Hokies NIT Pod Set

We’ve known for a while that Virginia Tech would be participating in the Preseason NIT (otherwise known now as the Preseason Virginia Tech Invitational).  We’ve known george mason would be in the pod (East Regional), led by their new coach and TechHoops.com favorite, Paul Hewitt.  We’ve known it would be played at the Cassell.  And now we know who the Hokies will play in the first round and who the other two teams are.

VT, the 4th overall seed in the Preseason NIT will open up the tournament with monmouth on November 14th, while george mason will play florida international (not to be confused with florida american, florida Earth, or florida milky way).  The two losers and the two winners will meet on November 16th, with the overall winner advancing to the self-proclaimed “Most Famous Arena in the World,” Madison Square Garden.  The semis are on November 23rd and the finals on the 25th.

monmouth is from the Northeast Conference.  The hawks finished 9-21 last season.  They are… they’re not good.

The other game features maybe the worst coaching match-up in ncaa history.  Hewitt’s exploits have been regularly documented on here.  He was 7-41 on the road in ACC games his last six years at georgia tech, and 33-63 overall in ACC play.  Thomas has gone 18-44 as the fiu head man in two seasons.  He won just 34% of his games as the New York Knicks Head Coach, and was an even worse Prez of Bball Operations (the Knicks had the highest payroll in the NBA in 2005-06 yet finished with the 2nd to last record in the NBA).

syracuse with former VT assistant Adrian Autry, oklahoma state, and stanford are the other top seeds and hosts.

Posted in NIT2 Comments

Hokies fall in second round | #4 wichita state (26-8) 79, #1 VT (22-12) 76, OT

The season is over. The college careers of two of the most talented players ever to suit up for Virginia Tech have come to a close. The No. 1 seeded Hokies fell to the No. 4 seed, wichita state, 79-76 in overtime. As has been the case for so many games, when Delaney has a big game, Tech seems to lose. The senior from Baltimore, Md., had a game-high 30 points. Sophomore Erick Green had 17 points.

Another sophomore, Manny Atkins, hit a big three pointer in the final minute of regulation to give the Hokies a 69-66 lead, but the shockers tied the game to send it to overtime. With state leading 76-74 and with the possession, Green stole the ball and fed a streaking Terrell Bell for a layup to tie the game at 76. But state inbounded the ball and went the length of the court for an uncontested layup to retake the lead, 78-76, with 2.2 seconds left in the game.

The Hokies inbounded the ball and Delaney appeared to be fouled, but the ref swallowed his whistle and instead called Delaney for stepping out of bounds. The Hokies fouled, sent state to the line, and that was the game.

Jeff Allen reverted to his old ways by fouling out with 6:12 left in the game with the Hokies trailing by two. That sealed Tech’s fate as they had no size and no inside presence to either score or defend in the paint. Allen finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. The call was more than questionable as the shockers player took a dook-like flop to help sell it.

Delaney, a first-team All-ACC selection, shot lights out in the first half, hitting 6/9 from the field and 3/5 from behind the arc. Victor Davila, who had been battling an injured shoulder, started and played respectably, though you could tell the shoulder was bothering him, particularly when he air-balled a free throw in the first half. He’s bad from the charity stripe, but he at least hits rim when he misses.

The shockers opened the second half with an 11-3 run to take a 41-35 lead. After a steal and fast-break layup at the other end for wichita state, Joe Ragland was called for a technical foul, for something he must have said to Delaney after scoring the bucket. Delaney hit both free throws to cut the lead to 41-39, but then followed it up by committing his third personal foul with 16 minutes to play in the game.

Delaney stayed in the game, despite the three personals, with 21 of the Hokies’ 39 points at that point. After falling behind by six, 41-35, the Hokies used a slow, but steady 13-7 run to tie the game at 48 on Terrell Bell’s first points of the game – a three from the left corner.

That’s it for now. Niemo will likely have a season-recap in the days ahead, but for now, this season is mercifully over. See you in eight months, Hokie fans.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps, NIT6 Comments

The Hunt for 69 | NIT Preview | #4 wichita state (25-8) @ #1 VT (22-11) | Sunday at 11 AM | ESPN

The Hunt for 69 | NIT Preview | #4 wichita state (25-8) @ #1 VT (22-11) | Sunday at 11 AM | ESPN

Unlike the White Stripes, we are not going to Wichita. wichita state is coming to Blacksburg for Round 2 of the Virginia Tech Invitational. It’s Brunch in Blacksburg as the Hokies host the shockers at 11 AM Sunday in the Cassell!  Yep, the shockers come to town as the Hunt for 69 rolls on.

With a Hokie win, the current senior class will pick up their 88th win and post the most wins in a 4-year span in VT basketball history.

Both teams enjoyed woodshed beatings in their NIT openers on Wednesday. VT scrambled bethune-cookman 79-54 (Recap).  wichita state popped the cornhuskers of nebraska by a 76-49 margin.

The big question for the Hokies will be the status of Victor Davila.  He has what has been diagnosed as either a torn labrum, a rotator cuff, or a deep bruise in his right shoulder.  He actually hurt it in the georgia tech game last Thursday and has logged 84 minutes of action in three games since.  But he couldn’t even lift his right arm above his shoulder earlier this week.  I bet he’ll play, but he’ll be battling it.  It doesn’t help that this is his dominant arm.  That sweet hook shot of his will be even more of a baby hook.

Erick Green also has an ankle injury from practice on Tuesday, but looked solid Wednesday.  Could we be down to six scholarship guys on Sunday?  We’ll see.  Heck, I might be suiting up by the time we get to New York if we can win two more.

I usually talk about how Virginia Tech will have an advantage with this game being at 11 AM, which is 10 AM Central where the shockers are.  But after baylor killed VT in an 11 AM game two years ago, I’ll just let that one go.

SERIES: VT 1-0 (Won 91-90 in 1965)

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech wichita state
Guard 11 Green – 6-4 23 Murry 6-5
Guard 23 Delaney – 6-3 1 Ragland 6-0
Wing/Forward 1 Bell – 6-7 14 Hatch 6-4
Forward 0 Allen – 6-7 32 Blair 6-8
Forward/Center 14 Davila – 6-8 31 Durley 6-8

Talk about a contrast – the shockers will go five deep on their bench.  Tech can likely only go two deep at most.

STATS:

Virginia Tech wichita state
PPG 70.1 72.3
Pts Against 62.2 61.5
FG % 45% 46%
3-Pt % 33% 35%
FT % 71% 74%
Leading
Scorer Delaney 18.4 Durley 11.3
Rebounder Allen 9.8 Blair 6.2
Assists Delaney 4.1 Murry 3.4
Steals Green 1.7 Murry 1.1
Blocks Davila 1.2 Blair 0.9

When I say the shockers have a balanced attack, I mean they have a really balanced attack.  They have 10 guys averaging between 4.5 and 11.3 points per game.  Seven of those guys will shoot the three, so you have to defend almost their whole lineup on the perimeter except for Gabe Blair, one of their big men (he transferred from ecu).  David Kyles off the bench is their best shooter — he’s hit 72 3′s at 40%.  J.T. Durley is an inside-outside forward who will step out.  Luckily for VT, he isn’t that aggressive and doesn’t get to the line a lot.  Toure’ Murry will slash and look to get to the rim.  VT may play man if the shockers are hot from deep.

The shockers are in the top 60 in the nation in offensive and defensive efficiency.  They also are the 4th best defensive rebounding team in the nation, holding opponents to 26%.

Note: Malcolm Delaney needs just 8 assists to become VT’s all time leader.

BORING FACTS ABOUT wichita state:

  • Colors: Black and yellow (another Wiz Khalifa fan)
  • Established: 1895
  • Type: Public
  • Conference: Missouri Valley
  • Mascot: WuShock
  • Tragedy: 31 football players died in a 1970 plane crash… but they didn’t get a movie with Matthew McC.
  • Baseball: Winningest team in the NCAA over the past 31 seasons – 1989 national champs and 3 time runner-up.
  • Willie Jeffries became the first Division I black head coach at wsu in 1979.
  • Bill Parcells played at wsu.
  • Co-foundes (and brothers) of Pizza Hut went to wsu.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Previews, NIT10 Comments

Bear Fight Bombardment! | NIT Recap | VT (22-11) 79, bethune-cookman (21-13) 54

Bear Fight Bombardment! | NIT Recap | VT (22-11) 79, bethune-cookman (21-13) 54

Boxscore

There was no let down from the Hokie seniors, or anyone else on Virginia Tech for that matter in the First Round of the Virginia Tech Invitational.  The Hokies absolutely deep fried bethune-cookman at the Cassell in front of 2,900 paid fans (though there were about 5,000 there), winning 79-54.  The hunt for 69 is on!   Tech led by as many as 32 in this woodshed-beating.  Get your Jager, Red Bull, Guinness, and Bailey’s ready — it is a St. Patty’s Day Bear Fight!

The Hokies had five guys in double figures to lead a balanced onslaught.  Jeff Allen led the way with 19 (9/14 shooting) while Malcolm Delaney chipped in 13, Manny Atkins 12, Erick Green 11, and Terrell Bell 10.  Erick Green also dished out a career high 8 assists on the night.  Tech also got 24 (count’em… 24) points off the bench (we have a bench?!).  In addition to Atkins 12, VT got 7 from Tyrone Garland (who played 23 minutes) and 5 from Paul Debnam (who played 12 minutes… including perhaps his second ever first half appearance).

But it was Tech’s three scholarship seniors that brought the wood tonight and turned this game into a laugher quickly, hitting 10 of 11 shots to start the game.  Malcolm Delaney hit three 3-pointers in the first five minutes, and Jeff Allen had 10 points by the halfway mark of the first half.  In fact, the senior law firm of Allen, Bell, and Delaney tallied 17 of Tech’s first 19 points.

The Hokies absolutely dominated a couple of key stats: points off turnovers and points in the paint, outscoring b-c 21-4 and 40-20 respectively.  That was thanks in large part to the Big Donut.  Simply put, Jeff Allen took what Jeff Allen wanted tonight.  He looked like King Kong playing against kittens.  And congratulations to Jeff Allen – with his blocked shot in the first half, he became the first ACC player ever to get to 1600 points, 1000 rebounds, 200 steals, and 150 blocks!

The Tech senior class tied the record for most wins in a four year span with 87!  They’ll look to break that record this weekend in the NIT Second Round.  The Hokies will host the shockers of wichita state, who husked nebraska 76-49 (ouch), on Sunday morning at 11 AM.  It’s Breakfast in Blacksburg!

The Hokies were up 23-12 by the second media timeout (under 12 minutes) and led by 22 with five minutes to go in the half (39-17).  They led by as many as 23 in the first half before the (who are we?) wildcats finished the half on a 5-0 run to close the gap to 42-24 at the break.

Jeff Allen led the Hokies in the first half with 12.  Delaney chipped in 9 (all on 3-pointers in the first five minutes), and Manny Atkins had 9 off the bench.

The Hokies had 12 assists in the first half on 19 made field goals (19/31 – 61% first half shooting).  Tech shot 56% for the game, hitting 33/59.  And yes, VT won the 3-point % battle (35% to 30%), meaning for the 18th straight VT game the team that shot a higher percentage from behind the arc won.  VT had 7 makes to 6 by b-c (both had 20 attempts).

Victor Davila, nursing an injury, sat the entire second half.  In fact, at times, Terrell Bell was the Hokies’ “big man”.

C.J. Reed, the big MEAC Player of the Year (and son of the head coach) was held to 10 points, almost half his average.  Garrius “I ain’t no” Holloman “back girl” had 20 to lead the wildcats, who shot 43% from the floor but had 13 turnovers compared to just 6 by the Hokies.  VT had 7 steals, compared to just 1 for b-c (who came into this game as one of the top teams in the nation in terms of protecting the ball).

Random Stat: The Hokies senior class finished their career 12-1 in tournament openers (4-0 in NIT openers, 3-1 in the ACC Tourney opener, and 5-0 in all other tournament openers).  VT has won 14 of their last 15 tournament openers.

Plays of the Game:

  1. Malcolm Delaney on the break made a between-the-legs pass to Tyrone Garland for what I believe was his first collegiate dunk.
  2. Erick Green grabbing a missed 3-pointer in mid-air and flushing it down with two hands.
  3. Paul Debnam driving to his right, then ducking up-and-under to his left for a layup off the glass.

Random, Needless Rap Reference: Any idea what bethune-cookman’s colors were?  You know what it is… black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps, NIT9 Comments

Preview | bethune-cookman (21-12) @ VT (21-11) | Wed., 8 PM | ESPNU

Preview | bethune-cookman (21-12) @ VT (21-11) | Wed., 8 PM | ESPNU

The Hokies get a third shot at bc on Wednesday, only this time it is the [I have no idea what their nickname is] of bethune-cookman from [no idea... not even the state] rolling into town!  Get ready for some super-sized fun, it is the big MEAC against the team that doesn’t get treated like they are in the ACC!

Welcome home, Hokies!  Back to the Virginia Tech Invitational for the fourth straight year!  LOL – seriously, that logo cracks me up every time. >>>>>>>

OK, enough saltiness.  Here’s the 411 on b-c since, a) I am curious and figured I’d look it up, b) well, A is really the only reason.

  • Who? bethune-cookman university wildcats… WHO ARE WE? “The Wildcats!”  Who are we gonna beat?  ”The wildcats!”  [Simpson's reference]
  • Mary Bethune started the bethune educational and industrial training school which later merged with the cookman institute of Jacksonville to become a co-ed high school in 1924.  Became a JC in ’31, and a 4-year school in ’41.
  • Where?  Daytona Beach, FL
  • Why? Regular season champs that don’t make the ncaa tournament get an auto-bid to the NIT… b-c won the MEAC regular season title at 13-3 but got upset by morgan state in the MEAC semi-finals.
  • What?  As in ‘what the heck are we doing playing a MEAC team instead of some #5 or 6 seed in that other tournament.

Jake Taylor said it best in Major League – “I guess there’s only one thing left to do… win the whole [bleeping] thing.”

SERIES: VT 1-0 (Hokies 69-58 in B’burg on 1/12/2005)

STARTERS:

Position Virginia Tech b-c
Guard 11 Green – 6-4 3 Reed 6-3
Guard 23 Delaney – 6-3 10 Elliott 6-3
Wing/Forward 1 Bell – 6-7 32 Starling 6-6
Forward 0 Allen – 6-7 11 Bryant 6-6
Forward/Center 14 Davila – 6-8 5 Abrahams 6-9

They only have 10 guys on their roster… got us beat.

STATS:

Virginia Tech b-c
PPG 69.8 66.3
Pts Against 62.5 65.5
FG % 45% 44%
3-Pt % 33% 32%
FT % 71% 71%
Leading
Scorer Delaney 18.6 Reed 19.1
Rebounder Allen 9.9 Starling 6.7
Assists Delaney 4.0 Reed 4.8
Steals Green 1.7 Reed 1.7
Blocks Davila 1.2 Starling 1.0

WHAT’S LEFT TO PLAY FOR:

  • The senior class has 86 wins (86-49).  A win Wednesday will tie the Dell Curry class of 1982-86 for most wins in a 4-year span at 87.
  • With 1 block, Jeff Allen becomes the first ACC player ever with 1500 points, 1000 rebounds, 200 steals, and 150 blocks (I’m guessing he’s the first to 1500-1000-200-149 though either way).
  • Malcolm Delaney needs 13 assists to become VT’s all time leader.  He needs 12 steals to crack the top 10 there.
  • Playing in MSG is pretty cool.  Although these seniors played a combined four games there their freshman and sophomore years in the Aeropostale Somethin-or-other.

I’m not going to post ‘HO-KEYS TO WINNING’.  We all know we ‘should’ win this game and win it easily if the guys hearts are in it.  b-c ranks in the bottom 100 in the nation in offensive efficiency, and bottom 35 (of 350) in defensive efficiency.  So they cannot score or stop decent teams.  They’ll play mostly man and probably haven’t seen much zone against them this year.  What they do do well is not turn the ball over, which the Hokies need to get transition opportunities.

Will VT be focused?  I’m not sure, and I’ll give them a pass if they aren’t.  I think they’ll react one of two ways:

  1. The seniors will realize their dreams of playing in the non-VT Invitational are over and basically have a tee time setup for Thursday.
  2. Come out on a mission to finally make it to the self-proclaimed ‘Most Famous Arena in the World’… I’m talkin’ ’bout in the streets of New York!  The revolution has to start, don’t waste no time in the streets of New York.

We shall see Wednesday night if the guys have a New York state of mind.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game Previews, NIT8 Comments

Hokies left out of the NCAA Tournament … again

Well, folks, it’s not like you can say you are surprised. We have wins over duke (No. 1 seed), two wins over fsu (which made the tournament), and a win over penn state (which also in the big dance), and we got left out. We won 11 conference games in the ACC including regular season and the ACC tournament. The Hokies made it to the semifinals of the ACC tourney, beating the No. 3 seed, fsu. And yet, Seth Greenberg and his 21-11, 11-8, Hokies got the big old snub once again from the NCAA tournament selection committee.

What more can we say? The NIT selection show is at 9 p.m., tonight. We would assume the Hokies would be a No. 1 or 2 seed and will host 2-3 games, assuming they win. Excuse us if we’re not all giggly about those prospects.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, ACC Tournament, NCAA Tournament, NIT39 Comments

Happy 15th Anniversary, 1995 NIT Champs!

March 29th marks the 15th anniversary of Virginia Tech’s victory over marquette in the 1995 NIT Championship Game. Tech won 65-64 in overtime on two Shawn Smith free throws with 0.7 seconds left. Check back Monday night for a TechHoops.com exclusive interview with the star of the 1995 NIT Championship Team, Ace Custis!

In the mean time, here’s a clip of the exciting conclusion (and madness afterwards) of Tech’s quarterfinal win over new mexico state that propelled the Hokies to New York City.

The 1995 team was also snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. They finished 20-10, including 12-1 at home, despite having just seven scholarship players playing and only 2-3 guys in the rotation off the bench. VT played #3 unc with Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace very tough in Greensboro, and lost to #13 uva (yes, uva actually used to be good at basketball) by just a point in Richmond. But no invitation arrived for the Hokies to the Big Dance.

Instead, Tech ripped through wins over clemson and providence, then blew a huge first half lead against new mexico state before the dramatic win linked above. The Hokies crushed Cindarella canisius in the semifinals, and then won the title game 65-64 in overtime against marquette when Shawn Smith was fouled with .7 seconds left and Tech down a point. Much like the 1973 VT NIT Championship Game (which also went to overtime), it all came down to the last second. Smith nailed both free throws and VT was NIT champs for the second time, exactly 15 years ago.

Shawn Smith was named the Tournament MVP.  He was a forward for VT despite being maybe 6’4″ at best.  Travis Jackson started in the low post, too, but spent most his time on the perimeter.  Ace Custis also played forward.  Shawn Good (who had as good of hops as Deron Washington) ran the point while Damon Watlington was Zabian Dowdell long before Zabe – could hit any runner and was also a good outside shooter.  Off the bench VT had Myron Guillory at guard and David Jackson (who is now VT’s S&C Coach) as a wing.  FYI: David spent more time on the floor than Nancy Pelosi.  I believe VT had one more low post player who played.  I cannot remember if it was Brandon Price or Keefe Mathews (I think Keefe was redshirting that year but I’m not sure).  But that’s it, VT did not have a deep bench.  Kelly Mann was the “Paul Debnam” of that team, last off the bench in blow-outs and cost us free McDonald’s by missing a late dunk early in the season (yes, I’m still bitter).  But this was a very talented team with four guys (all the starters except Travis Jackson) ranking in the top 50 in career scoring (Ace is 9th, Shawn Smith 17th, Damon Watlington 29th, and Shawn Good 41st).

Posted in NIT3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game Film | Hokies 65, uconn 63 | Final Seconds

Recap | Box Score

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

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

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

Box Score | Highlights | Game Film

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights from the Hokie win…


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

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

VT 65, uconn 63 | The Final 22 Seconds

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


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

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Home, NIT3 Comments

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

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

THE SETUP:

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

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

Spread: The Hokies opened as a 4 point favorite.

SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:

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

STARTERS AND SCOUTING REPORT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

STATS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in 2009-10 Season, NIT4 Comments

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

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

Boxscore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SETUP:

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

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

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

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

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

TRIPLE SHOT OF KEYS TO WINNING:

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

  • Rebound
  • Fight through ball screens
  • Be Virginia Tech

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

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

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

THE opponent:

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

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

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

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

Let’s meet quinnipiac:

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

STARTERS:

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

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

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