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Game Post: HOKIES (2-2) 54, northern iowa (5-0) 74

Update: Tech will face miami of ohio tonight.  They are also 2-2 and had an 11-point win over liberty, so very comparable to the Hokies.  northwestern beat the redhawks by 9.



The Baby Birds of Virginia Tech were thoroughly blasted by the experienced northern iowa panthers, 54-73.  The only question was would it be a Reverse Bear Fight (20-point loss) for the Hokies, but a late Satchel Pierce bucket helped Tech avoid that indignation.

The panthers returned all 5 starters and about 92% of their points from a year ago, compared to the Hokies who returned about 9% of their points on a last place club.  And the experience levels proved vital.  northern iowa came out unconscious from the field and line, hitting 6/8 three-pointers to start and 10/11 free throws in the first half (compared to just 1 free throw and 4/9 on threes for VT).

Also give uni credit for being aggressive early while the officials were calling the game tight and getting to the line.  The Hokies had been called for 5 fouls before a single one was called on uni, leading to Buzz’s first technical as a Hokie 4-minutes into the game.

The panthers used their hot shooting to take a 40-31 lead into the break.

After halftime, a Justin Bibbs jumper cut the lead to 40-33.  That’s when the wheels came off as uni destroyed the Hokies with the pick-and-roll, plus their guards off the dribble, and went on a 17-2 run to put the game away at 57-35.

Joey van Zegeren led Tech with 15 points and 6 rebounds on 7/10 shooting.  No other Hokie reached double digits.

uni shot 50% for the game, the first Tech opponent to surpass 42%.  They only hit 1 of their final 10 threes, but it didn’t matter.  The panthers nailed 18/20 free throws (90%) and had just 9 turnovers compared to 14 for VT.  The previous 3 opponents all had at least 15 turnovers and VT had a +15 turnover margin (+5 per game) coming in.

Tech shot a respectable 48% from the field and were 7/18 on threes just like uni, but the Hokies had just 8 FTAs and hit just 3 (JvZ was 1/5 from the line).  As you’ll see below, this team really has no midrange jump-shooters right now.  It is either a layup, a JvZ hook in the paint, or a 3-ball.  The Hokies have to be able to find more points in that huge space.

On defense, the Hokies did show some full court trapping, and did get a turnover out of it, but the half court defense was pretty lousy tonight.  Guys looked like they had tired legs and weren’t getting through screens (and got elbows from their teammates when they did), weren’t moving quick enough on help D on the picks, or just got burned off the dribble.  They better sleep fast tonight.

The Hokies will play the loser of northwestern and miami (Ohio) at 7 PM on Wednesday, also on CBSSN.

Shooting Stats:

  •  In the Paint:  12/17 (71%)
  • Midrange Jumpers/Runners/Hooks:  3/11 (27%)
  • 3-Pointers:  7/18 (39%)
  • All Field Goals:  22/46 (48%)
  • Free Throws:  3/8 (38%)


For those of you that don’t get Watch ESPN, you’ll finally be able to see the Hokies play on regular TV Tuesday night when Tech takes on the 4-0 northern iowa panthers in the semi-finals of the Cancun Challenge from Mexico.  The panthers finished just 16-15 last year but had been to the postseason 5 years in a row before that (2 CITs, 1 NIT, and back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2009 and 2010 — and in 2010 they beat #8 seed unlv AND #1 seed kansas before falling to michigan state in the Sweet 16.  That team went 30-5… but like I said, that was now 5 seasons ago.

This panther club out of the Missouri Valley Conference is off to a 4-0 start, but they haven’t exactly beaten name opponents unless you consider nd (north dakota, not notre dame), stephen f. austin, morgan state, or north florida a name program.  Their closest game was a 2-point win at stephen f. austin in overtime that snapped Stone Cold’s 34-game home winning streak, so that’s mildly impressive (the list of teams they beat in that 34 game streak isn’t much to look at other than jmu).

That said, Vegas (and now Atlantic City since sports gambling is legal there) see northern iowa as the clearly better team in this match-up…

The panthers opened as 8.5-point favorites (and already been bet up to 10).

The Hokies are coming off their first loss in the Buzz Williams Era, a 65-63 heartbreaker on a lucky shot with a second to go (though, to be honest, appalachian state deserved to win given their huge rebounding margin — they grabbed 50% of their misses which is inexcusable given that appy state wasn’t very big or tall).

I was a little hard on the Hokies.  That was because:

  1. I was pretty ticked about the simultaneous Hokie football loss to 2-8 wake
  2. See #1 and repeat it about 1,000 times

Reality is I never expected to run the table on our 12 out of conference games leading up to Breakfast at Morgantown on December 30th.  I didn’t expect to a team that went 9-21 last year and had lost to ohio and furman by almost Bear Fight-fashion in both games, but I digress.  We knew there would be growing pains with a team that returned just 3 scholarship players with experience and has just 9 scholarship players available this year (with 0 seniors).  Perhaps I stated that appalachian state was “awful” one too many times in my preview, maybe the guys looked past the mountaineers.  And I can give the guys a pass — they were hours away from leaving frigid Blacksburg and heading to Cancun for an early Spring Break.  I assume visions of beach balls and sand already danced in their heads.

That said, this is one of Tech’s best out of conference opponents (I know, that is sad considering this team went 16-15 and plays in the MVC) and they have tons of experience, featuring 4 seniors and 2 juniors out of their main 9 players.  They have oodles more experience than the Hokies, especially in terms of playing together.  Let’s hope we see a better effort on Tuesday and start to see what Buzz-Ball really is.

Hokie Leaders:

  • PPG: Bibbs 11.7 (Smith 10.3)
  • RPG: JvZ 5.3 (Muller 4.3)
  • APG: Wilson 6.0 (Bibbs 2.0)
  • SPG: Wilson/Muller 2.0
  • FG%: Wilson 80% (Tech has 5 guys at 50% or better with at least 10 attempts!)
  • 3-PT%: Muller 4/9 (44%), Bibbs 3/7 (43%), Smith 5/12 (42%)

The Opponent: northern iowa

  • Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Enrollment: 13,168
  • Conference: Missouri Valley
  • Colors: (think jmu)
  • Famous Alums: Kurt Warner
  • Last Year: 16-15 (10-8 MVC), no postseason
  • Best Player: #10 Seth Tuttle – 6’8″ 240 lbs. Senior – 17 PPG and 7.3 RPG (both lead the team) — shoots an amazing 74% from the field!!! (23/31 FGs)  Has also made all 3 of his three-point attempts though he does a lot of his work inside.  Tuttle was 7/7 from the field and 4/4 from the line in their last game (think Laettner vs kentucky).
  • Other Key Players:
    • #11 Wes Washpun — 6’1″ junior guard — 12 PPG off the bench — shooting 76% from the field!!!; 3 APG.  Doesn’t shoot the 3 much though.
    • #4 Paul Jesperson (yep, that one from uva) — 6’6″ Soph wing — 8.3 PPG, 50% on 3s
    • #1 Deon Mitchell — 6’1″ senior point guard — 8.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 SPG
    • #12 Marvin Singleton — 6’6″ senior forward — 6.3 PPG and RPG
    • #20 Jeremy Morgan — 6’5″ Soph guard — 4.8 PPG
    • They go a legit 5 deep on their bench with 10 guys seeing 9+ minutes and 8 seeing 15+ minutes

Key Match-Up: VT allows opponents to shoot just 38% on the season, but northern iowa shoots 49%, including their two best scorers who shoot over 74%!!!  Yeesh.  Of course, if you allow a 50% offensive rebounding percentage, misses don’t matter as much.   Tech must limit Tuttle and Washpun and secure the rebounds/loose balls.  This panther team has no real 3-point threats (Jesperson, a uva transfer, has hit 7/14 but that’s about it).  VT can pack it in.

Prediction: Hokies lose by 8, barely covering the spread.  The panthers experience is just too much and they keep a close, but safe margin and put it away with good free throw shooters.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home10 Comments

Game Post: appalachian state (1-2) 65, HOKIES (2-1) 63



Gambler’s Note: If you had bet appt state and wake to win straight up and bet $100 per, you’d have won ~$2500 and probably feel a lot better about today. I didn’t.

If you thought the wake/VT football game was bad, you obviously weren’t watching the basketball team.  Today is officially the most embarrassing day in VT history (both teams were 15-point favorites).  The football team and the basketball team lost as 15 point favorites to teams in western NC.

The basketball Hokies lost on Saturday at home to an 0-2 appalachian state team that lost by 26 to ohio and 19 to FURMAN.  Yes, I capitalized an opponent’s name.  appy state scored with 1 second to go after a missed JvZ free throw to win 65-63.  Tech has shown progress under Buzz, but clearly this team was already on the plane to Cancun today before tip-off.  appy state was 9-21 last year, by the way.

No highlights are coming… you’ll thank me.


Before hoping on a plane to head to Cancun, Mexico (BRRRRR-I-BAAAAAAAAH!), the Hokies take on a strug-a-ling appalachian state team at 1 PM in the Cassell (yes, that is during the Hokies’ football game vs wake and the game will be on in the concourse level — not sure which game is more of a mismatch).

Through two games, Tech has displayed solid defense, holding both opponents below 43% shooting and forcing 36 turnovers (leading to 47 Points off Turnovers and 28 Fast Break Points).  On the flip side, the Hokies have shot over 52% in both games, including a blistering 61% vs liberty!

Offensively, in the first game it was the freshmen who led the way, scoring 52 of Tech’s 71 points (73%).  On Wednesday, the three veterans decided to get into the act, tallying 43 of the Hokies’ 73 points (59%).  Against appy state, they are so bad, the freshmen might score 60% of the points and the veterans might go for 72%.  It could happen, they are that awful.

appalachian state had enough troubles in the Southern Conference last year, finishing 9-21 (5-11 in conference play), and now they’ve moved to the Sun Belt.  But this move wasn’t about basketball, it was about allowing them to participate in the FBS for football after doing very well at the FCS level (remember that win in the Big House?).  And it is a better conference.

But, back to today — this is a very, very bad basketball team, possibly even worse than the 9-21 team from last year.  The mountaineers in their first two games lost to ohio by 26, and then to furman by 19.  That’s, uh, that’s not good.  ohio was decent last year and made the CIT (a step down from the NIT), but they just lost to florida golf course by 17.  And furman lost to college of charleston by 35.  By transitive properties, this isn’t a good match-up for appy state.  And this is a small team, so they will not present size issues inside like we worried liberty might (they didn’t — VT was too athletic).

FYI: if you are keeping track, Tech’s first 3 opponents had a combined record of 26-66 (28% win %).

The Opponent: appalachian state in Boone, NC

  • 2014-15 record: 0-2
    • ohio 73, asu 47
    • furman 84, asu 65
  • Top Player:
    • #15 Tommy Spagnolo – 6’7″ forward is averaging 13 PPG and 9.5 RPG.
  • Other Starters:
    • #21 Frank Eaves – 6’2″ Junior Guard – 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 APG
    • #10 Chris Burgess  – 5’8″ Junior Point Guard- 10 PPG, 2.5 APG
    • #0 Mike Kobani – 6’8″ Freshman Forward – 7.5 PPG
    • #3 Dustin Clarke – 6’3″ Junior Guard – 5.5 PPG
  • 2013-14 record: 9-21 (5-11 in the Southern but they are now in the Sun Belt)
  • Series History: VT 7-1
    • Last Hokie win: 87-76 almost exactly two years ago
    • Last VT loss: 1969 (VT has won 6 straight in the series)

Spread (our first of the year!  hopefully the hoops team does better against the odds than football has):

VT opened as 17.5 point favorites, but are now showing around -15.5 (football is at -15 — who will win by more?!)


Tech…. big.  Stock up on your Jager, Red Bull, Baileys, Jameson, and Guinness.  You’ll need it, possibly twice on Saturday.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home4 Comments

Video Highlights: HOKIES 73, liberty 63

Here is a 4-minute montage of the highlights from Wednesday’s Virginia Tech win over liberty 73-63 at the Cassell…


Posted in 2014-15, Games, Highlights0 Comments

Highlights: HOKIES (1-0) 71, umes 46

Highlights from Virginia Tech’s season opening, Bear Fight victory over the maryland-eastern shore hawks 71-46:

Posted in 2014-15, Games, Highlights2 Comments

HOKIES (1-0) 71, umes 46 | Post-Game Post

Added Reflections from last night and the Plus/Minus stats:


  • Bibbs looked very comfortable out there from the start while Hill looked a little nervous and a deer in the headlights for the first half.  I think you can attribute that to Bibbs played for a power high school team that travelled all over and played the best teams where as Hill wasn’t quite on that stage (though both get that to an extent from AAU but those games aren’t quite the same level in terms of ‘team’ play as HS games and now college games).  You could see how excited Buzz was when Hill hit that 3 late in the 2nd half.  I think he knew that would relax him and help going forward, and I’m sure Buzz has a special attachment to Hill since he followed him here from marquette.
  • Malik Muller is thick!  He’s every bit of 220 and should be a solid perimeter defender given his size — perhaps like a Jamon Gordon (though Gordon had exceptional hands and Malik deflected some passes last night).
  • The Hokies showed adjustments!!!  In the final 10 minutes of the first half, umes used a lot of 2-3 zone and Tech scored just 8 points in the final 10 minutes.  In the second half, they were much better against it — I think VT hit 4 three-pointers from the corner to beat the zone (although one was on an inbounds and another in transition).
  • Later in the game, VT struggled with the press, but I attribute this to Buzz was resting Wilson and Hudson, as a true freshman, wasn’t quite ready for it.  This will be a good experience for him (and good that Buzz stuck with him since we were up 20+).  We’ll see if he’s better next time, and it was smart to save some of Wilson’s minutes since he played way too much last year.
  • We are razor thin inside.  JvZ and Pierce both fouled out with more than 4 minutes to go, and we had to go to Shane Henry inside who is built a lot like Deron Washington was — not exactly a big man.  Michael Myers Jr, their Juco stud, just abused Henry with physicality in the post.  Though Henry did get 8 rebounds which leads you to think he has good technique and certainly can sky to get boards/blocks.  Tech must avoid foul trouble on their bigs…
  • Speaking of, that 2nd half was brutal to watch.  There was a whistle on almost every possession down the stretch.  Perhaps the refs are calling things like hand-checks and rooting in the post early this year like they did last year in the hope it will clean things up.  These freshmen need to play with their feet, not their hands, on defense.
  • I liked that Buzz had the perimeter defenders extending all the way out to the half court line in their half court man defense.  He isn’t the type that is going to sit back and wait for them.  Apply pressure, make them move, and then assume the help defense will rotate as needed.  There were a few blown assignments in the first half but largely they did well.
  • Free throws: Devin Wilson did show any jumpshots (really need that added to his game) and still can’t hit a free throw (1/5) — this has to get fixed — he’s had a mental block since last January.  JvZ still can’t hit a free throw (0/1).  The young guys were 12/18 — not great but not bad, either.

Plus/Minus Stats:

Note: Plus/minus is calculated by your team’s scoring margin while you are on the floor (so if you enter with your team up 10 and leave with them up 14, you were +4… take every stretch you play in and add them up and that’s your game plus/minus).

Player umes
JvZ +11
Bibbs +22
Muller +30
Wilson +23
Smith +15
Henry +6
Hill +8
Pierce +10
Beyer -3
Hudson +7
Johnston -4
TEAM +25
  • Interesting that the walk-ons were the only Hokies with a negative +/-.  And how about Muller with a +30!  He really played well in the 2nd half on O and D when the Hokies opened up the score.  Wilson and Bibbs with solid numbers, too.



The Buzz Williams era at Virginia Tech began with a Bear Fight victory as the Hokies easily beat maryland-eastern shore 71-46 at the Cassell in front of 6,191 fans (pretty good turnout based on recent history and lots of students!).  The highlight for umes might have been seeing Ace Custis return to Blacksburg as a coach for the hawks.

As for the Hokies, there were lots of positives to take from tonight.  First, they won… just Tech’s second win since defeating this same umes team back on New Year’s Eve of 2013.  Second, their three leading scorers were freshmen — Justin Bibbs and Malik Muller with 15 each and Ahmed Hill with 11.

The most impressive thing though was VT went more than 31 minutes to start the game without a turnover, and that’s with such a new, young team.  VT finished +9 in turnover margin for the game and that helped Tech pull away.

Tech shot 52% from the field while holding the hawks under 30% shooting.

Free throw shooting still needs improvement for the Hokies (17/29 for 59% and missed three front ends of one-and-ones) and some defensive assignments were missed and there was some poor shot selection, but all in all this wasn’t a bad first game of the season.


  • In the Paint: 15/21 (71%)
  • Midrange: 3/10 (30%)
  • 3-Pointers: 6/14 (43%)
  • Free Throws: 17/29 (59%)
  • Points in the Paint: 30 (VT) to 12 (umes)
  • Fast Break Points: 12 to 3
  • 2nd Chance Points: 4 to 10

Tech returns to action on Wednesday at home versus liberty.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home10 Comments

Join the TechHoops Bracket Challenge

Sure, our team isn’t in the Big Dance this year. In fact, it’s been seven years since the Hokies last appeared in the NCAA tournament. But that doesn’t mean we stop being college basketball fans, right? So, let’s get to work filling out those brackets, shall we?

First, click here to download a customized printable bracket, complete with lower-cased team names.

Second, go to and join our private group (password is babcock).

Posted in NCAA Tournament0 Comments

Virginia Tech fires James Johnson after two seasons

It’s official. James Johnson has been fired as the men’s head basketball coach at Virginia Tech. His tenure lasted just two seasons and less than two full calendar years. It got off to inauspicious start and never got on track. JJ finishes his VT tenure with a 22-41 (35%) record (6-30 in ACC regular season games and 0-2 in the ACC Tournament). That percentage is third worst of Tech’s 23 basketball coaches, and the worst that any Hokie coach has had in the last 80 years. (For reference, ricky “program bomb” stokes won 40% of his games aided largely by a year in A-10.)

I’m both surprised and not surprised. I’m surprised that Virginia Tech is going to eat three years of a contract, especially after former athletics director Jim Weaver gave JJ his blessing for another year.

Also, Tech has a history of underpaying coaches. In fact, Johnson was the lowest paid men’s basketball coach in the ACC and the Hokies got what they paid for; a team that finished dead last in each of JJ’s two seasons at the helm.

At the same time, I am not surprised that new Athletics Director Whit Babcock, who has been on the job for exactly one month, decided to make a change. His hiring made headlines, especially given his salary. To come in and do nothing with a program that has finished last three straight seasons, and seen declining attendance for seven straight years, likely would not have gone over well with the dwindling fan base.

As most rational fans would agree, JJ was in over his head from the beginning. No one begrudges him for taking the job. If you want to be a head basketball coach and an ACC team offers you a job, you take it. The fault of JJ’s failed tenure lies squarely at the feet of former AD Jim Weaver. Instead of conducting a national search after botching the Seth Greenberg firing, he chose the easy way and hired an assistant coach with no previous head coaching experience. JJ was the only ACC coach who had zero head coaching experience before taking over at an ACC program. And his teams performed about as well as you’d expect.

So, here we are, for the second time in two years, looking for a new head coach. Babcock’s shown he’s not afraid to drop the ax, but what he does next will determine the future success or failure of not only the basketball program, but also his tenure as AD.

Below is the official release from

Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced today that James Johnson has been relieved of his duties as head men’s basketball coach. In making the announcement, Babcock said a national search for Johnson’s replacement will begin immediately.

“I want to thank Coach Johnson for his dedication and hard work for our university and our basketball program over the past seven years,” Babcock said. “A change of this significance affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change and a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interest of our department.”

Johnson just completed his second season as head coach of the Hokies. He spent the previous five seasons on the Tech staff, serving as an assistant from 2007-2011 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012-13 season. He had accepted an assistant coaching position at Clemson on April 13, 2012, but returned to Blacksburg soon thereafter to take the head coaching position previously held by Seth Greenberg.

Babcock will meet with the media at 9:30 am on Tuesday in the Shott Media Center. The media session will be streamed live on

This will be Babcock’s only media availability until the announcement of the new coach.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Around The ACC, Cope's Corner15 Comments

The season that was a trainwreck

Well? How’s everyone feeling this morning? Relieved? Anxious? Ready for a change? Whatever may be going through your minds this morning, we here at TechHoops want to take a moment to thank you, the fans, for supporting this site by reading our articles, sharing them, commenting on them, and spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter.

According to Google Analytics, more than 20,500 of you visited our site this season and racked up more than a quarter million pageviews. In seven years, we have had 250,000 unique visitors to our site. A quarter million people. Just, wow. We’re honestly humbled. So, thank you!

Last season, we ditched paid advertising and went to a simple donation system that appealed directly to the fans. NPR style, if you will, only, we’re not a nonprofit, so any donation to the site is based purely on your love and/or appreciation of TechHoops and our efforts.

Below are the donors who have contributed to this site over the last two seasons. We are so grateful for their support. And we’re brainstorming ideas on how to take this Wild Hokie Club to the next level. If you have any ideas, we’re all ears!



  • Daniel K.
  • Chris D.
  • Patrick L.
  • Matt D.
  • Andrea T.
  • Steven S.
  • Jon K.
  • Patrick C.
  • Jon P.
  • Ryan L.
  • Lucian L.
  • Scott B.
  • Matthew W. (x2)
  • Brandon S.
  • Andrew M.
  • Ryan W.
  • James B.
  • Tushar P.
  • Bryan S.
  • Ben F.
  • Dan R.
  • Timothy B.
  • James S.

This season, we didn’t put the donation form up until late in the season, hence why that list is a bit smaller than the previous year. We weren’t sure how much content we could contribute coming into this season, so we were hesitant to accept donations. Niemo and his lovely bride had their first baby, plus Niemo’s coaching these days. And me, I’m working on another degree in addition to coaching and scout leading, and etc. However, as it turns out, we were able to keep up with the season, and thus decided to put the appeal back up with zero mention of it, and people noticed.

When this site started, there were about six contributors, but, unlike Wick, the other Jay, StreetBallaRob, and davey “I love Stiney” woods, who all bailed, Niemo and I have stuck around. Our hope is to make it to at least 10 years. And we hope you guys will be right there with us.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Cope's Corner, Featured Columns9 Comments

miami (17-15) 57, Hokies (9-22) 53

Big thanks to Cathy F!

The Hokies put a bow on one of the worst seasons in program history Wednesday afternoon, losing to miami in the first round of the 2014 ACC tournament, 57-53.

Virginia Tech finished 9-22 on the season and just 2-17 in ACC play – the 17 losses are an ACC single-season record. The Hokies’ only two wins were against the hurricanes, so they had a shot today. But beating a team three times in one season proved too difficult for VT. Or rather free throws proved too difficult, as VT made just 9/17 and Joey van Zegeren missed both free throws with VT down 1 with 10 seconds to go.

As if VT’s overall and conference records weren’t depressing enough, here’s a little stat for you: the Hokies finished the season with just one, solitary win in 2014. That’s it. Since Jan. 1, 2014, some 70 days ago, head coach James Johnson and his battered and bruised team are 1-17. That’s it.

Niemo likes to break down the game and go through the key moments, but at this point, I’m done. I’m sure you, the fans, are done, too. The Hokies, despite not committing a turnover for the first 23 minutes of the game, couldn’t get out of their own way. They went through their typical scoreless/field goalless drought. They missed critical, must-have, free throws when the game was on the line. More specifically, Joey van Zegeren missed critical free throws with the game on the line.

You can’t pin the loss on JvZ, though. He’s actually played pretty well down the stretch this season. And the team had more than had its fair share of opportunities to win this game. But, as we’ve seen all season, the Hokies just didn’t have what it took.

After the game, JJ said he feels “optimistic” about being back next year. You think? He can do the math and so can we. The athletics department is one of only a handful in the country that are in the black each year. That’s not by accident.

Coach JJ is the lowest paid men’s basketball coach in the ACC. He still has three years left on his contract, so call me skeptical if I don’t think new AD Whit Babcock is going to shell out Frank Beamer-type money to bring in a Shaka Smart. Remember, Tech is still paying Seth Greenberg and Jim Weaver a hefty sum of money. I don’t see Whit paying two former coaches and going out and getting a big name.

JJ is going to get another year whether you think he deserves it or not. Personally, I don’t think he does, but he’ll get at least one more year. Gone are seniors Cadarian Raines (who was what, a 4-point guy at best?) and Jarell Eddie. Aside from that, everyone else should be back. Unless they transfer.

There’s enough hope (and hope is a dangerous thing don’t forget) that with the guys coming back next year, as well as some rookies coming in, the Hokies can improve next season. Ben Emelogu, Devin Wilson, and Trevor Thompson look like they could turn into solid players. JvZ needs to be more consistent and Adam Smith needs to stay healthy.

I’d say that next season couldn’t get much worse, but it could. The canes should be much better with transfers from texas and kansas state becoming eligible, so don’t chalk up wins against the u just year.

So there’s your nice pretty little bow on one of the most forgettable seasons in Virginia Tech basketball history. Now excuse me while I go get a damn drink.

Niemo’s Notes (I’ll keep it short):
– Tech reached the 30 point mark in the first half for the first time in 10 games, leading 32-31 at the break. They led by as many as 9 in the first half, 19-10.
– miami went on an 8-0 run early after the break to take control, up 39-34. But VT did battle back and led with less than 2 minutes to go in the game.
– The Hokies scored 53 points on 54 possessions. They finished the ACC season reaching 1.0 in points per possession just once. Not good. And the easy culprit today was FT shooting. 9/17 (52%) is not satisfactory. Wilson missed 4/5 at the end of the first half. And of course, with VT down 1 and 10 seconds to go, JvZ missed both free throws. He was a 36% foul shooter on the season.
– Tech’s 3 turnovers were easily a season low, eclipsing the 6 they had against wake.
– miami’s 57 points were the most scored in regulation in this series this season. Needless to say it was not a point friendly 3-pack of games.
– Devin Wilson had 5 assists, ending his season with 148, easily the VT freshmen record. He had 19 assists vs miami this season.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Recaps, Games, Home9 Comments

#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.


  • 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

georgia tech 62 (6-12), HOKIES 51 (2-16)


The Hokies completed their regular season by setting the record for most ACC regular season losses, falling 62-51 at georgia tech.  Tech notched their 16th ACC loss, the first time an ACC team has lost that many in the regular season.  Granted, this is just the 2nd year of an 18-game ACC regular season, and past ACC teams have gone 0-14 and wake went 1-15 three years ago, but this still is obviously not a record you wish to own.  Tech is now just 1-16 in 2014.

Joey van Zegeren notched a career high 21 points for the Hokies but it wasn’t enough.  It was to see the big Dutchman playing well.  He had surpassed his previous career high of 14 (set against maryland earlier this week) with more than 15 minutes still to go in the game!  Heck, he even hit 3/5 FTs, well above his 36% FT%!  But Joey had absolutely no help offensively for the first 30 minutes of the game and that ultimately did in the Hokies as the jackets started to shred their 2-3 zone.

For the most part, this looked like a game between two teams with no postseason aspirations walking through the motions and killing time until they get eliminated from the ACC Tournament.  Tech and tech both played uninspired ball until a couple of alley-oop dunks got the jackets, and their crowd, into the game in the 2nd half.  The simple fact was their lifeless effort was more productive than ours, and so they won.

Ben Emelogu was back and played 27 minutes, but clearly wasn’t at full strength.  He rarely attacked the basket and settled for 3-pointers (3/8 on FGs, 2/6 on 3s for 6 points).  Barksdale, Raines, and Smith were all out with injuries and VT only played 7 guys until the last minute.


FGs 20/53 (38%) 24/49 (49%
3s 6/23 (26%) 6/19 (32%)
FTs 5/9 (56%) 8/11 (73%)
PPP 0.91 1.12
Turnovers 11 8
Scorer JvZ – 21 Carter – 16
Longest FG Drought Final 4:30 of the game

Note: The Hokies finished with a Points Per Possession (PPP) of better than 1.0 just once this season in their 18 ACC games.  According to Cvillehoops13 of TSL, that’s some kind of a record.  I do know this, in a season where points are as high as they’ve been in years, that’s not a good thing.  Tech had a PPP of 0.77 in the first half before a nice run midway through the 2nd half pulled it up to at least a non-embarrassing 0.91 for the game, but still well below 1.0.


Well, when you are right 23% of the time, it means you are either a below average baseball hitter or a terrible predictor.  I’m the latter.  I picked the Hokies to win this game largely because:

  1. georgia tech isn’t good and hadn’t won consecutive ACC games all year (they won earlier this week at syracuse)
  2. VT has owned the jackets, going 10-4 vs gt before today in ACC games, including 4-2 in the ATL
  3. I’m dumb (and didn’t account for how much better this gt team is with big man Robert Carter back — he had 16 points on 7/9 FGs to lead the jackets)

For the 2nd game in a row, VT gave up a layup in the final seconds of the first half when they should have had the last shot.  Today marked the 9th straight game the Hokies have failed to reach the 30 point mark in the first half.  georgia tech led 29-22 at the half.  And just like on Tuesday, this game was lost in the first 10 minutes after the break.

the Hokies’ “offense” completely fell apart in the 2nd half:

  • Tech had 8 points in the first 7:45 of the 2nd half… all 8 were on Joey van Zegeren dunks.  That’s right, 0 points not on dunks through almost 8 minutes of play.
  • No one other than JvZ had more than 3 points through the first 27:45 of the game (like I said, JvZ had no help)
  • Tech started just 2/14 from 3-point range
  • georgia tech, up 32-26 with 17:57 left, went on a 12-2 run to blow the game apart and take a 44-28 lead with 13:27 to go.

Tech did not shoot well other than van Zegeren:

  • Jarell Eddie started 1/8 on FGs for the game and finished 2/10 for 5 points (and 8 rebounds)
  • Devin Wilson started 1/7 on FGs and finished just 2/8 for 6 points
  • Only two Hokies made more than 2 FGs for the game… Ben Emelogu with 3 FGs and JvZ with 9
  • Only 3 Hokies shot FTs for the game — Wilson 1/2, Thompson 1/2, and JvZ 3/5 (you know it is bad when Joey has your highest FT% for a game)
  • Tech shot 4 airballs in this game, including two on the same possession that led to a shot clock violation

One particular stretch was really a microcosm of the entire season.  With VT down 13 and 11 minutes to go, here’s how it played out:

  • VT had the ball for an inbounds under their own hoop — Marshall Wood made a horrible pass that forced Devin Wilson to fall out of bounds and turn the ball over.  An inbounds!
  • gt got an alley-oop dunk on the resulting possession (by Georges-Hunt)
  • VT came up the court and fumbled the ball, resulting in another turnover.
  • gt pushed the ball and got an alley-oop dunk (this time by Carter)
  • VT, down 17, had to launch a fadeaway 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on the next possession.  It bricked, leading to another turnover.
  • gt got an easy baseline jumper to go up 19

After that, the Hokies finally woke up (or perhaps gt fell asleep).  Tech scored on four straight possessions to cut the jackets’ lead to 10 at 54-44 (an 11-2 run).  But again, when you go down by 19 with under 10 minutes to go, it is just too late.

The Hokies would later get it down to 8 at 58-50 with 4:30 to go, but could manage just 1 point in the final 4:30.  Heck, they almost went a full game without a 4 minute FG drought, but alas, this is the Hokies.

And you just scratch your head at the lack of urgency from this team down the stretch…

  • Coming out of the under-4 timeout at the end of the game and with the Hokies down 11, they held the ball until finally losing the ball out of bounds with 4 left on the shot clock — Tech hadn’t even gotten the ball inside the 3-point line at that point!
  • Down 12 with gt in possession of the ball and 2:19 to go, VT didn’t trap or foul
  • Same scenario with 1:45 to go, same result (Dino Gaudio, calling the game, even commented he didn’t understand this)

In other words, the Hokies had given up and couldn’t get to their plane fast enough and get to the bars of Blacksburg.

The game actually started out going just the way VT needed it to.  georgia tech started just 1/10 from 3-point range, settling for outside jumpers against the zone.  But VT couldn’t really take advantage of the slow jacket started and led just 18-16 with 4:24 to go in the first half.

Finally gt started hitting 3-pointers and made 4 of their next 5 from deep to start pulling away.  But the biggest difference was their inside presence.  Their two biggest low post players, Daniel Miller (who has been at gt since the Bobby Cremins era) and Robert Carter combined to shoot 13/16 from the field and score 30 points.  They found the soft spots in the zone at the high post or on the baseline underneath the hoop to beat Tech’s defense.

With miami’s win over wake forest, the Hokies will get to face the canes for a third time on Wednesday at 3:30 PM in the #10/#15 game of ACC Tournament Opening Day.  Tech swept miami in the regular season for their only 2 ACC wins.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps3 Comments

maryland 64 (8-9), HOKIES 47 (2-15)


The Hokies got absolutely obliterated in the 2nd half and lost 64-47 to the maryland terps in the final meeting between the schools as ACC foes.  After leading by a point, 29-28 at the break, Tech was doubled up after the half by a 36-18 margin.  Sad as it is to say, at least the Hokies avoided their 2nd straight Reverse Bear Fight defeat to the terps thanks to 3 late free throws after VT fell behind by 20.

Tech fell to 9-20 overall and 2-15 in the ACC, setting a new mark for most conference losses by VT (in any conference — the previous mark of 14 had been done in 2000-01 in the Big East and last year in the ACC).  This is also the first time Tech has lost 20 games in almost 60 years, dating back to the 1954-55 season when the Hokies finished 7-20.

In front of a mostly empty and pretty much dead Communist Center in college park, md, Tech actually played exciting, interesting, and fun to watch basketball for the first 12 minutes of the game and led 23-17.  But the final 28 minutes of the game marked the worst Hokie basketball I’ve maybe (maybe) ever seen, scoring just 19 points and going on three different stretches of 5 minutes and 30 seconds or more without a point.  Granted, Tech was reduced to five scholarship players due to a C.J. Barksdale ankle injury early in the game, but it was Hokie fans’ eyes that hurt the most having to watch this hot mess. The Hokies would finish with more turnovers (17) than made field goals (15).

While Tech struggled in the 2nd half to even get up a shot (they had 5 turnovers on their firsts 6 possessions of the 2nd half), maryland got blazing hot from deep.  They hit 5 three-pointers in a 3:15 span early in the 2nd half to blow the game open.

Jarell Eddie and Joey van Zegeren each had 14 points to lead the Hokies (no one else had more than 6).  maryland had a balanced attack as 5 different guys scored between 8 and 13 points.

The attendance was announced as 10,517 at the center that holds just under 18k, but most of those people were dressed as empty red seats.  Not good for Coach Turgeon, though he’ll take the win.  And give him credit — he held Tech to just 12 combined field goals in the 2nd halves of the two games against Virginia Tech (7 in the first meeting, 5 today).  Tech was just 12/45 in the 2nd halves vs maryland this season (27%).

Tech is now just 1-15 in 2014 with one regular season game remaining, a Saturday tilt with the other tech who won at syracuse tonight.

Game Stats:

  HOKIES terps
FGs 15/39 (31%) 24/60 (40%)
3s 6/18 (33%) 10/32 (31%)
FTs 11/16 (69%) 6/7 (86%)
Turnovers 17 5
Pts Per Poss 0.76 1.04
Top Scorer JvZ/Eddie (14) Layman (13)
FG Droughts 5:35  

Game Summary:

Tech started their final game at maryland as icy cold as the weather, missing their first 5 shots.  But the Hokies rebounded to hit 5 of their next 7 shots to pull within a point (13-12) after the under-12 timeout. Unfortunately, Tech who was without Smith, Emelogu, or Raines for the game, lost C.J. Barksdale with an ankle injury at this point, leaving them with just 5 scholarship players for the final 30 minutes.

Joey van Zegeren was playing like a man possessed early.  He dunked over Seth Allen of maryland and shouted towards the maryland bench.  He blocked shots.  He snared offensive and defensive rebounds.  He made sweet back-door-cut passes.  Unfortunately his 2nd foul forced him to the bench later in the first half.

After a maryland layup, the Hokies and their 2-3 zone put the clamps on maryland, holding them to just 2 points over the next 5 minutes.  Tech went on an 11-2 run thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Jarell Eddie and another by Will Johnston to take a 23-17 lead!  They were pushing the ball up the court when they had the opportunity.  They were shooting the ball on their first good look, even if, gasp, there were more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock!  Tech was pounding the offensive glass!  The Hokies were playing, dare I say it, basketball!  They had 23 points in less than 12 minutes!  And then… (death, taxes, and…)


maryland started going to a passive full court drought.  To JJ’s credit, Tech handled it much better than they did at duke and advanced the ball easily (except for a travel/10-second violation on Johnston at the end of the half).  But, it slowed Tech down and they reverted back to their “offense” of the last several weeks — taking the air out of the ball.  The result was ZERO points for the next 5:35 (0/5 FGs and 4 turnovers).  maryland responded with a 7-0 run to go back on top 24-23 with 3 minutes to go in the half.

After 335 seconds without a point, Virginia Tech answered with 5 points in 24 seconds culminated on a transition 3-pointer by Jarell Eddie, his third triple of the half.  Tech regained the lead at 28-24 with 2:20 to go in the half.


The Hokies would have the ball for the final shot of the half up 29-26… or so it seemed.  But this is Virginia Tech, and the Hokies saw Trevor Thompson get stripped of the ball with 8 seconds to go, leading to a breakaway dunk by Nick Faust just before the halftime buzzer.  Tech led 29-28 at the break but Uncle Mo had shifted back to the terps.

This game marked the 8th straight Tech has failed to reach the 30-point mark in the first half (they’ve done it just 3 times in 17 ACC games), despite being 5/10 from deep in the first half to help power their lead.

Virginia Tech opened the 2nd half like they ended the first, with a turnover leading to a maryland dunk.  That would be the story of our life in the final 20+ minutes.  Check out some of these facts:

  • No points in the first 4:16 of the 2nd half… coupled with no points in the final 1:36 of the first means a scoreless drought of 5:52
  • Between the final 8 seconds of the first half and the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half, Tech committed 6 turnovers (in 7 possessions) while getting just one FG attempted
  • maryland went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 34-29
  • Tech had just one FG attempt in the first 5:10 of the 2nd half that even hit the rim (they had 2 bricks to go along with the one miss on target)
  • The Hokies would end up going 7:32 before they made a field goal, finally making a bucket for the first time in the 2nd half with 14:48 to go.
  • All told, between the 8:19 mark of the first half and the 14:48 mark of the 2nd, Tech would make just 2 FGs and score just 8 points over that stretch of 13:31.  And those 2 FGs were 24 seconds apart.

At that point, maryland turned the game into a Shoot-Around.  The terps hit 5 three-pointers in a 3:15 span to turn a 31-29 lead into a 46-34 cushion (5/6 during the stretch from deep).

The rest of the game looked like a layup line for maryland.  Perhaps JJ figured uncontested dunks were better than 3s (since it is one less point).  maryland had 4 dunks in the final 10:03 of the game.


Even with the game over, Tech still couldn’t muster any field goals.

Between 8:19 to go in the game and 2:20 Tech would not score a point, a run of almost 6 minutes.  This was their third stretch of 5:30+ without a point in the game!!! Between the 8:19 mark of the first half and the 2:20 mark of the 2nd, Tech would make just 6 field goals and score just 14 points in that stretch of almost 26 minutes.

  • Tech only made 5 FGs in the entire 2nd half (23% on FGs, 1/8 — 12.5% on 3s)
  • The Hokies made just 7 FGs in the final 28 minutes of the game
  • The Hokies had more turnovers (17) than made FGs (15) for the game
  • Tech has surpassed the 1.0 mark on points per possession in just one ACC game this season (which would be a record according to Cvillehoops13 of TSL).  They posted a horrendous (anemic, whatever adjective you like) 0.76 tonight.

At the end, Tech cleared their bench… that meant bringing in one player, Greg Donlon, that’s all they had left.

Worst of all, the team quit.  At least up to this point you could say they had fought all the way all year.  But they quit in the 2nd half.  They weren’t fighting over screens and weren’t hustling after loose balls or on help defense.  What made me the most upset was Jarell Eddie was clearly fouled on a 3-pointer with 4:30 to go but no call was made.  We were down 17.  It was the chance for JJ to get T’d up and show he still cared.  That he was still “playing” hard.  But he just softly spoke to the refs as maryland went down for a dunk and we slept walk to the media break.  So I quit on them at the under-4 timeout.  Our tee time for next Thursday can’t come soon enough.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps1 Comment

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.


  • 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?)


  • 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

unc (11-4) 60, Hokies (2-14) 56

Hope is a dangerous thing. The Hokies, who fell to 9-19 after today’s 60-56 loss to north carolina, have given fans hope in the last five games by playing tough defense and keeping games close, or at least interesting, for the most part.

However, despite much improved play over the last several games, the Hokies have only one win to show for their efforts. Today’s loss was an even tougher pill to swallow because it means a losing record at home (8-10) for the Hokies for only the second time in the 53 year history of Cassell Coliseum.

Tech started slowly (shocking, we know), but so did the tar heels. After falling behind 11-6, the Hokies used a 10-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Freshmen Devin Wilson and Trevor Thompson played particularly well against the heels. They didn’t seem intimidated or overwhelmed. They still made some freshmen mistakes, but they’re showing the league’s best that they can compete.

Wilson finished with 15 points and 7 assists, while Thompson had 8 points and 6 rebounds.

Back to the game. After taking that 16-11 lead, unc woke up and closed the half with a 17-5 run that put them up 28-21 lead at the break.

The Hokies, remember, were without Adam Smith, Ben Emelogu, and of course, Cadarian Raines, who did not see a single second of action in his final home game ever as a Hokie. Officially, Raines was out because of an ankle injury, even though he warmed up before both halves and didn’t seem to be favoring either ankle.

In the second half, unc’s James McAdoo finally came to life and started gashing Tech’s defense with a seemingly endless supply of thunderous (and uncontested) dunks. He scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half.

Still, the Hokies didn’t quit. Late in the game, despite trailing by nine thanks to a bad offense charge call against Jarell Eddie that negated a bucket, which then led to a McAdoo dunk, Tech managed to keep it close and even cut the lead to three late.

Eddie, who led all scorers with 18 points, converted a layup with 5.6 seconds left to make it a 59-56 game. Leslie McDonald made one of two free throws to seal the four-point win for the tar heels, who have now won 11 straight games, their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has lost 14 of its last 15 games and have only one win in 2014. With two games left, the Hokies are in dead last in the ACC standings. Tech has clinched the 15th seed in the ACC tournament (i.e. last place for the third straight year), and they’ll play on Wednesday, March 12, against the No. 10 seed, which is miami right now.

One other note on this game: As we mentioned earlier, senior Cadarian Raines, who hasn’t played much at all this season, didn’t see one minute of playing time today. It was his last appearance in a Hokie uniform at the Cassell, and he didn’t get in the game. That just seems odd, but then again, this whole season has been odd in terms of players disappearing on the bench for unexplained reasons. Remember that guy Marshall Wood?

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Games1 Comment

#6 duke 66 (12-4), HOKIES 48 (2-13)


In the land of NERDS the Hokies fell by a score of 66-48 to #6 duke.  The Hokies entered as 21 point underdogs and fell behind by 20 points in the first 10 minutes and 10 seconds of the game (24-4), but battled back and only trailed by 8 with 14 minutes to go in the game.  But an 8 minute FG drought did in the Hokies, who narrowly avoided their 7th Reverse Bear Fight of the season (however this is the 8th time VT has lost by 18+).

Considering the 20-point deficit early and the fact VT lost by 28 and 32 points to duke last year (VT has lost by 35, 35, and 28 in the past at duke), this game could have really gotten ugly, but Tech battled throughout.

The Hokies actually shot for a higher FG% and FT% than duke, were just -2 in FTs made (even though this game was at Cameron Indoor), and held duke to just 30% from 3-point range.  Yet Tech lost by 18.  How?

  • -6 in turnover margin
  • Tech had an offensive rebounding % of just 15% while duke was at 35%, meaning duke got a LOT of extra possessions and 15 extra FG attempts.
  • VT hit just one 3-pointer in each half
  • Tech got out-coached (more on that below)


VT duke
FGs 20/47 (43%) 24/62 (39%)
3s 2/9 (22%) 10/33 (30%)
FTs 6/7 (86%) 8/11 (73%)
Pts Per Poss 0.78 1.06
Lead Scorer Thompson – 15 Hood – 21
Long FG Drought 7:05 (1st) 4:14 (1st)
8:21 (2nd)


If you had any illusions of the Hokies winning on Tuesday night, those thoughts pretty much evaporated in the first few minutes.  A few things told me early on Tech had zero chance of winning:

  • duke came in as the #1 three-point shooting team in the ACC in terms of makes and %, and that is the weakness of a zone.
  • On the first possession of the game, duke missed a 3-pointer and Devin Wilson did a great job of boxing out his man.  However, he was called for a foul for rooting out/under-cutting the duke player even though the dukie clearly jumped over his back.
  • The blue devils came out in a full court trap.  Keep in mind the Hokies had just one scholarship guard on the trip, so pressing was pure genius (seriously, why don’t more teams do this?).  The result was an exhausted Devin Wilson from expending energy just to advance the ball into VT’s offense.
  • The Hokies were completely unprepared at the start (shocker).

This game started as poorly as possible for the Hokies.  Check out the opening 12 minutes:

  • VT trailed 15-2 at the first media timeout (15:05 to go in the 1st half)
  • duke was up 17-4 at the 2nd media break (11:59)
  • The Hokies were down 24-5 at the under-8 media timeout (7:47 to go)… And VT trailed by 20 at one point, 24-4.  This marked the 8th time in 15 ACC games Tech has trailed by 10+ in the first half and
  • Tech was 2/14 (14%) on FGs to start the game and went more than 7 minutes without a FG in the first half (yet this wasn’t their longest FG dry spell of the game)
  • duke had a 45% offensive rebounding percentage in the first 12 minutes (10 offensive rebounds in 22 opportunities).

I don’t care for Coach K but he is #1 in wins all time for a reason:

  • He exploits a team’s weaknesses: pressing the Hokies really exposed Tech’s lack of guards and forced numerous early turnovers
  • He pushed the tempo via primary and secondary breaks, further wearing down the VT starters.
  • He found the soft spots in the VT 2-3 zone.  At first this was shooting the 3-pointer, but duke was missing early.  So he focused on finding the other soft spot in the zone, the player at the high post (usually Rodney Hood) who flashed to the foul line and got a lot of open 12-16 foot jumpers.  Once that got going and VT had to collapse their defense, duke moved the ball along the perimeter (or kicked it out from the high post) and got open 3s.

The Hokies responded very admirably, though.  After ‘spotting’ duke that 24-4 lead, the Hokies went on a 8-0/12-2 run to cut the lead to 10 at 26-16 with 4 minutes to go in the first half.  C.J. Barksdale went 4/4 during that run for 9 points.

Barksdale is clearly Tech’s best shooter right now, even as a big man.  He started the game, right?  Nope, he came in 4 minutes into the game after VT was already down 9-2.

The rest of the first half went back and forth like that the rest of the way and Tech entered the locker room down ‘just’ 12 at 32-20, but all considering, that wasn’t a bad thing.

The Hokies came out firing and opened the 2nd half on a 7-2 run, cutting the duke lead to just 7 at 34-27 with 18 minutes to go.  But Tech would get no closer.

duke, who started 4/18 (22%) from 3-point range, got hot after that.  They hit 4 of their next 6 triples and pushed the lead back up to 14 (54-40) with 10:48 to go.

As mentioned above, with Tech trailing by 13 with 11:06 to go, Tech embarked on an 8-minute field goal drought, scoring just 4 points from the line during that stretch and allowing duke to go up by 19 at 63-44.  In fact, Tech scored just 6 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.  At least they avoided the Reverse Bear Fight thanks to a Trevor Thompson layup with a minute to go, setting the final margin at 66-48.

There were some real positives for the Hokies:

  • Trevor Thompson keeps getting better and better.  He tied his career high with 15 points (most in an ACC game) on 6/9 FGs and did a great job on Jabari Parker on defense.  Trevor limited the ACC POTY candidate (and lock for Frosh of the Year) to just 11 points on 3/11 shooting.  Jabari did have a double-double with 12 rebounds, but all in all TT did a great job on him.  Trevor had a nice block on a Jabari dunk attempt and had 3 steals.
  • Frosh evolution — early in the year it was Emelogu.  Then Wilson.  Now Thompson.  All three of those freshmen have shown streaks of brilliance and a bright future for the Hokies.  Trevor has averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds per game over the last 5 games, all as a starter.
  • Joey van Zegeren also improves with each game.  He had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks tonight.  His play of the game was after his missed a shot, he stripped the duke player of the ball and then flushed it for a BRRRRAHHHH.  Just as importantly, he committed just 3 fouls in 27 minutes, allowing himself to stay aggressive on defense.
  • Together, TT and JvZ are turning into a shot-blocking force inside.
  • Barksdale was 4/4 from the floor but scored all 9 of his points in a 2 minute and 30 second span in the first half.  He played just 12 minutes for the game.  C.J. played less than 4 minutes in the 2nd half.  Why?  No idea.
  • Tech held the best shooting 3-point team in the league (better than 40%) to just 10/33 from deep 30%… the problem was they gave up 14 offensive rebounds.

Random Thought:

Seriously, are there bigger losers than the duke student body?  A crowd shot of a L.A. Lakers home game is a who’s who of celebrities (or at least it used to be).  A crowd shot of the duke student section looks like a Big Bang Theory casting call (not including the duke female who is a porn star — true story). I mean, if these nerds went to any other school, they’d never leave their room.  I went to the game at duke two years ago and I was tempted to start doling out wedgies and I was 36 at the time.  These people would be the face of bullying if they went to, say, florida state.  Yet they go to duke and actually think they are cool.  Seriously, you get dates because you’ll earn money some day, not because you pop your back zits with a protractor.

The Hokies return home on Saturday at 2:30 to face the ranked unc tar heels in the final home game of the season.  It’s a Maroon Monsoon, people!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps2 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.


  • 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

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