There are bad losses, really bad losses, embarrassing losses, and “Holy crap is the ESPN Bottom Line broken?! There’s no way we lost to $h—– unc-g-spot!?”. Well, this is the latter of those. The Hokies, who were 15-point favorites in this contest, lost at home to the unc-greensboro spartans by a 55-52 score at the Cassell on Saturday.
The Hokies led 43-32 with 10:06 to go in the game and seemed to be in control. But they would score just 6 points over the next 9:49 and unc-g led 52-49 with 17 seconds to go. Marshall Wood made 1 of 2 free throws to tie his career high of 14 points (led VT today) and cut the lead to 2. After unc-g’s Drew Parker made 1 of 2 free throws, Devin Wilson got fouled as he scored a layup and went to the line with a chance to tie the game at 52 with 10 seconds to go. But the 67% foul shooter missed badly to the right. White hit 2 free throws for unc-g to put them up 3. Marshall Wood had a good look at a 3 with 5 seconds to go but missed and time ran out and the Baby Jakes had their second horrific home court loss of the season.
How bad was this loss?
- It was just unc-g’s 2nd win in 52 tries against ACC teams. Yep, they are 2-50 now.
- unc-g-spot was 271st out of 351 teams in the RPI coming into the game.
- The spartans were just 3-7 against Division I teams entering this contest.
- To me, this loss is volumes worse than the 30-point loss to vcu. It was that bad.
- Even worse, this loss didn’t even phase me. I didn’t curse once. I didn’t punch a couch cushion. I didn’t throw a liquor bottle at a neighbor. Granted, my 10-month old son was watching with me, but that wouldn’t have stopped the Weekend Warrior. Have I matured? Doubtful. I think I’m numb to these terrible losses now, almost as if I expect them (that’s not a good thing). I hate to say it, but the ricky stokes era, Part 2 may be upon us. I think JJ has 1.5 to max 2.5 years left and the new A.D. will go out and get a qualified coach.
I could add that unc-g was without their 2nd leading scorer, Saddler (12 ppg), but VT was without their 3rd leading scorer, Adam Smith (13 ppg), so I guess that’s a wash.
How did VT lose to the 271st “best” team in the nation?
- After 27 minutes of action, Tech didn’t have a single point from their upperclassmen (Eddie, Raines, Barksdale, and Johnston). In fact, they had 0 points to go with 6 turnovers at that moment.
- For the game, Tech’s upperclassmen finished with just 5 points and 8 turnovers.
- Jarell Eddie was 1/12 from the field for the game (started 0/9).
- As I said above, VT scored just 6 points between 10:06 to go in the game and 17 seconds, allowing unc-g to go on a 20-6 run and take a 52-49 lead.
- The Hokies, who were #1 in the nation in 3-point % coming in at 44%, hit just 3/15 (20%). That’s more than 6 makes below their average of 9.3 made 3s per game (11th in the nation).
- VT was 13/23 on FTs (57%). unc-g was 14/16 (88%) — there’s your difference (I’m sure Slam Dunk will second that).
I predicted the Hokies would be rusty after just 1 game in 20 games, and they certainly were in the first half. The game was tied at 22 at the break with the Hokies having 9 turnovers. It looked like they had turned it around in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half, outscoring unc-g 21-10, but that’s when the wheels came off.
Kyle Cain, a junior transfer from arizona state, led all scorers with 18. He was clearly the best player on the floor for either team, hitting 8/14 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Joey van Zegeren had a career high 11 points, and added 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Ben Emelogu also had 11 for Tech. Jarell Eddie had scored in double figures in each game until today, held to just 4 points on that 1/12 shooting (and just 2 rebounds which is also surprising).
Adam Smith, as mentioned, was out with a calf injury. C.J. Barksdale was limited to just 6 minutes due to his banged up knee. And Cadarian Raines is clearly still in the JJ Doghouse, playing just 7 minutes for the game (1 point).
Both teams were awful from the floor, with each team shooting just 36% for the game. Both teams hit just 3 three-pointers. And turnover margin was close (unc-g had 13, VT had 15). The difference, as I mentioned, was unc-g’s advantage from the foul line.
The Hokies return to action on Tuesday at 4 PM in the Cassell against maryland-eastern shore who is ranked 317th in the RPI. They are just 1-6 against D1 teams (and 1-1 against lower division teams). Since the Sun Bowl is going on at the same time, I’m sure there will be plenty of good seats still available!