Tag Archive | "clemson"

Previews | #5 duke (5-1) and clemson (3-4) @ VT (1-5) | Th., 7 PM on ESPN and Sat., 4 PM on RSN

Spread: VT by 4 over clemson (is Vegas not watching our games)
duke was favored by 4.5 (seriously, Vegas seems to have a lofty opinion of us… yet we are 1-7 against the spread in 2012).

It’s two previews for the price of one! Double your pleasure! (“Normally you pay extra for that, Cotton.” – Dodgeball) Since the Hokies play two full games in less than 48 hours, I figured kill two previews with one post. Each year each ACC team plays a back-to-back in approximately 48 hours (the Short Turnaround Sequence, as I call it). This year, the Hokies have to do it twice (again in mid-February). Yep, our schedule keeps getting better and better (sarcasm). At least both of these games are at home. In fact, Saturdays game against clemson is Virginia Tech’s first weekend ACC home game. That’s right, we didn’t get a weekend home game until February (see my note above about our schedule).

The Hokies have actually been dominant in the back end of their ACC Short Turnarounds. While Tech is just 3-4 in the first game (3 of which have been against duke), VT is 6-1 in the second game of a Short Turnaround. Keep in mind their opponent usually doesn’t have the same turnaround. That tells you the Hokies have been able to quickly recover and focus on the back end. I also think the short turnaround boosts your shooting — you tend to get into the flow of the game more quickly since you played so recently.

So what does this all mean? I’m not predicting anything in the duke game, but I fully expect to see the Hokies beat clemson on Saturday and push their record to 7-1 in these ‘doubleheaders’, so to speak. Oh, by the way, Hokie Guru has GUARANTEED A WIN OVER duke! No, he hasn’t promised to wear pink uva stuff if we lose. And no, he hasn’t gone crazy (at least any more so than usual — just messin’ with ya).

While I will not guarantee a win, this duke team is beatable… and yes, by the Hokies. They are mostly roll players, not stars. Granted, they are very good roll players, some of which are McDonald’s All-Americans, but they are simply not as talented as in past years. Yes, they are #5 in the country, but ohio state blew them out by 22 at osu, and temple won by 5 over the blue devils at temple. duke struggled at clemson, although they did pull away at maryland late in the game last week. Still, we all know the Hokies can take down a highly ranked duke team in the Cassell, we’ve done it twice:

  • 2/26/11 – VT 64, #1 duke 60 – HIGHLIGHTS
  • 2/17/05 – VT 67, #7 duke 65 (maybe my favorite win of all time after losing by 35 at duke a month earlier)

The question is, can the Hokies slow down the duke attack and keep pace with them on the scoreboard? We shall see. To beat a dead horse, the key is getting off to a decent start. Since the Hokies will no doubt be juiced playing the #5 blue devils, we might see the level of energy we’d like to have seen all year, and that could help at the get-go.

clemson simply isn’t that good. Yes, they are 3-3 and we are 1-5, but I’m telling you, they aren’t that good (yes, I realize neither are we… but we are at home and we are NOT falling to 1-7). c-l-e-m-s-ohhhhh-n is just 11-9 on the season overall. They also lost by 2 at bc, so they have the same black eye VT does. They have lost 3 games to teams from south carolina — the gamecocks, of course, but also college of charleston and coastal carolina (the latter two were at home). They also lost to utep and hawaii. In the ACC, two of their wins are over wake and georgia tech, both at home against ACC bottom-feeders. The one good win they have is a 20-point win over fsu in their ACC opener. Yep, you read that right, they blew out fsu by 20. And it wasn’t even that close — it was 32-10 with 6 minutes to go in the first half… but that was apparently before the noles figured things out.

Update: I watched clemson lose to uva by 4 on Tuesday night, and I’ve seen them play several times this year now. They just don’t impress me offensively. They don’t have good jumpshooters other than Smith. Young shoots for a decent percentage but he’s so short he has to be wide open. The game itself was very similar to the VT @ uva game — clemson led by 4 at the half just like the Hokies, only scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half just like the Hokies, but couldn’t contain Mike Scott or Joe Harris like VT did. The tigers battled back but still lost. But they can pressure the ball out by half court and that could give the Hokies fits (especially Rankin). clemson gets 3 days of rest before facing VT.

Did you know… VT was favored on Saturday at maryland? In fact, Tech has been favored in every game but the unc and uva games this year.


vs duke –

  • All Time: duke 37-8
  • At VT: duke 8-6
  • In ACC Play: duke 8-3
  • At VT in ACC Play: duke 3-2
  • Last Year: VT won at VT, duke won in the ACC Tournament Semi-Finals

vs c-l-e-m-s-ohhh-n –

  • All Time: VT 12-11
  • At VT: VT 7-5
  • In ACC Play: clemson 6-4
  • At VT in ACC Play: clemson 3-2
  • VT’s first ACC win game on 1/15/05 against clemson at the Cassell (59-57)
  • Last Year: clemson won 69-60 at clemson in the ACC regular season finale, locking up the #4 seed for clemson and dropping VT to the #6 seed.


Pos # Player Height Year PPG
PG 11 Green 6-3 Jr 15.9
SG 1 Brown 6-5 Fr 7.7
SF 31 Eddie 6-7 So 9.9
PF 4 Raines 6-9 r-So 4.6
C 14 Davila 6-8 Sr 6.8
Bench 5 Hudson 6-5 r-Sr 11.9
15 Finney-Smith 6-8 Fr 5.6
Pos # Player Height Year PPG
G 20 Dawkins 6-4 Jr 10.2
G 0 Rivers 6-4 Fr 14.1
G 30 Curry 6-2 Jr 12.2
F 34 Kelly 6-11 Jr 12.7
F 5 Mas. Plumlee 6-10 Jr 12.0
Bench 21 Mi. Plumlee 6-10 Sr 6.7
Pos # Player Height Year PPG
G 11 Young 5-9 Sr 13.9
G 5 Smith 6-5 Sr 11.1
G 1 Sapp* 6-2 Fr 4.7
F 21 Narcisse 6-6 Sr 3.1
F/C 31 Booker 6-8 Jr 10.7
Bench Hall 6-1 Fr 4.7

*6’9″ Milton Jennings had started up until the uva game Tuesday. He has been suspended for academic reasons and is doubtful for Saturday. He was averaging 8.9 ppg and was good in transition, though he’s a lousy shot like most of the tigers.

My quick breakdown of the teams:


  • Rivers is no Irving. The son of Doc is a good slasher and a solid 3-point shooter (38%), but he can’t pick you apart like Irving could and isn’t as good of a passer. He averages more turnovers than assists. He’s averaged less than 8 ppg in 3 ACC road games.
  • Kelly isn’t as soft as in past years. Still, he’s a 6’11” guy that can burn you from the outside. But he’s getting to the line a lot more this year than in past years. He can kill you with the shot-fake, and drive to the hoop. And he is a solid rebounder on the offensive end, using his height (and ACC officials have NOT been calling over the back this year).
  • Mason Plumlee is a beast inside. But he is AWFUL from the foul line. He makes Shaq look like Reggie Miller. He went 2/11 from the line in one game, and 2/10 in another. He hits 62% from the field and 48% from the line… so foul him (“Thumb a Plum”???)
  • Curry likely wants to avenge the goose egg he posted in Blacksburg last year with his father, VT legend Dell Curry watching. He did have 10 against the Hokies in the ACC Tourney, but can he step up in the arena where his dad’s jersey hangs?
  • Dawkins is a lot like Moseley was for maryland.
  • Bench: Miles Plumlee, Thornton, Cook, and Hairston provide minutes off the bench, but none of them are spectacular. Thornton is good defensively and can drill 3-pointers when open, Miles is soft, Cook is learning how to play in the ACC, and Hairston just provides depth inside.


  • Milton Jennings, the former 5-star recruit and current huge bust, has been suspended for academic reasons. Don’t expect him to play Saturday. He missed the uva game.
  • Young is what you expect/want from a 5-9 guy – loves to bomb treys (36%, 45 makes) and can really drive and dish (he has an almost 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio… that’s awesome).
  • Smith is a solid outside shooter who has really developed his mid-range game.
  • Booker is no Booker… as in even though Devin’s improved over the years, he just even close to the talent Trevor (with the Wizards, I believe) is/was.
  • Narcisse is JT Thompson without the talent. High energy, and that’s it.
  • Hall and Sapp are freshmen guards in the ACC, which means lots of mistakes and learning on the job.
  • Yes, they do have a 7-footer like every other VT opponent (he’s actually 7’2″). Catalin Baciu averages 4 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes… oh, and he isn’t much of a shot-blocker.
  • clemson has a veteran lineup but they simply aren’t that talented. They have the type of veterans where you hope your stud recruits take over for them… but the tigers don’t really have any big recruits in the last few classes. Their only 4-star from the past 2 years is freshman Bernard Sullivan, who averages 1.3 ppg. Jennings was a 5-star and Booker a 4-star, both of which appear to be a joke (especially with Jennings). This is a team that way overachieved last year and is coming back to reality this year.


Note: these stats are for ACC games ONLY.

VT duke clemson
PPG 59.5 (10) 75.5 (2) 68.3 (5)
PPG vs 63.7 (3) 68.0 (7) 64.8 (4)
FT% 76% (3) 75% (4) 67% (8)
FG% 38% (12) 47% (1) 44% (6)
3-Pt% 33% (6) 34% (5) 32% (8)
Made 3s PG 6.0 (4) 7.2 (1) 5.3 (8)
FG% D 42% (3) 44% (10) 44% (9)
Rebound Margin -8.0 (12) -0.2 (7) -1.7 (9)

The ACC quit showing a lot of the stats they used to show, so that’s why this is a bit leaner than in the past. Not sure why they changed it mid-season.


Take the biggest nerd from your school, then from 4,999 other schools, and you have duke. I’m still waiting for Fox to produce a reality show where they take a florida state frat and move them to duke for a semester and let them run wild. Those nerds wouldn’t leave their dorm rooms for three months.


They beat us in the ACC Championship Game in football back in December. They beat us in our ACC regular season finale last basketball season, effectively driving a stake into our NCAA Tournament hearts. I saw it is time to exact some revenge. Who’s with me?!

Posted in 2011-12 Season, Game PreviewsComments (3)

Peat and Repeat | Recap | clemson (9-7) 69, VT (9-7) 60


If you saw Tuesday night’s game, you basically saw Saturday’s game.  For the second game in a row, you need to change the sheets, because we [pooped] the bed.  I don’t know what bar the Hokies have been at since their win over #1 duke last Saturday, but can someone please go and wake them the [eff] up???  For the first time all season, the Hokies lost two ACC games in a row.  And they couldn’t have picked a worse time…

Tuesday: Tech fell behind 27-10 in the first half to bc.

Today: VT trailed 24-9 (after a 16-3 clemson run).  FYI: VT was trying out their new Nike Cement Shoes – early on they lost every 50/50 ball.  clemson had 4 dunks in the first 10 minutes.  VT had 14 turnovers in the first half.  clemson grabbed several key offensive rebounds that turned into dunks (6 dunks to 0 on the game).

Tuesday: The Hokies made a run and trailed by just 8, 35-27 at the break.

Today: Tech went on a 12-1 run to close the game to 25-21, and trailed by just 34-30 at halftime.

Tuesday: Tech hit some 3s and were behind by just 45-39 early in the second half.

Today: VT hit a big 3 and trailed by just 39-35 with 16:29 to go in the game.

Tuesday: bc went on a 14-2 run to blow the game out at 59-41.

Today: clemson went on a 10-0 run to go up 49-35.  In fact, VT scored just 2 points from the 16:29 mark to the 7:58 mark.  That’s 8:30 minutes with 2 points.

Today: VT went on a 7-0 run to cut it to 51-44, but then the tigers used an 8-0 run to go up 59-44 and put the game away.

Honestly, does Virginia Tech deserve an NCAA bid right now?  Hmm.  Not sure we do.  We certainly don’t in the last week.

Here were the keys to the game:

  • Win the 3-pt % battle (the team that had shot from a higher % from deep had won 13 straight games):  clemson hit 4/7 to start that game and won this battle 41% to 30%.  Streak continues to 14 straight games.
  • TB + VD = win: the Hokies actually did great here.  Bell had a double-double with 10 points and a stunning 11 rebounds.  Davila had just 4, but those 14 combined points normally were an automatic win.  And Manny Atkins added 9 off the bench.  So this was a stunner.
  • Tech had 14 steals in the game, including 11 from their starters (but those turned into almost no fastbreak points because VT has no idea what to do on an odd-man rush).

So what went wrong?

  • Erick Green had 0 points at the half.
  • Instead of POW Jeff Allen we got MIA Jefff Allen – he had just 9 points and 5 rebounds for the game, and seemingly was invisible.
  • VT had 15 offensive rebounds – that sounds like a good thing but it isn’t.  The Hokies shot just 31% for the game.  clemson, meanwhile, shot 49% for the game because they made extra passes and got easy looks.  That’s that difference in this game.
  • The Hokies made just 18 shots in the game (18/59).  They only made 7 shots in the final 16:29 of the game.
  • Tech had no answer to clemson’s defensive intensity.  The Hokies spent more time 40-feet from the basket than they did in the paint.  Let me walk you through a possession…. Point guard dribbles it up.  Picks up his dribble near the jump circle.  Passes to other guard near jump circle.  Pass to Davila around the 3-point line.  Start offensive possession.
  • Here was a clemson possession: Push ball.  Feed inside.  VT double or triple team guy.  Feed to wide open dunk.  See ya, have a good night.

Flat out, the last two games, the Hokies played two teams that were hungrier than they were.  Tech has been fat, drunk, and happy since the duke win.  Considering they have a veteran, albeit small roster, that’s pathetic.

Tech had earned a first round bye in the ACC Tournament 4 of 6 years coming into this year.  All they had to do was win once this week for a 5th bye, and they couldn’t.  That’s pathetic.  These seniors want a trip to the Big Dance so much, yet they did nothing this week to earn it.

As much crap as we give Frank Beamer for never winning the big game, at least he wins ALL the games we should, and most of the 50/50 games.  Well, this Hokie basketball club could not this week.  And for the third time in five years clemson stole something that belonged to the Hokies on the final day of the regular season.  Eff you, clemson.

See you Thursday in Greensboro.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game RecapsComments (21)

Preview | VT (9-6, 19-9) @ clemson (8-7, 19-10) | Saturday at Noon | ESPN2

Spread: clemson by 3.

The stakes are clear and high for the Hokies on Saturday in the Battle for Fourth Place!

  • Win – See you Friday in Greensboro for the ACC Quarters and hello, NCAA Tournament!
  • Lose – Hello, Thursday in G-boro and good bye, finger nails – it’s going to be another nerve-racking Selection Sunday.

With a win the Hokies lock up at least the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament and earn their fifth First Round bye in seven years in the league (pretty darn impressive).  The Hokies could even move up to the #3 seed with a win if florida state loses at nc state this weekend (not holding my breath on that one, but the wolfpack could step up in Sidney Lowe’s last home game coaching for state).

Lose and the Hokies are all but assured the #6 seed and a date with #11 georgia tech on Thursday evening.  A game that won’t do much for their tourney resume (though the Committee does seem to value any win, even crappy ones — just look at gt last year).

Here’s how it all shakes out (fsu @ nc state, wake @ bc):

  • #3 seed: VT win, fsu loss
  • #4 seed: VT win, fsu win
  • #5 seed: VT loss, bc loss
  • #6 seed: VT loss, bc win

We knew going into the duke game the Hokies probably had to win two more regular season games and they could feel pretty confident on Selection Sunday.  Well, the fact they beat duke really solidified that.  A win at clemson Saturday would have to lock up a bid for the Hokies.  Tech missed an opportunity to seal their fate at home Tuesday, but they still control their own destiny.  Just have to regroup and take care of business.

This will be the third time in five years the Hokies finish the season with clemson (and all three times it has been the only meeting of the season… weird).  The first two times have not worked out so well for Tech.

  • 2007-08: VT lost a heartbreaker 70-69 at clemson.  The loss cost VT the #3 seed (which clemson took), and pushed VT to the #4, forcing them to play THE #1 tar heels in the semi-finals.
  • 2006-07: VT lost on a late shot to an average clemson team, 75-74, in Blacksburg.  The win cost the Hokies a share of the ACC regular season title and the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament.  Instead, they had to play their arch-nemesis, nc state, in the semi-finals and lost.

So it is payback time!

The Hokies have been Jekyll and Hyde on the road this year.  Hopefully we see the maryland/nc state/wake VT team, and not the at gt/bc/uva club.


The two teams have played nine times since Tech joined the ACC.  The first eight meetings were decided by just 19 points combined!  The largest margin of difference had been 5 points, with six of the eight meetings decided by 3 points or less.

Last year the Hokies took care of business after the second massive snowstorm of the season, beating clemson 70-59 (Recap) |  Highlights

  • All Time: VT 12-10
  • In ACC Play: clemson 5-4
  • At Littlejohn in ACC Play: 2-2
  • Streak: VT 2 in a row

So the Hokies have had success at clemson.  They won their last meeting there two years ago, knocking off a ranked clemson squad.


Position Virginia Tech clemson
Guard 11 Green 6-4 2 Stitt 6-2
Guard 23 Delaney 6-3 11 Young 5-9
Wing/Guard 1 Bell 6-7 5 Smith 6-5
Forward/Center 0 Allen 6-7 45 Grant 6-8
Forward/Center 14 Davila 6-8 31 Booker 6-8

Don’t worry, that’s Devin Booker, not you-know-who.  Devin is just a shadow of his brother.  He’ll battle inside and scores 8 per game and grabs 5 boards, but his bro (now with the Wizards) was a beast – churning out double-doubles like they were nothing.

If you haven’t seen the tigers this year, you won’t recognize them from a year ago in terms of style of play.  Gone are the days of OPP (Oliver Purnell) and his press-you-from-the-time-you-get-off-the-bus style.  Their two talented guards, Stitt and Young, will pick you up full court, but they are just walking you up the court to make sure you don’t feel alone.  No more wild full court trap.  But they do still hang their hat on defense.  They are one of the top defensive teams in the country and will make you work for everything.  They get about 7 steals per game, but are average at rebounding and turnover margin.  They are just a bit offensively challenged.  And how weird is it to see them #1 in the ACC in FT% in conference games?  OPP really is gone.

Jerai Grant has improved night and day for them.  I’m not sure if OPP was really good at developing big men (I might think this based on how Booker developed), or if it is the regime under Brad Brownell.  Either way, the guy can play.  The senior has almost doubled his scoring from 7.2 to 12.2 this year and snags 6.7 rebounds and blocks 2.3 shots per game.  He has good skills in the low post.  Davila will have to really battle him.  Grant, who used to just be an athlete, may be too athletic for Davila to handle.  But we’ll see.  VT will need to double down on him at times if they are in man.

Stitt and Young are solid players – combining for 25 ppg, 7 rpg, and 6 apg.  Both are solid 3-point shooters around 37-38%.  Stitt can also attack the rim and score on penetration.  Young is almost exclusively a 3-point shooter and needs space since he’s just 5’9″.  Tanner Smith has shown more ability to attack the tin this year but he’s also mostly a spot up shooter.

Milton Jennings off the bench was a 5-star recruit, but has been a bit of a bust through two years.  He shoots just 27% from deep but scores about 8 per game subbing for Smith.

Bryan Narcisse is their JT Thompson.  He brings high energy off the bench.  I think of him as a black Kurt Rambis (he has goggles and throw his body around like a rag doll).


Virginia Tech clemson
RPI 63 65
PPG 70.9 (4) 66.4 (9)
Pts Against 65.9 (5) 62.8 (3)
FG % 45% (1) 42% (9)
3-Pt % 36% (4) 34% (8)
FT % 73% (4) 75% (1)
Scorer Delaney 18.8 Stitt 14.1
Rebounder Allen 10.2 Grant 6.7
Assists Delaney 4.2 Stitt 3.3
Steals Green 1.7 Stitt 1.4
Blocks Davila 1.1 Grant 2.3

Note: Team stats are from ACC games only, player stats include all games


  1. Shoot for a higher 3-point %: If you didn’t see my article the other day, in VT’s last 13 games, the team that has shot for a higher percentage from deep has won.  Every time.  The good news is VT shoots 36% in conference play, third in the league, while clemson shoots 34% (8th best).
  2. TB + VD = Win: Again, if you didn’t see my article the other day, check out this… In VT’s last six wins, Terrell Bell and Victor Davila have combined for an average of 20 ppg.  In their three losses, that drops to 8 per game.  They had just 6 combined Tuesday.  VT has to get production from these guys… or hope Eddie gets hot like he did at wake or Atkins like he did at unc.  Point is they need a supporting cast for Green, Allen, and Delaney.
  3. POW Big Donut: We need to see the Jeff Allen that was player of the week three times from early January through the end of February.  But against bc the other night he grabbed just 3 rebounds (and 14 points).  It was just the 2nd time in 10 games he hasn’t had a double-double.  He’s averaged 10.5 points and 9 rebounds in 4 previous meetings.  Hopefully he doesn’t mind this bus ride to clemson too much (Gameday reference that might have been bulletin board material for clemson).
  4. tiger Killer: Malcolm Delaney has OWNED the tigers.  He’s averaged 24 ppg in four meetings, easily his high against an ACC opponent.  And we’ll never forget the 37 he put on clemson in 2009 – including a 60-footer at the half to give him 25 points at the break (VT choked that game away in the second half).  He needs to have a big game after a poor game against duke, and an average game against clemson.  His outside shot has been off of late, but maybe seeing orange will crank it up.
  5. Rechannel last Saturday: The Hokies were PUMPED last Saturday.  They were flatter than my 9th grade girlfriend on Tuesday.  They have to regain that energy they had and realize this is a NCAA Tournament play-in game, as well as a game that gets them an extra day off before the ACC Tournament.
  6. Keep Trending: Since losing at unc, the Hokies have responded to every ACC loss with two straight wins.  Well, they lost Tuesday, so I guess there’s only one thing left to do…!

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game PreviewsComments (6)

Game Film | VT 70, clemson 59

Highlights courtesy of Raycom Sports…

Posted in 2009-10, 2009-10 Season, HighlightsComments (0)

Recap | Hokies (5-3, 18-4) 70, clemson (4-5 | 16-7) 59 | 2.6.10

Boxscore | Highlights

The Hokies remained perfect at home this season after a 70-59 win over the clemson tigers. Virginia Tech and duke are the only two ACC teams that are still undefeated at home.

Malcolm Delaney, the league’s leading scorer, struggled from the field, but levied massive damage at the free throw line, scoring 20 of his 30 points from the charity stripe. Terrell Bell followed up his stellar performance Thursday night against unc with 10 points and 5 rebounds against the tigers. Jeff Allen added 13 points and 5 boards.

Tech got off to a very poor start, scoring just one point in the first seven minutes and falling behind 9-1. In fact, the Hokies only managed four field goals in the first half, got outrebounded and shot 15 percent, yet managed to lead at the half 29-27 behind 15 free throws from Delaney.

But a 9-0 run late in the first half turned a 6-point deficit into a halftime lead and a 15-4 run early in the second half put VT ahead to stay, blowing a close game out to a 51-41 lead.  The Hokies never trailed in the final 14:48 and pushed the lead up to as much as 15 points.

If this game had been a song, it would have been the Whistle Song (much like Thursday).  Only tonight most of them were on the bad guys.  clemson was called for 30 fouls and dealt with foul trouble all game.  The Hokies hit 38 of 46 free throws (83%) to fill in for a lack of shooting.

Tech is now 5-3 at the halfway mark of ACC play before they head to nc state.  While the pack are at the bottom of the ACC, they own the Hokies.  Raleigh is one of just two places VT hasn’t won at in ACC play (fsu is the other).

Niemo’s Notes:

  • The Hokies snapped a 3-game losing streak against the tigers in the Cassell.  They are now 4-5 against the tigers since joining the ACC and 12-10 all time.  Tech has a winning record all time against just clemson and georgia tech of the current ACC teams.
  • TECH SITS IN 4TH PLACE (tied with uva) IN THE ACC AT THE HALFWAY POINT!  More on that tomorrow.
  • The Hokies are 12-0 at home this season and 4-0 in ACC play.  I promise I’ll check tomorrow to see the last time they started 12-0 at home.
  • Tech is now 5-1 in ACC “quick turnaround” games (the second leg of 48 hours or less between games).  The lone loss was last year at bc on a tip-in in the final seconds.  This game was just like 5 years ago when VT beat miami just 40-something hours after beating duke.
  • Delaney tied a Tech record with 20 made FTs.  Zo Hudson hit 20 earlier this year against seton hall and Terry Penn hit 20 in 1957 against the citadel.  It took Malcolm 23 attempts though compared to 21 for Zo.
  • Malcolm finished with 30, meaning he has scored 67 points in the last 2 games against clemson in the Cassell.  His 37 last year are still a VT record in an ACC game.
  • Hudson had just 5 points in this game, marking just the 2nd time in 13 games he hasn’t reached double digits.  He also didn’t hit a 3 for the first time in 8 games.
  • The 15% VT shot in the first half is allegedly their worst shooting half in school history according to Bill Roth, yet they led 29-27 at the break thanks to 20/25 foul shooting (I would also bet that is a record for most first half FTs).  They added 21 FTs in the 2nd half.
  • Tech was just 4/26 from the field at the half.  Tech did shoot 48% in the second half (11/23).
  • Speaking of lousy shooting, clemson shot just 31% for the game.  Tech held them under 35% in both halves.  Star Trevor Booker had just 7 points, in large part due to his foul trouble and great help defense.  The Hokies made someone else beat them… and the tigers couldn’t find that person.
  • Terrell Bell was the only Hokie to shoot 50% or better from the field, hitting 3/4.  He hit both of his 3s while the rest of the team was 0/9.  Delaney has hit just 4 of his last 34 three-pointers.
  • VT was the best defensive rebounding team in the league going into the unc game.  Not anymore.  They gave up double-digit offensive rebounds in that game and clemson grabbed 21 offensive rebounds today in 44 opportunities.  VT was grabbing 70% of opponent misses before Thursday, but grabbed just 52% today.
  • This game was the inverse of Thursday – clemson was called for over 15 fouls in the first half.  And their star, Trevor Booker, went out with 4 fouls with 13 minutes left in the game, similar to Delaney’s situation Thursday.
  • I said turnovers would decide this game since VT and clemson were the worst shooting teams in the league, and best at turnover margin.  Well, the Hokies forced 17 turnovers while giving up just 10 against the clemson press, resulting in a 14-4 advantage in points off turnovers.  Since VT won by 11, that shows you how important that stat was.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game RecapsComments (8)

Mini-Preview | clemson (4-4 | 16-6) @ VT (4-3 | 17-4)

This is a big game for the Hokies.  While a hangover from Thursday’s emotional win over unc is a possibility, the Hokies cannot afford to let that happen.  This is a big game for Tech’s NCAA Tournament chances, probably bigger than Thursday’s game.  clemson is sitting 32nd in the RPI, well ahead of unc’s 77th ranking.  So this is a Top 50 opponent, which the tournament committee looks at.  VT is at 67, if you were wondering, so there is work left to be done.

The ACC does not have a strong RPI resume to date.  duke sits at #4 but then there is a drop-off until georgia tech at #25 and clemson at #32.  maryland is at #44 and fsu sits at #45.  That is it for the Top 50.  And Tech is done with florida state, having lost to them last month, so no chance to beat them in the regular season.  The Hokies have just one game against clemson, georgia tech, duke, and maryland, with just this game today and the twerps game at home.  So if the Hokies are going to pad their NCAA resume, today is one of their best opportunities.

Today’s game reminds me a lot of the game against miami back on 2/19/05.  Tech had defeated duke at home less than 48 hours earlier in a program changing win.  After losing by 34 to unc, and 35 at duke, the Hokies showed they belonged in the ACC and could battle with the top teams.  But less than 48 hours later they had to take on a good canes team.  Tech responded, winning 71-58 at home.  The similarities are immense in this game – an emotional win against the defending national champs on Thursday night, followed by a Saturday game against a good team.  In that game five years ago, the crowd was good but not great.  Didn’t matter, as the Hokies were playing lights out.  With a questionable crowd today due to the weather, we’ll see what that is like.  If it is anything like the “Ice Bowl” a couple of years ago when the students packed the house for an overtime win over maryland, it actually could be a great crowd today.  Hopefully the Hokies will respond as they did five years ago, coming out with confidence and swagger.

Whether or not Demontez Stitt plays, clemson’s talented point guard and second leading scorer, could have a big impact today, too.  And let’s hope Trevor Booker has a rare off day.  Hopefully the whistles won’t be as common as they were against Tech on Thursday, if Allen gets in foul trouble against Booker, then Davila and Raines will really have to step up defending him.

And as always against clemson, handling their press is key.  Lots of turnovers are what clemson wants.  Whomever wins the turnover battle will go a long way to deciding this game, as both teams rank at the bottom of the ACC in shooting percentage, but top the turnover margin category.

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Game Film | Hokies 80, #12/13 tigers 77 | 2.25.09

Recap | Breakdown | Box Score

Posted in 2008-09, 2008-09 Season, Games, HighlightsComments (3)

Niemo’s Notes | Breaking Down the clemson Win

So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance!  The Hokies NCAA Tournament pulse, though faint, starts beating a little harder again.  Wow, I need a shower after that game…

Had to love the effort from everyone tonight.  Every Hokie played hard.  Tech wanted this game more.  clemson played hard, but VT played desperate.  They fought and clawed for this game.  And on clemson’s final possession, when they had to hit a three, VT played amazing defense, forcing Stitt to throw up a wild shot that I believe was inside the arc anyway.  Gold star to everyone.  Tech must keep this desperation in every game from this point.  They didn’t have it at the beginning of fsu and we all saw what happened. 

This game was all but a reversal of the first one.  Home team jumps out to a lead.  Road team takes the lead in the second half and holds on.  Road team kills the home team from 3-point range — clemson was 14/25 in the game at VT while the Hokies were 7/19.  In this game, VT was 11/19 while clemson was 7/20.  Tech was a lights-out 7/11 on threes in the second half tonight.  A.D. and Delaney were on fire!

Tech has now beaten the #1 and #12/13 teams in the nation on the road.  Overall, VT is 2-2 against the upper half of the ACC away from home but just 1-2 against the lower half.  Frustrating.

Other tidbits:

  • The Hokies are now 12-1 on the season when scoring 75 or more points.  The one loss?  clemson in Blacksburg.
  • VT moves to 11-10 all time against clemson, one of just two ACC teams the Hokies have a winning record against all time (gt is the other).
  • Tech’s 11 three-pointers ties a season high.  This marks the third time VT has hit 10 or more threes, including the last game against fsu, but was the first time the Hokies won the game (they hit 11 threes against wisconsin and lost).
  • The Hokies had an eye-popping 12 steals tonight, tying a season high.  Tech is 7-1 when getting eight or more steals, including seven wins in a row since losing to georgia.  Thorns and J.T. Thompson each had four steals.
  • Speaking of which: Was that really Hank Thorns out there?  He came into the game shooting 24% in ACC play, but hit 3/4 shots and tied his season high with 10 points.  He also played a season high 30 minutes and got his first start.
  • Tech, once again, did a great job against the tiger press.  They didn’t destroy it like they did in the first meeting, but by my count VT only had three, maybe four at most, turnovers as a result of the press.  Greenberg could certainly live with that. 
  • If you love whistles, you loved this game!  46 fouls and 52 free throws!  Yippee!
  • The Hokies got 28 points from the non-Big 3.
  • Speaking of turnovers, VT had just 12, which is great against a full-court press defense.  Tech won the turnover battle — 12 compared to clemson’s 15.  That was a key to this game.
  • Did Greenberg really break that pad on the scorer’s table in the second half?
  • Delaney had 63 points combined in the clemson games this year and was 10/17 from long range.  He also battled through a nasty fall as part of a three-point play in the second half.  Gutsy effort as always from the VT leader.
  • PLEASE tell me Booker has declared for the NBA Draft.  I already know half his highlight film is going to be against the Hokies.  And how is this for creepy — Booker had 21 points and 13 boards exactly in both games against VT this year.  And, he has scored exactly 21 points in five of his last eight games.  He had 15 in the first half tonight and was absolutely dominating the low post.  But I compared it to when Mr. T fought Rocky the second time — he seemed to get worn out in the second half from dominating too much!  Tonight marked the first time clemson lost when Booker got a double-double — they were 9-0 before tonight.
  • Tech gave up 40 points in the paint — way too much — and gave up many easy looks off the drive.  But VT did outscore the tigers in second chance points 14-12.  In the first meeting, I mentioned VT only got 53% of the defensive rebounds.  Tonight I predicted it had to be at least 65% for Tech to win.  It was 63%, so pretty much right where it needed to be.
  • Oglesby is now on my short list of ACC players I can’t stand.  Seriously, did he hit a three from the fifth row tonight?  Where does his range end?  He had 22 points tonight and all but carried the tigers in the second half with 14 points, including a 7-0 run all by himself that tied the game with seven minutes to go. 
  • Tech limited K.C. Rivers’ looks tonight.  He scored 11 points and shot for a high percentage, but he killed VT in the first match-up for 29 points, including 7/10 from downtown.  He only seems to have big games in Blacksburg.
  • Anyone else feel like going out and shooting some free throws?  Tech’s 59% effort from the line was simply pathetic.  Victor Davila led the futility with an 0/4 performance, including missing the front end of a one-and-one.
  • Allen was just 2/11 from the field for five points and eight rebounds, but he did a solid job on Booker in the low post, and he was VT’s best rebounder.  He did enough to help Tech win.
  • Congrats to Vassallo!  He is now firmly cemented in Hokie basketball history now that he has entered the Top 10 in career scoring.

OK, beat duke or unc (I know, I know… ) and then win at least one ACC Tournament game, and I like VT’s chances for the Big Dance.  Win at fsu and then win two in the ACC Tournament, and I like VT’s chances.  Just need to keep accumulating wins.

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Game Recap | Hokies (17-10, 7-6) 80, tigers (22-5, 8-5) 77

Box Score

The Hokies finally got a close game to go their way with a gritty 80-77 win against clemson Wednesday night in South Carolina. Malcolm Delaney struggled early, shooting just 2 of 7, but he kept shooting until he found his groove and went on to lead Tech with 26 points.

A.D. Vassallo added 21 points, and in doing so he moved into 10th place on Virginia Tech’s all-time scoring list. Hank Thorns made his first start of the season and played extremely well in helping the Hokies break the clemson press, giving Delaney more room to find open shots on the wing. In all, 10 Hokies scored.

Jeff Allen struggled offensively, but led the team with 8 rebounds, including a crucial defensive board with 1:09 to play with Tech leading 78-75. Allen was just 2/11 from the field and 1/4 from the free throw line for 5 points — his third lowest point total of the season.

Allen picked up his fourth foul with 10 minutes left in the game and Victor Davila came in and played brilliantly, giving back everything clemson’s bigs were dishing out. He only scored 4 points, but they were key buckets. Davila helped the Hokies maintain their low-post presence, forcing the tigers to tighten up inside, which gave the rest of the Hokies some better looks from the perimeter. Victor also added 5 rebounds.

The Hokies grabbed an early 5-2 lead before the tigers used a 12-2 run to take a 7-point lead, 7-14, but that’s as big a lead as either team would see in the game. Tech came back to tie the game at 16, and from there it was a seesaw battle the rest of the first half. Trailing 32-37, Dorenzo Hudson drained a trey with 50 seconds to play. Clemson added a free throw to take a 35-38 lead into the break.

The Hokies came roaring out in the second half behind four big three pointers from Delaney and Vassallo who had two each. clemson opened with a pair of foul shots for a 35-40 lead before Delaney answered with a trey. Trevor Booker got a tip-in to put clemson up 38-42, but then the Hokies got five quick points from a Delaney three and then a Thorns steal and fast break layup to put the Hokies on top 43-42.

Tech surrendered the lead again, falling behind 43-47. But then Vassallo stepped up with two big long distance bombs to push the Hokies back to a 49-49 tie with 15:50 to play. For the next nine minutes the lead changed hands seven times and there were three ties. The Hokies finally grabbed the lead for good with 6:44 to play, but it wasn’t without drama (what else is new).

The Hokies were in complete control of the game and had a 68-61 lead with 9:21 to play. Delaney had just hit a pair of free throws, and the tigers just couldn’t solve the Hokies stingy defense. But as we have come to expect in every Tech game, the Hokies went without a FG for nearly three minutes and allowed clemson to come back and tie the game 68.

Despite the nearly three-minute drought, which is actually pretty short compared some of the other scoreless stretches we’ve seen this season, Tech managed to regain its composure and retook the lead on a Delaney foul shot.

The game came down to the final seconds. Tech had a 78-75 lead when Jeff Allen missed a wide open layup on the baseline. K.C. Rivers pulled down the board and fed Booker for the fast break layup to cut Tech’s lead to one, 78-77, with 22 seconds left.

On the ensuing inbounds play for Tech, clemson did not foul immediately and instead let 8 seconds run off the clock before fouling Vassallo. A.D. hit both free throws to give Tech an 80-77 lead. The tigers took the ball upcourt, but couldn’t get a good look for a trey to tie the game thanks to Tech’s D. Demontez Stitt took the three at the buzzer but missed. There was a lot of contact on the shot, but the official did not blow the whistle and the game ended with the Hokies 80-77 winners.

It was yet another physical ACC game that left both sides exhausted. Tech returns to Blacksburg to host the dookies Saturday night at the Cassell. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ABC. The Hokies are looking to avenge their worst loss of the season, in which they were torched on dook’s home floor, 44-69 in what is undoubtedly Tech’s worst game of the season. Can you say “payback?”

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Recaps, Games, HomeComments (1)

Preview | VT (16-10, 6-6) @ #13 clemson (22-4, 8-4) | Wed., 7:30 PM | ESPN2


Spread: clemson by 10 1/2 (ouch – obviously Vegas doesn’t realize how close these games usually are… and doesn’t care)

Rerun of an article from before the first meeting: The Opposing View 

If the Hokies are again left out of the NCAA Tournament this year, they are going to look back at one point in time as to why they are headed to the Junior Prom: the 16:30 mark of the second half against clemson on January 29th.  At that time, VT led 63-48 over the highly ranked #12 tigers.  Tech stood at 4-1 in conference and were about to enter the “easy” part of their schedule.   A win would have put the Hokies at 5-1 with five winnable games against teams in the bottom half of the ACC upcoming.

After that point, clemson went on an 18-0 over the next seven minutes.  Tech would regain the lead in the final three minutes, but were unable to get key stops down the stretch and lost 86-82.

 You could easily argue that the Hokies have been in a tailspin ever since, losing five of their last seven games (including that game) and were lucky as heck to have won the nc state game after trailing by 18 in the second half.  Tech has had their opportunities, but just have not been able to finish games at the end.  And they were blown out in their last two road games against teams no where near as good as clemson.

The Hokies no longer have any margin for error.  If they want to get to the NCAA Tournament, they have to win either this game or the game at florida state, and steal either the unc or duke game at home.  Plus, they will have to win at least their First Round match-up in the ACC Tournament and maybe even win in the Quarterfinals.  It is time to put up or shut up.  No Greenberg plea to the NCAA Committee will mean anything if the Hokies don’t start winning games.

Of Note: A.D. Vassallo will move into 10th place on the VT all time scoring list with six points in this game.


When the Hokies and tigers play you know one thing – the game is going to come right down to the wire.  Greenberg joked before the first meeting that whomever led with 30 seconds to go was going to lose.   Unfortunately, he was wrong.

For more on the series since VT joined the ACC, check out Wick’s article from three weeks ago (before the last game): Hokies and tigers: An instant classic

  • All-Time: 10-10 (georgia tech is the only ACC team VT has a winning record against all time)
  • At clemson: 4-5
  • In the ACC: 2-5
  • Streak: clemson — 4 in a row

Last Meeting: In the first half, the Hokies absolutely torched clemson’s full court trapping press.  Tech committed three early turnovers against it, but then started finding easy bucket after easy dunk after easy wide-open three.   The result was a 53-44 halftime lead, Tech’s largest first half output of the season.  Malcolm Delaney had 22 points in the first half alone, including a 3/4 court shot at the buzzer.

The second half saw the Hokies build their lead back up to 15 as I mentioned above but then the wheels came off.  The tigers stopped pressing, something they never do, and forced the Hokies to beat them in the half court set.  clemson went on an 18-0 and went on to win the game.

The key for clemson was their three point shooting.  The tigers hit 14/25 from long range (an astounding 56%), including 7/10 from K.C. Rivers, the Hokie-killer.  He is the guy that hit the shot in Blacksburg to give clemson a win over the Hokies in the final regular season game of 2007 that cost the Hokies a share of the ACC regular season title and the #1 seed in the tourney.  In other words, he loves Blacksburg.  He had 29 points in the game.

Inside, Trevor Booker dominated as expected.  He had 21 points and 13 rebounds.  Tech really struggles with big, athletic low post players, and Booker is as good as you will see in the ACC.

Delaney added 15 more points in the second half, giving him 37 for the game which is still the season high in the ACC and the most points ever scored by a Hokie in an ACC game.  He was 11/17 from the floor and 6/10 on threes.  But, it was all for not in a losing cause.

Click ‘Read more’ to see the rest of the preview…

Read the full story

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Game Recap | #12 clemson 86 (18-2, 4-2), Hokies (14-6, 4-2) 82

Despite Malcolm Delaney’s heroic 37-point effort and three 15-point leads, the Virginia Tech Hokies managed to lose on their home floor, 82-86, to the No. 12 clemson tigers.

Everything seemed to be going right for the Hokies. They scored a season-high 53 points in the first half; shot 60% from the field; 40% from three-point range; and 81% from the free throw line – all in the first half. Delaney had 22 first-half points and finished with 37, which set a school record for most points by Hokie in ACC play. Naturally, it was also a season- and career-high for the sophomore who is quickly making a name for himself.

The Hokies were on fire in the first half. They hit almost every thing they threw up, outrebounded the much bigger and more physical tigers and with the help of a raucous, packed house at the Cassell, they pushed their way to a 14-point lead, 45-31, with 4:44 to play.

However, clemson cut the Hokies’s lead to just five, 49-44, on Trevor Booker’s three-pointer with 57 seconds left in the half. A.D. Vassallo missed the back-end of a pair of free throws and clemson pulled down the rebound. With time winding down, clemson missed two shots before Delaney grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled to half court and launched a shot at the buzzer that hit nothing but net. The Cassell erupted into a deafening cheer that sent the Hokies to the halftime break with a 53-44 lead.

The second half began much like the first half ended. The Hokies raced out to a commanding 15-point lead early in the second half with an 8-2 run to make it 61-46. But, clemson then went on a 24-3 run to catch and then pass the Hokies. At one point, Tech went 6:56 without a single point and it was that scoreless drought that doomed the Hokies.

The tigers were virtually unstoppable in the second half. They shot 13 percentage points better from three-point range, 56%, than they did from the field, 43%. K.C. Rivers, who led clemson with 29 points, was 7 of 10 from behind the arc.

As Niemo pointed out in his preview, Tech just got manhandled by clemson’s big men. The Hokies couldn’t seem to get a single 50/50 ball and were out-rebounded 29-36 for the game, despite a healthy rebounding edge at the half. Niemo was also right (not that this should come as a shock to anyone) in that the Hokies just got winded – clemson’s bench is deep and the Hokies just couldn’t match that depth.

Despite giving up the 15-point lead and falling behind by six points, 66-72, with 7:30 to play; Tech got its second wind and came back to tie the game before Delaney drained a trey to put the Hokies back in the lead, 79-76 with 3:25 to go.

The tigers pulled even with the Hokies at 80 before David Potter nailed a triple that put clemson ahead for good. Tech got within one, 82-83, but with the shot clock at 1 second and clemson inbounding the ball, Dorenzo Hudson tipped the inbounds pass out of bounds. However, the shot clock did not begin to run and the official did not see the deflection. This gave clemson another inbounds play which they converted into a layup and an 82-85 lead. The Hokies couldn’t recover and eventually fell 82-86.

The loss overshadowed a historic night for Delaney who had 22 points in the first half and 15 in the second. He made 6 of 10 three-pointers and played 39 minutes. Vassallo struggled in this game and only had 10 points and made just 1 of 6 trey attempts. Jeff Allen was the only other Hokie to score in double digits – he had 13 points.

Delaney’s performance, though in vain, should earn him serious consideration for back-to-back ACC Player of the Week honors.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Recaps, Games, HomeComments (4)

Preview | #12 clemson (17-2, 3-2) @ VT (14-5, 4-1) | Th., 7 PM | ESPN2


The Opposing View  |  Series History

Spread: VT favored by 1 (this actually stunned me – had to do a double take)

In case you haven’t heard, Brent Woody Musburger and the General, Bob Knight, are working this game. Big time!

Tech returns from a memorable two-game road trip for a battle against #12/11 clemson.  It is a BLACKOUT, people!  Wear your Blackout t-shirt, black leather, black dress, black chaps, or anything else black.  Not really sure where this came from, but what the heck.  It is all in good fun.

As with the miami game, this is another test to see where the Hokies match up against the teams they are comparable with, or at least the teams the media thought they would be on par with before the season.  The tigers were picked by the media to finish fifth in the ACC, just ahead of the Hokies.  A win here would be another big Top 50 win (clemson is currently 10th in the RPI) and help with ACC tiebreakers, although the two teams play again at the end of February in Clemson, SC.  And with miami losing to nc state on Tuesday, that win is looking a little less impressive.

Malcolm Delaney will need to keep playing at an incredibly high level to get the Hokies a win in this one.  His passing and ballhandling will really be put to the test against the press crazy tigers.

Niemo’s News & Notes 6-Pack:

  • A win Thursday would be Tech’s sixth in a row and mark the longest VT winning streak under Greenberg
  • With the win at miami, VT has now won seven straight ACC road games.  Tech is 8-1 in ACC overtime games, but 0-3 out of conference under Seth in the extra session.
  • A.D. Vassallo became the 14th Hokie to eclipse the 1,500 point mark in the miami game.
  • Malcolm Delaney was named ACC Player of the Week for this past week.  He is the third Hokie to win the honor and fourth time a Hokie has done it (Dowdell twice and Gordon once).
  • Four of the seven highest scoring games by Hokies in ACC contests have come in the last four games: Vassallo’s 29 against uva, Allen’s 30 versus bc, and Delaney’s 29/Vassallo’s 28 in the miami game.
  • Virginia Tech’s first ACC win came against clemson at home in 2005.


When the Hokies and tigers play you know one thing – the game is going to come right down to the wire.  Greenberg joked this week during his press conference that whoever leads with 30 seconds to go is going to lose. 

For more on the series since VT joined the ACC, check out Wick’s article: Hokies and tigers: An instant classic

  • All-Time: VT 10-9 (note that clemson is one of just two ACC teams that Virginia Tech leads in the all-time series; georgia tech, surprisingly, is the other)
  • At the Cassell: 6-3
  • In the ACC: 2-4
  • Streak: clemson 3 in a row
  • Last Meeting: @cu 70, VT 69 – 3/9/08


Virginia Tech






Point Guard

23 – Delaney




Shooting Guard

40 – Vassallo




Small Forward

33 – Thompson




Power Forward

0 – Allen





14 – Davila





1 – Bell





5 – Hudson





10 – Thorns





21 – Witcher




34 – Diakite










Point Guard

2 – Stitt




Shooting Guard

22 – Oglesby




Small Forward

1 – Rivers




Power Forward

12 – Sykes





35 – Booker





5 – Smith





11 – Young





15 – Potter





21 – Narcisse





45 – Grant





  • ACC Tournament Titles: 0 (yep, the big goose egg and they were a founding member)
  • Record at unc: 0-54 (just love throwing that in there)
  • Worst commercial ever: About four or five years ago their commercial featured a dancing cartoon paw with buzz words flashing on the screen.  That’s it.  30 seconds worth.  No people, no shots of the campus, nothing.  A dancing paw.  A 5th-grader could have made it (in other words, probably the average clemson student – hope my cousin isn’t reading this).

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: the clemson tigers start out hotter than Casey Beamer, but fall apart more than a Jack Bauer interrogation subject as the ACC season goes on.  Well, this year is looking like it could go that way again.  The tigers started out 16-0, including quality wins at illinois, miami, and south carolina, and a home win over alabama.  But since then they have been beaten by wake (somewhat soundly) on their home floor and gotten blown out at unc (their 54th straight loss at unc in 54 tries).  The tigers looked sluggish on Sunday against the ACC’s lone winless team, georgia tech, before blowing out the jackets in the second half by a 73-59 margin.

Excuse me if I don’t betting on the tigers to make the Final Four.  As I mentioned, something-and-0 is not new territory for clemson.  Finishing strong would be, although they started to turn a corner last year.  Let’s look at recent history:

  • 2007-08: Started 10-0, finished 24-10; including 10-6 in the ACC and making the ACC Finals (their best year)
  • 2006-07: Started 17-0, went 4-10 in ACC play after that point
  • 2005-06: Started 11-0, finished 19-13
  • 2004-05: Started 7-1, finished 16-15

In other words, clemson is the anti-Virginia Tech.  They come out like a lion, and fade like a lamb.


As most of you know, two things happen once clemson gets off the bus:

  • They start pressing you
  • Oglesby is in range

The tigers love to full court press.  They will do it all game long after made baskets or out of bounds situations.  Normally they like to run a diamond-and-one trapping press (with the “one” in the back).  cu will have a big up front like Booker, Sykes, or Grant, and another big in the back as the safety.  The two guards will look to trap the inbounds pass along with the big man up front.  Rivers will be the back part of the diamond.  You cannot dribble your way out of this.  You must make quick passes.  At times, clemson will have four guys in the back court helping press.  If you can get the ball over them you could have numbers and attack the basket, though VT has not been good at doing this.  Another key is to inbound the ball quickly before they can set, and the deeper the better.

clemson will also show full court man at times.  This is their less aggressive press.

The over/under on Tech turnovers as a result of the press is 3.5.  More than that, and the Hokies are in trouble.  Less, and that means they did a great job.  clemson will never out-talent you.  Instead, they recruit great, long athletes that fit their system.   They want to create extra possessions to make up for their lack of talent.

Tech has to look to beat the press and make the tigers pay at times, but they cannot turn this game into a track meet.  clemson wants to suck you into an up-tempo game.  The Hokies must pick and choose their opportunities to go after the press, but slow the game down for the most part. 

Will the Hokies Big 3 get exhausted?  Tech has two players, Vassallo and Delaney, averaging over 35 minutes per game.  Allen averages 30 mpg.  With clemson’s press, they could get worn down in the second half as Odum pointed out in the Opposing View.  All three looked strong going 40+ minutes in the miami game, but this is a whole different tempo and strain on the guys.  Another reason why picking and choosing when VT attacks the press is key.

Another key is defensive rebounding.  If clemson doesn’t get scores, they cannot press.  Tech must keep Booker and Sykes off the offensive glass.

Oglesby can shoot from anywhere on the court.  And when he is on, he will keep shooting until he misses.  Very similar to Jack McClinton of clemson in that respect.  Although you do not have to respect Oglesby’s ability to drive.  Almost two-thirds of his shots have been three-pointers this year, and he doesn’t get many assists.  Tech must find him at all times on defense and be right up in his grill.  He is especially dangerous after turnovers when no one has located him yet. 

Oglesby is now tied with McClinton for most threes made in the ACC at 54 after drilling 5/13 against the yellow jackets.  He is 40% from downtown.

Oglesby torched the Hokies last season, going 5/7 on threes, including one from Columbia, SC.  Tech must limit his looks.  A big defender can really negate him, so expect Thompson and Hudson to draw the assignment.  I’d say Vassallo but he is lazy at times working through screens and is slow to flash out.  A.D. left miami’s Asbury wide open for the game-tying three on Sunday.

Inside, the tigers have a beast in 6’7″, 240 lb. Trevor Booker.  I would say he’s even better than Dwayne Collins of miami, who destroyed the Hokies on Sunday, scoring 23 points including 13 in a row at one stretch in the second half.  As I say every week, the Hokies’ low post players must do a better job of forcing a big man, Booker in this case, to catch the ball farther out from the hoop.  Too often low post players catch a pass on the low block, and against ACC talent, that’s an automatic deuce.  Diakite, Allen, and Davila had no answer for Collins, and double teams didn’t work well either as Collins would spin to the baseline and beat it.  Hopefully Seth has come up with an answer this week.

Booker’s production has dropped off in ACC play, though.  He is averaging just 11 ppg in ACC play, after averaging almost 16 ppg out of the league.  And if you throw out the 23 he had in an overtime game against nc state, his numbers are even worse.  Let’s wish for his slump to continue.

K.C. Rivers is another guy that it seems like should have his doctorate by now he’s been around so long.  And he has been a VT killer before, including hitting the game-winner at VT in the home finale of 2007 that kept VT from tying for the regular season conference title and getting the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament. 

Like Booker, Rivers has struggled in ACC play, scoring just 9 ppg in his last four ACC contests.  He can shoot from deep (36%) but also can drive and score.  He has a solid midrange game.

Sykes and Grant are similar to a James Mays (former tiger) in how they play.  They are athletic, but not particularly talented.  And they are scrawny for low post players.  They need to get their points off offensive rebounds or in transition.  They are not good with their back to the basket. 

Stitt, their point guard, is not a threat from long range.  He likes to push the ball and attack the rim.  The Hokies must get back on D to slow him, and can back off him in the half court set.  Andre Young, their 5’9″ freshman (same height as Hank Thorns), backs him up.  Young, like Thorns, is looking to drive and dish.  If he’s going to shoot, it is usually a layup or a three-pointer.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Previews, GamesComments (3)

The Opposing View | clemson

clemson @ VT Preview

The Opposing View features our own Niemo interviewing guest columnists who are alums, or at worst, Super Fans of Virginia Tech’s upcoming opponent. Enjoy the perspective from the other side, and don’t be afraid to post your rebuttal in the Comments section at the bottom of the article.

This edition of the Opposing View features an interview of Odum, clemson c/o ‘99.  He also wrote a previous Opposing View for us two years ago: First clemson Opposing View

Basketball Questions:

Niemo: Tell me about this year’s clemson team.  What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Odum: This year’s Clemson team looks a lot like last year’s version, even though we did lose three key seniors from last year’s team (starters James Mays and Cliff Hammonds, and Sam Perry).  The most noticeable loss is Mays at the point of the press.  We have put Trevor Booker there this year, as much to keep him out of foul trouble as anything.  He has done a pretty good job playing interior defense in the half-court and leads the team in blocked shots.  Down low with him is Raymond Sykes, a guy who is 6′-9″ but on the thin side, and very much a raw player.  Sykes isn’t a big threat with the ball in his hands, but he’s a good rebounder and gets a lot of put back points. 
At point guard, we’ve got a second year player in Demontez Stitt.  He’s a slasher by nature, and is very good when he takes it to the basket strong, but he’s not that much of an outside threat.  Terrence Oglesby is still a threat to shoot it from anywhere on the court, but he’s actually gotten a lot better at putting the ball on the floor and creating his own shot; and, he’s improved as a passer this year.  The other starter is K.C. Rivers who can be a tremendous scorer at times, but he tends to disappear for large stretches.  Not coincidentally, our offense suffers when he’s not scoring – it’s critical for us for him to have a big game. 
The bench is deep, and you’ll see our second five before the halfway mark of the first half.  Jerrai Grant is another big guy who has played well lately and he’ll get plenty of minutes in relief of Sykes and Booker.  Andre Young has played well at the point, and Tanner Smith and David Potter are both 6-5 wing players who have been giving quality minutes.  Brian Narcisse (6′-9″) will also play some. 
Overall, we’re going to try to use the defense to force you to play out of synch.  VT can be prone to turning the ball over, and we’ll need that to be successful.  We’ll need to start out strong offensively, and we need to establish Booker on the inside.  On the defensive end, we have to limit your open looks from outside and slow your guards down if they break the press.  As usual, our team free throw percentage is marginally lower than the felony conviction rate for your incoming football recruits, so we need to make the most of our opportunities there, too.  [Niemo: Wow!  Their FT% is below 4%?!]

Niemo: The tigers currently sit at 17-2 after starting 16-0.  We’ve seen this song and dance before – clemson comes out hotter than Seth Greenberg’s daughter, only to fall apart more than Lindsay Lohan in a VIP room once the ACC slate starts up.  Will things be different this year?
Odum: Isn’t Greenberg’s daughter like thirteen?  [Niemo: I was thinking of Paige, who’s in college and plenty legal, but I guess this sick-o likes eye-balling the younger one… perv!]  As for what we’ll do this year, who knows?  I’d say that this team appears to be mentally tougher than some in recent memory, in spite of losing those three seniors from last year.  I don’t think losing to Wake and UNC back-to-back is a harbinger of a collapse.   Don’t forget that included in this team’s undefeated start are road wins at Illinois, Miami (by 19) and South Carolina (by 11) and a neutral site win over a decent Temple team, so it’s not like we’ve just feasted on cupcakes.

Niemo: Dwayne Collins of miami owned VT on Sunday. Trevor Booker is no Dwayne Collins… he’s better. Can VT stop him?
Odum: Yes, it almost appears the most effective way to handle Booker is to just let him do what he’s been doing lately. After establishing himself down low in some key games in December, he has chosen to shoot a lot of fadeaway jumpers recently, and he hasn’t been effective at all. He reached double figures against GT because he made seven free throws. He can be very effective if he’ll be assertive and take the ball right at Jeff Allen and try to get him into foul trouble.

Niemo: What about Virginia Tech scares you in this game?
Odum: Now that Deron Washington’s (and his mom) ugly mug is gone, nothing really… Well, my golden retriever trembles a little at any mention of VT. Seriously, your team’s overall athleticism is impressive, but it’s their guard play from the last two games that worries me the most. With our full-court pressure defense, we sometimes have a tendency to leave guys wide open once the ball advances past half-court. If we do that with Vassallo or Delaney, we’ll be in trouble.

Click ‘Read more…’ to see the rest of the interview.
Read the full story

Posted in The Opposing ViewComments (0)

The Hokies and tigers: An instant classic

When Virginia Tech and clemson are in the same sentence, there must be some reference made to each school’s rabid football fan base. Clearly, the Tech and clemson football programs have the two best fan followings in the conference. But did you know that the Hokies and tigers have had one of the most competitive basketball series since Tech joined the conference in 2004? The two teams have played six times as conference foes and the total point differential is 12 — an average of two points per game. That’s phenomenal.

As we gear up for the big game against clemson on Thursday night, here’s a brief history of past conference showdowns between the Hokies and the tiggers.

January 15, 2005 — Tech 59, clemson 57 @ Blacksburg
I was there. Tech’s first ACC win. The students were not back yet from winter break, so the Cassell was not very full. The tigers had a chance to put the game away as they held the ball with 19 seconds to go in a tie game, but Hokie senior Carlos Dixon took the game in his own hands — just after the tigers made it past the half court line, Dixon broke up the first pass of the clemson possession and took it himself the length of the court to dunk it home with 6.9 seconds remaining. See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0sckju0mPY

March 1, 2005 — clemson 66, Tech 64 @ Clemson, SC
This one was painful, one of the most painful losses of the Greenberg era. The tigers scored five points in five seconds to tie the Hokies, and then won the game at the final buzzer. For the second time in a row in the clemson-Tech series, the last shot of the game was a game-winning dunk.

February 8, 2006 — Tech 75, clemson 74 (OT) @ Clemson, SC
The Hokies and the tiggers each had disappointing ACC records going into this game in early February. Tech improved to 3-7, while the tigers dropped to 3-7, after the Hokies’ thrilling win in OT. Zabian Dowdell drilled a three-pointer with 8 seconds left to tie the game at 67, and in OT, Dowdell gave the Hokies the lead for good @ 75-74 with a minute left. In the last minute, The tigers missed four shots while the Hokies missed three free throws, but Tech held on for the one-point victory.

March 1, 2006 — clemson 86, Tech 81 @ Blacksburg
The most lopsided game of the series. This was a painful ending to the already painful ’05-’06 season. clemson was favored to win, but the refs stole the show and stole the game from Tech. Some of the worst officiating I have ever seen. I recall getting many stares from fellow Hokies as I turned beet red yelling at the zebras all night long.

March 4, 2007 — clemson 75, Tech 74 @ Blacksburg
While the 3/1/05 game was the most painful to stomach, the 3/4/07 game was the worst loss of the series for the Hokies. Tech had a chance to tie for the regular season conference championship with a W against the tigers. What’s even worse is that uva ended the season tied for first. It was also the biggest senior day in recent history (Gordon, Dowdell, Collins, Tucker, and Sailes were all seniors) and the Hokies were on their way to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years. But the tigers pissed on the Cassell parade. clemson got out to an early lead and held off the Hokies for a depressing one-point Tech loss. Revisit the recap.

March 9, 2008 — clemson 70, Tech 69 @ Clemson, SC
In 2007-08 as the season wound down, Tech lacked a quality win needed to get one of 65 precious bids to the Big Dance. There were many missed opportunities, and this game was one of them. Once again, Tech and clemson played in the final regular season game of the year — this time it was clemson’s senior day, but the Hokies could not return the favor from the ’06-’07 season, losing another last second nail-biter in Littlejohn Coliseum. Revisit the recap.

I’m willing to bet that history shall repeat itself on Thursday — another Tech-clemson nail-biter for sure.

Posted in Featured Columns, HomeComments (2)

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