Posted on 05 December 2008.
Posted on 01 December 2008.
For the second time in four games, the Hokies nearly drank in a huge out of conference win, only to find out victory was just a mirage, losing on a devastating buzzer-beater. The last time it was xavier hitting a half court shot after being down two at the end of overtime. This time it was Trevon Hughes of the wisconsin badgers (6-1) hitting an off-balance 14-footer with 0.9 seconds left to break a 72-72 tie, erasing an All-American effort by A.D. Vassallo, including a three-pointer to tie the game with 7.0 seconds left. wisconsin became the first Big (11) Ten team to win a road game in the ACC/Big (11) Ten Challenge since 2005. The Hokies are now 1-3 in the challenge, having lost at ohio state (2005) and penn state (2007), and having beaten iowa at home (2006).
After Vassallo tied the game with 7.0 seconds left, Hughes took the ball the length of the court and wedged between Thorns and Hudson. He lept into the lane and shot the ball from straight on. The shot hit nothing but net. Vassallo inbounded the ball to Hudson behind half court, but his shot, which would have counted, fell short and the Hokies were left with another sick feeling in their stomachs.
This game featured the best combined three point shooting I have ever seen by two teams — or the worst perimeter defense ever, depending on your outlook. wisconsin finished 12/18 (67%) on threes, while the Hokies hit 11/16 (69%). Marcus Landry hit all four of his attempts from behind the arc for the badgers, while Vassallo drilled 6/9 from deep.
A.D. hit clutch shot after clutch shot in the second half, keeping Tech in the game. He finished with a career high 30 points, 24 of which were in the second half. His previous game high was back in 2006 at wake (29 points). Vassallo was 6/7 in the final 20 minutes from behind the arc. Vassallo is now just two points behind Jamon Gordon for 24th place on the all-time scoring list at VT.
Despite the final score, the Hokies trailed by a sizable margin most of the second half. In fact, the Hokies never led in this game, and fell behind by as many as 13 in the final 20 minutes. wisconsin went up by nine (67-58) with 1:14 left, but Delaney, Hudson, and Vassallo hit four threes down the stretch to tie the game.
The biggest disappointment of the game, other than the Hokie defense, was Jeff Allen. His play, or lack there of, put the Hokies in a big hole early. Jeff committed a very questionable ticky-tack foul 17 seconds into the game and then picked up his second foul with 16:24 left in the first half and sat the rest of the period. He was done before the first media timeout. In the second half, the badgers did a great job of collapsing on Allen. He finished the game with just two points and fouled out with 1:35 left, playing just 15 minutes for the game. Two of Allen’s fouls were on high screens were he stepped out too aggressively and bumped the screenee. Two of the other fouls were very questionable, but that’s the breaks. His final foul was a fluke as he tripped and took out a badger guard’s legs. You have to love his intensity, but he must learn to play more under control.
After Allen’s second foul, VT hung tough for a while until the badgers took advantage and went on a 10-0 run to jump out to a 23-12 lead. Tech would close the gap throughout the half (and game), but whenever the Hokies got close, you could guarantee wisconsin would hit a wide open three.
On a more positive note, Victor Davila continues to play lights out. After scoring 16 in his last contest, Davila filled in nicely for Allen with 13 points in 25 minutes. He showed an array of low post moves. The sky is the limit for this kid.
Dorenzo Hudson also did a nice job tonight. He finished with 8 points on 3/6 shooting and looked comfortable hitting two three-point shots. Hudson had averaged just 2.7 ppg coming in.
Malcolm Delaney continues to struggle in the first 38 minutes of games. He had 12 points, which sounds good, but once again several of those points came late (five of them). Delaney was just 3/9 from the floor and 1/7 on two point shots. He is shooting an impressive 39% on threes (15/38), but just 30% on two pointers (8/27). Malcolm seems hesitant to go at the rim and settles for off-balance jumpers.
Tech’s defense ultimately cost them this game. They could not defend the perimeter shooters of wisconsin. The badgers were just more fundamentally sound then the Hokies, which you would expect from a veteran team. wisconsin had better positioning on rebounds and slid to open spots on offense that led to loose balls and open looks. Tech can learn a lot from this game film.
With the loss, the Hokies missed out on another big opportunity for an NCAA Tournament resume-building win. But once again you have to love the effort and never-say-die attitude. Greenberg was as intense as I’ve ever seen him, and the players gave him 100%. But at some point you have to find ways to win these big games, and of late the Hokies have come up short. Here’s hoping this is the last time I have to write one of these recaps feeling like I got punched in the gut. The way these guys are working, and with J.T. Thompson back soon, that might just happen. At least my heart hopes so.
Stat of the Game: The 11 made three-pointers for VT was their highest total since 11/10/06. The Hokies beat coppin state 94-43 in that game and hit 12/29 threes.
Posted on 30 November 2008.
In the first ever meeting between the wisconsin badgers and the Virginia Tech Hokies, Tech will look for a big out of conference win and NCAA Tournament resume builder against the defending Big (11) Ten champs. The game is part of the 10th Annual ACC/Big (11) Ten Challenge, which really hasn’t been much of a challenge considering the ACC has won each of the previous nine challenges. This is the first game of the challenge, and the only game on Monday, so this will give VT a chance to show they can compete with one of the top programs in the nation.
I hate to call any game a “must-win” in terms of making the NCAA Tournament, especially on December 1st, but a win here would be huge for the Hokies’ chances. This is the best team VT will play out of conference all season, other than maybe xavier, so this is Tech’s final chance to put a big feather in their cap before ACC conference play begins. No more excuses, its time to take care of business and get a big ‘W’, and playing at the Cassell in front of the Orange Effect will help.
wisconsin has made the Big Dance each of the last 10 seasons, including a Final Four appearance in 2000 and an Elite Eight trip in 2005. Last season, wisconsin won the Big (11) Ten Tournament and then made it to the Sweet Sixteen, before losing to davidson and you-know-who. They are, without a doubt, one of the top basketball programs in the country and least respected programs.
The badgers are led by Bo Ryan, who has four Big (11) Ten titles to his credit in his seven seasons at the helm. Bo, much like Seth Greenberg, stresses defense first. His teams are never going to light you up from the floor and score a lot of points. Rather, they will grind it out and work for good shots, then squeeze you to death on the defensive end like a python.
wisconsin is led by #3 Trevon Hughes (14.2 ppg) and #1 Marcus Landry (12.5 ppg). Both players are veterans who know the wisconsin system well. Hughes is a junior guard while Landry is a wily forward at 6’7″ and 230 lbs. Landry does not bang inside a lot, averaging just 4.7 rpg.
#12 Jason Bohannon is the other member of the badger backcourt, averaging 9.5 ppg. Jason is also a junior, giving wisconsin a lot of experience on the perimeter. Both average more assists than turnovers per game, although neither averages more than two assists per game. In other words, they do a great job of protecting the ball.
Behind Bohannon and Hughes, the badgers are weak and inexperienced at the guard position. #11 Jordan Taylor, a freshman, is the only other guard that sees significant minutes, averaging just 1.0 ppg in 14.8 minutes. They do play a lot of big wing players though, and can present difficulties there.
One of the toughest match-ups for the Hokies will be #45 Joe Krabbenhoft. Joe is a 6’7″ wing player that also rebounds really well (6.8 ppg/6.5 rpg/3.0 apg). He leads the team in assists and rebounds. Tech will have to keep a body on him.
On offense, wisconsin likes to spread you out in the half court set, lull you to sleep, and then penetrate and dish, or kick it out for a three. They average just 67.3 ppg (VT averages 68.7), but they only give up 58.0 ppg and have held two opponents under 50. #2 uconn, who gave the badgers their only loss in the finals of the Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands*, scored a season low 76 points. uconn did win the game 76-57, pulling away in the final 10 minutes of what had been a close game.
KEYS TO THE GAME
BORING FACTS ABOUT wisconsin
*Chuck Norris once took a trip to the Virgin Islands. After he left, they were just known as the Islands.
01/07 vs. syracuse, 9 p.m., ACCN
01/11 vs. boston college, noon, RSN
01/15 vs. clemson, 7 p.m., RSN
01/19 @ notre dame, 6 p.m., ESPNU
01/22 vs. wake forest, 7 p.m., RSN
01/25 @ virginia, 3 p.m., ACCN
01/29 @ boston college, 7 p.m., RSN
02/01 vs. maryland, noon, ACCN
02/05 @ florida state, 9 p.m., RSN
02/08 @ pittsburgh, noon, RSN
02/15 vs. miami, 6 p.m., RSN
02/18 vs. virginia, 9 p.m., ACCN
02/22 vs. nc state, 2 p.m., RSN
02/25 @ duke, 7 p.m, ESPNU
03/01 vs. north carolina, 2:30 p.m, ACCN
03/04 @ maryland, 8 p.m., ACCN
03/08 @ georgia tech, 2 p.m, ESPN/ESPN2