Tag Archive | "NIT"

Happy 15th Anniversary, 1995 NIT Champs!

March 29th marks the 15th anniversary of Virginia Tech’s victory over marquette in the 1995 NIT Championship Game. Tech won 65-64 in overtime on two Shawn Smith free throws with 0.7 seconds left. Check back Monday night for a TechHoops.com exclusive interview with the star of the 1995 NIT Championship Team, Ace Custis!

In the mean time, here’s a clip of the exciting conclusion (and madness afterwards) of Tech’s quarterfinal win over new mexico state that propelled the Hokies to New York City.

The 1995 team was also snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. They finished 20-10, including 12-1 at home, despite having just seven scholarship players playing and only 2-3 guys in the rotation off the bench. VT played #3 unc with Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace very tough in Greensboro, and lost to #13 uva (yes, uva actually used to be good at basketball) by just a point in Richmond. But no invitation arrived for the Hokies to the Big Dance.

Instead, Tech ripped through wins over clemson and providence, then blew a huge first half lead against new mexico state before the dramatic win linked above. The Hokies crushed Cindarella canisius in the semifinals, and then won the title game 65-64 in overtime against marquette when Shawn Smith was fouled with .7 seconds left and Tech down a point. Much like the 1973 VT NIT Championship Game (which also went to overtime), it all came down to the last second. Smith nailed both free throws and VT was NIT champs for the second time, exactly 15 years ago.

Shawn Smith was named the Tournament MVP.  He was a forward for VT despite being maybe 6’4″ at best.  Travis Jackson started in the low post, too, but spent most his time on the perimeter.  Ace Custis also played forward.  Shawn Good (who had as good of hops as Deron Washington) ran the point while Damon Watlington was Zabian Dowdell long before Zabe – could hit any runner and was also a good outside shooter.  Off the bench VT had Myron Guillory at guard and David Jackson (who is now VT’s S&C Coach) as a wing.  FYI: David spent more time on the floor than Nancy Pelosi.  I believe VT had one more low post player who played.  I cannot remember if it was Brandon Price or Keefe Mathews (I think Keefe was redshirting that year but I’m not sure).  But that’s it, VT did not have a deep bench.  Kelly Mann was the “Paul Debnam” of that team, last off the bench in blow-outs and cost us free McDonald’s by missing a late dunk early in the season (yes, I’m still bitter).  But this was a very talented team with four guys (all the starters except Travis Jackson) ranking in the top 50 in career scoring (Ace is 9th, Shawn Smith 17th, Damon Watlington 29th, and Shawn Good 41st).

Posted in NITComments (3)

Preview | #4 uconn (18-15) @ #1 VT (24-8) | Mon., 7 PM | ESPN | NIT 2nd Round


The uconn huskies, a NCAA Tournament Final Four team a year ago, come sledding into Blacksburg to face the Hokies on Monday night in the Second Round of the NIT.  Tech did not fare well against the huskies when the two teams were in the Big East, with uconn winning six of seven (Seth was 0-1).  But this is a uconn team that was struggling mightily down the stretch as their coach Jim Calhoun dealt with health issues.  The huskies lost 12 of 18 going into the NIT, including their last four games.

Seth Greenberg has always said he’d love a chance to coach a McDonald’s All-American.  Well, Jim Calhoun and the huskies are on a first name basis with the Hamburglar and Ronald.  uconn has four guys that were 5-star recruits on their roster.  But after going to the Final Four and returning three seniors that were major contributors this year, things just haven’t panned out.  I wouldn’t expect a lot of energy out of the huskies on the road in the NIT.  Tech needs to take advantage of that and go after them early.  Build up an early lead and the huskies may roll over and play dead.

Spread: The Hokies opened as a 4 point favorite.


  1. Keep the huskies off the offensive glass: uconn grabs 39% of their misses on offense, 20th best in the nation.  Of course, quinnipiac had the 3rd best percentage in this area and held them to 33%.  Tech must hold uconn to a similar number.  Edwards, Oriakhi, and Robinson will challenge the Hokies.  They average close to three offensive rebounds per game each.
  2. Pressure uconn: The huskies turn the ball over on 22% of their possessions which buts them in the bottom 20% in the nation.  They will turn it over a lot.  I’d love to see Greenberg use that half court trap and force the huskies to make extra passes – with Bell out top and Allen lurking for the steals.
  3. Take #2 and turn it into 2: Once the Hokies get turnovers they must turn them into points.  Tech had a 27-2 edge in fast break points against quinnipiac.  Don’t expect similar numbers in this one but the Hokies need to find ways to score other than in the half court.  uconn does play good defense inside so it is tough to score in the lane.
  4. Force uconn to hit jump shots: uconn does not have a great shooter.  Their two guards play 90% of the game and shoot just 40% from the field.  Both of them average just 1.1 made threes per game, tops on the team (so they don’t have any shooters on the bench).  uconn is dead last in the nation in percentage of points that come from 3-pointers.
  5. Make the extra pass: uconn isn’t good defending full possessions.  When in the half court, work the clock, move the ball, and find the open man.  uconn turns the ball over a lot and doesn’t force many (just 18% of opponent’s possessions).  There will be open men if you move without the ball and the man with the ball looks around.
  6. Win states: VT beat quinnipiac of CT in Bear Fight fashion (20 point victory equals a Jager bomb and car bomb).  Now Tech can take down the huskies and claim the Connecticut state title!


Pos VT uconn
G 23 Delaney 6’3″ 15 Walker 6’1″
G 5 Hudson 6’5″ 11 Dyson 6’4″
F 1 Bell 6’6″ 21 Robinson 6’9″
F 0 Allen 6’7″ 33 Edwards 6’10”
C 14 Davila 6’8″ 34 Oriakhi 6’9″

This uconn team doesn’t have a force inside like a Thabeet or Okafor, thankfully, but can rebound the ball well.  They also have three seniors in their starting lineup.

On offense, uconn is very good in transition, even on the secondary break, and will look to push when they can.  But the huskies turn the ball over a lot, especially considering they have two All-Big East guards.  When they struggled down the stretch their turnovers really got out of hand.  They had double the turnovers their opponent had in two of their last four games, and were -6 in another game.  Tech needs to force them to make the extra pass and force them to work in the half court, then look for steals.  That half court trap VT has used at times could work very well against the huskies.

On defense you have to force uconn to defend the full possession.  The huskies are aggressive on D and will take chances.  If you can move the ball well, you are going to find open players as they get lazy as the shot clock wears on and aren’t great on help defense.

Hey, I’m all about leveraging what our readers know.  Regular poster King provided this insight on the huskies lineup (thanks King!):

PG: Kemba Walker vs Malcolm Delaney (Advantage: Delaney…hands down) [Niemo’s Note: Walker made 3rd Team All-Big East.  Walker doesn’t shoot a lot of threes but shoots a solid 34% from deep.  Kemba likes to attack the rim and gets to the line a lot.  He is very good in transition, but not a good spot up shooter.  He was just 1/9 against northeastern.]
SG: Jerome Dyson vs Dorenzo Hudson (Advantage: Dyson…but only slightly…if ‘Zo is healthy it might be a Tie) [Niemo’s Note: Dyson, like Walker, made 3rd Team All-Big East.  So their starting back court was recognized by the league.  Dyson led the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg but struggling shooting.  Jerome shot under 40% from the floor and under 30% on 3s.  Dyson was especially bad down the stretch, hitting just 6/26 shots (0/7 on 3s) in their final three games, all losses.  He got benched early in the northeastern game for some defensive lapses but had a game high 18 points.]
SF: Stanley Robinson vs Terrell Bell (Advantage: Robinson…athletic freak w/ NBA length & DWash-like jumping ability; Bell will have to respect his jump shot, anticipate him going in for the alley-oop from the weak side, and work hard to keep him off the offensive glass)  [Niemo’s Note: Robinson had 14 against northeastern on 7/11 shooting because they couldn’t match him inside.  You must force him to beat you farther out, from 12 feet or more.  And he does turn the ball over a lot so be aggressive on him away from the hoop, he’ll make bad passes or can get stripped.]
PF: Gavin Edwards vs Jeff Allen (Advantage: Tie…Edwards doesn’t start but plays starter’s minutes…Allen starts but often rides the bench since he’s prone to fouling early and often…Edwards is a smart player who has underrated post moves and soft hands…Allen has a lot more upside and can take Edwards off the dribble…very intriguing matchup)  [Niemo’s Note: Edwards, a senior, did start the NIT first round game.  He is a great offensive rebounder and Tech must keep him off the glass by boxing him out. Not a great shot blocker so you can go at him even though he is 6’10”.]
C: Alex Oriakhi vs Victor Davila (Advantage: Tie…neither one is very good and both are young…Oriakhi had a solid game against Northeastern while Davila had more rebounds against the Q than in the previous 3 games combined) [Niemo’s Note: Alex is just a space-eater inside.  Decent but not great rebounder, not a good shooter unless it is a dunk, and terrible from the free throw line (55%).  Can block shots though.]
Bench: uconn vs VT (Advantage: Tech… uconn has very little depth…big opportunity for players like JT, Atkins, Raines, & Witcher to contribute)  [Niemo’s Note: As King mentioned, their starters play a lot.  Four of them average over 30 minutes.  So they don’t get a lot off the bench, but can bring in Lurch (Ater Majok – Martinsville, VA) to block shots.  He is listed at 6’11” but I’ve never seen him stand up straight.  The huskies get just eight points per game off their bench, so don’t expect much of any offense.]
Intangibles: VT playing at home in the Cassell with eyes towards the NIT championship, proving the NCAA selection committee wrong (great job today Utah State…not) and setting a tone for next season. uconn is mailing this season in considering that they barely scraped by Northeastern. I also have to give credit to Greenberg for being a great motivator. Calhoun’s a hall-of-fame coach but he intimidates his players which causes them to stiffen up. They play to stay out of his doghouse and this explains why their psyche has been so fragile all season. I’m confident Seth will have the Hokies loose and ready to play.
Let’s Go Hokies!!!  [Thanks again, King]


Pts Reb Ast
Delaney 20.5 3.7 4.3
Hudson 14.6 3.4 1.9
Allen 12.1 7.5 1.2
Thompson 7.2 4.7 0.6
Bell 6.2 6.1 1.9
Davila 5.3 4.3 0.4
Pts Reb Ast
Dyson 17.3 4.3 4.3
Robinson 14.7 7.6 1
Walker 14.5 4.2 5.1
Edwards 10.6 6.5 0.8
Oriakhi 5 6.7 0.4
Coombs-McD 3.3 1.2 0.6

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Previews, NITComments (2)

NIT Update | Hokies to Host huskies Monday Night at 7 PM

VirgiNIa Tech’s second round game will be this coming Monday, March 22nd, at 7 PM in Cassell Coliseum against the uconn huskies.  Tech goes for the Connecticut state title, having already knocked off quinnipiac.  VT and uconn were former Big East rivals, with uconn taking 6 of the 7 meetings.  Tech’s lone win came in Blacksburg under ricky stokes.  The huskies were without Head Coach Jim Calhoun due to health reasons in that game.  As many of you may know, he has also battled health issues this year and earlier took a leave of absence.

uconn barely edged northeastern in their first round contest.  uconn won by 2 but northeastern missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have won the game.  I’ll have more on this match-up in my preview this weekend (up by noon on Sunday).

Also in Tech’s bracket, #2 rhode island rammed the #7 northwestern wildcats on Wednesday and #6 nevada shocked #3 wichita state.  The winner of nevada @ uri will face the winner of the Hokies and the huskies for the right to play in the self-proclaimed Most Famous Arena in the World, Madison Square Garden in NYC.  If Tech wins over uconn, they will host that quarterfinal game.

Around the rest of the NIT – #1 arizona state was bedeviled by the #8 seed jacksonville in a stunner.  How bad is the Pac 10 this year?  st. john’s lost to memphis, meaning their coach may soon be fired (Greenberg has been rumored as a candidate for that job).  And seton hall’s coach got fired after a pirate player punched a texas tech player in the doodle, and another former player got arrested this week.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, NITComments (4)

Recap | VT (24-8) 81, quinnipiac (23-10) 61


IT’S A BEAR FIGHT!  The Hokies b- smacked the ‘piac, winning 81-61!  Malcolm Delaney went ape, scoring 19 points in the first half, just one below his average.  Delaney finished with 25 points to lead the Hokies to an easy victory.  He hit four three-pointers in the first 20 to push Tech to a 12 point halftime lead.  The doctor was 9/15 from the floor and 4/8 on threes, his third great shooting game in his last four games (we know what happened in the other – miami – game).  [Random thought: How much would it stink if Malcolm went nuts throughout the NIT and declared for the NBA Draft based on that?]

Dorenzo Hudson was the story in the second half, scoring 14 of his 19 points.  He finished just 5/17 from the floor but was the Cash to Delaney’s Tango (sorry, really stretching my movie references).

For the bobcats, leading scorer James Feldeine (who averaged 17 ppg) was held to 0.  Yep, a goose-egg.  A donut.  Zippy.  An inner tube.  A Jeff Allen.  A Gilbert Arenas (minus the .40 caliber weapon).  Second leading scorer Justin Rutty had 22 on 10/13 shooting and James Johnson scored 17 (most in garbage time).  Other than that, no bobcat had more than 7 points.  In fact, only four guys had more than 3.

JT Thompson chipped in his typical 9 off the bench and Victor Davila stepped up in Allen’s place, also scoring 9.  The two hit 7/10 shots.

The bobcats tried to slow down the tempo and it simply didn’t work.  If this game was a movie, it would have been the Fast and the Furious (I was going to use Smokey and the Bandit but I’m not sure people would have known what that was).  Tech outscored quinnipiac 27 to 2 on fastbreak points.  VT was a Ferrari, qunnipiac was an AMC Gremlin.

Tech limited the bobcats at their #1 strength, offensive rebounding.  The bobcats, who get 41% of their misses on the season, were outrebounded on the offensive end 18-12 by Tech.  The Hokies grabbed 50% of their misses, getting 18 offensive rebounds in 36 opportunities!  VT had 16 second chance points to just 10 for the bobcats.

Jeff Allen, who had reached double digits in 10 of the last 12 games, scored just 6 points while battling foul trouble.  Jeff hit just 2/8 shots, but his services were not necessary tonight as the Hokies woodshedded the bobcats.  He did grab a game-high 9 rebounds though.

Both teams did a good job protecting the ball.  Tech had just two turnovers at the half and quinnipiac had just three.  VT finished with just seven turnovers while quinnipiac had 10.

Yet the Hokies enjoyed a lead of 12 at the break, 39-27.  Delaney’s 19 points were the key to that lead, along with cold shooting from the bobcats.

VirgiNIa Tech advances to the second round of the NIT for the third year in a row and will face the uconn huskies, who barely beat northeastern in their first round game.  The other huskies missed a three at the buzzer to win the game.  uconn is 6-1 against the Hokies, all in the last 10 years, but are just a #4 seed in the NIT.  Tech will get this game at home.  Hopefully more than 3,000 Hokie fans will show up, the estimated crowd at 10k seat Cassell Coliseum.

Tip of the cap to…:  Jeff Allen is now the only Hokie to be ranked in the Top 10 in rebounding, steals, and blocks.  He is 10th all time in rebounds at 767, 8th in steals at 187, and 6th in blocks at 122.  Only five Hokies rank in the Top 10 in three major categories: Dell Curry (points, assists, and steals), Bimbo Coles (ditto), Ace Custis (points, rebounds, and steals), and Zabian Dowdell (points, assists, and steals), along with Jeff Allen.

Random ugly stat: Erick Green has missed 17 consecutive shots.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Recaps, NITComments (5)

Virginia Tech a #1 Seed in the NIT; Face quinnipiac in First Round on Wednesday at 7 PM at the Cassell

The Hokies return to the National Invitational Tournament for the third year in a row and for the second time in that span as a #1 seed in an eight team bracket.  The Hokies will face the quinnipiac bobcats (Connecticut) of the Northeast Conference at 7 PM at the Cassell on Wednesday night this week in the first ever meeting between the schools.

Tech was also a #1 in the 2008 NIT and lost in the quarterfinals to mississippi after winning two games over morgan state and uab.  VT was a #2 seed last year and lost in the Second Round to baylor.  All five of Tech’s teams in the NIT in the last two years have been played at the Cassell and they will likely have their first three games at home if they can keep winning.  Tech was 15-1 at home this year.

Here is what Tech’s eight team bracket looks like:

  1. VIRGINIA TECH vs #8 quinnipiac (CT)
  2. rhode island vs #7 northwestern
  3. wichita state vs #6 nevada
  4. uconn vs #5 northeastern

Yes, that’s right, when the Hokies maul the bobcats, they should face the uconn huskies in the Second Round at the Cassell.  At least that should motivate the team and the fans.  Tech was 1-6 against uconn while in the Big East, with the one win coming over an 18th ranked uconn team at the Cassell in 2003 in what may have been ricky stokes’s biggest win (that’s a pretty short list).  So the Hokies will have to win the Connecticut state title in all likelihood to make the NIT quarterfinals.

Other #1 seeds include illinois, arizona state, and mississippi state.  cincinnati, ole miss, rhode island, and X are #2 seeds.  unc is a #4 seed and play #5 seed william & mary in the First Round.  nc state is a #6 seed.  And seton hall who many thought were right on the bubble, are just a #5 seed.  gus gilchrist usf is a #3 seed.  st. john’s, Seth Greenberg’s alleged suitor, is a #6 seed.

The ESPNU guy that broke down the NIT brackets picked rhode island to win VT’s bracket.  He picked illinois to win it all.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, NITComments (5)

Hokies Get No. 2 Seed in NIT, Host duquesne Wed. at 7 p.m.

The Virginia Tech Hokies are a No. 2 seed in the 2009 NIT tournament and will host a home game Wednesday, March 18, at 7 p.m. Tech will play duquesne in the first round.  duquense and VT do have some fairly recent history — the two were Atlantic 10 rivals from 1996-2000 and played 10 times over that span, with the Hokies winning seven of those 10 games.  Tech leads the all time series 7-5 and are 5-0 against the dukes in the Cassell.

If the Hokies win, they will play the winner of #6 georgetown at #3 baylor on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Monday.  It won’t be Thursday, so likely will either be Friday night, very early Saturday, or Monday night.  That game should also be at the Cassell.

The #1 seed in Tech’s quadrant of the bracket is auburn.  florida, creighton (barrel), and san diego state are the other #1 seeds.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Games, NITComments (2)

New Poll Question

Who will have the biggest impact next season (2015-16)?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Get TechHoops Updates via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

2014-2015 Schedule/Results

Photos on flickr