Tag Archive | "Niemo’s Notes"

Niemo’s Notes | clemson and Things I’m Thankful For


Stats/ramblings from Tech’s 58-56 loss at clemson, dropping Tech to 1-7 in ACC road games this year:

  • Erick Green was held to single digits in points for the first time all season.  After 30 straight double digit games, he was held to 8.  Last time he missed 10+?  Last year at clemson in the regular season finale.  He barely got to 10 in the game at VT earlier this year.
  • This was the Hokies’ 6th straight game decided by 2 points or less in regulation, or in overtime.  They are 2-4 in those games.
  • In 2012, 13 of Tech’s 16 games have been decided by 4 points or less in regulation, or in overtime.  Tech is 4-9 in those games, 0-3 in blowouts.
  • VT was 8/16 on 3-pointers, clemson 0/10.  Apparently that stat doesn’t matter anymore.
  • clemson dominated the Hokies on Points in the Paint, 38-14.
  • clemson dominated VT on Points off Turnovers, 21-8, even though TOs were pretty close (VT 14, cu 12).
  • clemson dominated Tech on Fastbreak Points, 13-0 (there’s your 13 point difference in Points off Turnovers — seriously, can we please push the ball?)
  • VT went over 6 minutes and 30 seconds without a point in the first half, and over 5:30 in the 2nd half without a point.
  • Was it me or was this game, at least at the end, a carbon copy of the last game?  Road team down 2 with a chance to tie the game from the FT line with a couple of seconds left… and just like McDaniels missing both at VT, Raines missed here at Littlejohn.
  • VT and clemson have now played 6 times in ACC play at Littlejohn.  5 of those 6 have been decided by 3 points or less (clemson won by 9 last year).
  • 10 of the 12 games between the two teams in ACC action have been decided by 5 points or less.

Things I’m thankful for:

  • Not having to write a ‘How Tech Got Screwed’ post after Selection Sunday.
  • The development of Cadarian Raines.
  • That this season and the likely appearance of grey hairs for me is almost over.
  • That we finally ran a play at the end of a game (loved the drive and dish to Raines, too bad it didn’t work out but it was a great call).
  • Not having to go to ABC to stock up on Wild Turkey to make it through these games.
  • The careers of our seniors, Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila.  Thanks, guys.  You will be missed.  Check out my highlight videos of both this weekend.  Dorenzo’s will be up Friday.

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Niemo’s Notes | What Did Us In and the Stat Pack


Some ramblings:

  • Back-to-Back: Tuesday marked the first time the Hokies have ever lost consecutive home games to the hoos in the history of the Cassell.  VT is now 14-4 against uva at the Cassell.  The last time VT lost consecutive home games to uva was ’54 and ’55 (granted, the two teams only played at neutral sites from ’75 to ’01, but still).
  • What Did Us In — Lack of Aggression: uva had 5 team fouls in the 2nd half with 16:35 to go.  That meant Tech was just 2 fouls from the bonus.  Over the next 12 minutes, uva committed just 1 foul.  What’s that tell you?  The Hokies were settling for jumpshots on the perimeter late in the shot clock, instead of attacking the tin and drawing fouls.  What did VT do at the end of the game to get back in it?  Attack the lane off the dribble, resulting in 11 free throws in the final 4:35.  Had Tech been doing that all 2nd half, it probably would have resulted in a better outcome (what could be worse than 0 points in over 9 minutes and just 1 FG in 13 minutes?).  Plus, it might have fouled out Evans and Zeglinski, who both had 3 fouls early in the 2nd half, earlier (and they scored 11 of the 14 points on the uva 14-0 run).
  • What Did Us In — Part 2 — FTs: A week ago VT was #1 in the ACC in league play in FT%.  Now they are #3, and well behind wake and miami.  We all know about the fsu game, where VT hit just 3/10 down the stretch (including missing 2 front ends of one-and-ones).  But again this cost the Hokies on Tuesday — VT was just 4/7 in the final 2:02.  Forget the Evans “was it before or after the shot clock” play.  Had Tech made their free throws down the stretch, they win that game, or at least would have been in a better position.
  • What Did Us In — Part 3 — Defense: Tech is now dead last in the league in FG% Defense in ACC play.  3 of the last 4 opponents have shot over 55% against the Hokies.  Tech just isn’t getting stops, unless they force turnovers.  uva shot just 33% in the first meeting, but nearly doubled that on Tuesday.
  • Fast Break Points: Tech did not have a single fast break point last night (though I’d argue Green’s 2nd 3-pointer was, but the statistician didn’t credit VT with it).  In 8 home games in 2012, the Hokies have 40 total fast break points.  5 per game.  That doesn’t cut it, especially when you stink in the half court.  Granted, the Hokies don’t give up many either, but they’ve allowed well over 40 and this is an athletic bunch that should be pushing the ball (see my note above about aggression).
  • Chasing 70: Tech has now gone 15 straight games without reaching 70 points in regulation.  They’ve held to 60 or less in 8 of those games.  Even uva has reached 70 twice.  And georgia tech, who has been held under 40 points twice in ACC play, has eclipsed 70 in regulation 3 times.
  • The Cassell: The Hokies are in danger of just their 2nd losing home ACC season.  VT stands at 3-4 at home with just nc state to go the following Sunday night.  VT finished 2-6 at home back in 2005-06.  The Hokies had finished 6-2 or better 5 of the previous 7 seasons (they were 4-4 in 2008-09).
  • Spread: Tech actually covered the spread (well, Sheridan’s Line from USA Today).  He had uva -2.5.  Amazingly, Tech has not covered a spread in 2012 when they have been favored (0 for 8).  Tech has covered 3 times when they were the underdog (3 of 6).

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Niemo’s Notes | On clemson and Asking a Favor


I never do this but I’d like to ask a favor. I’d like to ask each and every one of you regular (or semi-regular) readers of TechHoops.com to email 3-5 people a link to our web site. Please focus on people that don’t know about, or don’t regularly read our site. Email them a link about our signee for next year that just scored 51 points, or email someone that missed the game and say here are the highlights of the game. Or just email a link to our site.

We make no money off this site. Literally none. And yet after leaving the game yesterday at 6:15, driving back to DC and getting home at 10:30, I put together the highlights while enjoying my Victory Scotch and Bud Light Platinum until 1:15 AM, knowing I had to get up at 7:45 AM for a baseball clinic. I don’t want a parade, I’m just saying that’s what we do to give you the most Hokie basketball information, and I’ll call us square if you do this for us, hoping this leads to sponsors for the future. Thanks for your support and help!

Anyway, enough PBS of me, here are my thoughts:

  1. Major props to Doe Doe. After missing 25 straight shots and taking a lot of grief, he came out and attacked the rim right off the bat, converting a tough layup. Then he had confidence in his 3-point shot in the 2nd half. He looked like the guy we thought we were getting with 12 points and 8 rebounds today, with just one turnover.
  2. I guaranteed a win and am glad we found a way to get it. We didn’t cover the spread, falling to 1-8 against the line in 2012, but I’ll take it. (VT -3 or -4 depending on your source)
  3. Shocking stat: This was the first game in 2012 that Tech scored first. In the previous 8 games, the opponent had jumped out to a lead. Crazy.
  4. The Hokies are now 7-1 in short turnaround ACC games. That’s where you have to play less than 48 hours after your previous game ends. The Hokies played Thursday night and then had to return to action at 4 PM today. For whatever reason, VT is money in the bank in this situation (well, straight up, at least).
  5. clemson got 22 offensive rebounds. VT collected 20 defensive rebounds. That’s awful. And this was a small club. Through 8 games, Tech’s opponents are grabbing 39% of their misses. That has to improve if the Hokies want to improve on their 2-6 first half. Tech is by far the worst in the ACC in this stat. VT grabs 60.7% of their opponents’ misses, next worse is duke at 64.8% (VT is #11 in Offensive Rebounding %).
  6. 23 of Tech’s last 24 ACC games have been decided by the team that shot a higher 3-point %. Tech hit 6/20 (30%), while clemson shot just 2/17 from behind the arc. Only the unc game this year broke that rule.
  7. Erick Green barely kept his double digit point streak alive. He had 9 at the half but didn’t tally again until his free throw with 40 seconds left. He’s now hit 10+ in 24 straight games, the top active streak in the ACC.
  8. clemson had 8 dunks in this game (6 by K.J. McDaniels). Tech has just 7 dunks in their previous 5 games.
  9. With the win, the Hokies moved to 9-5 at home on the season. With 4 home games left, they clinched at least a .500 home record. In 51 years in the Cassell, VT has had just one losing season (under ricky stokes, of course, in 2000-01) and one .500 season (in 1988-89). One more home win will clinch the 49th winning season in the Cassell in 51 campaigns.
  10. I love Jarell Eddie’s fire. He has the most energy before games in warm-ups. He has the most excitement during introductions, and he has the most life at the start of a game. You can tell he loves to play. We need more of that.
  11. The Tech offense looked great in the first half. The Hokies pushed the ball, focused on penetrating to either get layups, or kick-outs for open 3s. VT really didn’t do a good job of feeding the post in the first half, but it didn’t matter. Tech got good shots and the big men (Raines) were hitting the glass hard to get 2nd chance points. We even took chances with our passing, throwing that alley oop to DFS to get him involved. All that went out the window in the second half, when the Hokies were basically taking a knee down the stretch. I’d like to see us be aggressive for 40 minutes, just like Zo was on that drive right before the under-4 timeout that got him to the foul line (for 2 of our 3 points in the final 5:55).

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Niemo’s Notes | Ramblings After 13 Games


I’ll do a more complete ‘End of Semester’ report card next week after our out of conference schedule is all but complete (after the game at oklahoma state on Saturday, Tech will have just one out of conference game left — on 1/25/12 vs byu).

In the mean time, here are some things of note:

THE GOOD:

  • 3-Pt Shooting: Tech is 35th in the nation in 3-Pt %, and 4th in the ACC, at 38.8%!  Who saw that coming?  Not me.  This has been a very pleasant surprise.  Tech is even 4th in the league in makes per game at 6.5, so it isn’t just quality, it is also quantity.  The Hokies don’t have anyone that qualifies for the ACC 3-Pt % category though because they have a ridiculous rule that you have to average 2-made 3-pointers per game to qualify (which only 6 guys in all of the ACC qualify for).  That said, check out these numbers from deep:
  • Jarell Eddie: 20/38 – 53%
  • Erick Green: 18/39 – 46%
  • Dorian Finney-Smith: 12/28 – 43%
  • Robert Brown: 20/54 – 37%
  • 3-Pt Defense: The Hokies are #1 in the US of A in 3-Pt % Defense at 22.8%.  I can’t explain this one other than to say our perimeter help defenders must really be flashing out well, and our length helps, too.
  • FT Shooting: VT is also 35th in the land in FT%, and 2nd in the ACC (behind uva) at 74%. Even Victor Davila has gotten into the act.  After starting 4/13 from the line, he’s hit 12 of his last 16 FTs!
  • Bleeding Green: The ACC leaders stat sheet bleeds Green, as in Erick Green.  The Winchester Rifle is in the top 10 in the ACC in:
  • Scoring: 15.4 (7th)
  • FG%: 51.2% (8th) – this is incredible for a guard
  • Assists: 3.3 per game (7th)
  • FT%: 85.4% (5th – tied with Dorenzo Hudson — both are exactly 41/48 on the season)
  • Steals: 16 pg (5th)
  • Assist to Turnover Ratio: 2.0 (5th)
  • Book It: Speaking of Erick, he’s scored in double digits in every game he’s played in this year (12). And he’s scored exactly 12 points in 4 straight games.  The only bad thing is he’s just 1 for his last 5 from deep over those 4 games.
  • Doe Doe is not Extinct: Dorian Finney-Smith isn’t just the top freshman rebounder in the ACC, he’s the top underclassman.  At 8.1 rebounds per game, he’s 7th in the league with everyone above him a Jr or Sr.  Doe Doe is also the only freshman in the top 10 in the ACC in assists at 2.8 per game (10th).
  • Old Man River: As much crap as Dorenzo Hudson has taken so far this year, he has scored at least 7 points in all but one game this year (his goose egg vs minnesota).  Hudson’s 24% 3-Pt % isn’t far off from his 28% career %.  He is also the only Hokie to get ACC honors so far this year – being named Co-ACC PotW on 11/21.  He hasn’t looked like the 2nd Team All-ACC player of two years ago this year, but Zo has been productive, and he’s averaged 13 ppg in his last 3 games.
  • Don’t Preserve the Reserves:Tech only has 1 guy in the top 10 in the ACC in minutes per game, and that’s Green who is 9th at 32 mpg.  That’s refreshing compared to past years when VT’s starting lineup basically lived in the top 10.

THE BAD:

In all honesty, there’s nothing ‘really bad’ about the way Tech has played so far that are huge concerns.  Tech has, for the most part, fixed their issue with rebounding missed free throws and turning the ball over.  The Hokies are near the bottom of the league in both of those stats, though the turnover issue has improved greatly of late.  We’ll see if rebounding holds up in league play.

The only other disappointment for me is Possessions Per Game.  Tech averages just 64.2 per game, right around 300th in the country (out of 345).  That tells you the Hokies haven’t been pushing the ball much and getting out in transition.  But again, we have seen improvements here.  Tech has actually learned it is legal to pass the ball on a fast break, and the  full court press the Hokies have employed of late has worked into some turnovers and fast break points.  VT is averaging almost 18 fast break points per game in their last 3 games, while that number was around 9 or 10 earlier in the year.

I guess the one real bad thing you could say is the transfer of Tyrone Garland.  While Marquis Rankin was taking his minutes, no one wanted to see Ty go, though it is likely best for him long term.  Farewell, Predator, we’ll miss your banked 3s.

The other bad thing I’ll mention is the attendance.  I guess the novelty of being in the ACC, along with 4 straight NIT appearances, has gotten to the Hokie fan base.  Tech is averaging just 7100 fans per home game, barely above 70% of capacity.  Tech had sold more than 90% of their season tickets coming into this year.  It could be worse, though.  bc, gt, and miami are averaging less than 4000 per home game.

THE UGLY:

  • Jimmy Graham – seriously, he may have turned into an All-Pro tight end for the saints after being a goon on the miami basketball team, but dude is powerful ugly.

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Niemo’s Notes | Garland Gone and 18 Game ACC Slate Coming Next Year


TY GARLAND:

Update:  It’s official Hokiesports.com Announcement 

And here are some not so flattering words from TG about SG (not awful, but not flattering) in this Roanoke Times Article

It appears the third-leading scorer all-time in Philadelphia Public League history will no longer be a Hokie.  Sophomore Tyrone Garland appears to be on the move according to the Washington Post and other sources.  No official announcement has come from VT yet, and he’s still listed on the official roster, but with the semester over, now is the time for players to make their move if they are going to.

Garland has shown he can score.  Predator always attacked the rim with intensity.  He scored 13 in the opener this year while filling in for the injured Erick Green, and then notched a career high 18 versus monmouth.

But the big issue was his defense and outside shooting.  Ty, quite frankly, played defense with his hands instead of his feet.  He was slow to react and either fouled the opposing guard when they drove, or got beaten like a rented mule.  From the outside, I’ve never seen someone bank so many 3-pointers.  He was just 29% from deep in his 1+ years though.  Greenberg, being a defensive coach, has gone with freshman Marquis Rankin since Rankin came back from injury two weeks ago.  Rankin appears to be much quicker on defensive, something Seth covets, and may be a better facilitator with the ball, something you need from a point guard.  At Ty’s height and with his lack of shooting ability from the outside, he isn’t a true ‘ACC’ shooting guard.  That forced him to play the point, which wasn’t his strength.

That said, I liked the kid and will miss him if he is leaving.  He made the All-ACC Academic Team, and was this year’s Paul Debnam, cuttin’ a rug in the team huddle after introductions.  Garland always played hard and brought a Philly toughness with him.  Best wishes to him.

Garland would become the third Hokie to transfer in a little over a year.  Ben Boggs transferred after the first semester ended last year (to Bryce Drew U — valpo).  Manny Millions Atkins transferred to georgia state after last season.  But believe me, this isn’t a Randy Edsall-type situation.  These players saw the writing on the wall and elected to move on down the road to find more playing time elsewhere.  We’ll see where Garland ends up.  With his Philly background, I wouldn’t be stunned if he went to la salle, st. joe’s, or temple (all offered him out of high school).  He needs a place where he can play more at the off-guard position.

18 ACC GAMES:

The ACC has announced that they will go to an 18-game league schedule next season even if pitt and ‘cuse are not in the league.  Seth was against this (at least until they join) as it handcuffs what you can do out of conference.  pitt and syracuse may not join the league until as late as the 2014-15 season, but either way, it’s 18 games.

The ACC has not yet decided if they’ll have divisions in basketball like the SEC does.

So, this has me thinking — VT was the first team to win 10 regular season games and not make the Big Dance two years ago.  Last year they won 11 total games (including the ACC Tourney) and still didn’t get a bid, also a first.  Will the Hokies become the first team to win 12 (13, 14…) games and not make the NCAAs?  Ugh, I don’t look forward to having to write that article.

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Niemo’s Notes | I’m For Zo (and VD); and ACC Power Poll


First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the shootings today, and especially the slain officer, Deriek Crouse.  

A hot topic of late has been the play of our lone scholarship seniors, Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila. Zo was a Third Team All-ACC player two years ago as a junior, but struggled through the first 10 games and missed the last 2/3 of last season with injuries. He looked good early this season, scoring 9, 18, 31, and 13 through the first 4 games. But he’s averaged just 6 ppg in the last 5, including a goose egg in the loss at minnesota.

Davila, meanwhile, is pretty much the same player he was last year. He’s averaging 6.2 ppg and 4 rebounds, that’s down 1 point and 1 rebounds on averaged from a year ago. But after scoring 6 or more points in 6 of the first 7 games, he’s scored just 1 total point in the last 2 (and grabbed just 2 total rebounds).

A lot of people I’ve read, not just on here but elsewhere, have called for them to be benched and their minutes stripped way down. Seth seems to disagree, as he stated this on the post-game interview with Roth last night, “Loyalty is a 2 way street. If we want loyalty we have to give loyalty Vic and Zo will win us games.” I’ll go on the record as saying I’m firmly against benching the seniors, and/or severely limiting their minutes. Here’s why:

  1. Gellin’ like Magellan: People always talk about freshmen learning to play on this level, and learning to play as a team. What they forget is even veterans go through the same thing. While Zo and Victor are seniors, they also had a comfort level playing with Hokies 2G (Allen, Bell, Delaney, and Thompson). When you play with guys that long, you get used to their style, their mannerisms, where they’ll be on the break, in the half court, etc. Yes, Green is playing fantastically, but he’s also the point guard. Zo and Victor are dependent on getting the ball. And Green wasn’t playing much until Zo was being shut down for the season last year, so the two aren’t familiar playing together in games much. Victor is dependent on being fed the ball in the post, something Tech doesn’t do much. He’s shown a nice lefty hook this year, but his righty hook has been off. That needs to be fixed but I expect he will.
  2. Don’t Put Zo in the Corner: If you watch VT’s offense, Dorenzo spends a lot of time in the corner this year. Part of that appears to be Zo playing the 3 while Brown plays the 2. That worked for Terrell Bell, who was a fantastic 3-point shooter from the corner, but that’s not Zo’s game. He needs to be on the wing, similar to where Brown is, to be able to shot-fake, shoot a mid-range jumper, or attack the hoop. We know Zo’s a career <30% 3-point shooter, so sticking him in the corner is not to his strengths. Hudson is also good in transition, so the more VT runs (I won’t hold my breath), the better he is.
  3. Hypocrite: People call for Zo and Victor to sit, but not Dorian Finney-Smith. Why? Doe Doe has been as mercurial as them. He’s averaging 9.5 ppg and 10 rebounds per game in VT’s 6 wins, but just under 4 ppg and 7 rebounds in their 3 losses. People give him a pass because he’s young and needs to learn. That’s not how you coach. You coach to win every game (or else someone else will be coaching when your young guys are vets). So Seth can’t play the younger guys just to let them learn. And he knows Zo is better than what he’s shown of late. And he knows Victor can do more. They have earned the right to work their way out of this slump as they learn to play together with Hokies 3G.

That said, I do agree you go with the hot hand. Brown played over Hudson at the end of the minnesota game and Raines/Barksdale say a lot more minutes than normal at rhode island. But like I said, I support keeping the seniors in the starting lineup. Give them the first chance at being ‘hot’ that night. And show them you believe in them for all the hard work they’ve put in.

ACC POWER POLL:

  1. #4 unc (7-2): Yes, they’ve lost 2 games already. But that was in a ‘neutral’ site game in Vegas against unlv, and at #1 kentucky by 1-point. They have 5 potential 1st round draft picks in THIS coming draft. Nuff said.
  2. #7 duke (8-1): I still don’t think they are that good. They have a bunch of really good role players, and some young stars like Austin Rivers. But Rivers is no Irving, and they really miss Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler. So I don’t think they are even close to unc, but I also think they are the clear cut #2 in the ACC.
  3. florida state (6-3): They have not looked like the third best team in the league at times, but they still play that suffocating defense. And their 3 losses are to an undefeated harvard team (they didn’t score for the first 12 minutes of the game!), uconn, and at michigan state. No shame in that. They, as usual, need to find offense though.
  4. virginia (8-1): They beat michigan at home. But their lone loss is to Hank Thorns’s tcu team. I could easily make a case for them at #3, but they are uva, so I’ll give fsu the tiebreaker.
  5. VIRGINIA TECH (6-3): It hasn’t been pretty to date, but Tech’s played a tough schedule and did OK. Green looks like a real star.
  6. nc state (5-3): Shocker that they start playing better with Sidney Lowe gone. They beat texas and played vandy, indiana, and stanford tough. They’d have lost those games by 20-30 last year.
  7. miami (5-3): They had a chance to move up, but got waxed at home by memphis in the second half. They can really shoot the 3, but with tubby Reggie Johnson out hurt, they are lacking an inside game.
  8. maryland (5-3): They are overachieving to this point (and that has to credit their coach). maryland is awful this year, but they are 5-3 with wins over notre dame and colorado. But I think they are closer to the team that beat mount st. mary’s but just 3 on Wednesday. Expect them to drop.
  9. clemson (4-3): If this were the South Carolina state tournament, they’d be long since triple eliminated. They lost at home to college of charleston, coastal carolina, and the gamecocks. They did beat iowa on the road, but I thought they way overachieved last year and that is tough to repeat when you lose a few key players and add next to nothing in recruiting.
  10. georgia tech (5-4) won at georgia for the first time in 35 years on Wednesday. That’s impressive until you consider a couple of things… 1) they played at neutral sites from ’81 to ’95. 2) Paul Hewitt was the georgia tech coach for the last 10 years. And we know he couldn’t win on the road anywhere (look how george mason is starting to slide now). That said, the jackets are a far better team this year with Coach Brian Gregory than they would be with Hewitt, who couldn’t coach defense to save his life.
  11. wake forest (6-3): They look drastically better than last year and have moved out of the cellar! They’d have lost to high point last year, but edged them by 4 on the road this year. They beat nebraska. But I want to see some more body of work before I get too excited (they lost to richmond).
  12. boston college (2-6): They may be the worst team in ACC history ever. wake is the reigning worst ever champ, after their 1-15 season last year. But bc gets no fan support, which willed wake to their lone win over uva last year. bc returned just 2 scholarship players from a year ago, and those guys averaged just 6.6 ppg. Gone are over 90% of their points and assists, and 80% of their rebounds. They could lose all 16 ACC games.

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Niemo’s Notes | 08.29.11


Couple of things…

  1. I forgot to mention this last week, but Gene Swindle is reviving his college basketball career.  The former arm curl victim transferred to jmu and should be eligible to play this season.  VT believed his right knee injury a few years ago was career ending, so he was allowed to stay on scholarship without it counting against Tech’s 13.  Had they reinstated him within the program, the NCAA likely would have taken away an additional scholarship (the NCAA does this to keep schools from taking guys out of their scholarship allotment temporarily and then bringing them back if they need to).  So the Hokies decided not to bring him back into the fold, and so he’s transferring – Swindle to jmu per Roanoke Times
  2. Javaris Crittenton, who played at georgia tech for one season in 2006-07 before bolting to the NBA as a First Round pick, is a fugitive wanted for murder in Atlanta – AJC.com Article

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Niemo’s Notes | Hump Day Ramblings


ON THE maryland GAME:

  • Offense – 1st half: The Hokies offense is clicking like I’m never seen since the Dell Curry (maybe Bimbo Coles) days.  But they did really struggle with the 3-2 zone maryland went to halfway through the first half.  Up until that point, VT had scored 22 points in barely more than 8 minutes.  They had 9 assists on 10 FGs and just 1 turnover.  The key was attacking the terps – pushing the ball after misses or throwing over the top of the press.  After the terps went to the zone, VT had just 3 assists and 6 turnovers the rest of the half.  The seemed to forget about pushing the ball.
  • Offense – 2nd half: The key was being aggressive again.  VT hit 18/24 FTs in the second half, and that was after missing 4 of their first 7 FTs (15/17 the rest of the way).  Tech also had better shot selection from 3-point range, hitting 4/7 after going just 5/16 in the first half, most of which were after wasted possessions at the end of the shot clock.
  • The Hokies’ 193 points in the last two games is a record under Greenberg.  The previous high was 192 back in 2008-09 when VT had 76 in the ACC quarters against unc, and 116 against duquesne (but that was in 2 OTs).  Tech had 189 back in 2006-07 to start the season, but that was against coppin state and west florida.
  • Turnovers: I mentioned above VT had just 1 turnover in the early part of the first half.  But at the half both teams had 7.  In the second half, maryland had 8 turnovers to just 2 by Tech (and both of those were in the final minute).  That’s how VT won this game.
  • Halftime: Last night was the first game in ACC play the Hokies have won where they were NOT up by 10 or more at the half.  They had been 0-4 before last night when ahead by <10 or behind.  Tech did have a double digit lead in the first half, the 8th time in 11 ACC games they’ve done that.  They truly are a quick starting team.
  • Young Guards: The maryland guards were not the liability I though they’d be.  The three main guys had just 5 turnovers (compared to 9 at maryland).  And they notched 39 points.
  • Nolan Smith: Yes, I know VT didn’t play duke last night, but did you see the way Terrell Stoglin shredded the VT guards last night?  He beat them up the court like they were rented mules.  His high (he’s a freshman) before last night was 18… he had 15 at the half.  He finished with 25.
  • Freebies: The terps came in as the second worst FT shooting team in the ACC at barely over 60%.  They hit 21/24 (88%) last night, including 11/11 in the second half.  So much for VT’s free throw ‘defense’.  Very surprising on the road.
  • I gave Delaney crap for not being clutch in the final minute of games after the bc loss.  But he was money from the line last night down the stretch, and also had a huge jumper even though it was an otherwise forgettable night from the field.
  • I’m going to hold off on talking about Jeff Allen… article coming soon…

Hokie Trends:

  • Delaney is 26/28 in the last two games from the line.
  • Erick Green has developed a mental block at the foul line (I think he’s holding on to the ball too long and thinking about his shot too much).  He was 32/33 from the line from mt. st. mary’s to nc state, but is just 9/17 since then.
  • Terrell Bell has shot 50% or better in four straight games.  He had made more than 2 3-pointers in just two games before last night (when he hit 5).  That surpassed his 4/9 against the canes in the ACC Tournament last year.
  • Victor Davila was 13/17 (76%) against the terps this year.
  • Manny Atkins is 0 for his last 6 from behind the arc.  Even in warm-ups you can see his confidence is off.

ON maryland:

  • The terps are 0-6 against VT, duke, and bc this year, but 5-0 against the rest of the ACC.  They haven’t played unc or fsu yet (beat the noles!).
  • Credit Gary Williams.  He made key adjustments last night.  Their press got shredded early so he went to a 3-2 zone, which is not their game.  Yet it rattled the Hokies.  Also, they did a great job of attacking the Hokies’ zone which caused the VT foul trouble inside and got maryland back in the game.
  • Jordan Williams’ second foul with 6 minutes to go in the first half was key.  It took him out of the game and slowed their run.
  • Williams does not have a double-double in his last 3 games.  He had reached that mark in 16/17 before that.
  • The terps are turtle soup in terms of getting an ACC Tournament bye.  They would lose tiebreakers to VT and bc, and would have to make up 3 games on Tech with 5 to play to finish ahead of them.

ON THIS STRETCH:

  • I said I’d take 3-1 in this stretch of gt, md, @uva, and @wake.  But now that VT is 2-0 to start this stretch, will that do?  You’d certainly like to win both these games against ACC bottom feeders, but it is NOT easy to win on the road in the ACC, where home teams win around 65-70% of the games.
  • Several things are going VT’s way on Saturday at uva: uva plays duke at home on Wednesday night (let’s face it, that game means more to them – they’d love to beat the national champs).  They might have a slight hangover Saturday.  Also, Mike Scott, the ultimate Hokie-beater, is not playing.  He had 21/13 against the Hokies at VT and had regularly own Jeff Allen (well, the old Jeff) in the past.  But uva would love to sweep the Hokies and VT will have to be sharp and fired up.
  • One thing is going VT’s way against wake: They’re awful.  That said, let’s hope the Hokies aren’t looking ahead to duke.  wake has looked better lately but that isn’t saying much since they’re 1-10 in ACC play with 9 of those losses by 14 or more.

ON TECH’S PLACE IN THE STANDINGS:

  • Tech took firm command of fourth place on Tuesday, and look poised to get their fifth First Round bye in the ACC Tournament in 7 years in the ACC.
  • 3-2 the rest of the way should get VT a bye.  Should.  That said, clemson could easily to 3-1 in their next 4 and be 9-6 heading into their game against VT.
  • I predict the eagles will go 2-3 the rest of the regular season which would leave them at 8-8 and out of the race for a bye.  But if the eagles win at VT and both finish 9-7, Tech is the odd man out.
  • The Hokies have a good shot at 3rd place if they continue to play well.  They are just one game behind the noles and fsu is without star Chris Singleton, who has a broken foot.  fsu will likely go 3-2 or 2-3 the rest of the way.  2-3 would put them at 10-6 and give the Hokies the tiebreaker if Tech finishes 3-2. The Hokies have the tiebreaker in a two-way tie thanks to VT’s win in Cassell so odds are good… if the Hokies continue to play well.
  • The bc and clemson games are the biggest the rest of the way in terms of getting a bye… and yes, I realize the duke game is the biggest in terms of making the Big Dance.
  • VT is 6-2 since starting 1-2 in ACC play.

Posted in 2010-11 SeasonComments (3)

Niemo’s Notes | A Look Back, A Look Ahead


Let’s look at the week that just past and what VT needs to do in the week’s ahead…

The past week:  VT had to go at least 1-1.  wake was an awful team, and it was at home, so that had to be a win.  So VT at least gets a ‘B’ for the week taking care of business there.  But this could have easily been an ‘A’ had Tech been able to close out the unc game.  They’d be sitting in a first place tie in the ACC at 3-1 at the ACC season quarter-mark.  One game away, the story of Hokies’ basketball.

There are a lot of positives to take from the last week.  Let’s grade out the Hokies…

Defense – Grade A: Tech’s defense was outstanding this week.  In the first 4:32 of the unc game, the Hokies caused 6 turnovers with their 2-3 zone and led to several points.  Tech jumped out to a 12-2 lead thanks to their python-like pressure.  unc finished the first half with 11 turnovers.  What ended up costing VT the game?  They created just 6 turnovers in the second half.  This was, in part, due to the heels adjusting to the zone.  But it is also because the Hokies were down to 6 healthy bodies for most of the second half with Green and Atkins injured.  So I’m not blaming Tech for that, it was simple bad luck when Tech absolutely cannot afford injuries.  Still, causing 17 unc turnovers (13 steals) and 41% shooting is pretty darn good.  Plus, they limited the heels to just 17 free throw attempts.

Against wake, I loved the defense again.  Tech caused 16 turnovers off 8 steals, leading to a 26-11 edge in points off turnovers.  Tech even showed a Box-and-1 defense to limit wake’s Gary Clark (Atkins guarded him).  The Hokies showed man again, though I think they are best in zone and expect to see mostly zone the rest of the season.  wake shot just 40%.  fsu, unc, and wake all shot under 42% against Tech.

What I liked most against wake was Tech put their foot on the deacons’ throats and didn’t let up.  We’ve seen the Hokies blow an 18-point and a 16-point first half lead of late (st. bonnie and unc), but there was none of that in this game.  Even in the second half with Tech up by 20+, they kept working hard on defense.  That shows that even with just 8 guys, they can work hard.  The question is can they keep it up for 40 minutes when they have to?

Offense – Grade B:  Cannot give them an ‘A’ because of the unc game.  Tech shot 11/23 (48%) from three-point range, which is awesome, but it was the other aspects that did them in.  VT was just 10/30 (33%) on two-point shots and 8/15 (53%) from the foul line.  Delaney and Davila also missed front ends of one-and-ones, so that’s 4 points wasted.  Tech had 17 turnovers, which is just too many.

Allen was limited to 25 minutes in the unc game, and even when he was in there he wasn’t productive.  Allen had been a beast, with 9 straight games of 11+ points and 9+ rebounds coming in, but just tallied 4 points and 7 rebounds.  The problem is Jeff is not your prototypical power forward.  He’s listed at 6’7″ but is more like 6’6″ or less.  John Henson is 6’10″ with the wingspan of a 747.  Allen would make a post move, lean in to shoot, and go-go-gadget-arms would reach around him and block it cleanly.  That’s been the knock on Jeff – against bigger teams inside he struggles to get his shots off.  He has to be able to hit mid-range jumpers to draw the bigger defender out, then beat them off the dribble and with quickness.

Against wake we saw some good things.  Namely, VT was able to finish when they had numbers on the break instead of shooting a stupid pull-up jumper or forcing it when the one man back engages you (instead of passing).  Also, Delaney did an excellent job of penetrating inside the arc and finding a sliding perimeter player who knocked down a three.  Good ball movement.  Inside, Davila was a beast, but many times there was no one around him.  You want to see him finishing when he has a body on him.

I think VT is better offensively now, in large part because they are creating turnovers and pushing the ball.  But I also think wake is a terrible defensive and rebounding team.  Tech isn’t going to be able to shoot 59% many more times this season.  We’ll see if Tech can keep up the improvements they showed Saturday.

Bench – Grade A: Gotta love what you saw this week from Atkins and Eddie.  They are contributing now, which is huge.  Manny and Jarell scored 25 and 18 points respectively and shot 5/7 and 2/4 from three-point range (Eddie was 2/19 heading into the wake game).  Manny is a serious three-point threat off the bench, which Tech sorely needed.  The only downer was Tyrone Garland struggled against unc, not scoring and committing 3 turnovers in 8 minutes.  But not many freshman do succeed in their first trip to Chapel Hill.

Other things:

  • Erick Green reached double figures for the 8th straight game – every game he’s started.  What’s impressed me the most is his ability to hit pull up jumpers.  He’s deadly from 12-18 feet, even on the break.
  • Since Green moved to the point, Malcolm Delaney has 44 assists and just 16 turnovers.  He had 26/42 before that point.  Malcolm had a season high 9 assists (1 turnover) against wake.
  • Tech was 19/40 from three-point range last week.  They were just 1/8 against fsu.

LOOKING AHEAD:

The Hokies will be on the road a lot in the next three weeks in ACC play.  4 of their next 5 are on the road (not including the final out of conference game against longwood in that).  Tech has at maryland, (longwood), at georgia tech, miami, at nc state, and at boston college coming up before a long layoff.  The Hokies have to go 3-2 in ACC play during this stretch to keep any hope alive of competing for an ACC Tournament First Round bye.  That means coming up with two ACC road wins.  At georgia tech is the easiest on paper, though they just waxed unc by 20.  But the jackets are the 2nd worst team in the ACC, I have no doubt.  The other three road contests can all be won.  At maryland is always tough and I’d have to pick the terps in this one, but they are very beatable if you can limit Jordan Williams and limit turnovers.  nc state still has Sidney Lowe as their coach, and that makes that game very winnable.  And at bc might as well be a neutral site game  – they drew just 3,600 (that’s tickets sold) for their conference game against nc state last week.

Point is, Tech has to find a way to take at least two of those AND beat a decent miami team at home.  Get through this at 5-4 (or better) and things will get interesting.  Tech has 4 of 6 at home after that, plus very winnable road games at uva and wake.

Posted in 2010-11 SeasonComments (3)

Niemo’s Notes | Delaney a Cousy ‘Quarterfinalist’; Boggs to valpo


Malcolm Delaney  has made the first cut for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the top point guard in the nation (even though he’s no longer playing the point).  This list was cut from 66 (I counted 67) to 20 (see ya, Hank Thorns).  Next month that will be trimmed to 10, then to 5 in March, with the winner named at the Final Four.

Nolan Smith of duke is the only other ACC player on the list, though the ACC has produced the winner three of seven years — Felton (unc), Lawson (unc), and Vasquez (maryland).  Kemba Walker of uconn has to be the favorite right now along with Jimmer Fredette of byu.

Ben Boggs has announced he’s transferring to valparaiso in Indiana.  valpo is best known as Bryce Drew U., for his game-winning shot of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.  valpo is in the Horizon League (butler).  For more on this, go to valpoHoops.com.

Posted in 2010-11 SeasonComments (1)

ACC Power Poll and the Ocho Stay Undefeated | Niemo’s Notes | 1.9.11


Hokie ramblings…

  • Props to the Prof: Kudos to Head Coach Seth Greenberg for running zone the whole game Saturday.  He’ll tell you he’s not a zone guy, but with the VT situation of having just 8 players, he had to find a way to not wear them down on defense and to keep our 2 bigs out of foul trouble.  The zone works great for that.  Just exposes you to giving up offensive rebounds.  And kudos on working in that 3/4-court 1-3-1 trap on Saturday, too.  That forced the noles into a couple of turnovers and kept them from getting comfortable.  Seth has done a great job mixing things up defensively this year.
  • Viva El Ocho!: Tech’s Elite 8 moved to 4-0 with their win over florida state.  Tech had been just 2-6 against the noles in ACC play, including 3 straight losses.  But the Hokies found a way to win ugly against a team that also likes to win ugly.  I guess we out-uglied them.  Tech is now 3-1 at home against the noles in league play, 0-5 in tallahassee.
  • The Big Donut: Big props to Mr. Jeff Allen.  I called him out in my fsu preview, mentioning that of his 34 career double-doubles, just 11 were against ACC opponents.  He could look like an All-American against the mount’s and campbell’s of the world, only to seem very average in ACC games.  Well, Jeff gave me a warm glass of shut-the-heck-up on Saturday.  Allen, despite a groin that has been listed as 75%, scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the noles, including 16 second half points.  And 10/12 from the line?   Who was that guy?
  • The Big Donut (continued): Jeff Allen now has five double-doubles in his last six games.  But let’s go beyond that.  In the last eight games, Jeff has scored at least 11 points and snagged 9 boards in every contest. So he’s missed a double-double by just 1 rebound in those three other games.  He’s averaged 15.1 points and 11.0 rebounds over that stretch.  This is the Jeff Allen we’ve been waiting for.  The light has gone on.
  • Can the Big Donut Stay Fresh?: Obviously Jeff is vital to the Hokies for the rest of the season considering they have just two true big men on the roster left.  You know Allen will be hyped for the game at unc, but how will he respond Saturday?  Tech has to play wake forest less than 45 hours after the unc game ends.  Will he be able to play like he has with such a short turnaround?  We shall see — and Tech needs him.  While the deacons are flat out awful (I’ll save you some time… they are #12 in my Power Poll), they have bigs and VT needs Allen to defend and rebound inside.
  • Paging M.D.: I don’t want to say I’m concerned about Malcolm Delaney, but he seems lost.  Ever since moving to the 2-guard, his production has faded more and more with each game.  In his first game at the off-guard spot, he scored 18 points on 6/9 shooting (5/7 on 3s) against penn state.  And while he played well in the four following games, he just seems to be invisible at times now on the court.  With 8 minutes to go Saturday, he had just four points.  Malcolm answered with 9 down the stretch, including a critical three-point play, but he is has not looked like a “star” lately.  Clearly it wasn’t working earlier in the year when he was scoring half of Tech’s points and no one else was involved, but the Hokies need him to be a bigger factor than he was Saturday down the stretch.  While it is great Allen is playing so well, Malcolm needs to be the man again.
  • Sharing the Wealth: On another note about Delaney, after his 3 assist, 0 turnover performance Saturday, he now has 30 assists and just 11 giveaways since moving to the 2-guard.  Malcolm had 26 assists to 42 turnovers in the first 8 games.  Clearly he is a much better distributor when he doesn’t have to handle the ball as much.
  • Erick’s Errors: After going more than 200 minutes without a turnover (over 7 games), Erick Green has 6 giveaways in the last 2 games, including 4 on Saturday.  To be fair, one of those turnovers should have gone to Delaney (he threw the ball into the corner and basically led Erick out of bounds).  Believe me, I’m not dogging Erick here.  His run was amazing over that stretch where he had zero turnovers.   Just thought I’d point out he is finally looking human at the point.
  • Erick’s Errors (The Other Way): With Green’s 4 steals Saturday against fsu, he has 17 steals in the last 5 games.  He had just 7 steals in the first 7 games he played (though obviously that was in less time per game).  Erick is now third in the ACC in steals per game at 2.0 despite not starting the first 6 games he appeared in, and playing just 2 minutes against cal state-northridge.
  • Hokies of the Lost Arc: Tech did very well from 3-point range during a 4 game stretch from uva to st. bonnie.  The Hokies were 29/75 (39%) over that span.  Since then, Tech is 9/37 (24%), including 2/14 versus usc-upstate and 1/8 against fsu. Malcolm did not hit a three in the game against fsu, just the second time that has happened (okie state was the other — so Tech won both — hmm…).
  • Eye on RPI: Trust me, it is too early to start worrying about the RPI.  But what the heck, this is a blog after all…  Tech has dropped to around 61 from around 40 a few weeks ago.  This is because usc-upstate and the mount really messed up VT’s strength of schedule, which is now around 60 (it had been top 20).  But some of VT’s wins really stepped up this weekend — okie state beat kansas state and are #35 (Tech’s best win) and penn state beat michigan state and are in the top 70 now.  florida state and st. bonaventure are also in the top 100, though barely.  VT is 1-3 against the top 50, and 3-3 against the top 100.
  • ACC Wins: How many wins in the league will it take to make the Big Dance?  I have no idea.  Tech was just the second ACC team ever to win 9 and not make it 3 years ago, and became the first to not make the NCAA Tournament last year with 10 league wins.  Tech just needs to focus on winning one game at a time, which leads me to…
  • This Week: The Hokies should do no worse than 1-1 this week.  It will be very tough to win at chapel heel on Thursday, but then the Hokies get wake at home Saturday.  This is a must win considering how bad the deacons are.  But the ACC didn’t do VT any favors having the short turnaround.  Let’s hope Allen holds up.  And if Tech can steal a win against the powder blue, this could be a great week.

Hokies of Note in the ACC Statistical Leaders (per game):

  • Delaney is 3rd in the ACC in scoring at 18.6
  • Allen is 13th in scoring at 13.4
  • Allen is 2nd in rebounding at 9.8
  • Bell is 14th at 6.0
  • Allen is 4th in FG% at 50%
  • Delaney is 5th in assists at 4.0
  • Delaney is 4th in FT% at 87%
  • Green is 3rd in steals at 2.0
  • Delaney is 5th in steals at 1.6
  • Delaney is 5th in 3-Pt% at 42%
  • Delaney is 4th in 3-Ptrs Made at 2.4
  • Green is #1 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.7
  • Allen is 2nd in defensive rebounds at 7.4
  • Delaney is #1 in minutes played at 38.0
  • VT is 10th in scoring but #1 in scoring defense
  • VT is 8th in FT% even with their 34/37 effort
  • VT is 4th in FG% and FG% defense
  • VT is 11th in 3-PT% and 5th in 3-PT% defense (I find the latter hard to believe, thought it would be worse)
  • VT is 9th in blocks
  • VT is 6th in steals
  • VT is 3rd in turnover margin (this has improved a lot lately)
  • VT is 7th in defensive rebound % (68%) and 9th in offensive rebound % (31%)
  • VT is 10th in 3-Point FGs Made per game (5.0)

ACC Power Poll (1.9.11) — this promises to be very fluid this year:

  1. duke (2-0, 15-0): Struggled against maryland at home, but they are the clear cut #1 in the nation.  And that’s without Kyrie Irving who may not need surgery.  They struggle in transition D and can be beat up by a talented big this year (calling Jeff Allen).
  2. unc (1-0, 11-4): The heels had looked really good over the last month beating #11 k-y kentucky and losing to texas by just 2 while going 7 of 8.  But that was before Saturday.  They looked like crap at uva against a struggling hoos squad and trailed by as many as 11 in the second half.  But they found a way to win and I haven’t seen anyone better than them (other than duke).
  3. Nobody (though I’m counting bc here – 2-0, 12-4): Seriously, no one deserves this slot.  If I was going to put someone here, I’d put boston college since they are 2-0 in the league including a win at maryland and a win over a terrible georgia tech team.  And as you loyal readers know, ga tech never wins on the road so no props for that.  Lucky for the eagles, they aren’t in the Ivy League, where they’d be 0-2 after losses to yale and harvard.  That’s why I can’t really put them here.
  4. VIRGINIA TECH (1-1, 10-4): Do I really think Tech is the fourth best team in the ACC?  Not really.  But they finish in the top four pretty much every year (4 of 6).  And they’ve won 6 in a row.  And they just beat a decent fsu team that had owned them historically.  Thursday night will be a real test.
  5. florida state (1-1, 11-5): They looked like crap against the Hokies, except for Singleton.  But the noles play great defense, which will keep them in games, and they have veteran leadership.  And if they get 6’11″ Gibson back sooner than later, they’ll look like the team that beat clemson and baylor, and played butler tough.
  6. nc state (1-0, 11-4): It pains me to have a Sidney Lowe team this high, but the ACC is that bad this year.  They’ll find a way to suck, trust me, but Tracy Smith is great and now that he is back, they have as much of a shot as anyone to finish in the top four.  But I’m not going to go ape after they beat an awful wake team.  Let’s see how they do at boston college this week (prediction: they lose… come on Sidney!).
  7. clemson (1-1, 12-4): clemson is not good.  But they beat miami, who I thought was pretty good.  So I’ll put them ahead of miami.  The tigers do have two good guards, which helps.  And they will be georgia tech this week since the jackets NEVER win on the road (I’m being serious; see below).
  8. miami (0-2, 11-5): The canes would have been much higher if they had won at clemson Saturday, but they didn’t.  They played duke tough last weekend, but lost.  They are 0-2 in the ACC, but both were on the road so I’ll put them ahead of maryland.
  9. maryland (0-2, 10-5): The terps also played duke tough at duke, but like the canes, they lost.  And their home loss to bc drops them below the canes.  They have a star in Jordan Williams but no one else scares me.  They do play well as a team and their role players have bought into working hard on defense, but will that last when they aren’t playing duke?  And they can’t shoot.  This is not the team of a year ago.
  10. uva (1-1, 10-6): How in the world did they beat the Hokies?  How did they lead unc by 11 in the second half without Mike Scott?  I have no idea.  But they did.  But then the heels woke up and won.  Will Mike Scott play again this year or take a medical hardship?  If it is the latter, they are in real trouble.
  11. georgia tech (0-1, 7-7): Hey, they were tied with bc at the half!  But then a 14-1 run put that game away.  Perhaps georgia tech remembered they were on the road — they are 1-16 over the last 3 seasons in ACC road games. The jackets have lost to unc-charlotte, siena, northwestern, and kennesaw state.  Not good.  Paul Hewitt’s days are numbered and they’d be 12th if it weren’t for…
  12. wake forest (0-1, 7-9): PLEASE let the Hokies beat them Saturday.  Ugh, the deacons are awful.  About the only thing they do well is block shots — they are 11th in the nation.  But they’s lost to presbyterian, unc-wilmington, winthrop, and stetson among others.  And they just lost by 21 to Sidney Lowe and nc state!

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Around The ACCComments (4)

Niemo’s Notes: purdue is Coming to the Cassell!


Get your whiskey shot and beer ready, the boilermakers are coming to Blacksburg!  The worst kept secret in the college sports world (well, maybe second behind Big(14/16)10 expansion), is now official – the purdue boilermakers will visit the Virginia Tech Hokies as part of the ACC/Big(11)Ten Challenge on Wednesday, December 1st.  This will be one of the marquee match-ups of the challenge, which the Big(11)Ten won for the first time last year.  Tech is 2-3 in the challenge with both wins coming against iowa.  VT is 1-1 at the Cassell in the challenge.

Already this is a bigger out of conference game than VT played all of last year, with more likely to come, so don’t expect strength of schedule to be a factor next year for the Hokies and the NCAA Tournament.  purdue is a sure fire top five team next year (Pat Forde of ESPN.com has purdue #1).  They finished 29-6 this past season and lost to the eventual champion, duke, in the Sweet 16.  Three of their losses came in the final month of the season when they didn’t have Robbie Hummel (6’8″ F), their second leading scorer and rebounder.  But purdue returns their top three scorers next season, all of whom average more than 15 ppg and combine to score over 47 ppg (67% of their points) in the offensively challenged Big(11)Ten.  E’Twaun Moore, a 6’4″ guard, led purdue with 16.4 ppg, Hummel averaged 15.7 before his knee injury, and 6’10″ center JaJuan Johnson averaged 15.5.  In other words, they are loaded with three superstars.  They did lose two quality contributors at guard though.

The key now for the Hokies is making sure they lock up other big (maybe not this big, but semi-big) out of conference games for next year.  You cannot have your OOC schedule boil down to just one game.

Delaney: I’m glad I was wrong on Malcolm leaving for the NBA.  Not only selfishly because I want him playing for us next year, but also because I think it is best for him.  He had too many question marks in the NBA’s eyes right now.  Hopefully he can answer those next year and move up in the Draft (or into the Draft).  And with the improved cast of characters around him, Malcolm won’t have to shoulder the load as much.  Plus he will get to play with his buddy Allan Chaney. 

Recruiting News: The Hokies continue to be in the picture for some major prospects in the 2011 Class.  Dai-Jon Parker, a 5-star Rivals.com and 4-star Scout.com prospect at shooting guard, recently visited VT.  The Hokies appear to be very much in the picture for him.  Tech already has two 4-star recruits and a solid 3-star recruit in the 2011 class but have at least five scholarships to give out.

Other News: If you look at the article above, Pat Forde lists Tech as a top 25 contender for the title next year…

“Virginia Tech: The Hokies actually might avoid putting coach Seth Greenberg through bubble misery next March. I’m not sure what we’ll do in the media without another season of “Watch Seth Sweat Out Selection Sunday,” but he should appreciate the reprieve. If this experienced team performs to its capabilities, the Hokies will lock up a bid with weeks to spare.”

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Niemo’s Notes: Autry Hired, Delaney Still In Limbo


The Hokies have officially announced that Adrian Autry, an All-Big East performer in the early 1990s, has been promoted from the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations post to an Assistant Coach position.  Hokiesports.com Story

In other news, if you haven’t checked your calendar lately, ocho de mayo is approaching at a muy rapido pace.  If you don’t understand the significance of that, May 8th is the date by which NCAA underclassmen have to remove their names from the NBA Draft list.  Malcolm Delaney has not removed his name to date.   If you aren’t worried, you might want to be.  I’ve heard credible rumors (I realize that’s an oxymoron) on both sides of the fence.  If I had to guess right now, I’d actually guess Malcolm doesn’t return, but I hope I’m wrong.  Losing Malcolm would leave Tech with just one true point guard, and with the rumors that Tyrone Garland may not be qualified, that would really leave the Hokies thin in the backcourt.  But we’ll see how it all plays out.  Next Monday/Tuesday will go a long way towards determining how next season will go for the Hokies.

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Niemo’s Notes: NCAA Tourney Expansion Too Late for the Hokies


UPDATES:

  • According to the Washington Post, Allan Chaney collapsed during a workout and was taken to the hospital.  Seth Greenberg, who was away, returned to campus.  The article says it is not serious, but having just watched the ESPN 30 for 30 special on Paul Westhead (and the tragedy of Hank Gathers), you always are concerned.  Hopefully it is nothing heart related, and just was dehydration.
  • Bill Courtney will be named cornell’s Head Coach on Friday at 3 PM (RTD Article).  Courtney was at VT for just one year and is now the second VT assistant to leave Tech in the last 10 days along with Ryan Odom. 
  • The other assistant, James Johnson, did not get the gardner-webb Head Coaching position, so he will be back next year as of now.

Here’s some recent news I’ve come across of late of interest to Hokie basketball fans:

  • NCAA Tourney to go to 68 Teams: It looks like the NCAA Tournament will go from 65 to 68 teams starting next season.  Would Tech have made the NCAA Tournament this year if it had been 68?  I’m 90% sure it would have, but who knows.  And there’s no point crying over spilled milk at this point.  This should help the Hokies chances though going forward.  If VT doesn’t make the Big Dance next year with what they (should) have coming back, then something seriously went wrong.  Tech should not even be close to the bubble next season.
  • Tech already lost one assistant coach, Ryan Odom, to unc-charlotte (Article) and could lose two more.  James Johnson interviewed to be gardner-webb’s Head Coach and Bill Courtney interviewed for cornell’s vacancy.  Both are waiting to hear back: Richmond Times Dispatch Article
  • Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times thinks Adrian Autry will be named one assistant (he’s already the Director of Basketball Operations).  If that name rings a bell, Autry was an absolute stud for syracuse in the early-90s.  He averaged double digits his final three years at the ‘cuse and finished with over 1500 points.  He was Third Team All-Big East his junior year and First Team his senior season.  Adrian didn’t get drafted or play in the NBA, but did play in Europe for several years.
  • Doughty also mentioned he’s heard that the Hokies aren’t sure 2010 signee Tyrone Garland will meet NCAA eligibility guidelines.  That would stink to lose out on Tyrone, who is a scoring machine at combo guard.  He’s cut from the same mold as Malcolm Delaney, in my opinion.  Apparently Greenberg was scouting a point guard in Slovenia as a backup plan, though the Hokies already have a commitment from Marquis Rankin, a stud PG in the ’11 class.

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Niemo’s Notes | Time to Clean Out the Lockers


Ugh, still hasn’t set in that the season is over.  Perhaps because I’m so hyped up on caffeine to help me make the drive home last night and because I barely slept last night.  Anyway, here are my thoughts on last night.

  • I really question the decision not to foul when uri got the ball back with 45 seconds left, up two.  After JT got mugged (but no call) and the rams got the ball, Seth decided to play defense instead of putting the rams on the line.  I know Seth loves it when Jane or John Q. Public questions his calls, but I thought this was the wrong choice – and I first questioned it as it was happening.  By playing defense you allow the opponent to milk the clock down to about 10 seconds.  Best case scenario is they miss and you get the ball back, but then have to rush just to try and tie (or win) the game.  But if the opponent scores, as the rams did thanks to yet another second chance basket, the game is basically over as they go up two scores (4 points).  Foul and extend the game, hoping they miss some free throws and you can chip away.  I wonder if this is something Seth decided to do before the game or was a split second decision.  I rarely question him and hey, it happens.  The only thing I can think of is Delaney was near the ball and he had 4 fouls, so maybe Seth was trying to avoid him fouling out.
  • None of the NIT #1 seeds made it to NYC for the semifinals.  arizona state lost in the first round, mississippi state in the 2nd, and illinois and VT in the quarters.  The semis feature two #2 seeds, a #3, and a #4; two A-10 teams, an ACC team, and a SEC team.  Is it any surprise that unc and duke are the only two ACC teams still playing basketball?
  • Congrats to Erick Green!  He ended his string of 17 consecutive misses by hitting a long jumper in the first half.  Someone in my section yelled, “Stop the game!  Ask for the ball! [a baseball reference]”  Kind of mean, but funny.
  • In my preview I praised JT Thompson and Terrell Bell for really being a great supporting cast on offensive of late.  But they looked lost last night.  Both were very hesitant to shoot the ball.  Bell had just three shot attempts (one was a tip-in) and JT had just five, but I think they were all on drives.  It was great to see Allen, Hudson, and Delaney all have good games, but that seemed to take JT and Bell out of theirs.
  • Speaking of Allen, the Inner Tube was money again.  He secured his fourth double-double in seven games with 15/11.  Allen hit 7/10 from the floor and was destroying uri in the low post.  Jeff’s post moves are extremely polished right now.  He did only get to the line for one free throw, though, which is somewhat surprising, and the six turnovers were a killer.  But all in all he really was great down the stretch.  VT should have been feeding him the ball at least every other possession.
  • Last night is the first time I’ve seen the Hokies struggle against the press since these juniors were freshman.  They seemed to want to force the deep ball, which nevada had burned the rams with a few days ago.  But you had to expect uri would adjust, and they did.  Long passes were a disaster last night.  I have to assume the short turnaround and lack of time to prepare was a factor.
  • Dorenzo seemed tired in the latter part of the second half.  I wonder if he started to lose his legs due to their full court press.  His jumper seemed off for the first time in a while.  He has a fantastic runner though, which is what turned Zabian Dowdell from a good guard to a great, All-ACC player.
  • Give the rams credit for the Hokies’ struggles shooting down the stretch (two FGs in the last 16 minutes as Cope pointed out).  Their bigs were flashing out on the Hokie guards when they either penetrated and pulled up, or curled off screens and shot jumpers in the final 15 minutes.  This forced the guards to shoot the ball high over them, and they missed pretty much every one.  The way around that is to dump it low with the ram big men out of position, but when VT did, they couldn’t convert.
  • 5-hour Energy should be called 3-hour energy, because I really hit the wall with an hour to go on my four hour drive last night (figuratively, not literally).
  • It was great meeting Chris H., Rick T., and seeing Charlie again last night.
  • ROUND OF APPLAUSE for LEWWWWWWWWW-is Witcher!  The senior really stepped up big down the stretch when Cadarian Raines went out hurt.  Lew has a solid final six games, and chipped in three rebounds (two offensive) last night.  Witcher finished his career with 87 wins!  That ties the record for most wins by any class/player.  The ’86 Class (Dell Curry’s senior year) also had 87 wins. Hopefully this record will be broken next year.

Historical Notes:

  • VT All-Time Leaders
  • Scoring: Malcolm Delaney is just 78 points away from making the top 10 in career scoring at VT.   Assuming he returns for his senior season, he should definitely move into at least 4th place by the end of the year and could make it to 3rd place.
  • Rebounding: Jeff Allen moved into 9th place on the career rebounding list last night.  He’ll definitely make the top 5 next year and should make it to #4.  No way he’s catching our buddy, Chris Smith (he has almost double the total rebounds of Jeff).
  • Assists: Delaney sits in 5th place all time at VT.  He’s one assist behind Dell Curry and has a real shot at reaching 2nd place all time next year.
  • Steals: Jeff Allen sits in 8th place all time at VT.  Jeff will make the top 4 and should finish in 3rd place after next year.
  • Blocks: Allen is tied for 5th with former teammate Cheick Diakite.  He should move into 3rd place all time next season.

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Niemo’s Notes


“Bad morning boss?”
“They usually follow good nights, Dwight.” -Dodgeball
Ah, yes, it was a great night to be a Hokie! But my old friend W. Turkey is sure making this a painful morning. Anyway, let’s look back at the uconn win…

Nobody, and I mean nobody brings you more video coverage of Hokie games than TechHoops.com!  You want three different videos of the exact same highlights?  Well, you’ve got it right here!

  • Pretty amazing to think VT beat uconn with just 12 points from Allen and Delaney combined (they average over 32).
  • I said VT had to hold uconn to an Offensive Rebounding Percentage of around 33%.  uconn finished at 43% (16/37).  That’s not good at all by the Hokies.  They were dominated on the glass on defense.  But VT managed to grab 41% of their misses (14/34) which helped cancel that out.  Still, wouldn’t it be nice to have a team that could get stops by methods other than creating turnovers?
  • I said before the game uconn was a lousy three-point shooting team.  Of course, they came out and hit 4/9 in the first half (they only average 4 makes per game).  But then statistics got the best of them – they went 0/7 from behind the arc in the second half.
  • Tech has to find some guards that can defend opponents’ guards on the perimeter.  Yes, Walker and Dyson are really good, but Delaney and even Hudson (maybe due to his foot) have been beaten like a rented mule off the dribble of late.  Other teams’ guards have an easy time getting past them and into the key with open looks.  We were spoiled with Gordon and Dowdell, but I still feel like these guys right now look average at best defending on the ball.
  • The VT 2-3 zone was a great change of pace by Greenberg (helps with guards that are struggling to defend).  No, we aren’t a zone team but it really rattled the huskies, who were driving at ease on the Hokies early in the game.  Dare uconn to beat you from deep.  It didn’t work at first but eventually uconn got cold.  The zone really is what got the Hokies back in the game.
  • VT held quinnipiac to just 2 fast break points last week.  I said they couldn’t equal that against uconn.  I was wrong.  VT had an 8-2 advantage in fast break points and are 35-4 in this category for the NIT.  They forced uconn to beat them in the half court which is not their strength.
  • While turnovers were just 13-10 in favor of VT, the Hokies did enjoy a 19-9 advantage in points off turnovers.  Tech has dominated that stat all year.
  • Is it me or is Zo Hudson our best player now?  His jumpshot is automatic and he’s able to finish runners near the hoop, something Delaney hasn’t been able to do for the last several months. 
  • Yes, Malcolm has had three games in his last five (nc state, georgia tech, and quinnipiac), but he’s also had some real shooting stinkers sandwiched around those.  He’s shooting just 37% from the field since ACC play started and just 26% on 3-pointers.
  • Meanwhile, Dorenzo has shot 44% from the floor over that same span.  Like I said, his jumpshot from about 12-18 feet is automatic.  Zo is hitting just 29% of his threes over those games though.  In other words, neither guard has been lighting it up from behind the arc.
  • Delaney did have 9 assists last night, and 29 in his last four games.  He has been doing a much better job of sharing the ball, especially on the break.  He made some nice unselfish passes to Zo in transition (and a really bad one but hey, he’s trying).
  • Zo hit 12/20 last night.  Tech hit just 24 shots as a team.  Yep, Hudson made half of VT’s field goals.  Only one other Hokie made more than two shots, and that was JT Thompson who made just three.  You could say the Hokies had a balanced attack last night.  Or you could say they were equally bad.  Outside of Zo, they hit just 12/37 (32%).
  • Terrell Bell has hit 8 of his last 17 three-point shots over the last four games.  Add in the fact that JT is 20/35 over the last six games and you have some great signs for next year!  Thompson is consistently knocking down his midrange jumpers and that three last night was huge in my book, cutting the halftime deficit to just five.  If Bell and Thompson can continue to hit their open looks next year, it will mean Delaney, Allen, or Hudson can have an off night and VT can still win, as they did against the huskies.
  • As Cope mentioned, 25 wins ties a school record.  I believe the 17 home wins establishes a new high but I’ll have to double check that.
  • Just three ACC teams are still playing basketball: duke (NCAA), unc (NIT), and VT (NIT).
  • Mike Patrick of ESPN said last night was the loudest NIT crowd he had ever heard… until Wednesday!

Cope-acabana’s Additional Notes:

  • Hudson led the Hokies in scoring and rebounding last night (27/7). It was the second time this season Hudson has accomplished the feat. In fact, he and Jeff Allen are the only Hokies to lead the team in scoring and rebounding this season. Allen also did it twice.

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