I realized I was too negative after the uva game so I’m going to make a conscious effort to accentuate the positives Tech displays, and there were some real positives on Sunday…
THE GLASS HALF FULL:
- Tech battled until the end. It would have been easy to warm up the bus after falling behind 12-0 and not scoring for the first 6:38 of the game. But VT stayed after it and hung in there on the road until the bitter end. I was proud of our effort.
- The Hokies committed just 5 turnovers on Sunday against a team that usually causes quite a few. That’s a fantastic number, less than half of their season average. And VT committed 14 turnovers against uva and had accumulated 11+ turnovers in 9 of their last 10 games, so it was good to see them clean that up.
- Jarell Eddie tallied 19 points on 5/11 FGs and 2/5 on 3s. He’s 6/14 on 3-pointers since the start of OT at georgia tech, a 43% clip and much more Eddie-like.
- Erick Green continues to lead the nation in scoring. That brings attention to the program and helps JJ sell us to recruits (as opposed to uva who has to sell guys on playing a hockey-penalty-kill style system).
- Christian Beyer played a solid 16 minutes, with a +7 and 4 points and 4 rebounds. Tech really has to feel they are 9 deep now with Wood back — 8 scholarship guys plus Beyer. You can live with that. Most teams don’t have more than 9 in their rotation.
- Tech is through the ‘easy’ part of their ACC schedule. Tech has played each of the other 5 teams in the bottom half of the ACC standings. They’ve played just one team in the top 6 (uva, who is tied for 3rd). 8 of their next 11 are against teams in the top half of the league, plus they have to play maryland again who throttled VT in the ACC opener in that stretch. That may not sound like good news, but look at it this way — Tech will be double digit underdogs in almost every game, as they were Sunday. The Hokies have nothing to lose at this point. No expectations. They can play loose and free. And if they lose by 16? Big deal, they were supposed to. While it isn’t the situation you want to be in, it can be liberating. Hopefully the Hokies start to relax and just have fun again, and be aggressive. Tech has some depth now and can push the tempo and pressure on defense, testing out JJ’s style. What is there to lose.
- Finally, at least we aren’t northern illinois. They scored 5 in a half earlier this year, and scored a pathetic 4 yesterday in the first half. They went 1/31 from the floor, missing their final 29 shots of the half. They scored just 25 points in the game.
THE GLASS HALF EMPTY:
- As I mentioned in the positives, the Hokies are just now getting to the tough part of their ACC schedule. They have 12 games left and half of those are against the top 4 in the ACC (miami, nc state, duke, and uva). They also have to play unc, fsu, and maryland again. Expect Tech to be heavy underdogs in every game except gt at home, maybe clemson at home, and wake on the road.
- I’d call 2-4 in the ACC a slight disappointment considering the Hokies just played the other five teams picked to finish at the bottom of the ACC, and three of those games were at home (Tech went 1-2 in those games). But hey, they aren’t in last place, or even 11th, we are in 10th. It could be worse.
- Robert Brown is 1/18 on 3-pointers in ACC play and has missed 16 straight (he’s just 1/28 since georgia southern). He’s also just 12/53 on FGs in ACC play (23%).
If you are faint of heart, don’t read this:
- Tech has been shut out at the first media timeout two games in a row.
- Against uva, didn’t score for the first 4 minutes and 30 seconds, and didn’t hit a FG until 6:15 was off the clock.
- Today Tech didn’t score for the first 6:48, missing their first 10 shots.
Note this is not unique to JJ. The Hokies regularly came out of the blocks ice cold under Greenberg. Not sure what it is, but it is very real and continues to plague the Hokies.
Second Half Struggles:
Here’s a look at how much Tech has (led, been tied, trailed, trailed by 10+) in the 2nd half of ACC games. Note that includes 120 minutes of action and does not include the OT vs georgia tech.
- Led: 2 minutes and 28 seconds (i.e. 5:39)
- Tied: 5:37
- Trailed: 108:44
- Trailed by 10+ points: 42:41
- Trailed by 20+ points: 7:27
Tech has led in the second half of just 2 games – today vs clemson and against wake (VT never led in the 2nd half at georgia tech and were tied for just the final 24 seconds of regulation). The Hokies’ biggest lead in the 2nd half of an ACC game is 2 points. In fact, that’s their biggest 2nd half lead in their last 10 games (they also led bradley by 2 over a month ago along with wake and clemson).
The Hokies have trailed for almost 10-times the amount of time that they’ve led in the 2nd half, they’ve trailed by 10+ points for almost 4-times longer than they’ve led or been tied, and they’ve trailed by 20+ points for more time to date than they’ve led. Not good. It shows they’ve dug themselves into holes in the 1st half, as we noted above in the Slow Starts section. It is tough playing up-hill all game.
Three Point Defense:
Seriously, how bad is Tech’s 3-point defense? Check out these numbers since the start of the wvu game (this includes their average makes and 3-Point % to date, not the time of the game, so it includes them going off against the Hokies and shows how bad Tech’s 3-point defense is).
|OPP||Made 3s vs VT||3Pt % vs VT||Avg Made 3s Per Game||Season 3Pt %|
[ACC games in italics]
As you can see, every ACC opponent has shot a higher 3-point percentage and made more 3s against VT than their season averages. In Tech’s four ACC losses, the opponent has been well above their average 3s made (39 made compared to 23.9) and the percentages were well above average except against bc, who was pretty much on par.
The Hokies tried to go zone Sunday and it backfired – clemson, who shot 32% from deep coming in and made just 5.1 per game, hit 10/21 and K.J. McDaniels, a 31% shooter from deep, when 5/7. Unreal. Game after game someone torches Tech from deep.
Through 6 ACC games on 3-pointers:
- VT: 28/93 (30%) — 11th in the ACC
- opponents: 54/132 (41%) — Last in the ACC
Dunk You Very Little:
- Tech’s been out-dunked 19-10 in ACC play
I like JJ. I really hope he succeeds. But I stand by my comments Thursday night (or more like Friday morning) that said this was a bad hire. That’s not his fault, that’s our administration’s fault for going bargain basement. You can’t learn on the job in the ACC. I think JJ will have a tough time here given the situation, and given that he is having to figure out how to balance recruiting, game prep, lineups, in-game adjustments, dealing with the media, etc. I think it will be tough for him to last here more than a few seasons given the situation. Maybe we’ll turn it around either this year or in the next few, but you just can’t hire a guy with no track record to judge them on, in my opinion. Again, not his fault, of course he took the job (as I would if offered it), this is on our A.D.
I do think he’s a good man and will be successful, but if I was to guess, I would say the results won’t come until his next head coaching gig when he gets to apply what he’s learned. Or maybe he’ll turn into the next John Calipari… although even Coach Cal started at a mid-major.