Posted on 18 January 2010.
Posted on 11 January 2010.
The north carolina tar heels used a stifling second half defense to outscore Virginia Tech 44-26 in the second stanza en route to a 78-64 victory in Chapel Hill, NC. The #9 heels used their tremendous size advantage up front, led by All-American candidate Ed Davis with his 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks, his ninth double-double of the season. Deon Thompson added 13 points up front before fouling out. For the Hokies, Jeff Allen was held to only 4 points and shut out in the second half. Seth Greenberg stated before this game that the Hokies would have to improve their transition defense to compete with unc; that did not happen as Tech gave up way too many easy baskets, especially in the second half.
In a game that could have been billed as “the battle of bad ankles” going into it, Tech’s Malcolm Delaney started the game and gutted out a 26 point performance, but was held to only 6 after halftime and was held scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the second half as the heels seized control of the game. Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard both missed carolina’s loss last Monday at the college of charleston with injured ankles, but both returned to action against the Hokies. Graves and Larry Drew III combined to go a perfect 5-5 on three pointers to close the second half, leading a team that was not known for their outside shooting. The heels had started 0 of 11 from behind the arc.
Plainly put, the game was a tale of two halves. The Hokies came out looking great on the defensive end and seemed inspired by the return of the ACC’s leading scorer Malcolm Delaney. unc came out in a 2-3 zone and Malcolm responded by nailing his first three-pointer. Dorenzo Hudson, coming off a career high 41 points against seton hall, came out ice cold in this one, with no sign of the urgency of his scoring that was there when Delaney was out.
While no one other than Delaney could connect cosistently from the outside, the Hokies seemed to get to every loose ball in the first half, outrebounded, and seemed to be outplaying the much larger tar heels. J.T. Thompson had some great hustle plays in the first half and had 6 early points. The game appeared to be taking the shape of the Hokies’ games against unc in the previous two ACC Tournaments, with Tech leading by as many as nine, 25-16 about half way through the first half. Freshman guard Dexter Strickland was a big spark for unc and kept the tar heels close with his quickness to the hoop and good penetration. The Hokies used a zone defense very successfully and held the tar heels to 0-7 three-point shooting in the first half. They carried a 38-34 lead into the locker room.
carolina came out in the second half again in a 2-3 zone but were intent on making any Hokie other than Delaney beat them from the outside. The tar heels picked up the pace offensively with the Hokies apparently forgetting that the transition game was a huge advantage for the heels. Davis and Thompson took over inside early in the second half and suddenly unc was getting all the loose balls. As the tar heels were holding Delaney scoreless over the first 10 minutes of the second half, freshman Manny Atkins had two huge turnovers, the rim seemed to have a lid on it, and carolina started to pull away. The heels quickly turned a 5 point advantage with under 8:00 remaining into a 12 point edge with 4:00 to go.
From there Will Graves and Larry Drew III took turns bombing threes down the stretch as the Hokies got lazy on defense and this one turned out like most every other time the Hokies open up ACC play on “Sunday Night Hoops” (recall the past buzzer beaters at duke and wake or last year’s debacle at duke).
The Hokies fall to 12-2 (0-1 ACC) and return to play on Wednesday night when they host the 15-1 miami hurricanes in Cassell Coliseum at 7:00 PM.
Posted on 08 January 2010.
Update: According to the Roanoke Times, Delaney had some limited action on Friday but did not practice. For unc, Ginyard is out and Graves and McDonald (all 3 are guards) are questionable for tonight, all with ankle injuries. You have to think Malcolm is very questionable, and while the unc injuries could level the playing field, it is still a huge blow to the Hokies’ chances.
NOVA Hokies – please come to our Viewing Party at the Clarendon Hard Times Cafe to watch the game – Featuring half price wings and a 22 oz. Beer Mug Special – first one is $3 then $1.50 refills starting at 7:45 PM.
Remember that kid in elementary school, the one that took your lunch money every day? Remember that bully, that king of the mountain, that beat you up every time you went outside for recess? Your remember that ugly red-head from A Christmas Story that beats up on Ralph all the time? Yeah, well, that’s unc. At least in basketball it is. Virginia Tech is just 12-59 all time against the tar holes, and just 2-22 since 1967 versus them.
Well, you know what? The ugly red-head is a bit vulnerable this year. And we’ve been working out on the Chuck Norris Total Gym, and by-golly, if we aren’t in the best shape we’ve been in for 14 years. The Hokies are 12-1 and headed to Chapel Hill against a powder blue team that just lost to college o’ charleston without two of their few guards.
This game could be decided by ankles: the ankles of the ACC’s leading scorer, Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney, and unc’s Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard. All are backcourt players and all missed their team’s last game. Delaney has missed the better part of two games, Ginyard has missed three, and Graves one. All were “questionable” for Sunday as of Monday. Greenberg was hoping Delaney could be back playing defense by this point in the week and Roy Williams on Monday said neither would have played, even if the VT game was that night instead of this weekend. He was hopeful to have one of them back and wasn’t sure which it would be. The team that is missing any of these guys will have a greatly reduced backcourt in terms of depth for Sunday Night Hoops.
While the Hokies need Delaney more than unc needs Ginyard or Graves, Tech has to have confidence coming off their OT win over seton hall without him. In fact, the Hokies have produced two of the last four ACC Players of the Week and neither of them have been named Malcolm Delaney. Jeff Allen won it a month ago and Dorenzo Hudson, fresh off his 41 point game against seton hall, won it last week. That is diversity and that is VT basketball right now. That said, the Hokies need Delaney’s ballhandling skills (and scoring) to win this game.
The junior Hokies also have to have confidence against the tar heels. These are no longer the baby Hokies of two years ago that went down to Chapel Hill and got absolutely woodshedded by the heels 92-53 in maybe VT’s worst game of the Seth Greenberg era. Since then, Tech has played the heels tough three times in a row:
So don’t expect the Hokie upperclassmen to be in awe of the Dean Dome. In fact, expect them to have a chip on their shoulder for their 39 point drubbing just two years ago. You know Seth is reminding the guys of that this week, and his teams have always responded well to these situations.
Down Low: The heels are as talented as ever in the low post, in fact, they may have the best collection of painters in the country. Mechanicsville, VA product Ed Davis has really developed into a star this year. He is 11th in the conference in scoring at 15.2 ppg and 2nd in rebounding at 10.2.
Deon Thompson has also stepped up his game to fill the void left by Tyler Hansbrough (yes, he is really gone, I promise). Thompson is 8th in the ACC in scoring at 15.9 ppg and 13th in rebounds at 7.4. That’s a nice little 31 ppg and 18 rpg combined.
If that wasn’t enough, they have 7′ Tyler Zeller coming off the bench to provide 10.1 ppg and 4.4 rpg in just 16 minutes per game! The heels also have 5-star freshman recruit John Henson, who is 6’10″. He has not shown his potential yet and gets just limited minutes, but would likely be a star anywhere else. Mix in the 6’10″ Wear twins, who play about 20 mpg and score 6 ppg combined, bake at 375 for 40 minutes, and you have a heck of a low post casserole for the heels.
Perimeter: This is the unc’s Achilles heel (yes, I’ve been waiting all offseason to use that). They lost Ty Lawson, Danny Green, and Wayne Ellington from last year (and to a lesser extent, even Bobby Frasor is gone). So Larry Drew II is the starter at point guard, after playing less than 10 mpg and averaging less than 2 ppg last year. He is doing OK with 8.4 ppg and 6.2 assists per game (unc assist stats are always inflated due to the number of points they score and the bigs they have inside you can feed the rock to). But he commits over 3 turnovers per game. Drew does hit 44% from three-point land.
Defensive stopper and Virginian Marcus Ginyard is back for his redshirt-senior year. He has greatly improved his offensive game, scoring 11 ppg and distributing 4.3 apg, to go with 1.7 steals per game. But he has missed the last three games with an ankle injury as I mentioned above and his status for Sunday is uncertain.
Will Graves has become a deadly three point shooter on the wing and presents mismatches at 6’6″. But he also is battling an ankle injury. Ginyard and Graves are a combined 37 of 88 from behind the arc (42%), so if they are out, that is a huge hit to unc’s outside shooting.
If Graves and Ginyard cannot go, stud frosh recruit Dexter Strickland will step in. He was just 2 of 11 against charleston, though. Fellow freshman Leslie McDonald will also see minutes, but both these guys are inexperienced, similar to Erick Green of the Hokies.
This backcourt gets a lot of open looks from deep as teams compact their defensive to help out inside. The unc guards must exploit that to be successful. Against charleston they hit just 1 of 6 threes without Ginyard or Graves, and that three came in overtime.
As usual the tar heels can score. They love to get out and run, though like I said, Drew isn’t the Ferrari Ty Lawson was. The heels are #1 in the ACC at 85.3 ppg. unc is #4 in the league in three-point percentage at 38.5%, but just 10th in makes. In other words, their game is to either penetrate and dish, or feed it inside to the bigs. unc does commit a lot of turnovers and that has been a problem. They give it up as much as one of Tiger’s call girls, committing over 16 turnovers per game, third most in the ACC. As usual, they get to the line a lot, with 384 free throw attempts, tops in the league.
The heels are last in the ACC by far, giving up 72.9 ppg (the next closest is at 65). They can be beat in transition, but that can be a bad thing, too, if you get sucked into their up-tempo game. And despite their size, the heels are just 9th in the ACC in defensive rebounding percentage. Opponents are getting the offensive rebound on 33% of their misses. That means the young heels are not boxing out well and perhaps are not hustling after 50/50 balls.
This is not the unc team that won the national title last year. Their top four scorers, who combined for 66 ppg, are gone. Only Thompson and Ginyard have much playing experience on this team (both are seniors) and Ginyard redshirted last year due to injuries. If he doesn’t play, they are very inexperienced, and that can be exploited by a Hokie team that now is one of the more veteran teams in the league.
SIX PACK OF KEYS TO A HOKIE VICTORY:
|Guard||23 Delaney 6’3″||1 Ginyard 6’5″|
|or||11 Green 6’4″||5 Strickland 6’3″|
|Guard||5 Hudson – 6’5″||11 Drew 6’2″|
|Forward/Guard||1 Bell – 6’6″||Graves 6’6″ or Wear 6’10″|
|Forward||0 Allen – 6’7″||21 Thompson 6’9″|
|Forward||14 Davila – 6’8″||32 Davis 6’10″|
BORING FACTS ABOUT unc:
Posted on 08 January 2010.
I spoke with WCHL in Chapel Hill about this weekend’s VT @ unc game. Let’s just say this interview was scripted. WCHL knew exactly what they wanted from Niemo, and got what they wanted from Niemo. I’ve been told I was bland, I was told I wasn’t Niemo. I cannot argue with any of those statements. That’s the situation: Interview and Sound Bites
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03/12 vs. #15 vs. #10, 3:30 p.m.