As expected, boston college thrashed wake forest today. So bc, clemson, and VT finished tied for fourth at 9-7. clemson gets the #4 seed by virtue of beating bc and VT. bc gets the #5 since they swept VT. And the Hokies are relegated to 6th for going 0-3 against those two teams.
The Hokies will play the #11 seed, georgia tech at approximately 9:20 PM on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the #7/10 game.
The yellow jackets will be the #11 seed no matter what happens Sunday in the miami @ gt and fsu @ nc state games because the wolfpack have a one game lead and they beat georgia tech in their only meeting, so even if gt wins and nc state loses today, they’d have the tiebreaker.
FYI: If VT wins Thursday, they’d play the #3 seed, florida state, on Friday night at the same time as Thursday’s game. Tech and tech split this season, with each team winning big at home.
The Virginia Tech Hokies knew they were in for a tough game today against the No. 12 seeded miami hurricanes, and they got one. The canes manhandled wake forest in the opening round on Thursday and were apparently still amped from the win as they upset the Hokies 70-65.
Jeff Allen led the Hokies offensively, scoring 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Dorenzo Hudson, who missed the Hokies’ regular season finale – a road win over gt – went off for 15 points in the first half, but managed only one point in the second half.
Seth Greenberg, who is now mentioned as a favorite for both the rutgers and st. john’s jobs, got great contributions from Terrell Bell, who hit 4/9 three pointers for 12 points. All nine of Bell’s attempts were from behind the line. JT Thompson also stepped up with 10 points. Lewis Witcher added a tip-in for two points.
Malcolm Delaney, the ACC’s leading scorer, played easily his worst game of the season, scoring a just seven points. It’s the first ACC contest in which he failed to reach double figures. Only twice this season has Delaney scored fewer points: against longwood when he left the game with a high ankle sprain less than a minute into the game and against nc central where he scored five points before being taken out.
Today, Delaney was 3/15 from the field and miserable 0/8 from three point range. He attempted only three free throws and made only one. As Delaney goes, so go the Hokies. That, and their lack of size and rebounding ability.
The Hokies got destroyed on the boards and got out-rebounded 29-46 by the canes and that was the deciding factor of the game, plain and simple. As if that weren’t enough, the Hokies shot just 38 percent to miami’s 46. Take away Delaney’s dismal day and the Hokies shot 43 percent.
Tech took a 65-64 lead with 2:02 to play in the game when Jeff Allen hit one of two free throws. The Hokies failed to score again as miami closed the game with a 6-0 run.
The Hokies, the No. 4 seed, were a little sluggish out of the game and trailed 4-2 after 2-1/2 minutes, but Hudson got the Hokies’ offense rolling with a three-pointer from the right wing. Hudson, back from missing Tech’s regular season finale with a foot injury, scored eight straight points and 13 of Tech’s next 20 points to push the Hokies’ lead to 22-12 at the under 12 media timeout.
miami crawled back into the game with clutch shooting while the Hokies went cold (sound familiar) and eventually took two brief leads (33-32 and 35-33) in the final 2:13 of the half. But Jeff Allen scored the final four points of the first half to put Tech ahead 37-35 at the break.
The Hokies will now have to sit and wait for Sunday to see where they will be seeded in the NCAA tournament. This loss definitely hurt and they’ll like be seeded anywhere from 9-12.
What a wild Thursday. We were within an eyelash of having the four lower seeds win to start the tourney, three without their leading scorers (uva – Landesberg, miami – Collins, and unc – Davis). But gt stepped up and saved Paul Hewitt’s job. Then nc state may have saved Sidney Lowe’s job by knocking out clemson as a heavy favorite for the second year in a row.
Instead of calling it the ACC Tournament they should start referring to it as the Department of Redundancy Department for the Hokies. Stop the presses – for the third year in a row Tech will face the hurricanes in Tech’s tourney opener.
The canes stunned everyone except our own Balla in beating the deacons by an 83-62 score. This is the second straight year the 12 beat the 5. The u led by 14 at the half and then used an 8-0 run to open the second stanza and buried wake. miami used their superior outside shooting, hitting 8 threes by my count.
But the shocker was miami’s inside game. Playing without their best low post player and leading scorer, senior Dwayne Collins, the u got a career high 22 points from redshirt freshman Reggie Johnson. He redshirted last year because of how fat he was/is. But Reggie made that blubber work today and he played well against the Hokies in miami. But the Staypuft man should struggle to play on consecutive days.
miami shot the three against wake almost as well as they did against VT in miami when they torched the Hokies at a 70% clip in the first half and a 17 point lead. Let’s hope the rims aren’t as kind and the shots are off tomorrow.
uva: The hoos took down the eagles 68-62 in the coveted noon “where is everyone” game without Landesberg or Baker.
With the win, uva plays duke in quarterfinal noon game. A major streak is on the line – the cavs haven’t made the ACC semifinals since 1995, a run of 14 straight tourneys. Not quite to the level of clemson at unc but it is getting there.
In the evening session, the yellow jackets actually won a critical game! I know! I’m stunned, too. This should make scalping a lot easier the rest of the way.
unc used a 19-4 run in the first half to quickly build a 12 point lead and led by 9 at the break. But that lead was gone quicker than you can say NIT.
Derrick Favors dominated the second half and georgia tech won by 4, much to the delight of everyone not in powder blue ( about half the crowd).
The pack got a huge game from stat Tracy Smith and survived to live another day. Is clemson now on the bubble?
– Noon: #1 duke vs #9 uva
– 2:20ish: #4 VT vs #12 miami
– 7: #2 maryland vs #7 ga tech
– 9:20ish: #3 fsu vs #11 nc state
UPDATE: For the third year in a row the Hokies will face the c-a-n-e-s canes in their first ACC Tournament game. The u, playing without their leading scorer Dwayne Collins, absolutely took the deacs behind the woodshed to advance to the quarterfinals (props to Balla for picking the u). The Hokies and canes split their two games this year (more on that below), but Tech beat miami two years ago in the quarters and last year in the first round. In the early game, uva stunned bc even without Landesberg. What an odd start to the tourney.
Alright, ladies, play time is over. The clock has tolled and it is officially March Madness. The Hokies head to Greensberg-o to participate in the granddaddy of them all, the ACC Tournament. This will be the first ‘true’ tournament Tech has played in all season, but the Hokies have some great tournament mojo working. VT has won their first game in 10 consecutive tournaments, and the current junior class is 8-0 in tournament openers.
The Hokies, thanks to their victory over georgia tech last weekend, get to enjoy an extra day of rest as the #4 seed with a First Round bye. The Hokies will have to wait and see who their opponent is as the #5 seed wake forest battles the #12 seed miami hurricanes at approximately 2:20 PM on Thursday. The extra rest is huge for Tech, who have two starters (Jeff Allen – shoulder and Zo Hudson – foot) battling injuries, along with reserve Cadarian Raines. Both Allen and Hudson should be good to go for Friday but we will see how well they hold up, especially Hudson who has been battling the foot injury for a while and missed the georgia tech game to rest it. While these injuries may not be a factor on Friday, they certainly could come into play as the tournament goes on if VT survives. The Hokie starters play a lot of minutes and playing on consecutive days can take its toll. Again, that’s why the bye was so big. We’ll see if Head Coach Seth Greenberg uses a guy like Manny Atkins, who played more minutes against georgia tech than he had in all other ACC games combined, to rest Zo. Allen’s foul trouble usually insures him plenty of rest, and senior Lewis Witcher has played well off the bench of late.
Having a bye has other advantages, too. While you don’t know specifically who your opponent will be, you have a general idea. Especially in a 5/12 game where you figure wake will win (though the 12 seed beat the #5 last year). So while Greenberg spent part of this week focusing on just improving as a team, you know they’ve also prepared for both wake and miami to a degree. Both wake and miami, on the other hand, had had to focus on each other. Tech will also be rested on Friday. That can equal rust early on and give their opponent an early shooting advantage, but VT should have better legs as the game goes on once they get in the flow. Plus, you had the bye because you were better to begin with, which is always a nice advantage.
The Hokies haven’t had much luck in Greensberg-o before, Tech is just 3-7 in the Greensboro Coliseum, including 1-7 against ACC teams. Tech did win their last game there three years ago, but that was against unc-g’boro. VT lost at the Coliseum to uva in the 2006 ACC Tournament. I was there to watch VT play a great game but fall late to the #3 unc tar heels back in 1995, when the heels had Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. But this is a different Hokie team and they are all about breaking trends, so let’s see how they do in the Gate City this time around (I have no idea why it is called the Gate City).
Note: Dwayne Collins, miami’s leading scorer, is out for the entire ACC Tournament with an injury.
SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:
Come out fast: Tech’s opponent will have played the day before and will have a game feel early. Tech needs to match that intensity. It will help that this game is the second game of the day. As Greenberg pointed out the other night, the noon game stinks. There is no intensity (or people) in the arena for the noon game. That picks up as the game gets late, but you can be done by that point if you fall asleep, too. The Hokies need to have a good start. If they are around even (or ahead) at the first and second media timeouts, that is a good sign.
Ride the Inner Tube (#0): Jeff Allen, aka the Big Donut, has been riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels lately. He’s averaged 20 points and 11.3 rebounds in his last three games and has avoided foul trouble. Jeff has hit double-digits in points 9 of his last 11 games. He owned miami this year, averaging 16.5 points and 7 rebounds in the two games, but Allen had just 8 and 5 against wake, largely due to foul trouble. If the Hokies do face wake, Allen is vital to be in there to defend the wake bigs inside like Aminu, McFarland, and Woods.
Call the M.D.: Malcolm Delaney, fresh off being named ACC Player of the Week and All-ACC First Team, has been red hot of late. He’s scored 19 or more points in six straight games (two of those he went over 30). He’s also 22/44 from the field and 8/17 on three-pointers in his last three games. If he can get hot like he was two years ago in the ACC Tourney, he could put on an absolute show and carry the Hokies to great heights, like Randolph Childress did about 15 years ago for the deacons in the ACC Tourney in Greensboro. Two years ago Malcolm went for 30 points on 10/15 shooting, including an amazing 6/8 on three-pointers in two games in the ACC Tourney. Let’s hope he can re-channel that magic.
Shoot the Boot: Let’s hope All-ACC Third Team member, Dorenzo Hudson, can ditch his walking boot and be strong for the tourney. We know he’s tough, having played through the foot injury for a while. He’s reached double-digits in points in 18 of his last 20 games, including averaging 18.1 ppg over his last seven. Tech must have him to survive in this tournament, even if it is with some slightly reduced minutes. Tech got 37 minutes out of Zo against nc state last week and will need to him to battle as much as he can in this one.
Don’t rest on your laurels: Everyone thinks the Hokies are in the Big Dance. They probably are. It would be easy to come out and play a ‘ho hum’ game because there’s nothing to prove. But THIS tournament is a big deal. Winning it would be simply awesome. It would mean more to me than anything the football team has accomplished since joining the ACC (I mean that). It would mean more to me than making the NCAA Tournament (heck, we could skip it and I wouldn’t care). uva has just one ACC Tournament title in over 50 years (and hasn’t even made it to the semifinals in 15 years). clemson has never won it. Heck, only duke, unc, and nc state have more than four. So this is a BIG deal. Play like this is do or die and give it everything you have. And a win in the quarters would surely lock up a NCAA bid as a nice safety clause.
Stop [X]: For miami it is… well, to be honest, they don’t have anyone that scares me. You just have to hope they aren’t hot as a whole team like they were in miami or on Thursday against wake.
c-a-n-e-s canes: Wow, what a tale of two games it was versus miami. In the meeting in Blacksburg, VT jumped out to a 48-13 lead in the first half and led by 27 at the break. The Hokies hit 7 of 9 threes in the first half, topped only by their 8 against georgia tech last week. miami made a bit of a run in the second half but they simply had to far to go.
In miami, it was the exact opposite. miami hit 5/8 on threes in the first half and 14/20 total shots (70%)! The canes led by 17 at the half, a 44 -point turnaround. Hudson, Delaney, and Allen scored all 30 of the Hokie first half points. In the second half, JT Thompson led the Hokies back with 14 points, and VT cut the lead to 5 on eight occasions but could never get over that hump and lost by an 82-75 score.
miami’s top three scorers (without Collins) are all guards. They have three guys (Dews, Grant, and Thomas) with 50 or more made 3-pointers, so defending the perimeter is a must. And without Collins, the canes have no true scorer inside. But Reggie Johnson had a career high 22 in the first round and played well against VT in the second meeting. But with his weight (290) he has to be worn down playing on consecutive days.
The canes had lost 5 of 6 and 11 of 14, I didn’t expect to see them Friday (especially with Collins hurt) but stranger things have happened (like a 2-14 georgia tech team beating a ranked clemson team last year). Tech must take away the three-pointer from the canes and exploit their porous defense by getting out in transition, or making the extra pass on defense as lazy defenders get lost. miami will likely to slow this game down and play in the half court. The Hokies usually do well in games like that with their solid defense but VT must also fuel their transition game with steals an turnovers from the canes. And let’s hope miami is fat and happy won a game in the tourney.
23 Delaney 6’3″
5 Hudson 6’5″
1 Bell 6’6″
0 Allen 6’7″
14 Davila 6’8″
3 Grant – 6’1″
23 Dews – 6’4″
31 Jones – 6’6″
20 McGowan – 6’9″
45 Gamble – 6’9″
1 Scott – 6’5″
30 Thomas – 6’7″
42 Johnson – 6’9″
* I excluded Collins from miami since he isn’t supposed to play.
By Thursday morning I’ll have my preview of VT vs wake/miami up, but for now let’s look at the 2010 ACC Tournament and who has the best chances.
ACC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:
Noon – #8 bc vs #9 uva
~2:20 PM – #5 wake vs #12 miami
7 PM – #7 georgia tech vs #10 unc
~9:20 PM – #6 clemson vs #11 nc state
Noon – #1 duke vs bc/uva winner
~2:20 PM – #4 VIRGINIA TECH vs wake/miami winner
7 PM – #2 maryland vs georgia tech/unc winner
~9:20 PM – #3 fsu vs clemson/nc state winner
1:30 PM – duke/bc/uva vs VT/wake/miami
~3:50 PM – md/gt/unc vs fsu/clemson/ncsu
Sunday: Championship Game at 1 PM
Let’s breakdown Thursday first:
#8 bc vs #9 uva – I cannot even imagine what the spread will be in this game. But if I were a gambler (I’m not), I wouldn’t touch this game. Classic trap game. The eagles won 3 of their final 5 games (including blowing out VT and beating uva by 13). uva lost their final 9 games, including 6 in a row by double digits at one point. The hoos have lost the services of Sylven Landesberg (academics) and Calvin Baker (family illness). But the eagles were 1-7 on the road in the ACC, including a loss to lowly nc state in their regular season finale. That’s why I wouldn’t touch this game as a gambler, but you have to pick the eagles to win. After all, they just beat uva by 13 with Landesberg. Pick: boston college
#5 wake vs #12 miami – The game we all care about. On paper, this seems like a slam dunk to pick wake – they finished 5 games ahead of miami in the standings; they are playing just a stone’s throw from their campus; they are the far superior team. Not so fast, my friend! Neither team is playing well right now – wake has lost 4 of 5 and miami has lost 5 of 6. And last year the #12 seed, a 2-14 georgia tech team, upset the 18th ranked clemson tigers in the first round and lost to the 22nd ranked seminoles by just 2 points in the quarterfinals. Plus, miami defeated wake by a point earlier in the season. But that was at miami. I just don’t see wake losing this game, especially since miami will have no fans there and wake should bring plenty. Let’s just hope the c-a-n-e-s canes keep it close and wear down the deacons for Friday. Pick: wake forest
#7 georgia tech vs #10 unc – My buddy, vt1fan, has already predicted unc is going to the ACC Tournament Finals (he may have even said they win, I can’t remember). unc, who always has about 40% of the seats at any tournament, should have a solid crowd since the game is in NC even with their terrible season (for the first time ever, no heels were named All-ACC). Adding to the pressure on the jackets is the fact they must win this game (maybe even two) to have any shot at a NCAA Tournament bid. Add georgia tech’s AD announced Tuesday he’ll decide on Head Coach Paul Hewitt’s future after the season. So you have one team with every thing to play for, and a team with absolutely no pressure. Hmm… I’m so torn here. gt is 6-34 in ACC road games the last 5 seasons, but their one win on the road this year was at unc (whom they beat twice). Plus, the heels are without Ed Davis, the one man that can match up with gt’s bigs. But, whenever any chips are on the table, bet against the jackets. Pick: tar heels (I’m with you so far, vt1fan)
#6 clemson vs #11 nc state – I’m not wasting any typing, and risking Carpal Tunnel Syndrome writing about nc state. They stink. They will lose. Sidney Lowe should be fired (and Hewitt if he loses to unc). Pick: clemson
Friday – I’m not going to pick games after Thursday because I’m really uneasy about the Hokie game if they are playing wake. The team that played the day before has the advantage of being in the flow and usually comes out shooting better than the team that has been off. But they usually tire as the game goes on. However, the Hokies will be playing with two starters nursing injuries – Dorenzo Hudson’s foot and Jeff Allen’s shoulder. Both were limited in practice this week. I’d be more worried about that but Hudson hasn’t been practicing much the last two months according to Greenberg. And, VT has won their first game in 10 straight tournaments, so that’s some solid mojo. So who knows. Of course, Friday morning, I’ll be 100% sure the Hokies are going to win like I always am on game days.
Here’s my odds on the top four seeds winning the whole tournament:
#1 duke – They won 10 of their final 11 ACC games, with their lone loss at maryland. I still think they are the best team in the league and well better than maryland on a neutral court. They will have a lot of fans there, though everyone not in royal blue will be rooting against duke. They are my favorite to win. Odds: 40%
#2 maryland – The terps were 4-1 against the other three teams that got byes and have won 7 straight. They are the hottest team heading to Greensboro. They also boast the leagues Player of the Year in Greivis “Greasy Face-quez” Vasquez… and the Coach of the Year in Gary Williams. If they can get by the gt/unc winner, they would face fsu or clemson in the semis. clemson and maryland split on each other’s floors, which the terps swept fsu. But honestly, I think the yellow jackets could give the terps fits if they beat unc. The jackets should have won at maryland but lost on two shots at the buzzer. The terps don’t have a lot of depth or bulk inside, and if Jordan Williams gets in foul trouble, they are in real trouble. I think they’ll have a hard time making the finals unless they get unc and then fsu who simply can’t keep pace with the terps’ scoring. Odds: 25%
#3 florida state – clemson swept the noles this year. And even if fsu beats clemson, they likely would have to face maryland who also swept them this year. It’s not a good thing when your likely first two opponents went 4-0 against you (4 of their 6 losses). They have a great defense, but they stink on offense, and you need good guards in tournaments. Freshman Michael Snaer is playing better of late, but when you have to play on consecutive days, defense tends to suffer as you get tired. Luckily, fsu’s players don’t average that many minutes, but I think their lack of offense will cost them dearly. Odds: 12.5%
#4 VIRGINIA TECH – I talked about us up above. The pros for VT are this is a down year for the ACC and the Hokies can play with anyone. A con is the Hokies’ starters play too many minutes and if they keep winning, may tire as the tournament goes on, especially guys like Hudson and Allen that are battling injuries. Another pro is VT has one of the top three back courts in the league with Delaney and Hudson, who both made All-ACC teams – one of only two teams in the league to accomplish that with duke. A con is VT’s struggles to rebound most of the second half of the season, especially when Jeff Allen was in foul trouble. A pro is the way Manny Atkins and Terrell Bell stepped up with 20 combined rebounds at georgia tech and could provide additional minutes. A con is VT will likely have to play duke in the semifinals if they are able to get past the quarters. A pro is everyone in the arena will be pro-VT in that one except for the duke nerds. And this may be the best opportunity the Hokies have at the title (especially if Delaney doesn’t return next year), with unc in a down year and no real dominant team. Odds: 12.5%
The Field (seeds 5-12): Hard to win 4 games in 4 days. Very hard. Odds: 10%
So there you have it. Check back for my game preview on Thursday morning before I head out to Greensberg-o with the Weekend Warrior and DuffHokie!