OK, within 24 hours of each game*, I’ll give you a breakdown of the keys to the game as I saw it, and possibly re-saw it. Warning: I may have a few bourbons, or in this case, victory Scotches in me.
* Guarantee only valid in the lower 48 states. Actual cash value of guarantee is $0.0001, or 100 “Schrute-bucks”.
- Play Up-Tempo: GRADE = A/B+… The ‘A’ is for effort. Tech definitely pushed the ball up the court in most situations. The ‘B+’ is for execution. The Hokies tallied ‘just’ 9 fast break points. I should note VT only scored 13 total fast break points in their final 5 home games last year and averaged just 4.4 fast break points in our 2012 home games last season. So this is at least a step in the right direction of getting some easy buckets. And not once did we come close to a shot clock violation until very late in the game when the outcome was decided, so that also was a plus. But we did still pull the ball out at times when we had numbers. I think this will improve with time, though, as guys realize they won’t get yanked after one failed push/drive.
- Be Fun: GRADE = A… I think we’d all agree this offense was a heck of a lot more fun to watch than anything Seth or O’Cain-spring has rolled out there recently. Tech shot it at their first open look, instead of bleeding the shot clock until Green would have to force something. And we actually tried an alley-oop! It failed, but it was still exciting to see us leverage our athletes. And if Eddie had managed to throw that ‘oop down one-handed like Clarence/Coffee Black in Semi-Pro, it would have brought the house down. As it was, it still got the crowd off their feet and gets them into the game.
- Defense: GRADE = B… Normally holding a team to 39% shooting form the field and 19% from behind the arc would draw an A, but this was a very inexperienced east tennessee state team. They had plenty of open looks but laid more bricks than Habitat for Humanity. The effort was good and I liked our doubling down in the post, but rotations seemed a tad slow at times. Again, let’s see if this improves as we get the rust off and get into the season.
- Rebounding: GRADE = D… I’d give an ‘F’ if this wasn’t the first game. Tech got dominated in the first half on the glass, giving up 8 offensive rebounds, and allowed 14 for the game. etsu snagged 33% of their misses. That may not sound like a lot until you consider they didn’t play a single player taller than 6’7″. And it wasn’t just long misses bouncing far out, it was Tech being outpositioned and out-muscled in the trenches. This has to improve to do even decent in the ACC, but I’m concerned this will be an issue all year. The lone bright spot was Jarell Eddie, who fought for 10 rebounds including 9 on the defensive end. He reminds me a bit of A.D. Vassallo on the glass.
- Erick Green – looked about the same to me as last year. That’s not a bad thing, but just didn’t seem to be any better either, even after attending Chris Paul’s camp. Beamer needs to get Green to play safety for him – Erick can still read and intercept passes with the best of them (2 steals).
- Cadarian Raines – really looked rusty in the paint on offense. Most of the moves and shots he had today, he’d have finished at the end of the season last year. But he went just 3/9 from the floor and only had 4 rebounds and 0 blocks. Needs to do more on the glass this year.
- Jarell Eddie – my player of the game because of what he offered on the glass. He stepped in to fill some of the void left by Doo-Doo’s transfer in the rebounding department. Also hit 3/7 from 3-point land and showed confidence in his shot. And he only committed 2 fouls after constantly being in foul trouble last year and fouling out 4 times. The only negative was 3 turnovers – I can’t decide if I like him driving or not – TBD.
- C.J. Barksdale – other than an early tipped pass (he didn’t get credit for the steal) and a nice rebound that led to a fast break, I wouldn’t have even known he played. Attempted just 1 shot and grabbed just 3 rebounds, while committing 4 fouls that limited him to 17 minutes. He must give Tech another option in the post when teams double Raines and needs to avoid foul trouble.
- Robert Brown – looked fantastic today. If you are going to be a star, you must make a leap forward between your freshman and sophomore years (like Dowdell, Delaney, and Green all did). Brown looks like he is going to be a force this year and take some of the scoring heat off Green. Hit 4/7 from behind the arc and 6/12 overall today. Also had 5 assists (Tech needs that so Green can work off the ball more).
- Joey van Zegeren – exceeded my expectations. Provided 18 solid minutes. Hit all 3 of his shots. Did commit 4 fouls though, which isn’t a huge deal as a backup, but if Barksdale is in foul trouble JvZ has to limit his fouls.
- Marshall Wood – I’ll say this – dude has confidence in his shot. Too much, perhaps. He was 1/6 from the field and the 1 make was a tip-in from 6 inches away. Wood was 0/3 for 3 from 3-point range and they were all pretty far off. And he also committed 4 fouls. But obviously he was doing something right – the team was +15 when he was in, possibly thanks to his 6 rebounds.
- Marquis Rankin – unavailable due to family matters – our thoughts go out to him and his family.
- Will Johnston – when you need 13 minutes from a walk-on, that’s not a good thing. Still, he played solid and hit a 3-pointer, but these minutes will evaporate when Rankin returns.
- 3 other walk-ons got in, including Marcus Patrick to briefly play the point, but see above.
Nice win and certainly builds some positive energy after the first game. Need to keep it going Monday.