The Hokies looked like the VT team of 2008-09, getting dominated inside and falling behind early and the result was their third loss of the season, losing to the struggling noles in Tallahassee. Tech is now 0-5 at fsu since joining the ACC, one of only two places Tech hasn’t won at. nc state is the other, of course.
The Hokies dug themselves a big whole early. They led 2-0 but never led or tied the rest of the game, falling behind 15-5. A quick three by Delaney and then three-point play got the Hokies within 4, but then the offense dried up again. fsu led 32-25 at the half. Jeff Allen spent most of the half on the bench. He picked up two early fouls and went to the pine. Going against Greenberg policy, he came back in with six minutes left in the first half and promptly was called for an offensive foul, his third.
In the second half Allen hit a quick three (his first and only points of the game) to cut the noles’ lead to four, but then Jeff picked up his fourth foul and it was back to the bench.
With Allen out, the noles dominated inside. fsu had an early 18-7 advantage on the boards, helping them build their lead. Tech could not score inside to save their lives. fsu had nine blocks, including five from Chris Singleton. Tech’s big men – Allen, Davila, Thompson, and Raines – finished 3 of the 17 from the field. That doesn’t cut it.
The Hokies did a nice job on defense, forcing the noles into 23 turnovers and holding fsu to 40% shooting. But VT still lost and poor offense was the reason. 58 points may sound pathetic, but keep in mind they had just 47 with 45 seconds left. Late fouls/gimmie buckets padded the stats. Delaney had 23 points and Hudson added 19 but no one else had more than 5. Tech shot just 35% from the floor against the No. 1 team in the nation in FG% defense. And VT was 9/22 on threes, but just 10/33 on two-point shots. The noles dominated the paint.
Delaney had his usual solid 20+ point game and added 7 assists but was banged up. It looked like he tweaked his groin in the second half. He made a steal and then a great behind the back pass to Hudson for a dunk that closed the fsu lead to 44-42. Delaney hobbled to the bench but gutted out the rest of the game. A miss by Hudson on a three could have given VT the lead on the next possession but it was all noles after that. Malcolm missed four free throws on the night and foul shooting killed the Hokies. fsu was one of the worst teams in the league but shot much better than VT from the line. VT finished a miserable 11/21 from the line.
This is two of three games where Allen has been MIA. Not a good sign in a league of talented big men.
fsu is favored by 5 points (again, home court advantage is huge in this league).
The Hokies travel down to Tallahassee, hoping to steal an ACC road win against the #25 florida state seminoles. But getting road wins in this league is a lot like watching Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore try and seal the deal with some shore skank – just when you think he’s got her, something pops up and ruins it – whether it be J-Woww getting sick or Snooki player-hating you or your team goes ice cold and can’t hit a shot or Toney Douglas makes a big play. Just go with it…
That said, the Hokies are facing the noles at a very opportune time. The noles are leaking oil badly, having lost two straight ACC games to maryland and lowly nc state at home earlier this week. But winning on the road in this league is not easy, especially this year. Home teams are 13-3 in league play to date. unc and duke are 0-2 combined on the road. fsu won on the road at georgia tech back in December but have also lost at home to the pack as mentioned.
VT is just 2-5 against the noles since entering the league, including 0-4 in Tallahassee.
Speaking of 0-4, why is this Tech’s 5th time playing at fsu in the ACC when the noles have come to B’Burg just three times?
The old Metro Conference rivals have played 41 times total with fsu holding a 24-17 edge.
Tech’s last win in Tallahassee was in 1990 and they have lost six straight at fsu.
fsu is one of only two teams the Hokies haven’t beaten on the road since joining the ACC (along with nc state, of course).
fsu swept the Hokies last year, winning on a late shot by now-NBA guard Toney Douglas in Blacksburg and winning by 10 at fsu to close the regular season.
This is the only meeting in the regular season between the two teams.
VT beat fsu to win the 1979 Metro Conference Tournament Championship, VT’s only ever conference title
For some reason I was buying into florida state earlier, thinking they were one of the better teams in the ACC. I know there have only been three ACC games, but I’m pretty sure I was wrong. This team has no offense to speak of. Sure they are #46 in the nation in Effective Field Goal Percentage at 53.2% and are #21 in the nation in Offensive Rebound Percentage at 39.3%.
The noles played very good defense and are ranked #2 in the nation in Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage (the FG% of their opponent with a bonus for three-pointers made). They are holding teams to a 41% eFG% on defense – teams shoot just 35% from the floor against fsu and 31% on threes. fsu is allowing just 59.9 ppg, second in the ACC. But maryland and nc state were able to kill the noles from long range – the terps were 10 of 16 on threes and nc state was 11 of 23. That is 54% combined! nc state freshman Scott Wood more than doubled his previous career high, hitting 7 of 11 threes and going for 31 points against fsu on Tuesday.
Part of the reason for the collapse defensively against maryland was their star, 7’1″ Solomon Alabi, was on the bench most of the first half with foul trouble. He is a real presence inside and allows their perimeter players to stay outside, knowing he can erase any guys that slip inside. But the fsu guards are not tremendously quick and have not been good about rotating to pick up open players along the arc. Deividas Dulkys and Derwin Kitchen are not great athletes and there is a big drop-off having them defending outside as opposed to Toney Douglas, who was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last year. Michael Snaer is a good athlete, but is a freshman, so he’ll get lost at times, too.
Even the noles’ rebounding has tailed off in the last two games. nc state outrebounded fsu 32-25 and had a better Offensive Rebounding Percentage. The terps and noles both had 33 rebounds last Sunday, but again, the terps won the Offensive Rebounding battle. For a team that has a 7’1″ center (Alabi), a 6’11″ man off the bench (Xavier Gibson), and an extremely athletic wing in 6’9″ Chris Singleton, they have to dominate on the boards to win.
While I said their offense is poo-poo, and it is, Alabi is impossible to stop when he gets the ball near the hoop. Tech cannot afford to let him catch the ball on the low block or in the paint. Singleton can create points for himself and is a tough match-up at 6’9″, but he’ll fall in love with outside shots at times. He’s improved to 37% from behind the arc, but you’d rather have him settling out there. Deividas Dulkys has been deadly on threes shooting 46%. Tech must get out on him. The Hokies don’t have to respect his ability to drive, because he doesn’t. Dulkys has a quick release and a hair-trigger, so any crack and he’ll pull. But this team really missed Toney Douglas, who was the only nole to average double-digits last year. They have yet to find a go-to guy this year.
SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:
Go Deep: If Alabi is in the game, it is tough to score inside and fsu is #1 in the league in blocks. And we saw how Allen disappeared last Sunday against the big’uns unc had inside. Let’s hope the Hokies are hot from behind the arc. Tech was 7 of 9 on threes in the first half against miami, but 0 for 7 in the second half. Terrell Bell was 3 of 3 (he’s money from the corners!). Hope that the Hokies can find their touch from the first half and repeat what the terps and pack did to fsu.
Windex: The Hokies must be all over the glass, especially on the defensive end. They cannot miss opportunities at stops by allowing fsu to get second chances. While the noles are good at offensive rebounding, they are just 10th in the league in Defensive Rebounding Percentage. Tech needs to at least match the noles in second chances on the boards. A guy like JT Thompson could be huge on both ends here.
40 Minutes (or at least 35): Tech has been a 20 minute team the last two games, playing two great first halves and two lousy second halves. To win on the road in this league you need to keep it up and be a 40 minute man (team).
When in doubt, foul: fsu is 11th in the league in Free Throw Percentage at 64.6%. They do not shoot well at all. Believe it or not, Alabi is the best foul shooter at over 80% but Chris Singleton is barely above 50%. Foul him instead of letting him get a crowd-insighting dunk.
Selectively Attack: Alabi and Singleton are going to get their blocks, they average over 4 per game combined. But if VT can somehow get them in foul trouble, they are a very different team with them out. Flop when they come at you on defense, and go at the rim hard when you have an opening and hope the refs haven’t swallowed their peas.
No Transition Points: Blocks can lead to run-outs. The way this team struggles to score in the half court, do not let them get any fast break points. Turn them into a half court team and it is a big advantage for VT (on defense, at least). On offense, the Hokies do have to find chances to run and score in transition before the bigs can set up inside.
23 Delaney 6’3″
22 Kitchen 6’4″
5 Hudson 6’5″
4 Dulkys 6’5″
1 Bell 6’6″
31 Singleton 6’9″
0 Allen 6’7″
42 Reid 6’8″
14 Davila 6’8″
32 Alabi 7’1″
BORING FACTS ABOUT fsu:
f-l-o-r-i-d-a s-t-a-t-e! florida state, florida state, florida state… WOOOOO! [Sorry, but guys should not be yelling 'Woooo' at the end of your school cheer]
Established in 1851
Was an all women’s school from 1906 to 1947 when it became coed. Lee Corso (ESPN Gameday personality) joked that when he went on his recruiting visit to the florida gators, he barely saw any women, but when he went to fsu, he barely saw any men… he went to fsu.
Burt Reynolds went to fsu.
Ted Bundy killed two fsu Chi Omegas during his serial killing spree back in the late ’70s.
fsu has 2 titles in football (as Hokies know all too well) and 3 title game appearances in the College World Series, but lost all 3.
The noles made the NCAA Tournament for the first time this decade last year, losing in the first round.
Virginia Tech’s Big Three – Jeff Allen (6), Malcolm Delaney (13) and A.D. Vassallo (14) – combined for just 33 points as the Hokies lost their final regular season game on the road to No. 24-ranked fsu, 53-63. Tech’s 53 points was its second lowest output of the season behind its 44-point effort at duke. The Hokies did get a stellar game from Cheick Diakite who pulled down a career high 11 rebounds.
Once again the Hokies got off to an extremely slow start and hit just 1 of their first 11 shots. With less than 8 minutes to play in the first half, the Hokies only had 9 points and trailed by 14 points with less than 5 minutes left in the half. But, they did not quit and fought their way back into the game and cut fsu’s lead down to 7 at the half.
The second half saw the noles push their lead back to double digits. Tech hung tough and kept it close and even got to within 3 points with a little more than 7 minutes to play. That’s when fsu’s Toney Douglas started to heat up. He buried a 3 pointer to push the lead back to six and scored 12 points in the final seven minutes to lead fsu past Tech. Douglas was the only fsu player to score in double digits.
Foul trouble was an issue for the Hokies in the second half as Allen and Delaney sat for a good chunk of time with four fouls each. Turnovers (including several lazy passes) killed Seth Greenberg’s team. Tech committed 17 turnovers and fsu turned them into 18 points. Though fsu is much bigger than Tech, the ‘noles only had a 36-33 edge in rebounding. Diakite played with with the big boys today and more than held his own.
It was another poor shooting performance for Tech as they managed just 30 percent from the field (16/52), 25 percent from three (5/20) and 69 percent from the free throw line (16/23). Next to the duke loss, this was probably Tech’s worst game of the season – statistically speaking.
The loss caps a disappointing end to the regular season for Virginia Tech. Following the Hokies’ 76-71 win against georgia tech on Feb. 11, Tech stood at 16-7 overall and 6-3 in the ACC. Since that game, Tech has won only once, losing six of their final seven games, including three homes games. Their lone win was an upset on the road against #12 clemson on Feb. 25.
The loss gives the Hokies a 7-9 conference record and means the Hokies will need to deep in the ACC tournament. More than likely, the Hokies will need to win the whole thing, especially if last season is any barometer. The Hokies were 18-12 and 9-7 last season and lost on a last second shot to unc in the ACC semifinals and still got snubbed by the NCAA selection committee. Short of winning the ACC tournament, the Hokies appear to be NIT bound.
Next up for Tech is the ACC tourney which begin on Thursday. Tech will take on miami at noon. The Hokies beat the canes earlier this season 88-83 in overtime, in Miami. The entire ACC tournament will be broadcast on Raycom and ESPN or ESPN2.
A.D. Vassallo needs just two more 3-point field goals to set a new Virginia Tech career record for made 3-pointers. Wally Lancaster currently holds the record with 257 made 3-pointers from 1986-89. Lancaster also holds the school record for most 3-point attempts (694) and most consecutive games with a made 3-pointer with 73.
Note: If Virginia Tech wins this game, they finish in 7th place in the ACC and will play nc state on Thursday at 7 PM.Â If Tech loses, they finish in a three way tie with maryland and miami.Â In that scenario, maryland would be the #7 seed and play nc state, while VT would be the #8 seed and play miami at noon on Thursday.
This is all the setup you need: Virginia Tech must win this game to keep alive any hope of going to the NCAA Tournament.Â You cannot finish below .500 in your conference and expect to make the Big Dance.Â It is time for the Hokies to put up or shut up.Â If VT finishes 7-9 in the regular season in the ACC, no “certifiably insane” speech is going to carry any weight.Â With a win though, Tech would have three wins against Top 25 RPI teams (#14 wake, #17 fsu, and #18 clemson), and all on the road.Â Unfortunately for Tech, both bc and miami have fallen out of the Top 50, so those are no longer Top-50 wins.Â Joe Lunardi of ESPN Bracketology currently has the Hokies on the Big Dance waiting list, five to eight spots out of the tourney.
At fsu: 5-13
In ACC Play:Â 2-4
Streaks: The home team had won all five games since VT joined the ACC until fsu won in Blacksburg two weeks ago.
Of Note: VT has won on the road at every ACC school except fsu and nc state since joining the ACC.
Last Meeting: fsu 67, @VT 65Â – It all came down to one shot, the ball in A.D. Vassallo’s hands with an open look at a three to give Virginia Tech the victory.Â But as has been the case so many times this season, the bounce did not go the Hokies’ way.Â Instead, the shot clanged off the iron and out, and Virginia Tech missed out on another golden opportunity for a big win at home.Â
Derwin Kitchen was the story in this meeting, scoring 19 points, his season high.Â Having hit just seven three pointers on the season coming in, he went 3/3 from long range, including a shot he just hucked up from the corner at the end of the shot clock.Â Toney Douglas had a team high 22, but that was no surprise.Â His jumper with six seconds left put fsu ahead.Â Malcolm Delaney had 25 for the Hokies in his best performance over the last eight games — he took a break from his shooting slump and went 5/8 on threes in the game.
No shock here, but VT fell well behind early in the contest.Â It was 25-11 fsu before the halfway mark of the first half.
fsu senior guard Toney Douglas hit a runner in the lane with 6.2 seconds remaining to lead the noles to a 67-65 win at the Cassell on Saturday night. Malcolm Delaney, who was guarding Douglas, tried to fight off a screen at the top of the key, but Douglas decided to dribble away from the screen which allowed him to beat Delaney to the lane for the game winning shot. The Hokies did have a legit chance to win it at the buzzer, but A.D. Vassallo’s three-ball at the top of the key hit the back iron. Game over. Hokies lose their third in a row.
The hangover from the uva game lingered into the first half of tonight’s game as the Hokies got off to a horrible shooting start. 10 minutes into the game, Tech was down 25-11. Finally, the Orange & Maroon caught fire, specifically Malcolm Delaney. As Niemo put it earlier this week, VT will live by Delaney and die by Delaney. Malcolm scored 13 of the next 22 points, but the Hokies still trailed by 10 at the break.
fsu executed their offense to near perfection in the first half. They made 8 of 19 threes, including a prayer by Derwin Kitchen as he almost fell out of bounds. Afraid he was going to be called for a travel as he stumbled (or was pushed) towards the Hokie bench, Kitchen hurled the rock toward the basket and hit nothing but net. In the end, that shot was the difference. Kitchen ended up with a career high of 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting (3 of 3 from behind the arc).
The Hokies picked up where they left off in the first half by shooting the ball well in the second, especially from three point range. The noles finally cooled down, and Tech used an 11-2 run to even things back up. Malcolm Delaney’s three pointer with 14:18 left gave Tech its first lead since 3-2. It didn’t last for long though. At the 9:03 mark, Tech held a 51-47 lead, but couldn’t keep the noles down any longer. fsu turned to their senior stud, Toney Douglas, to halt the Hokie run. Douglas scored 12 of his 22 points in the final 6 and a half minutes, including the game winner, to stun Hokie nation once again.
Jeff Allen returned to the lineup after his one game suspension, and came out on fire as he nailed a three-pointer. Allen was really hustling on both ends of the court, scoring 12 and hauling in 11 boards. A.D. Vassallo scored 15 and is now 5 points away from cracking Tech’s all-time Top 10 scoring list.
Next up for Tech is a trip down to clemson on Wednesday night to face the 13th-ranked tigers. clemson has won 4 in a row against the Hokies, including a 86-82 win at the Cassell less than one month ago. Game time is 7:30pm. TV is ESPN2.
This is all the setup you need: Virginia Tech must win this game to keep alive any hope of going to the NCAA Tournament.
BONUS, LESS DRAMATIC SETUP
Spread: VT by 3
Note: This game is on CSN+ (Channel 77) for you NOVA Comcast subscribers.
History Watch: With 20 points tonight, A.D. Vassallo will move into the Top 10 on the all time Virginia Tech scoring list. He currently sits in 12th place with 1,636 points. He will pass two Matthews, Bill (11th) and Bryant (10th), in the next game or so.
The Hokies, having just pooped the bed during their “easy” five game stretch of ACC games, now enter the murderous part of their schedule.Â In their final five games, Tech faces the #18, #8, #5, #3, and #18 teams in the RPI.Â That’s fsu, @clemson, duke, unc, and @fsu.Â Not exactly the uva and georgia tech’s of the world.Â This game coming up is by far the most winable.Â florida state is good, but certainly the least talented of the four teams Tech has left to play.Â Plus, this game is at home, and barring any last minute surprises, VT will have their whole roster at their disposal for the entire game.
The Hokies need to go 3-2 to finish the regular season.Â That might be enough to get them into the Big Dance based on the number of quality wins that would give VT.Â And if Tech wants to entertain any thoughts of going 3-2 to close the regular season, they have to win this game.Â Even if they do win this one, they will likely have to steal either the duke or unc game at home.
At Cassell: 11-6
In ACC Play:Â 2-3
Streaks: The home team has won all five games in this series since VT joined the ACC
23 – Delaney
5 – Hudson
40 – Vassallo
0 – Allen
34 – Diakite
1 – Bell
10 – Thorns
14 – Davila
21 – Witcher
33 – Thompson
23 – Douglas
22 – Kitchen
31 – Singleton
41 – Echefu
32 – Alabi
1 – Gibson
2 – DeMercy
3 – Loucks
4 – Dulkys
42 – Reid
Four things to watch for from florida state:
They are tall
They are athletic
They LOVE to shoot the three (almost all of them)
They are the Toney Douglas show
The seminoles are an odd mix — they are very young and veteran at the same time.Â They start two seniors and three players that are in their first year at florida state (Derwin Kitchen originally was slated to go to florida before ending up at iowa western community college).Â Their bench is also very young except for Ryan Reid.
fsu presents match-up nightmares for opponents due to their size.Â They will run five big men that are 6’8″ or taller at you, similar to wake forest.Â In the VT/wake game, Tech neutralized this by getting the deacon big men in foul trouble, or beat up, early.Â
Just like wake and Jeff Teague, fsu has a tremendous combo guard in Toney Douglas.Â Douglas averaged almost 17 points as a freshman and is just 35 points away from 2000 in his career.Â He is the only nole averaging in double digits, scoring 20 a game, good for second in the ACC.Â Toney is a streaky shooter from deep.Â He is currently on a cold streak, having hit just 9 of his last 36 threes in his last six games.Â Let’s hope the cold Blacksburg weather keeps his shot icy.
Even though Douglas has been struggling from deep of late,Â he has averagedÂ 23.5 ppg over those six games.Â He is tremendously quick and can beat teams up the court if the guards don’t fall back.Â He is next to impossible to stop on the drive.Â As with Rice of bc, he will get his points.Â In fact, his biggest scoring nights are often in fsu losses.Â He only had two points in a win against rival florida and the last two times he’s scored 30 or more, the noles lost.Â The key is to limit the fsu big men.
The difference between wake and fsu is the noles’ big men are no where near as talented as wake’s.Â Chris Singleton is a very athletic freshman who will be a star in this league, especially once Douglas’ shots are gone next year.Â But he likes to wander out on the perimeter and shoot threes.Â He is 24/77 on the season from deep.Â He reminds me of James Johnson of wake last year in this respect — a talented big man who hasn’t yet figured out he needs to be inside.Â On the offensive glass, or in transition, Singleton can dunk with the best of them.Â Tech must box him out.
Uche Echefu is another big man who is better facing the basket than with his back to it.Â He has also tried almost 50 threes on the season.Â While Uche is not extremely physical, he is an excellent foul shooter, hitting 83% (even better than Douglas’ 80%).Â
Soloman Alabi is a big body inside.Â At 7’1″, he can be a shot blocking force.Â His 2.1 blocks per game is #2 in the ACC.Â Most of his points will come on the offensive glass or when teams overcommit to Douglas and leave him wide open inside.Â Tech has had an issue with switches of late, so this could be an issue.
The final starter is Derwin Kitchen.Â Despite being their “shooting guard”, he is seventh on the team in three-point attempts.Â He has shot just 20 on the season.Â He is more of a what I call a filler — similar to Dorenzo Hudson.Â You have to have five guys on the court, so there you go.Â He is a decent defender.Â But he is not strong on the dribble on offense.Â He will pick and choose his shots carefully.Â
Off the bench, Dulkys, Loucks, and DeMercy all like to stroke it from deep.Â None of them shoot particularly well though.Â Reid is an energy guy to rest some of the other big men.
Overall, fsu is not an offensive juggernaut.Â They are ninth in the ACC in points per game in ACC play.Â But with their size, they are very stout on defense.Â Their 68.2 ppg against and 41% FG%-Defense are both good for second in the ACC (not good considering VT’s struggles against two of the worst defenses in the ACC).Â Â This game will likely be a low scoring, drag-it-out type game.Â
KEYS TO THE GAME:
D the 3, then Box Out: fsu attempts 20 threes per game.Â They hit less than 30% of them in ACC play, second worst in the league.Â That means a lot of misses.Â The noles don’t care since they are so tall, they are counting on getting offensive rebounds.Â Tech has given up more than their fair share of second chances of late.Â The Hokies must go out and defend everyone but Alabi on the perimeter and get a hand in their face, then find a body to block out and put a butt on them.Â Once the shot is up, it all comes down to desire — The Hokies have to want that ball.Â Despite their size, fsu actually has a negative rebounding margin in ACC play.Â Tech must out work and position the noles.
Pray for Whistles: I forget what that awful whistle rap song of a few years ago was, but whistles on Saturday will likely be music to my ears.Â With fsu’s length, you have to hope the officials call a tight game, especially on over-the-back calls on the boards.Â If the refs let them play, fsu might get a lot of second chance points.Â Plus, when VT drives, foul calls instead of blocked shots can help get their bigs on the bench.Â Let’s just hope the whistles aren’t 80 feet from the basket and on Jeff Allen.
Urgency but not Pressure: Like I said, this is all but a must win for VT.Â It is not for fsu.Â Tech has to come out and play like their season is on the line.Â They have to fight and claw for every 50/50 ball.Â They have to play with intensity.Â But they can’t stress out.Â It is just one game.Â Putting too much pressure can lead to missed assignments or forcing shots.Â Play hard, leave it all on the line, and let the chips fall where they may.
Live by Delaney: Malcolm has been in a shooting slump of late.Â If he misses his first couple of shots, he needs to find other ways to score — either by finding his runner to avoid the fsu big men, or getting fouled in transition.Â With the size of the noles inside, let’s hope he can hit an early three.
Dunkin’ Donut: Jeff Allen needs to play this game with a chip on his shoulder.Â He needs to come out and say I’m sorry to his teammates for missing the uva game.Â He will be key to VT getting boards and scoring inside.Â He has to attack the fsu big men, and if he can hit an early three, he will force them to come out on the perimeter and help open the lane for Delaney and Vassallo.
Greatest VT/fsu Moment:
The famous “Henson Heave” by Les Henson. An 89’3″ world record shot to win the game at florida state on 1/21/80 by a 79-77 score.