) at florida state (4-5, 13-8) at 9 PM on RSN (Wondering how many Hokies will regret staying up for this game and being tired at work the next day)
  • Saturday (2/8) at pittsburgh (6-3, 18-4) at Noon on RSN (VT is truly the home of noon kickoffs this year)

Stats of the Week:

  • Devin Wilson (93 assists) needs 21 more assists to set the Hokie record for a freshman (currently held by Hank Thorns at 113).
  • JJ is 21-32 (39.6%) at Tech, a lower winning percentage than the late Bobby Hussey (23-32 — 41.8%) and ricky “Program Bomb” stokes (46-69 — 40%) who lasted 2 and 4 years coaching Tech respectively.
  • The Hokies have been outscored 205-136 (41.0 to 27.2) in the first halves of their last five games.
  • Tech has lost 3 straight by 20+ points and 5 of 11.  VT has trailed by at least 20 points at some point in the game in 4 straight games.
  • Tech has shot 60% or worse from the free throw line in 8 of 9 ACC games
  • VT has shot under 38% from the field in 4 straight games and in 7 of 9 ACC games
  • The Hokies are last in the ACC in Conference Games in FT%, FG%, and 12th in 3-Point%.  VT is also last in Opponent’s 3-Point%
  • C.J. Barksdale is the only, and I mean only, VT player that has a higher FG% in ACC play than overall.
  • JvZ went 2/7 from the line on Saturday and increased his FT% in ACC play (26%).
  • Tech was just 12/46 (26%) on FGs in the 2nd halves of their two games last week.
  • bc was last in ACC Games in FG% Defense entering their game with VT — they are now 11th… and maryland jumped from 14th to 12th.

Hokie Leaders (through Feb. 2):

  • PPG: Eddie – 14.2;  (Emelogu 11.6)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 5.7; (van Zegeren 4.8)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.4
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 1.9
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.9

Hokie Team Stats  — Overall (through Feb. 2 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):

  • PPG: 67.6 (12th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 69.7 (12th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 42% (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 41% (8th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 38% (2nd in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 34% (12th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 65% (13th in the ACC)

Hokie Team Stats  – ACC Games Only (through Feb. 2)

  • PPG: 57.6 (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 69.3 (9th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 37% (15th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 44% (10th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 31% (12th in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 39% (15th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 57% (15th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents (VT’s RPI is 215 and their BPI is 166):

  • at florida state (RPI #38, BPI #41): 
    • fsu 27-20 overall
    • fsu 8-5 in ACC games
    • fsu 6-0 in ACC games at fsu (only venue of the previously 12 ACC teams Tech hasn’t won at)
    • Tech has lost 8 straight at fsu with the last win in Tallahassee back in 1990 (Bimbo!) when both teams were in the Metro Conference.
    • This is the only regular season meeting.
  • at pittsburgh (RPI #18, BPI #6):
    • pitt 5-3
    • VT was 0-4 vs pitt in the Big East
    • Tech last beat pitt in 1980 as part of the VT Classic, and last won at pitt in 1967
    • Tech lost their final ever Big East game, losing to #6 pitt in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals back in 2004
    • First ever meeting as ACC foes
  • This is the only regular season meeting.

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • florida state: Ian Miller (6’3″ senior guard) and Okaro White (6’9″ senior forward) – Miller narrowly leads the team in PPG (12.7), assists (3.2) and 3-pointers made (35 at a 36% clip).  White is just behind Miller in PPG (12.6) and leads the team in rebounds (6.7).  Both get to the line a lot and shoot very well (Miller – 87% and White 74%).
  • pittsburgh: Lamar Peterson (6’5″ senior forward): He leads the team in PPG (17.7) and assists (4.5), chips in 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals, plus shoots 42% from behind the arc (40/96).  He also gets to the line 5 times a game and hits 80%.  To put it mildly, he will be a match-up problem for the defensively challenged Hokies.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews3 Comments

The Week Ahead: @ bc (Wednesday at 7 PM); Home vs maryland (Saturday at High Noon)

Gambler’s Corner: The terps are favored by just 5.5 on Saturday. Did Vegas watch the bc game?

bc opened as 6 point favorites (the line was down to 5.5 — please tell me you all aren’t betting on VT because I said we’d win! If so, no refunds!)

Update: C.J. Barksdale is doubtful for the game Wednesday due to a groin injury according to THIS ARTICLE.

Predictions:

Normally I save this for the end but I have some exciting news for you.  No, no, you aren’t in the running to win the $1 million prize through Publisher’s Clearinghouse.  I’m here to tell you the Hokies are going to win a basketball game this week!  A men’s game, at that!  And I’m sticking with my pick even with the news Barksdale is probably out with a groin injury (and Adam Smith is still out with a stress fracture).

The Hokies enter the week alone in last place in the ACC at 1-6, but can move all the way up to 14th place with a win Wednesday.  Tech, who is 4-17 away from Cassell under Coach James Johnson, hit the road to boston college, where they are 1-10 all time at bc since joining the Big East in 2000 (including losing 4 in a row over the last 6 years).  Despite all that, I believe VT will beat the eagles on Wednesday night in the ACC Pillow Fight Game of the Month!

I know, I know, you are saying, “Are you crazy?  You pick VT to win against boston college EVERY single time and we always lose to them!  Are you certifiably insane?” Yes, Tech has lost 6 of 7 to the eagles and are just 7-16 combined in Big East and ACC play against them.  But if wake’s coach, Bzdelik, can go on the road and win against all odds, why can’t Virginia Tech win in front of probably fewer than 2,000 friends and family gathered (bc drew just 1,789 people for their home loss to georgia tech last week)?  The eagles are 0-4 at home in ACC play (like Tech), so home court advantage is not a factor.

With all the negativity and job security rumblings (including from here), I think the Hokies will win Wednesday.  I didn’t say play well, or play hard, or play with any semblance of a gameplan, I just said they’ll win.  I mean, this is a boston college team that is 1-10 in their last 11 games against Division I teams.  Granted, that one win was at Virginia Tech, but maybe they’ll take the Hokies lightly this time (as Devin Wilson claimed VT might have in the first game considering their 5-14 record).

And who wouldn’t get hyped up for the Flint Mega Bowl Battle for 14th Place!  The winner moves just up the road in the ACC standings, the loser falls firmly into dead last in the cellar.  Set your VCRs because this is gonna be a classic!

And if the Hokies don’t win at boston college, then I am guaranteeing* they win at home versus maryland this weekend, who has lost 4 of 5 and are ranked near the bottom of the ACC in almost every defensive statistic.  I mean, we have to win at home eventually, right?  Why not now?  Let’s get some revenge for the loss at Lane in football against the terps!  This will be the final meeting at the Cassell between the two teams as ACC foes (they do play at maryland later this season) before the terps head off to the Big(14)Ten.

So, I’m saying VT goes 1-1 this week with the more likely win at bc.  As always, 0-2 is more likely than 2-0, but I just have a feeling.  I have a feeling we are going to just win, baby!

*Note: I think I’m 0-3 all time in “guarantees”, so please use my predictions for recreational purposes only.  Any usage of said predictions for gambling purposes would be truly idiotic on your part, unless of course you bet the opposite of what I say.

Also, when we win, you know people are going to start saying how JJ has turned a corner and this and that.  No!  If we beat an awful bc team it proves nothing other than they are worse than us.  And if we beat maryland, who is much better than the Hokies but still not very good, it will prove nothing other than you can’t lose them all at home.  So let’s not go crazy if we win other than to enjoy it and take solace that maybe, just maybe, our core players are getting better (on their own).

Schedule:

  • Wednesday (1/29) at boston college (1-5, 5-14) at 7 PM on RSN
  • Saturday (2/1) vs maryland (4-4, 12-9) at 12 PM on ACC Network

Stats of the Week:

  • Tech has trailed by 15, 16, and 17 points at the half in their last 3 games respectively.
  • Devin Wilson has scored 4 total points in the first half of those 3 games and 54 in the 2nd half.
  • Devin is 7/11 (64%) on 3-pointers in ACC play, but 58% from the line (32/55).
  • Jarell Eddie is shooting 28% on FGs and 31% on 3s in ACC play.
  • In Tech’s last 10 games, they are 2-0 when making more 3s than their opponent, 0-6 when making fewer 3s, and 0-2 when making the same number.  Along the same lines, VT is 2-1 when shooting a higher 3-Pt % than their opponent and 0-7 when shooting a lower 3-Pt %
  • bc, maryland, and VT rank as the 3 worst defenses in terms of Opponent 3-Point % in the ACC (with bc the worst).  So if Tech was ever going to get back on track from deep, this is the week to do it.
  • VT is the worst shooting team in the league, and bc has the worst FG% defense.  That’s about what you’d expect between two evenly struggling teams.
  • maryland’s defense is 13th or worse in Opponent’s PPG, FG%, and 3-Pt%.

Hokie Leaders (through Jan. 27):

  • PPG: Eddie – 14.4;  (Emelogu 11.1)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 5.6; (van Zegeren 4.7)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.6
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.0
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.9

Hokie Team Stats  — Overall (through Jan. 27 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):

  • PPG: 68.8 (12th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 68.8 (11th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 43% (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 40% (6th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 39% (2nd in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 33% (10th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 66% (13th in the ACC)

Hokie Team Stats  – ACC Games Only (through Jan. 27 — Note that bc’s and then maryland’s ranks are also in the parenthesis)

  • PPG: 58.0 (13th in the ACC;  bc: 8;  md: 4)
  • Opp PPG: 66.9 (9th in the ACC;  bc: 11;  md: Tie-14)
  • FG%: 38% (15th in the ACC;  bc: 6;  md: 12)
  • Opp FG%: 43% (8th in the ACC;  bc: 15;  md: 13)
  • 3-Pt%: 32% (9th in the ACC;  bc: 2;  md: 10)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 38% (13th in the ACC;  bc: 15;  md: 14)
  • FT%: 57% (14th in the ACC;  bc: 3;  md: 5)

VT vs the opponents (VT’s RPI is 195 and their BPI is 148):

  • vs boston college (RPI #159, BPI #178): 
    • bc 16-8 overall
    • bc 10-6 in ACC games
    • bc  6-1 in ACC home games vs VT (won 4 straight)
    • Earlier this season (January 11th, 2014): eagles 62, @HOKIES 59 – LINK to RECAP
  • vs maryland (RPI #80, BPI #65):
    • maryland 30-10 overall
    • maryland 7-6 in ACC games (won 3 straight)
    • VT 4-2 in ACC games vs maryland at VT
    • Last year:
      • @maryland 94, Hokies 71 (1/5/13)
      • maryland 60, @Hokies 55 (2/7/13)
  • The two teams meet again on Tuesday, March 4th

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • boston college: Olivier Hanlan – 6’4″ sophomore guard – 18.9 ppg (leads team), 3.1 apg (2nd on team), 3.1 rpg (2nd), and 0.8 spg (leads team).  If you didn’t see him at the end of the season last year, you missed out.  Hanlan is a deadly penetrator and get’s a lot of and-1s.  He put up 41 against georgia tech in the ACC Tournament last year and had 38 vs florida atlantic this season.
  • maryland: They really don’t have a “star”.  Dez Wells probably has the most talent but isn’t always their guy every night (he usually is in the low double digits with a high of 33 vs bc this year).  They have 5 guys average in double figures, 3 guys average 5+ rebounds, and 2 average 3+ assists, and there isn’t a ton of overlap of those guys.  But Jake Layman killed the Hokies last year (6’8″ wing player – sophomore) with 20 and 14 points in the two games respectively (his highest and 3rd highest game outputs of last year), so I’ll say watch out for him.  He had 18 against the Hokies in the first half of the game at maryland last year.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews14 Comments

The Week Ahead: Wed. vs wake (2-3) at 7; Sat. @ uva (5-1) at 3

Gambler’s Corner: The Hokies are favored (yes, you read that right, that’s the Bzdelik adjustment) by 1.5 over wake on Wednesday. Update: spread is up Hokies -3. Clearly people believe in the Bzdelik jinx.

Rock Bottom: While most fans are more interested in the Hokies’s game at uva on Saturday, it is the game on Wednesday vs wake forest that I believe will truly show where this program is at (more on that in a minute).  And if the Hokies lose Wednesday and Saturday and fall to 1-6 in the ACC, this program will be about as close to Rock Bottom as they could be outside of being put on probation, getting kicked out of the ACC, and/or hiring another unproven head coach because no one else would take the job.  Here’s why:

To me, Wednesday is the more critical game for the Hokies to win.  To be the worst, you have to be beaten by the worst.  And Coach Bzdelik at wake forest is hands down the worst coach in the ACC right now, possibly ever (though Bob Wade of maryland might have a say in that).  Bzdelik is worse than Sidney Lowe and Paul Hewitt, whom you long time loyal readers know I regularly loved to beat up on.  And when you put Bzdelik on the road, you get someone who makes ricky stokes look like Bill Belichick.  To lose to him at home would just be a flat out embarrassment, even if Ben Emelogu (ankle) and Adam Smith are still battling injuries.  Check out these numbers from wake’s 4th year head coach:

  • 0-4 on the road this season with 3 of the 4 losses by 15 or more points.
  • 17 straight ACC road game losses (add in 0-2 in ACC Tourney games during that stretch and they are 0-19 outside of Winston-Salem)
  • By Wednesday, they won’t have won an ACC road game in more than 2 full calendar years, dating back to 1/21/12.
  • All told, Bzdelik is 1-27 in ACC road games… add in 0-3 in ACC Tourney games and he’s 1-30 away from wake.  That’s a cool 3% winning percentage.
  • It gets worse…
  • His 17 game road losing streak in conference is NOT his worst streak of his career.  He lost his first 23 road games in the Big 12 before colorado won their final road game in Bzdelik’s third and final year with the buffaloes.
  • Add colorado up (1-23 on the road) and you have a combined 2-50 in true conference road games.
  • Bzdelik is so bad he’s listed TWICE on the list of worst coaching tenures (for colorado and wake) over the last 30 years by Athlon — LIST
  • Bzdelik and wake went 1-15 in the ACC his first season at wake (no other team has lost 15 regular season ACC games since the ACC expanded in 2004).

So, as you can see, if the Hokies lose at home to a coach that wins on the road about as often as Larry King gets married, it will show how truly bad the on-court product is right now.

Then, combine that with a loss at our arch rival (which would be Tech’s 4th straight loss to uva and 6th in 7 games — our worst such run vs the hoos since losing 6 in a row between 1996-2001), two straight seasons finishing at the bottom of the ACC (and on our way to a third), and you have all the makings of Rock Bottom.  Does it sound like I’ve pretty much resigned myself to us losing both these games?  Well, I’ll save that for the predictions.

Schedule:

  • Wednesday (1/22) vs wake (2-3 in the ACC, 12-6 overall) at 7 PM on RSN
  • Saturday (1/25) at uva (5-1 in the ACC, 14-5 overall) at 3 PM on ACC Network

Stats of the Week:

  • How can you top 17 straight ACC road losses and 1-27 overall?  So I’ll say it again.
  • In ACC games only, VT is last in FT% (50%) and tied for last in FG% (39.5%).  They are just 8th in 3-Pt% (33%)
  • uva is #1 in the ACC in turnover-margin in ACC play
  • The hoos are #4 in the nation in PPG allowed at just under 57 per game (clemson is still #1)
  • VT is last in the ACC in steals per game (3.2) and just one player has more than 9 steals — Devin Wilson with 14 which is still less than 1 per game.
  • uva, wake, and VT are all in the bottom third of the league in terms of FT shooting

Hokie Leaders (through Jan. 20):

  • PPG: Eddie – 14.5;  (Emelogu 11.5; Smith 11.0)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 5.8; (Barksdale and van Zegeren 4.8)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.9
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.2
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.8

Hokie Team Stats  — Overall (through Jan. 20 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):

  • PPG: 69.7 (11th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 68.2 (10th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 44% (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 39% (6th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 40% (2nd in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 32% (8th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 66% (13th in the ACC)

Hokie Team Stats  — ACC Games Only (through Jan. 20)

  • PPG: 56.8 (14th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 64.0 (7th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 40% (14th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 41% (6th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 33% (8th in the ACC)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 36% (11th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 50% (15th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs wake (RPI #64, BPI #80): 
    • Hokies 29-28 overall
    • Hokies 9-4 in ACC games
    • Hokies 5-1 in ACC home games (won 5 straight)
    • Last Year:
      • @Hokies 66, wake 65 (1/19/13)
      • @wake 90, Hokies 79 (3/10/13)
    • Tech’s won 5 straight at the Cassell over wake
    • This is the only meeting this regular season between the Hokies and wake, so this is probably the last time VT will play against Bzdelik.
  • vs uva (RPI #24, BPI #25):
    • uva 84-53 overall
    • uva 11-8 in ACC games
    • uva 6-3 at uva in ACC games
    • The teams have split the last 6 meetings at uva
    • Last year:
      • uva 74, @Hokies 58 (1/24/13)
      • @uva 73, Hokies 55 (2/12/13)
    • The two meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at VT (yep, we play there on a weekend and at home on a weekday… again!)

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • wake: Codi Miller-McIntyre – 6’3″ sophomore - Believe it or not, Travis McKie is not wake’s best player anymore.  The senior and former HS rival of Cadarian Raines is just 4th on the team in PPG at 9.2 (down more than 4 ppg from last year and 7 ppg from his sophomore season).  Meanwhile, Codi, a teammate of Montrezl Harrell at Hargrave, has doubled his scoring this year to lead the team with 15.3 ppg.  He also leads the team with 3.8 assists.  He kicks in a solid 3.1 rebounds per game and 0.9 steals, too.  He is not a good 3-point shooter (25% — 12/47).  Codi does his damage on the drive, especially in transition, and gets to the line a lot (5.7 FTA per game).
  • uva: Joe Harris – 6’6″ senior – You say Harris by default because he’s been their star for a few years now, but is down 5 ppg from last year at 11.3 (though still leads the team).  That’s in part to him playing just 2 minutes in the first meeting with fsu after suffering a concussion.  Since then, he’s averaging 15 ppg, all in ACC play, so he’s getting it going at the right time for the hoos.  He’s a deadly 3-point shooter – hitting 44% of his 68 attempts (makes 1.7  per game).  But like I said, this is a balanced uva attack with six guys averaging between 6.7 and 11.3 ppg.

Prediction: VT goes 0-2 this week and I’m saying this whether Emelogu and Smith play or not.  I think a loss at uva is all but a given the way uva is playing (5-1 in the ACC, just destroyed unc, and led at duke with 30 seconds to go in their only ACC loss).  Maybe VT pulls off some magic like they did at uva two years ago when the Hokies won 47-45, and Tech has split the last 6 games at uva, but I just don’t see it happening this year given current trends.

As for wake, I think they are licking their chops.  They are the superior team in terms of talent and if this game was at wake I’d predict a Bear Fight win for the deacons.  The only reason this game is in question is because it is a road game for a Bzdelik-led team.  Believe me — they know they haven’t won an ACC road game in 2 years and will see this as a golden opportunity.  And like I say, bad teams find a way to lose and that’s Tech right now.  It pains me to say it because I love recounting Bzdelik’s road woes, but I just can’t pick this Hokie team right now to win anything.

Or perhaps I’m trying to put the reverse mojo on after picking VT to beat bc and clemson at home and going 0-2.  We’ll see.  There are some powerfully pathetic forces at work on Wednesday night.  Who will be crowned the worst of the worst?

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

The Week Ahead: Wed., Jan. 15 vs clemson (7 PM) and Sun., Jan. 19 at notre dame (6 PM)

Gambler’s Corner:

  • notre dame is favored by 10.5 over VT on the night they honor Digger Phelps.
  • c-l-e-m-s-ohhh-n is favored by 3.

You’re only as good as your last game, they say, and the Hokies are coming off a real stinker – losing at home in front of less than 4k while shooting less than 40% and scoring less than 60 points.  In fact, Tech hasn’t reached the 60-point mark in regulation in any of their 3 ACC games this season.  And if you are hoping the Hokies break that streak on Wednesday, don’t count on it.  clemson is #1 in the nation in PPG allowed.

But hope springs eternal, and Wednesday night is a new night.  And thank goodness for that.

On Sunday, Tech will be featured as part of ESPNU’s ACC Sunday Night Hoops.  But the ratings should be lower than a WB sitcom — the game will start right as Manning vs Brady is ending and overlap with most of San Fran @ Seattle.  So at least not many people will see us if we throw out another stinker!

Here’s the week ahead:

  • Wednesday, January 15 at 7 PM at the Cassell on Raycom: vs clemson (2-1, 11-4)
  • Sunday, January 19 at 6 PM on ESPNU: at notre dame (1-2, 10-6)

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • clemson is #1 in the nation in scoring defense at 53.5 ppg (uva is #3)
  • The tigers are #1 in the ACC in FG% and 3-Pt% defense, but 14th and 10th offensively in those two stats respectively
  • clemson and notre dame are #2 and #3 in the ACC in FT%, with VT at #10 (could be a deciding factor in the games)
  • Jarell Eddie is 2nd in the ACC in 3-Pt% and 3s made
  • The Hokies have fallen from #1 in the nation in 3-point % a few weeks ago to #17 now 40.7%
  • ACC Shooting Woes: In their 3 ACC games, Tech is shooting just:
    • 35.4% from the field (62/175) — last in the ACC for conference games only
    • 32.5% from deep (26/80) — 8th in the ACC
    • 53.7% from the charity stripe (22/41) — last in the ACC
    • Tech hasn’t cracked 40% from the field or 3-point line, or 60% from the foul line in any ACC game

Hokie Leaders (through Jan. 14):

  • PPG: Eddie – 16.1;  (Smith 12.7 and Emelogu 11.6)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 6.1;  (Barksdale 5.0)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.9
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.1
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.9

Hokie Team Stats (through Jan. 14 — note that these stats and conference rankings are for all games, not just ACC games which have severely brought down Tech’s offensive numbers):

  • PPG: 71.5 (10th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 68.9 (12th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 43% (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 39% (5th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 41% (2nd in the ACC and 17th nationally)
  • Opp 3-Pt%: 32% (7th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 68% (10th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs clemson (RPI #104): 
    • Hokies 15-13 overall
    • clemson 8-7 in ACC games
    • Hokies 4-3 in ACC home games
    • Last Year:
      • @Hokies 69, clemson 61 (3/2/13)
      • @clemson 77, Hokies 70 (1/27/13)
    • Tech’s won 3 straight at the Cassell over clemson (home team has won 6 in a row in this series)
    • This is the only meeting this regular season between the Hokies and clemson.
  • vs notre dame (RPI #89):
    • notre dame 3-1 overall
    • First game as ACC foes
    • notre dame won all 3 Big East meetings
    • Tech’s only win over notre dame was their 92-91 overtime thriller to win the 1973 NIT Championship on a buzzer-beater by Bobby Stevens!  Tech won their 4 NIT games by a combined 5 points.
    • This is the only meeting this regular season between VT and notre dame

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • clemson (2-1 ACC, 11-4 overall):  Last week: Lost vs fsu (56-41) and beat duke at home (72-59).  They’ve also beaten temple (who is awful this year) and south carolina (also pretty bad).  They lost to umass, auburn, and arkansas, plus florida state.
  • notre dame (1-2 ACC, 10-6 overall): Everyone expected doom and gloom when Grant, their leading scorer at 19 ppg, went out for the season.  They responded with a win at home over duke in their first ever ACC game.  But since they they at home to an average nc state team (77-70) and at georgia tech 74-69 (both teams lost their 2 other ACC contests).  That duke win doesn’t look as good considering duke is just 1-2 in ACC play now.  And even with Grant notre dame lost to indiana state (Bird wasn’t playing for them) and north dakota state at home.

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • clemson: K.J. McDaniels – 6’6″ junior – if you remember K.J. from two years ago, he can flat out jump out of the arena.  He is the most explosive leaper in the ACC.  But he has become a much more well-rounded player and now shoots 37% on 3-pointers (20/54).  He leads the team in PPG (17), rebounds (7.1), steals (1.1) and blocks (2.9).  He reminds me of Josh Smith on defense and can block a lot of shots as a trailer on breaks, or just go up and out-jump someone and reject them in the lane.
    • K.J. is in the top 10 in the ACC in points, rebounds, field goal %, free throw %, and leads the ACC in blocks per game.  He’d be a fantasy stud if you are into that stuff.
  • notre dame: Garrick Sherman – 6’11” senior and Eric Atking – 6’2″ senior - Both irish seniors have stepped up a ton since Grant’s injury (19 ppg).  In the four games since the injury, Sherman has averaged 16.3 ppg and 12 rebounds, including 21/18 in a loss to nc state!  He will likely give the Hokies fits in the low post given Tech’s lack of beef (weight/muscle) with Raines riding pine, and even Raines would give up a few inches to Sherman.  Atkins, meanwhile, has averaged 21 ppg and 7 assists in those 4 games, including 30 points against canisius and 11 assists in their win over duke.

Prediction: VT goes 1-1 this week

Yeah, I said it!  I think Tech will knock off the c-l-e-m-s-ohhhhh-n tigers at home Wednesday.  I think they “won’t take [clemson] lightly” and will be fired up after the embarassing loss to bc at home.  Tech’s won 3 in a row over clemson at home, including the last two seasons (when Tech only won 4 league games each year).  This is a prime game for a letdown from the tigers.  After losing to fsu by 15 at home on Thursday and scoring just 41 points, they beat duke by 13 (72-59) on Saturday at Littlejohn.  Combine that with a sterile road game and all the ingredients are there for a Hokie upset.  Yes, I realize Tech is offensively challenged and clemson has the #1 defense in the nation, but the tigers aren’t an offensive juggernaut, either.  I think the Hokies pull it out in a game in the 50s (the loser probably won’t make it out of the 40s).

The Hokies can beat notre dame, too, given that their leading scorer is out for the season.  So I’m hedging my bets and saying Tech wins one of two, with the more likely win being against clemson.  However, an 0-2 week is much more likely than a 2-0 week (you will hear me saying this every week for the rest of the season).  Go Hokies!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews1 Comment

The Week Ahead: Jan. 7 vs #2 syracuse (9 PM) and Jan. 11 vs boston college (Noon)

Gambler’s Delight:

  • Tech is favored by 2.5 over (4-11) boston college at the Cassell.
  • The Hokies are 12-point underdogs against syracuse.  Reportedly Marshall Wood and C.J. Barksdale are battling the flu (but so was Jordan!) and Adam Smith is questionable with his calf injury.  Enjoy!

The Hokies this week begin a stretch of 17 ACC games over the next nine weeks to close out the regular season.  Staying undefeated in the ACC (VT is 1-0) will not be as the Hokies have to face the undefeated and #2 ranked syracuse orange on Tuesday, then the struggling boston college eagles on Saturday, both at the Cassell.

syracuse may be undefeated but they looked awfully vulnerable on Saturday, nearly losing their inaugural ACC game to a bad miami team at the Carrier Dome.  The final score of 49-44 looked more like a BCS game score, with syracuse trailing by as many as 6 in the 2nd half before going ahead for good with a little over 4 minutes to go.  miami, a bad shooting 3-point team, hit 7/19 (37%) from deep.  Tech will have to match their 3-point % of 43% and makes (8.7) to have any shot, and must limit their turnovers which will be tough against that vaunted zone of Coach Boeheim, who will be making his first trip to Blacksburg since I was crawling 36 years ago.

On Saturday VT has a great shot at a win, in what is almost a must win if the Hokies want to stay out of the ACC cellar this season.  The eagles have lost 7 straight games to Division I teams and bc is now 0-2 in the ACC after their 2nd ACC loss at home, this time to clemson.  The tigers led by 14 at the half in that game but bc made it interesting late with a full court press and had 2 free throws with a chance to tie with 1.3 seconds left, but Hanlan missed them both and clemson won 62-60.  If the Hokies can beat them, bc will be 0-3, and getting to at least 2-1 themselves, would really give the Hokies momentum as the ACC slate swings into full gear.

Here’s the week ahead:

  • Tuesday, January 9th at 9 PM at the Cassell on the ACC Network: vs #2 and undefeated syracuse (1-0, 14-0) – First ever ACC meeting!
  • Saturday, January 11 at Noon at the Cassell on Raycom: vs boston college (4-11, 0-2)

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • Steals: VT is last in the ACC in steals (2.9 per game) while syracuse is #1 (10.1)
  • Turnovers: The Hokies are last in the ACC in turnover margin (-5.4 per game) and syracuse is #1 (+6.3)
  • Luckily, bc is 14th in the two stats listed above.
  • Attendance: syracuse drew 28,135 fans for their home game against villanova.  The Hokies have drawn 41,750 fans total threw 9 home games.

Hokie Leaders (through Jan. 5):

  • PPG: Eddie – 17.4 (6th in the ACC) — (Smith 13.1 and Emelogu 12.2)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 6.3 (18th in the ACC) —  (Barksdale 5.3)
  • Assists: Wilson – 5.2 (4th in the ACC)
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 1.9 (6th in the ACC)
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.6

Hokie Team Stats (through Jan. 5):

  • PPG: 74.0 (10th in the ACC)
  • Opp PPG: 69.2 (13th in the ACC)
  • FG%: 44% (13th in the ACC)
  • Opp FG%: 38% (5th in the ACC)
  • 3-Pt%: 43% (#1 in the ACC and #7 nationally… also #17 nationally in makes per game at 8.7)
  • Opp FG%: 31% (6th in the ACC)
  • FT%: 69% (9th in the ACC)

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs syracuse: 
  • orange 4-2 overall
  • Last Meeting: #5 cuse 69, VT 58 at MSG on 11/23/11
  • VT hasn’t beaten syracuse since 1978, which was the only previous meeting (that’s right, the orange never came to VT in Big East play) — Boeheim was in his 2nd year as the syracuse head coach back in 1978 if you can believe that.
  • This is the only meeting this regular season between the Hokies and syracuse.
  • vs boston college:
  • bc 15-8 overall
  • bc 9-6 in ACC play
  • VT 5-3 at the Cassell in ACC play
  • Last Year: bc 86-75 at the Cassell on 1/9/13
  • The two schools will play again this year at bc on January 29th

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • syracuse (ACC: 1-0, Overall 13-0): Beat #18 baylor to win the Maui Invitational and recently came back from a huge first half deficit to thrash #8 villanova 78-62 in the Dome.
  • boston college (ACC: 0-2, Overall: 4-11, losers of 7 straight games vs D1 teams): They’ve played a murderous schedule to date, with 10 of their 11 losses against top 110 teams and 5 against top 50 teams (lost all of those games).  They beat #135 washington at a neutral site. Their ACC losses were at home to maryland and clemson.

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • syracuse: They have 4 guys that average 11.8 ppg or more but C.J. Fair is the best of the best, and was picked as the ACC preseason player of the year. The 6’8″ senior averages 17.4 ppg (leads team) and 5.5 rpg (2nd).  Tyler Ennis is a heck of a freshman point guard, averaging 11.8 ppg and 5.4 apg, plus 2.7 steals out of that zone.  Trevor Cooney is their 3-point specialist and he’s deadly — 43/86 for a cool 50% from deep.
  • boston college: Olivier Hanlan – 6’4″ sophomore guard – 19.4 ppg (leads team), 3.2 apg (leads team), 0.9 spg (leads team).  If you didn’t see him at the end of the season last year, you missed out.  Hanlan is a deadly penetrator and get’s a lot of and-1s.  He put up 41 against georgia tech in the ACC Tournament last year and had 38 vs florida atlantic this season.

Prediction: VT goes 1-1 this week

I’m starting to slip in my predictions after a strong start.  No way I had unc-g right and I thought we’d pummel md-es by 30.

I am confident we will lose by double digits, if not a Bear Fight, to syracuse. That is unless we are insanely hot from deep against their zone (and if we can actually get a decent crowd at the Cassell, but I don’t expect that on a Tuesday night with the students still on break).  And while Tech has great recent history against #1 teams, Tech is just 1-7 all time against #2 ranked teams.  I expect that to go to 1-8.

I am predicting VT beats the 4-10 boston college eagles, but I don’t have a strong confidence level in saying that given their difficult schedule.  And bc has won 5 of 6 against the Hokies, including 2 of the last 3 in the Cassell.  But since both teams stink in turnover margin, I think Tech will win being at home.  I think the Hokies will play hard and pull this one out in a low scoring nail-biter.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Previews6 Comments

The Week Ahead: Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 (12/28 vs unc-g and 1/2 vs md-eastern shore)

Gambler’s Delight: The Hokies are favored by 14.5 over unc-g-spot (opened at 15.5)

The 7-4 Hokies close out their non-conference schedule with a couple of home games versus small conference opponents that they are a combined 12-0 against all time. The ACC first place Hokies, after a week off, will then resume ACC action for their final 17 games on Tuesday, January 7th with a home game against new ACC rival syracuse.  But here’s the slate for the week ahead:

  • Saturday, December 28th at Noon at the Cassell: vs unc-g-spot (6-7) – ESPN3
  • Tuesday, January 2nd at 4 PM at the Cassell: vs maryland-eastern shore (2-7) – ESPN3 (yes, this is at the same time as the Sun Bowl)

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • The Hokies are #1 in the nation in 3-point percentage at 44%
  • VT is dead last in the ACC in steals per game (3.1).
  • Devin Wilson is tied for 3rd in the ACC with 5.4 assists per game.
  • Tech’s 30-point loss to vcu marked the 3rd time in 12 months VT has lost by 30+ points and 6th time they’ve lost by 23+ points.
  • Senior Cadarian Raines has played just 29 combined minutes in VT’s last 5 games, including not at all in the vcu game in Richmond (just minutes from his hometown of Petersburg).

Hokie Leaders (through Dec. 25):

  • PPG: Eddie – 18.6 (Emelogu – 13.6)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 6.5 (Barksdale 5.9)
  • Assists: Wilson – 5.4 (t-3rd in the ACC)
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.1
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.6

Hokie Team Stats (through Dec. 25):

  • PPG: 75.3
  • Opp PPG: 70.7
  • FG%: 45%
  • Opp FG%: 38%
  • 3-Pt%: 44% (#1 nationally)
  • Opp FG%: 32%
  • FT%: 70%

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs unc-g-spot: HOKIES 8-0 – won 96-87 at Greensboro last season
  • vs maryland-eastern shore: HOKIES 4-0 – haven’t played since 2004 (VT won 102-50)

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • unc-g-spot: 6-7 – Southern Conference – The spartans are just 3-7 against Division I teams – lost to ecu by 1, unc by 31, rutgers by 17, and beat jmu by 13.
  • maryland-eastern shore: 2-7 – MEAC – their lone win against a Division I team was against mount st. mary’s.  They lost to iowa by 46, oregon state by 32, and purdue by 29.  They also just lost to a non-Division I team, wilmington university (that’s not uncw).  They are… they’re not good.

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • unc-g-spot: Kyle Cain – 16.0 ppg and 8.5 rebounds (both lead the team).  The 6’7″ junior transfer from arizona state does most of his damage inside.  He seems out of place on this team as he was a former decent Pac-12 player.
  • maryland-eastern shore: Kyree Jones (17.0 ppg) and Hakeem Baxter (16.4 ppg).  Jones is a 43% 3-point shooter who pretty much only shoots from deep at 6’2″ while Baxter is a terrible outside shooter at 6’2″ who likes to penetrate.

Did you know what maryland-eastern shore’s nickname was?  I didn’t… It is the shore hawks (I’d have gone with crabbers).

Prediction:

Hokies go 2-0 in these games.  They will struggle with unc-g for a while (rust after just one game in 20 days) before pulling away at the end, then pummel maryland-eastern short in their final tune-up for the ACC grind (get your Bear Fights ready!).

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews0 Comments

The Week Ahead: Dec. 16 to 22 (vs vcu – Saturday, 12/21, 5:30 PM – NBC Sports Network)

Updated:

I’ll add some additional notes here leading up to tip-off on Saturday:

  • vcu is favored by 10. The rams beat wofford 72-57 on Tuesday to move to 9-3 heading into this game.
  • vcu (as Pat mentioned) is #1 in the nation in steals per game at 12.4, a full steal ahead of anyone else.  Keep in mind, that’s just steals and doesn’t include all other turnovers such as deadball turnovers.  VT averages 13.6 turnovers per game (238th in the nation).
  • The rams have 5 guys averaging more than a steal per game.  Wilson leads VT at just 0.6 steals per game.  Weber for vcu has more steals himself (45) than the entire VT team (31).
  • vcu actually shoots as many 3s per game as the Hokies (21), but shoot a much lower percentage at 36% compared to VT’s 44%.  Lewis is vcu’s best shooter percentage-wise (and has the best ‘do on the team), but doesn’t shoot a ton.  Graham will shoot a ton and is streaky, hitting about 37% of his 3s (he’s on a hot streak, though — 13/24 – 54% — over his last 5 games)

FULL PREVIEW: The Hokies continue their 12 days off this week following their ACC opener win at miami.  On Saturday, Virginia Tech finally returns to action, playing former Metro Conference rival vcu in the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic at the Richmond Coliseum (hampton and jmu play at 3 PM preceding the vcu/VT game).  The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.  While this is technically a neutral site game and probably will have a pretty fair split among vcu and VT fans, the game is being played near vcu’s home court, thus making this a road tune-up of sorts.

As for the game, you probably couldn’t find a worse match for the Hokies.  vcu, led by Head Coach Shaka Smart (allegedly a candidate for the VT job two years ago), has made the NCAA Tournament three years in a row, winning at least one game each year and reaching the Final Four in 2011.

Thing to Watch: The main reason they will present such a challenge to the Hokies is their style – vcu will press Tech from the time pull into the Commonwealth’s capital city.  The rams love to press and trap full court and the Hokies, with a very young backcourt, have not looked good against full court pressure so far this year.  Luckily, VT has had almost two weeks to prepare for it.  Tech’s lack of depth, though, will present another challenge if the guards tire (or get in foul trouble).

To have any chance to be competitive in this game, the Hokies must limit their turnovers (14 or fewer turnovers) and find ways to aggressively attack the press and get some easy buckets.

Stats of the Week:

  • Virginia Tech is 9th in the nation in 3-Point % at 43.9%
  • Devin Wilson is 40th nationally in assists per game (5.5)

Hokie Leaders (through Dec. 15):

  • PPG: Eddie – 19.3 (Smith 14.2)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 7.0 (Barksdale 6.7)
  • Assists: Wilson – 5.5
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.0
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.6

Hokie Team Stats (through Dec. 15):

  • PPG: 77.6
  • Opp PPG: 69.6
  • FG%: 46%
  • Opp FG%: 38%
  • 3-Pt%: 44%
  • Opp FG%: 30%
  • FT%: 71%

VT vs vcu:

  • Even, 10-10 (Teams haven’t played since 1995 when the Metro Conference disbanded)

vcu’s Records This Season:

  • 9-3
  • Key Wins: 59-56 at #25 uva
  • Losses: 85-67 vs florida state (fsu manhandled them), 84-80 vs georgetown, and 77-68 at northern iowa
  • vcu has been a bit of a disappointment this year, reaching #10 in the rankings before losing two of three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament.  They just lost to a 4-5 northern iowa team.

vcu’s Best Player(s):

  • Treveon Graham (6’6″ junior guard): 16.3 ppg (leads team), 6.5 rebounds per game (2nd), 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals)
  • Best Defender: Briante Weber (6’2″ junior point guard) – 3.8 steals per game (#1 nationally)

PREDICTION: Unfortunately, I think the Hokies will get run off the floor and lose by double digits due to the vcu pressure.  Even if VT handles the press early, I think it will eventually take its toll and the young, and not deep, Baby Bird backcourt.  Hey, I was wrong about miami, so let’s hope I’m wrong here.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Previews10 Comments

The Week Ahead: Dec. 3 to 8 (Tuesday vs winthrop; Sunday @ miami – ACC Opener)

Update: miami stats have been updated… miami just lost at nebraska by 11 in the ACC/Big(12)Ten Challenge, scoring just 49 points (that’s 11 more than uva)…

Believe it or not the 5-3 Hokies kick off ACC play this week with a road game against the defending ACC regular season and tournament champions, miami.  But first Tech has a Tuesday night home tilt against winthrop.

  • Tuesday vs winthrop (5-1) at 7 PM – ESPN3
  • Sunday at miami (5-4) at 12:30 PM – ESPNU – ACC Opener

Obviously miami was really, really good last year.  But you will need a program to know this team.  Their top six scorers from last year are all gone and they return just one player that averaged more than 10 minutes per game or 2 points per game.  The canes, after winning both the regular and tourney titles in the ACC last year, were picked to finish 12th in the league this year, barely ahead of wake.  And they look like a team that could contend for the ACC cellar (along with VT).  Check out who they’ve played and lost to already below in the Opponent’s Records This Season section.  But miami did beat 7-2 arizona state in the 5th Place Game of the Wooden Legacy Tournament

This is a critical game for both VT and miami because:

  1. Teams picked near the bottom love to get an early win and get some momentum going.
  2. This is a match-up of ACC bottom-feeders (at least predicted to be).  Losing to another bottom-feeder can really put you in a hole for your ACC season.

Oh, and the winthrop eagles will not be a cupcake on Tuesday – they beat usc-upstate by 8, jmu by 12, and their only loss was to vcu by 21.  The eagles average 81 PPG and 8 steals per game, so they no doubt will put pressure on the Hokies who have struggled with presses.

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • Tech is just 1-8 in ACC openers and have lost 6 in a row.
  • The Hokies are 4th in the nation in 3-Point % at 46.9% and 18th in 3s made per game (9.0)
  • Virginia Tech outscored their opponents by a combined 34 points in their two games last week on their way to two Bear Fight (20+ point) victories.

Hokie Leaders (through Dec. 1):

  • PPG: Eddie – 16.9 (Smith 15.0)
  • Rebounds: Eddie – 6.9 (Barksdale 6.8)
  • Assists: Wilson – 5.3
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.0
  • Steals: Wilson – 0.6

Hokie Team Stats (through Dec. 1):

  • PPG: 79.3
  • Opp PPG: 71.6
  • FG%: 46%
  • Opp FG%: 38%
  • 3-Pt%: 46%
  • Opp FG%: 30%
  • FT%: 72%

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs winthrop: VT 1-0 (a 62-55 win at the Cassell way back in 1998)
  • vs miami: miami 13-10 overall, VT 9-7 in ACC games — The Hokies won 8 of the first 10 ACC games vs miami but the canes have won 5 of the last 6, including both games last year (73-64 at the ‘Burg and 76-58 at miami)

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • winthrop: 5-1 (Of note: wins over usc-upstate, east tenn state, and jmu, lost to vcu by 21)
  • miami: 5-4 (Of note: Lost to st. francis (NY) in their opener, needed OT to beat georgia southern, lost to central florida and gwu, and barely beat cal state fullerton — i.e. not impressive.  Their lone resume win was a win on Sunday over arizona state, 60-54.  Last game – lost by 11 (60-49) at nebraska).

opponents’ Best Player(s):

  • winthrop: The eagles have a 3-headed monster on offense/ defense with Andre Smith (14.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG), Keon Johnson (13.2/2.3/1.8/0.8), and Joab Jerome (12.7/3.8/2.3/1.3).
  • miami: Rion Brown – The 6’6″ senior leads the team in PPG (13.8 – had 25 against nebraska), rebounds (6.6), and assists (3.0).  Brown is the only returning hurricane that averaged more than 10 minutes per game last year.  But he was just 7th on the canes scoring list last season, averaging just 6.4 PPG.

Things to Watch:

  • winthrop, like the Hokies, shoot very well from deep.  They hit 41% of their 3s and make over 8 per game on average.  Their 3 stars shoot a combined 43/83 (52%) from deep, and Smith is 20/38 from deep so Tech must guard him tight on the perimeter.
  • miami is dead last in the ACC in PPG and FG% (and 2nd to last in 3-Pt %).  If Tech can force miami to play half court on offense and earn their points, the Hokies will have a good shot at a W.  In fact, I’m not really sure what miami does well — they are near the bottom in almost every statistical category in the ACC and they haven’t exactly played stiff competition.
  • miami is scoring challenged but really emphasize defense under Coach Larranaga.  Look for miami to slow the pace and try to keep this game in the low 60s.  miami hasn’t scored more than 63 points in regulation in their last 4 games.  VT will need to get some easy buckets in transition to win and force their up-tempo pace on miami as much as possible.

Prediction:

So far I’ve been spot-on picking VT’s record each week (but not necessarily the games).  I see Tech going 1-1 this week, with either game possibly being the win or loss (though I’ll say VT beats winthrop and loses at miami).  Going on the road is tough in this league and miami will be inspired in their first ACC home game of the season as defending champs and will overcome their numerous departures.  That said, this is a bad miami team, especially right now while they are trying to find their identity with so many new faces.  The Hokies really need to win this game if they want to avoid a third straight year at the bottom of the league, but I’ll go ahead and say they lose a game like this (similar to the seton hall game) until they prove me wrong.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Previews2 Comments

The Week Ahead: Nov. 25 – Dec. 1 (Tuesday vs furman at 7; Friday vs radford at 2)

The Hokies have started the season just as I expected, at least record-wise, with a 3-3 start.  That said, I have been impressed with the Baby Birds (or Jake Squad).  Ben Emelogu is for real, Trevor Thompson should develop into a good low post player (needs to add weight), Devin Wilson had a rough weekend but has shown flashes, and Adam Smith can really light it up offensively when it doesn’t matter.

After playing the #1 team in the nation and a Big East cellar-dwellar (both losses) this past weekend, the schedule gets considerably easier for the next week and a half.  The Hokies play their next three games at home against low tier conference teams (two from the Big South and one from the Southern) before opening ACC play at miami on December 8th.

This week the Hokies host two games at the Cassell, including their neighbors:

  • Tuesday at 7 PM vs furman (2-2) – ESPN3
  • Friday at 2 PM vs radford (3-1) – ESPN3 – Bring your leftover turkey sandwiches!

Stat(s) of the Week:

  • Virginia Tech was 34/63 (54%) on 3-pointers in their 3 games last week, but just 50/124 (40%) inside the arc.
  • The Hokies are shooting a blistering 47% on 3s on the season.
  • Of Tech’s 249 points last week, 41% were via 3s, 40% via 2s, and 19% from the line.
  • The Hokies were -28 combined in turnover margin last week in their 3 games.

Hokie Leaders (through Nov. 17):

  • PPG: Eddie – 18.0 (Emelogu 14.3)
  • Rebounds: Barksdale – 6.0 (Eddie 5.8)
  • Assists: Wilson – 4.7
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.0
  • Steals: Wilson/Raines – 0.7

Hokie Team Stats (through 11/17):

  • PPG: 79.7
  • Opp PPG: 77.2
  • FG%: 44%
  • Opp FG%: 39%
  • 3-Pt%: 47%
  • Opp FG%: 33%
  • FT%: 71%

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs furman: VT 13-12 and 7-4 at home — the two schools haven’t played since 1964
  • vs radford: VT 5-1 with all 6 games at the Cassell — haven’t played since 2005 and VT has won 3 in a row

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • furman: 2-2 (gardner-webb is their lone D1 win with losses to florida golf course by 1 (the same team that made the NCAA run last year) and to college of charleston by 34)
  • radford: 3-1 (lost to gwu by 22, beat chattanooga, brevard (not D1), and binghamton

opponents’ Best Player:

  • furman: sophomore guard Stephen Croone – leads the team in PPG by over 9 (21.0 ppg), leads the team in assists (2.8), leads the team in steals (1.8), and is 2nd in rebounds of active players (5.3).  Also commits 4.3 turnovers per game.
  • radford: junior forward (but just 6’4″) Javonte Green – leads the team in PPG (16.8) and rebounds (7.3).

Things to Watch:

  • furman is not a good 3-point shooting team.  They average just 5 makes (29%) per game and no one has more than 6 made 3s.  furman’s top 4 scorers are all guards.
  • radford has no one taller than 6’8″ and their top 4 scorers are all 6’4″ or shorter – so stopping their guards is the key.
  • The Hokies have had a negative turnover margin in all 6 games, including a combined -28 last week in 3 games.  That has to improve.  VT is not forcing many turnovers, either (just 16 steals on the season).

Prediction:

The Hokies are going 2-0 this week [period]  Anything, while certainly possible, would be an embarrassment. Time to build up some momentum before the conference opener on December 8th, which is at miami (miami lost everybody and is very beatable, so VT needs to steal a game like that if they want to avoid the cellar, but we’ll get to that next week).

No prediction on the VT @ uva football game, or duke @ unc.  I mean, could VT lose 3 games they are double digit favorites in (VT is -13.5 in this one)?  And unc is -5.5 after their 80-20 win over odu.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Previews6 Comments

The Week Ahead: Nov. 18-24 (Monday vs vmi; Fri/Sat – Coaches vs Cancer Classic)

I correctly predicted the Hokies would go 2-1 last week, but that was before losing the opener to usc-upstate (who has lost their two games since).  I think we can all agree 2-1 was a major victory considering the embarrassing loss to open the season and then being down 17 in the first half to wvu.  Since trailing 40-24 to wvu with 2:40 left in the first half, VT outscored their opponents 101-60 over the next 42:40 on their way to capturing those two wins.  And the Baby Birds really fueled the way — Emelogu had 38 points combined in the two wins and is 7/14 on 3-pointers on the season.  Trevor Thompson got his first career double-double (15/11) in the wcu win.  And Devin Wilson is proving to be a deadly slasher (that came out wrong), taking advantage of the tight hand-check calls, going for 9.3 ppg and 3.7 assists.  Add in 23 blocks from the Hokies on the season and it was a better than expected start (the games have become more interesting).

Oh, and I just realized wcu was playing us Friday less than 48 hours after playing AT #18 oregon.  They had to fly across the country and suit up against us less than two days later.  AND they played at liberty on Saturday (and won).  No wonder wcu looked so sluggish in the first half but give credit to the Hokies for taking advantage of it.

My only gripe is that Coach Johnson totally bailed on his defensive strategy.  Since being hired he has said he wanted to pressure the opponent.  Whether that be full or half court trapping, he wanted to force the issue.  But all we’ve done so far is half court man.  Out of fear of the hand-check calls, he’s backed off his philosophy and is only playing man, yet every one of our three opponents so far has used some sort of full court press and/or trap (even Huggy Bear). My advice to him would be: Be the coach you want to be.  If you are going to fail, fail your way.   Has Shaka stopped pressing at vcu because of the new rules?  Nope.  Is Pitino just playing half court D?  Nope.  Greenberg was a master at knowing when to switch the defense up to confuse the opponent, like going to a half court trap.  You can’t go man the whole game and just let the opponent get into a groove offensively.  JJ – Be who you want to be.

Moving on, here’s the week ahead:

  • Monday: Home vs vmi at 7 PM (Military Appreciation Night!)
  • Friday: vs #1* michigan state at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on TruTV – Coaches vs Cancer Classic semi-finals
  • Saturday: consolation/championship game vs oklahoma or seton hall at 7 or 9:30 on TruTV (Go ahead and set your DVR for 7 PM)

* Note that michigan state is #2 at the time I’m writing this, but they beat #1 kentucky 78-74 this past week and are 3-0, so I’m moving them up to the top spot.

Stat of the Week: VT is 4-7 all time vs #1 teams but have won 3 of their last 5 games vs a #1 (2006 – unc, 2009 – wake, and 2011 – duke).  And their last three losses to a #1 have been by a combined 7 points, so VT has played #1s really tough.  But those were different teams, we’ll see how the Baby Birds respond.

Hokie Leaders (through Nov. 17):

  • PPG: Eddie – 15.0 (Emelogu 14.7)
  • Rebounds: Thompson – 8.0
  • Assists: Wilson – 3.7
  • Blocks: van Zegeren – 2.7
  • Steals: Raines – 1.3

Hokie Team Stats (through 11/17):

  • PPG: 76.3
  • Opp PPG: 69.0
  • FG%: 44%
  • Opp FG%: 35%
  • 3-Pt%: 38%
  • Opp FG%: 29%
  • FT%: 64%

VT vs the opponents:

  • vs vmi: VT 87-43 (VT has won 2 in a row with a 95-80 win last year at the Cassell)
  • vs michigan state: First ever meeting
  • vs seton hall: seton hall 4-2 but VT won the last meeting in Cancun by a 103-94 score (OT) in 2010

opponents’ Records This Season:

  • vmi: 3-1 (lost by 27 at wake but beat air force to win the Military Classic – they love to run and gun; could be an exciting, high scoring game)
  • #1 michigan state: 3-0 (beat #1 kentucky 78-74 then struggled with columbia – they are a veteran team)
  • oklahoma: 3-0 (beat alabama 82-73)
  • or seton hall: 2-1 (lost at mercer in 2 OT)

opponents’ Best Player:

  • vmi: Q.J. Peterson (21.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 3.5 spg – gets to the line a lot, almost 10 times per game)
  • #1 michigan state: Adreian Payne (17 ppg and 8 rbg – 56% FG%) or Gary Harris (17 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.7 apg)
  • oklahoma: Buddy Hield (18.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 2.0 spg – 7/14 on 3s)
  • or seton hall: Fuquan Edwin (19.3 ppg) or Sterling Gibbs (17.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and 4.7 apg)

Prediction:

The two games in Brooklyn at the Nets home will be good tests for the Hokies — michigan state is obviously way stronger than VT and it would take a miracle for VT to win… if VT gets seton hall in the Consolation Game they could beat them (they are picked to finish near the bottom of the Big East) — seton hall is similar to wvu in talent.  So, I could see us going anywhere from 0-3 to 2-1 but 1-2 is my prediction for the week.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews3 Comments

The Week Ahead: Nov. 9 to Nov 15 (3 Home Games vs usc upstate, wvu, and w. carolina)

The Hokies open their 2013-14 campaign on Saturday at Noon in the Cassell — consider it an appetizer before the Coastal Division showdown between miami and Virginia Tech that night.  Here’s the schedule for the first week of the Hokies’ season:

  1. Sat., Nov. 9 – usc upstate – Noon – Cassell – ESPN3 (Internet/mobile devices/gaming systems/new Samsung SmarToilets) – Coaches vs Cancer Classic
  2. Tue., Nov. 12 – west virginia – 1 PM – Cassell – ESPN
  3. Fri., Nov. 15 – western carolina – 7 PM – Cassell – ESPN3 – Coaches vs Cancer Classic

Does anything stand out to you on that list above?  Well, for starters, yes, usc upstate is a real college (one of my former players has confirmed the campus does exist — even got me a t-shirt).  Basically, no one in south carolina wants “North” in their name, so they chose to go with “upstate” instead.  That’s about as much as I know about them.  Not even sure who their mascot is.  spartans, maybe?

The other thing you probably noticed is we are playing wvu at home for the first time since we left the Big East 10 years ago… at 1 PM… on a Tuesday… and no, that’s not Veteran’s Day (which is Monday).  So he we take the one interesting home game we have in the first two months of the season (unless you like usc-u, wcu, vmi, furman, radford, winthrop, unc-g-spot, or md-eastern shore), and play it in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday.  Why, you ask?   Well, we are part of the 24 hours of basketball on ESPN all day Tuesday.  I guess it could be worse – hawaii plays at 5 EST (Midnight local), there’s always some East Coast teams playing at 7 AM (florida gulf coast this year… remember them?), 9 AM, and 11 AM, so maybe this isn’t quite so bad.  Looks like I have a “doctor’s appointment” on Tuesday afternoon!!!  So come on down, Huggy Bear. (FYI: This is the recommended game to take a siesta during according to one web site.  No love.  And vcu and uva (both ranked) play later in the night)

Rounding out the week will be another home game versus western carolina to culminate our weird geographic week on Friday night (this is the appetizer for the football game on Saturday).  Note that this game, like the usc-u game, is part of the Coaches vs Cancer Classic.  But, regardless of what happens in these two games, VT will advance to the semi-finals at the Barclays Center (Brooklyn Nets) on Nov. 22 to face #2 michigan state.  We saw a similar situation last year where VT lost to georgia southern, but still went to the semis of the tourney in Vegas to beat bradley in OT, then get throttled by colorado state.  Let’s hope we win both tune-ups this year.

Look for the Hokies to feature their new style of play.  Coach JJ has said all along he wants to play up-tempo on offense and aggressively trapping on defense.  They couldn’t last year because of lack of bodies, but that shouldn’t be an issue this year.  Coach SG would always say we were going more up-tempo, then scrap it by halftime of the first game.  I think JJ will stick with the plan, at least on offense (how tightly refs call hand checking this year will affect the defense).  I mean, it couldn’t be much worse than last year so he might as well see how it plays out over the early part of the season.  Should keep things interesting!  Let’s hope the result is lots of easy transition buckets for VT, and not just making it easier for the other team to score more quickly (i.e. colorado state, byu, maryland).

NOTES:

usc upstate:

  • Last Year: 16-17 (9-9 in Atlantic Sun)
  • Series: VT 1-0 (game was in 2010-11 season, VT won 64-53)
  • Top Player: #23 Torry Craig – 6’6″ senior forward, 17.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg last year
  • Nickname: spartans (I was right!)

wvu:

  • Last Year: 13-19 (6-12 in the Big(10)12 – 8th place out of 10 teams in the league)
  • Series: wvu 47-29
  • At VT: VT 16-12 (no games at VT since 2004)
  • Last Meeting: @wvu 68, VT 67 – Tech’s first loss last year on 12/8/12 after a 7-0 start
  • Top Player: Honestly, I don’t see one.  They had no one average even double-digit points per game last season and 3 of their 6 guys that averaged between 7-9.9 points per game are gone.  They are offensively challenged to say the least.
  • Of note: They added two 4-star recruits this offseason.

western carolina:

  • Last Year: 14-19 (9-9 in the Southern)
  • Series: VT 3-0 (all in the Cassell with the last meeting in 2005)
  • Top Player: #5 Trey Sumler – 6’2″ senior guard – 18.4 ppg last year including 36% on 3s; 4.5 rpg, 3.6 apg – stat stuffer)
  • Nickname: The catamounts (didn’t even have to look that one up)

EXPECTATIONS:

I bet we’ll go 2-1 this week.  Anything less would not be a good start to the season and could ensure the bandwagon stays parked.  usc upstate and wcu are middle of the pack Atlantic Sun and Southern teams respectively, so Tech must win those games.  That said, VT lost to georgia southern last year, and I predict these games will be agonizingly close.  wvu isn’t that good, so VT could pull it out at home, but the 1 PM time will basically turn it into a neutral site game unless the students come out in mass (hint hint).  So I’ll stick with 2-1 where I think any of the three could be a VT loss.  No guarantees from me this year, I’ve learned my lesson.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Previews6 Comments

Preview | ACC Tournament First Round | #12 Hokies (4-14) vs #5 nc state (11-7) | Thursday at ~2:30 PM

Spread: nc state by 11.5.

The Hokies try to put an atrocious ACC regular season behind them and make some noise in the ACC Tournament starting Thursday. Their opponent will be another disappointment, the nc state wolfpack, in the second game of the early session on Thursday, tipping off around 2:20 to 2:40 PM.

nc state was picked to win the ACC by the media in the preseason, featured the Preseason POTY (C.J. Leslie) and the ROTY (T.J. Warren, another stud state freshman, is the one who will likely win it). And while they are #28 in the RPI and all but a lock for the Big Dance, they struggled to an 11-7 ACC regular season record. It was partially due to PG Lorenzo Brown missing a few games due to injury, and it is partially due to the fact that they are nc state and always seem to underachieve. You don’t build a team around a guy like C.J. “Derrick Coleman, Jr.” Leslie. I could also call him 50-cent, as in he only plays hard 50% of the time. He ended up just 3rd Team All ACC.

For the Hokies, I say we go for broke and do everything we can to win this game with no regard for Friday. Forget saving guys for the long haul of back-to-back-to-back-to-back games in the ACC-T format. I say we do everything we can to survive this one, especially considering we will be huge underdogs and likely won’t survive to live another day. I’d like to see Coach JJ, fresh off his first ever technical foul, implement the things he wants to do next year, like the full court press. I’d use it from the get-go. He wants to run it next year, so why not put it in during practice the next three days and go for broke with it Thursday. state has no depth (they really only play 7 guys), so picking up the tempo could wear them out in the 2nd half. That said, nc state has a very good offense (12th most productive/efficient in the nation out of 347 teams), so this could backfire, they could shred the press and hit a dozen alley-oop dunks and win by 40… So what? We are huge underdogs and expected to lose. I’d like to see us try something different and start to look to the future in terms of JJ’s “system”. Why not? That’s my 2 cents.

The winner of this game will face the hated wahoos at the same time Friday in the ACC Quarterfinals. uva will look to end their pathetic trend in the ACC Tournament in that contest — the hoos haven’t made it to ACC Tournament Semi-Final Saturday since 1995. That’s a streak of losing in the First Round or Quarterfinals for each of the previous 17 ACC Tournaments. They just have to win one, against VT or state, this year to end that streak.

First Meeting:

The game was a seesaw battle in the first half with neither team leading by more than 5 and Tech took a two point lead to the break. In the second half, the Hokies jumped ahead by 7 twice, including with 7:49 to go. But a 14-0 nc state run flipped the game to a 7-point state advantage with 3:30 remaining. Tech was down 6 with 20 seconds left, but a Rankin layup, Eddie 3, and 2/4 FTs for state gave Tech the ball down 3 with 8 seconds left. Green was intentionally fouled and hit his first FT. The next FT was one of the great Tech plays of the year — Green intentionally missed the foul shot off the right part of the rim, it bounced off the backboard, off to the right side of the lane, where a streaking Jarell Eddie rushed in from beyond the 3-point line (possibly too early), caught the ball, and put it in to tie the score.

In OT, Tech took an 84-83 lead behind two Eddie 3s, but state rattled off 6 straight FTs (they shot 43 FTs compared to 7 for the Hokies) and won 90-86 in overtime in Raleigh. Green had 29 for VT.

Preview-ncsu-ACCT

Posted in 2012-13 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Previews2 Comments

The Wild Hokie Club!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So join the TechHoops.com Wild Hokie Club today!


Choose your level of support!




New Poll Question

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

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Get TechHoops Updates via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - vs. liberty | 7pm, ESPN3
11/22 - vs. appalachian state | 1pm, ESPN3
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - vs. n. iowa | 7pm, CBSSN
11/26 - championship/consolation game | TBA, CBSSN
**********
11/30 - morgan state | 3pm, ESPN3

December

12/03 - @ penn state | 7:15pm, ESPNU
12/07 - vs. radford | 3pm, ESPN3
12/14 - vs. alabama a&m | 3pm, ESPN3
12/20 - vs. the citadel | 1pm, ESPN3
12/22 - vs. vmi | 7pm, ESPN3
12/27 - vs. presbyterian | 7pm, ESPN3
12/30 - @ west virginia | 2pm, ESPNU

January

01/03 - vs. syracuse | Noon, RSN
01/06 - @ fsu | 7pm, RSN
01/13 - @ louisville | 7pm, RSN
01/18 - @ unc | 6:30pm, ESPNU
01/22 - vs. notre dame | 7pm, RSN
01/25 - vs. uva | 1pm, ACCN
01/27 - vs. pittsburgh | 7pm, ESPNU
01/31 - @ wake forest | 2pm, RSN

February

02/03 - @ syracuse | 9pm, ESPNU
02/07 - vs. fsu | 3pm, ACCN
02/09 - vs. georgia tech | 9pm, ESPNU
02/14 - @ clemson | Noon, RSN
02/18 - @ miami | 7pm, RSN
02/21 - @ nc state | 6pm, ESPN2
02/25 - vs. duke | 9pm, ESPN2
02/28 - @ uva | 4pm, ACCN

March

03/02 - vs. boston college | 9pm, ESPNU
03/07 - vs. miami | Noon, RSN
**********
ACC Tournament
03/10 - 1st rd.
03/11 - 2nd rd.
03/12 - quarterfinals
03/13 - semifinals
03/14 - championship

Photos on flickr