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Game Recap unc (12-4, 1-0) 78, VT (12-2, 0-1) 64


Boxscore

The north carolina tar heels used a stifling second half defense to outscore Virginia Tech 44-26 in the second stanza en route to a 78-64 victory in Chapel Hill, NC. The #9 heels used their tremendous size advantage up front, led by All-American candidate Ed Davis with his 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks, his ninth double-double of the season. Deon Thompson added 13 points up front before fouling out. For the Hokies, Jeff Allen was held to only 4 points and shut out in the second half. Seth Greenberg stated before this game that the Hokies would have to improve their transition defense to compete with unc; that did not happen as Tech gave up way too many easy baskets, especially in the second half.

In a game that could have been billed as “the battle of bad ankles” going into it, Tech’s Malcolm Delaney started the game and gutted out a 26 point performance, but was held to only 6 after halftime and was held scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the second half as the heels seized control of the game. Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard both missed carolina’s loss last Monday at the college of charleston with injured ankles, but both returned to action against the Hokies. Graves and Larry Drew III combined to go a perfect 5-5 on three pointers to close the second half, leading a team that was not known for their outside shooting.  The heels had started 0 of 11 from behind the arc.

Plainly put, the game was a tale of two halves. The Hokies came out looking great on the defensive end and seemed inspired by the return of the ACC’s leading scorer Malcolm Delaney. unc came out in a 2-3 zone and Malcolm responded by nailing his first three-pointer. Dorenzo Hudson, coming off a career high 41 points against seton hall, came out ice cold in this one, with no sign of the urgency of his scoring that was there when Delaney was out.

While no one other than Delaney could connect cosistently from the outside, the Hokies seemed to get to every loose ball in the first half, outrebounded, and seemed to be outplaying the much larger tar heels. J.T. Thompson had some great hustle plays in the first half and had 6 early points. The game appeared to be taking the shape of the Hokies’ games against unc in the previous two ACC Tournaments, with Tech leading by as many as nine, 25-16 about half way through the first half. Freshman guard Dexter Strickland was a big spark for unc and kept the tar heels close with his quickness to the hoop and good penetration. The Hokies used a zone defense very successfully and held the tar heels to 0-7 three-point shooting in the first half. They carried a 38-34 lead into the locker room.

carolina came out in the second half again in a 2-3 zone but were intent on making any Hokie other than Delaney beat them from the outside. The tar heels picked up the pace offensively with the Hokies apparently forgetting that the transition game was a huge advantage for the heels. Davis and Thompson took over inside early in the second half and suddenly unc was getting all the loose balls. As the tar heels were holding Delaney scoreless over the first 10 minutes of the second half, freshman Manny Atkins had two huge turnovers, the rim seemed to have a lid on it, and carolina started to pull away. The heels quickly turned a 5 point advantage with under 8:00 remaining into a 12 point edge with 4:00 to go.

From there Will Graves and Larry Drew III took turns bombing threes down the stretch as the Hokies got lazy on defense and this one turned out like most every other time the Hokies open up ACC play on “Sunday Night Hoops” (recall the past buzzer beaters at duke and wake or last year’s debacle at duke).

The Hokies fall to 12-2 (0-1 ACC) and return to play on Wednesday night when they host the 15-1 miami hurricanes in Cassell Coliseum at 7:00 PM.

Niemo’s Notes:

  • To me this game swung on two plays in the second half – Zo’s missed three with 12:50 to go that would have put the Hokies back up 2 and helped them regain momentum and the non-call on Raines’s layup with 6:35 to go.  The latter was a real dagger.  Tech trailed 60-55 and had they called goaltending as they should have (Ed Davis swatted the ball AFTER it had hit the backboard), the Hokies would have been within 3.  Instead, the heels went up the court and Graves hit a 3 to put the heels up 8.  Another 3 followed on the next unc possession and Tech never got the game under single digits after that.
  • The freshmen looked like freshmen tonight.  As Rob mentioned, Atkins had two critical turnovers in the second half.  Boggs missed the front end of a one-and-one and then committed a dumb foul 80 feet from the hoop.  Green still struggles to be able to advance the ball far enough in the half court set to get Tech into their offense.  Raines looked solid inside but his stat line doesn’t show it.  The freshmen had just 3 points, and that was on a meaningless 3-ball by Green in the final minute.
  • Another key in the second half was the heels did a much better job with the ball.  After committing 12 turnovers in the first half, they had just 6 in the second 20 minutes.  And most of those were deadball turnovers, in other words, Tech couldn’t turn them into transition opportunities.
  • Expect to see more teams go zone against the Hokies, who only have one outside threat – Delaney.  Hudson was 0 for 6 from behind the arc tonight.
  • The good news it VT looked good in their 2-3 zone tonight in the second half.  They really limited the heels’ points in the paint in it.  This should help against the bigs other ACC teams have.  The problem is Graves and Drew suddenly got hot from the outside.  That’s the breaks.  Tech dared the heels to hit outside shots and that is the lesser of unc’s evils, and considering they started 0 of 11 from deep, it was the way to go.
  • unc seemed to have a power play against VT with Delaney in there on defense.  You have to love Malcolm for gutting it out when his ankle clearly was not 100%, but he simply could not guard guys one-on-one tonight.  His ability to back-peddle or move laterally was limited, and unc guards were blowing by him and Tech did not do a good job of helping and rotating.  The result was some easy buckets by Strickland or dishes to Davis when Tech did help but didn’t rotate elsewhere.  The zone seemed to Malcolm by limiting what he had to do on defense.
  • Delaney had more than half of the VT first half points (20 of 38).
  • Superstars can step up in big games, even when facing bigger guys.  Jeff Allen did not step up on offense tonight.  I’d say he did a very good job on defense for the most part, and committed just two fouls, but Tech needed more of him on offense, especially when the heels took Delaney away in the second half.
  • All in all, Tech played hard and were in this game for 34 minutes tonight.  Considering Delaney wasn’t 100% and VT was on the road playing the defending champs, there are positives to take from this win.  It was sad to see the offense go backwards tonight and become way too dependent on Malcolm again, but that happens.  The Hokies know they can play with the heels, and therefore anyone else in the league after this.  They just need to do it for 40 minutes next time.  Wednesday is a HUGE game for the Hokies, who cannot afford to drop home games, especially against teams on par with them.  Let’s make the Cassell rock!
  • Finally, we had a great turnout at Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon (Arlington) last night!  Thanks to everyone that came and took advantage of the wing and drink deals!

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Recaps, HomeComments (8)

Preview | VT (0-0 | 12-1) @ #9 unc (0-0 | 11-4) | Sun., 7:45 PM | FoxSportsNet


Update: According to the Roanoke Times, Delaney had some limited action on Friday but did not practice.  For unc, Ginyard is out and Graves and McDonald (all 3 are guards) are questionable for tonight, all with ankle injuries.  You have to think Malcolm is very questionable, and while the unc injuries could level the playing field, it is still a huge blow to the Hokies’ chances.

NOVA Hokies – please come to our Viewing Party at the Clarendon Hard Times Cafe to watch the game – Featuring half price wings and a 22 oz. Beer Mug Special – first one is $3 then $1.50 refills starting at 7:45 PM.

THE SETUP:

Remember that kid in elementary school, the one that took your lunch money every day?   Remember that bully, that king of the mountain, that beat you up every time you went outside for recess?   Your remember that ugly red-head from A Christmas Story that beats up on Ralph all the time?  Yeah, well, that’s unc.  At least in basketball it is.  Virginia Tech is just 12-59 all time against the tar holes, and just 2-22 since 1967 versus them.

Well, you know what?  The ugly red-head is a bit vulnerable this year.  And we’ve been working out on the Chuck Norris Total Gym, and by-golly, if we aren’t in the best shape we’ve been in for 14 years.  The Hokies are 12-1 and headed to Chapel Hill against a powder blue team that just lost to college o’ charleston without two of their few guards.

This game could be decided by ankles: the ankles of the ACC’s leading scorer, Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney, and unc’s Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard.  All are backcourt players and all missed their team’s last game.  Delaney has missed the better part of two games, Ginyard has missed three, and Graves one.  All were “questionable” for Sunday as of Monday.  Greenberg was hoping Delaney could be back playing defense by this point in the week and Roy Williams on Monday said neither would have played, even if the VT game was that night instead of this weekend.  He was hopeful to have one of them back and wasn’t sure which it would be.  The team that is missing any of these guys will have a greatly reduced backcourt in terms of depth for Sunday Night Hoops.

While the Hokies need Delaney more than unc needs Ginyard or Graves, Tech has to have confidence coming off their OT win over seton hall without him.  In fact, the Hokies have produced two of the last four ACC Players of the Week and neither of them have been named Malcolm Delaney.  Jeff Allen won it a month ago and Dorenzo Hudson, fresh off his 41 point game against seton hall, won it last week.  That is diversity and that is VT basketball right now.  That said, the Hokies need Delaney’s ballhandling skills (and scoring) to win this game.

The junior Hokies also have to have confidence against the tar heels.  These are no longer the baby Hokies of two years ago that went down to Chapel Hill and got absolutely woodshedded by the heels 92-53 in maybe VT’s worst game of the Seth Greenberg era.  Since then, Tech has played the heels tough three times in a row:

  • a 68-66 loss to #1 unc in the 2008 ACC Semis on a Tyler Hansbrough put-back with less than 2 seconds left
  • an 86-78 loss in the Cassell last regular season to #2 unc in a game that was tied with under 10 to play
  • a 79-76 loss to #1 unc in the 2009 ACC Quarters that VT led with under a minute to play, fell behind on a Tyler Hansbrough layup, and then couldn’t convert on two late possessions (including a questionable no call on a JT Thompson turnover)

So don’t expect the Hokie upperclassmen to be in awe of the Dean Dome.  In fact, expect them to have a chip on their shoulder for their 39 point drubbing just two years ago.  You know Seth is reminding the guys of that this week, and his teams have always responded well to these situations.

THE OPPONENT:

Down Low: The heels are as talented as ever in the low post, in fact, they may have the best collection of painters in the country.  Mechanicsville, VA product Ed Davis has really developed into a star this year.  He is 11th in the conference in scoring at 15.2 ppg and 2nd in rebounding at 10.2.

Deon Thompson has also stepped up his game to fill the void left by Tyler Hansbrough (yes, he is really gone, I promise).  Thompson is 8th in the ACC in scoring at 15.9 ppg and 13th in rebounds at 7.4.  That’s a nice little 31 ppg and 18 rpg combined.

If that wasn’t enough, they have 7′ Tyler Zeller coming off the bench to provide 10.1 ppg and 4.4 rpg in just 16 minutes per game!  The heels also have 5-star freshman recruit John Henson, who is 6’10″.  He has not shown his potential yet and gets just limited minutes, but would likely be a star anywhere else.  Mix in the 6’10″ Wear twins, who play about 20 mpg and score 6 ppg combined, bake at 375 for 40 minutes, and you have a heck of a low post casserole for the heels.

Perimeter: This is the unc’s Achilles heel (yes, I’ve been waiting all offseason to use that).  They lost Ty Lawson, Danny Green, and Wayne Ellington from last year (and to a lesser extent, even Bobby Frasor is gone). So Larry Drew II is the starter at point guard, after playing less than 10 mpg and averaging less than 2 ppg last year.  He is doing OK with 8.4 ppg and 6.2 assists per game (unc assist stats are always inflated due to the number of points they score and the bigs they have inside you can feed the rock to).  But he commits over 3 turnovers per game.  Drew does hit 44% from three-point land.

Defensive stopper and Virginian Marcus Ginyard is back for his redshirt-senior year.  He has greatly improved his offensive game, scoring 11 ppg and distributing 4.3 apg, to go with 1.7 steals per game.  But he has missed the last three games with an ankle injury as I mentioned above and his status for Sunday is uncertain.

Will Graves has become a deadly three point shooter on the wing and presents mismatches at 6’6″.  But he also is battling an ankle injury.  Ginyard and Graves are a combined 37 of 88 from behind the arc (42%), so if they are out, that is a huge hit to unc’s outside shooting.

If Graves and Ginyard cannot go, stud frosh recruit Dexter Strickland will step in.  He was just 2 of 11 against charleston, though.  Fellow freshman Leslie McDonald will also see minutes, but both these guys are inexperienced, similar to Erick Green of the Hokies.

This backcourt gets a lot of open looks from deep as teams compact their defensive to help out inside.  The unc guards must exploit that to be successful.  Against charleston they hit just 1 of 6 threes without Ginyard or Graves, and that three came in overtime.

Offense:

As usual the tar heels can score.  They love to get out and run, though like I said, Drew isn’t the Ferrari Ty Lawson was.  The heels are #1 in the ACC at 85.3 ppg.  unc is #4 in the league in three-point percentage at 38.5%, but just 10th in makes.  In other words, their game is to either penetrate and dish, or feed it inside to the bigs.  unc does commit a lot of turnovers and that has been a problem.  They give it up as much as one of Tiger’s call girls, committing over 16 turnovers per game, third most in the ACC.  As usual, they get to the line a lot, with 384 free throw attempts, tops in the league.

Defense:

The heels are last in the ACC by far, giving up 72.9 ppg (the next closest is at 65).  They can be beat in transition, but that can be a bad thing, too, if you get sucked into their up-tempo game. And despite their size, the heels are just 9th in the ACC in defensive rebounding percentage.  Opponents are getting the offensive rebound on 33% of their misses.  That means the young heels are not boxing out well and perhaps are not hustling after 50/50 balls.

Summary:

This is not the unc team that won the national title last year.  Their top four scorers, who combined for 66 ppg, are gone.  Only Thompson and Ginyard have much playing experience on this team (both are seniors) and Ginyard redshirted last year due to injuries.  If he doesn’t play, they are very inexperienced, and that can be exploited by a Hokie team that now is one of the more veteran teams in the league.

SIX PACK OF KEYS TO A HOKIE VICTORY:

  • Rebound: unc is #2 in the ACC in offensive rebounding percentage.  Tech must limit their second chances, something that has been an issue in past match-ups.  Plus, VT must scrap and claw on the offensive glass to get themselves additional scoring opportunities.
  • Allen: unc can throw big men at you as if they had a big man Pez dispenser.  The Hokies cannot.  If Jeff Allen gets in early foul trouble, this could be a long night.  He must use his four fouls wisely.  Be aggressive, but selectively and intelligently.
  • Handle: Not talking whiskey here (for once), I’m talking the point guard position.  Can Malcolm Delaney play and play well?  If so, no worries here.  But Erick Green looked raw running the offense against seton hall and Zo Hudson is not a point guard.  Tech badly needs Delaney or this will be a big issue.  The point guard for VT also needs to help keep the tempo down.  Tech wants this game to be in the 60s or 70s, not the 80s where unc wants it.  Tech gives up just 60 ppg, compared to the 85 the heels average.  Point guard play is key to that.
  • Opening Night Jitters: Tech has not faired well in ACC openers.  They lost by 25 at duke last year, lost at wake two years ago, beat wake to open in 2006-07 (with a veteran team), lost on that 40-footer to duke in 2005-06, and got blown out by unc 34 points in the Cassell in VT’s ACC debut in 2004-05.   But this is now an experienced group, I expect them to be ready for unc and not be intimidated.
  • Believe: Tech almost beat the heels in the last two ACC Tournaments.  Tech is 12-1.  The Hokies have won in Chapel Hill before (those Lewis Witcher is the only guy left from the team that did it three years ago).  Tech is poised to get a marque win.  This could really springboard the whole rest of the season with a win over a top 10 team.  You can do it!
  • Handle Part 2: If Malcolm Delaney isn’t playing, you might want a handle of bourbon for this game.  Just kidding, the guys will be ready to play and ready to give it all regardless… but you might want to have some WT nearby.

STARTERS:

Position VIRGINIA TECH unc
Guard 23 Delaney 6’3″ 1 Ginyard 6’5″
or 11 Green 6’4″ 5 Strickland 6’3″
Guard 5 Hudson – 6’5″ 11 Drew 6’2″
Forward/Guard 1 Bell – 6’6″ Graves 6’6″ or Wear 6’10″
Forward 0 Allen – 6’7″ 21 Thompson 6’9″
Forward 14 Davila – 6’8″ 32 Davis 6’10″

BORING FACTS ABOUT unc:

  • Founded in 1789
  • Undergrads: 18k
  • Postgrads: 8k
  • Stayed open during the Civil War
  • The Hokies own Franklin Street during football season!
  • Mascot is a live ram named “Rameses”
  • 37 NCAA Championships in six different team sports (20 are women’s soccer… yawn)
  • 5 Men’s bball titles: 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009

Famous students:

  • Bball: Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Awtawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, James Worthy, Larry Brown, Tyler Hansbrough, Ronald Curry
  • Other Sports: Lawrence Taylor (guessing he didn’t graduate), Dre Bly, Ronald Curry again (did you know he was the #1 football and bball recruit back in the late ’90s at Hampton HS?  Check out his stats/their margins of victory some time – insane), Moonlight Graham, Mia Hamm, Julius Peppers, Marion Jones, B.J. Surhoff
  • Jim Halpert (character on the Office) supposedly went there – not the real one, the real person went to one of our early opponents – Brown
  • Others: John Edwards, James K. Polk (11th President of the USA), Stuart Scott, Chris Matthews, Andy Griffith, Lewis Black, Thomas Wolfe,

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game PreviewsComments (0)

Niemo’s Interview with WCHL 1360 in Chapel Hill


I spoke with WCHL in Chapel Hill about this weekend’s VT @ unc game.  Let’s just say this interview was scripted.  WCHL knew exactly what they wanted from Niemo, and got what they wanted from Niemo.  I’ve been told I was bland, I was told I wasn’t Niemo.  I cannot argue with any of those statements.  That’s the situation: Interview and Sound Bites

Posted in 2009-10 SeasonComments (2)

Game Recap | unc (28-3, 14-3) 79, hokies (18-14, 8-10) 76


Box Score | Highlights

The Hokies had their hearts broken once again in the final seconds as the tar heels got some help from the officials and a very late questionable call to hold off the Hokies 79-76. The controversial call with 5.2 seconds left gave unc a held ball and possession with a 77-76 lead.

Virginia Tech had the ball, trailing by 1 point, with no shot clock and the chance to win the game with a basket. J.T. Thompson intercepted a pass back out to the perimeter and attempted to back in the lane where he was met by a pair of heels, Ed Davis and Tyler Hansbrough, who mugged Thompson, but the refs let it go and then called a held ball with the possession arrow in unc’s favor. That effectively ended the game and sent Seth Greenberg into a coat-flinging rampage.

Tech fouled immediately and Hansbrough hit both shots to give the heels a 79-76 lead. Not surprisingly, unc had only been called for three fouls until the final 30 seconds of the game, when they started fouling the Hokies to disrupt their game plan and force them to inbound the ball. Tech got the ball to A.D. Vassallo for a game-tying shot attempt, but it wasn’t a good look and hit mostly air as the clock hit all zeros.

The Hokies continued their stellar play from the Miami game and fought tooth and nail in this game, giving the heels all they could handle. Even with Allen and Vassallo in foul trouble pretty much the entire game, Tech kept the game close, and in fact led for the majority of the game. But as well as they played, unc is unc, and when they need a big shot they get it. And when they need a foul called against their opponent, or a no-call against them, they get it. It’s tough to beat that combination.

Vassallo, despite foul trouble, was tough for unc to defend. He led the Hokies with his second double-double of the season — 26 points and 10 rebounds. And he was 4/7 from 3-point range. Malcolm Delaney also recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists, his first career double-double, and a career-high in assists.

Despite all the close losses, and despite having clearly displayed the ability to play with the best teams in the country, it is unlikely that Tech will get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. It appears that they’ll probably earn a No. 1 or 2 seed in the NIT tournament. We’ll know for sure on Sunday. The Hokies will likely host a first-round NIT game next Tuesday or Wednesday, March 17-18. We’ll keep everyone posted.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Recaps, GamesComments (5)

Recap | #2 unc (26-3, 12-3) 86, VT (17-12, 7-8) 78


Boxscore

Once again the Hokies were within reach of getting their NCAA Tournament ticket punched, only to have the ticket-taker drift away into the night and leave Tech empty handed.  VT now faces a must-win situation on Sunday at florida state.

The Hokies played uphill all game, trailing most of the contest — VT never led.  But VT cut the heel lead to one with 5:17 to play.  After that, unc went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 73-62 with 2:59 to play and the Hokies never got closer than five after that.  Remind anyone of the duke game and the final five minutes in that contest?

A.D. Vassallo, aka: Mr. 2nd-Half, had another stellar night in his final regular season game at Cassell.  A.D. scored 25 points, including 19 in the second half, and moved ahead of Ace Custis into 8th place on the VT all-time scoring list.  Jeff Allen had his sixth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, but 14 of his points were in the first half.  He was the Hokie offense in the first stanza.  Malcolm Delaney added 19 points, but many of them were free throws in garbage time.  He was just 4/16 from the field including 1/7 on threes.  He is 6/28 in his last two games and just 1/13 from long range. 

The heels dominated the Hokies inside on offense.  They were able to score at will in the low post.  Tyler Hansbrough had 22 points while Deon Thompson and Ed Davis added eight each.  On the perimeter, Ty Lawson seemingly could score whenever he wanted to.  He was just too quick for any Hokie to guard.  Lawson poured in 22 points.  Wayne Ellington added 15, hit three big three-pointers in the first half.  He shot over the Hokies when he wanted to, especially Hank Thorns.

For the game, Tech held unc to just 41% shooting from the field and 32% on threes, but gave up 14 offensive rebounds. VT lost the turnover battle by three (11-8).  unc converted more of Tech’s turnovers into points, outscoring VT 15-4 on fast breaks and 18-8 on points off turnovers.  Tech just could not cash in on a couple of 3-on-1s, and missed two easy layups in the game (stop me if you’ve heard that before).

It was deja vu all over again for the Hokies in this contest.  For the fourth straight game Tech started slow and stared a significant deficit in the face by the first media timeout.  As has become the norm, the Hokies started slow from the field and trailed 12-6 at the first media timeout.  This was the fourth straight game the Hokies trailed by six or more at the first TV timeout and 13th time in 15 ACC games Tech has been behind at the first break.

The Hokies did battle back and got to within one in the first half.  But a Tyler Hansbrough three at the end of the half pushed the unc lead to six at the break.

Tech finished their home slate a disappointing 4-4 in ACC play.  The Hokies did play a very difficult home schedule, but Tech went just 1-4 against teams currently above .500 in ACC play.  They went 3-0 against the bottom three teams in the league.  bc is the only team above .500 that VT beat at home, and they sit at just 8-7 in the league right now and were 1-2 in ACC play when the Hokies defeated them.  If you want to make the Big Dance and want to compete for a bye in this league, you have to beat the teams in the upper half of the league at home on occasion.  The Hokies were unable to get that done this season.

Tech finishes the regular season on Sunday at 2 PM at florida state.  VT lost the first meeting, less than two weeks ago, 67-65 at the Cassell.

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

Preview | #2 unc (11-3, 25-3) @ VT (7-7, 17-11) | Wed., 7 PM | ESPN


THE SETUP

Note: Wednesday is Senior Night.  Please come out to Cassell and show some love for A.D. Vassallo and Cheick Diakite!

Spread: unc by 9.5

If unc was ranked #1, I’d have a lot of confidence coming into this game — Tech is 2-2 against #1′s under Greenberg, with one win over #1 unc in 2007 and a two-point loss to #1 unc in the ACC Tournament thanks to a Hansbrough shot with less than a second left.  But unc aren’t #1.  The heels are “only” #2. 

That aside, Tech obviously still has everything to gain in this game.  A win secures a VT finish of at least .500 in conference play for the fourth time in five ACC seasons, and may lock up an NCAA Tournament bid.  But unc is playing for a #1 seed in the Big Dance, and will want to avoid a slip-up heading into their game at home against duke this weekend.  So don’t expect the heels to coast through this one.  That said, Tech does have more on the line and should come out scratching and clawing, much like they did in the ACC Tournament, playing for their lives (which in some ways they are).  The Hokies cannot afford to wait until the ACC Tournament to make a statement this year.

Stats Six Pack:

  • VT is 5-1 on Wednesdays this season including 3-1 in ACC play (the wins over #1 wake and #12 clemson were both on Wednesdays).  Tech is 3-0 at home on Wednesdays. 
  • The Hokes are 4-1 against ACC teams that Tech only plays once this season (unc is the last team VT plays once), and 2-0 at home against those teams
  • With a win, Tech will clinch their fourth winning record at home in ACC play in five seasons.  Tech has gone 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in past seasons, and are 4-3 this year at the Cassell.
  • Senior A.D. Vassallo will move into 8th place on the all-time VT scoring list with nine points in this game.  He currently sits eight points behind Ace Custis.
  • Senior Cheick Diakite is 5th on the all-time shot block list at Tech with 123.
  • This senior class has won 74 games to date.  That’s the most wins for a class since the 1997 seniors finished with 81 wins (that class included Ace Custis).

THE SERIES

  • The Series: 12-57
  • Since VT joined the ACC: 2-4
  • At the Cassell: 1-2

Last Meeting: ACC Tournament Semis — unc 68, VT 66: Yeah, this one stung.  Tech lead most of the second half, but Hansbrough’s baseline jumper with .8 seconds left killed the Hokies’ NCAA Tournament hopes in the ACC Tournament Semi-Finals.  And this was after unc beat Tech by 39 in Chapel Hill a month earlier.

LINEUPS

Virginia Tech

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Point Guard

23 – Delaney

6′3″

18.4

So

Shooting Guard

5 – Hudson

6’5″

3.9

So

Small Forward

40 – Vassallo

6′6″

18.7

Sr

Power Forward

0 – Allen

6′7″

14.0

So

Center

34 – Diakite

6′9″

3.9

Sr

Bench

1 – Bell

6′6″

2.6

So

 

10 – Thorns*

5’9″

3.0

So

 

14 – Davila

6′8″

3.4

Fr

 

21 – Witcher

6′9″

2.2

Jr

33 – Thompson

6’6″

4.8

So

 unc

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Point Guard

5 – Lawson

5’11″

15.8

Jr

Shooting Guard

22 – Ellington

6′4″

14.9

Jr

Wing

14 – Green

6′6″

14.1

Sr

Forward

21 – Thompson

6′8″

11.2

Jr

Forward

50 – Hansbrough

6′9″

21.3

Sr

Bench

4 – Frasor

6′3″

2.7

Sr

 

11 – Drew

6’1″

1.6

Fr

 

32 – Davis

6’6″

6.3

Fr

 

44 – Zeller

7’0″

6.4

Fr

 

 

 

 

 

* We’ll have to wait and see if Hank Thorns is cleared to play in this game.  He had to sit the duke game after coming down with the flu on the clemson trip.  His playing status and playing time will depend on how tests go this week.  Since Lawson is just 5’11″, and lightning quick, Tech could use the speedy Thorns on defense.  And it would be nice to rest Delaney some and allow him to play off the ball.  You can be sure his 2/12 shooting performance against duke had a lot to do with tired legs and not running off screens (plus Elliot Williams is a big time defender in the making).

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Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Previews, GamesComments (0)

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