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Niemo’s Bourbon Breakdown | VT 69, uri 50

OK, let’s get right to the tale of the tape from Tech’s tantalizing victory on Monday:

  • Rebounding: GRADE = B-… This was a giant weakness in the opener but Tech was much improved on Monday night.  VT grabbed 71% of rhode island’s missed shots, and snared 29% of their own misses.  That’s a solid ratio, and against a taller team than etsu.   Still not great but definitely an improvement.  And the guys were clearly working harder on the glass, especially Raines (12 boards), van Zegeren (6 rebounds), and Wood (3 boards).
  • Defense: GRADE = B+… Hokies absolutely took Malesevic, who had 26 in uri’s opener and 24 vs VT last year, out of the game.  Kudos to the Tech bigs on that (Barksdale started out covering him then it was a lot of Marshall Wood).  Malesevic made just 1 FG and had just 6 points.  uri was just 1/21 behind the arc and shot just 33% for the game.  VT also blocked 9 shots, including 4 by Wood, after getting just 1 block total in the opener.  The lone negative was they let Munford beat them off the dribble regularly (he was 10/13 on drives).
  • Be Fun and Up Tempo: GRADE = B… Another alley oop!  It failed, again, but you know if Seth was still in charge we’d have never seen another alley oop after the first one failed.  The guys are playing loose, without fear of being yanked for taking a questionable shot.  The Hokies did look to push the ball up the court just like in the first game, but also seemed to bleed more of the shot clock then I’d like at times.  That led to a couple of scoring lulls, including the entire second media timeout sequence.  By my count, Tech had 64 possessions on Monday compared to 70 in the opener, so that tells you things weren’t quite as quick (I don’t think uri was bleeding the clock anymore than etsu).
  • Feeding the Post: GRADE = D… Raines was on last night but we simply didn’t feed him the ball enough.  When a team is transitioning to more up-tempo, it can be hard to settle for setting up the offense and feeding your bigs, but you have to do it.  Raines is a real talent and needs touches.  Tech’s offense needs to work to get him the ball more inside and let the big man work.

The Players:

  • EG – I take back what I said after Game 1 – he has improved and looks fantastic.  Through 2 games he has 46 total points, 10 assists to just 4 turnovers, and is shooting 54% from the field.  Erick looks much better at finishing off the drive (thank you, Chris Paul).  The only negative is I’ve always hated his free throw rhythm – he holds the ball so long and seems to put so much pressure on himself thinking about it (Karl Malone-ish), and is just 13/20 on the year.  I wish he’d quicken his rhythm, but it is a little late for that.
  • Robert Brown – Had some troubles with Munford’s quickness on defense, but Brown is a fantasic offensive player.  He really has a complete offensive game – 3s, pull-ups, driving.  I’d like to see him drive more but for a sophomore, he’s really stepped up.
  • Jarell Eddie – Almost had his 2nd straight double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds.  He’s giving great effort on the defensive glass and really positions himself well.  Had 2 blocks and just 1 foul, so he’s playing smarter on defense.
  • Cadarian Raines – I thought his post moves looked rusty in the opener but they were sharp last night.  Had a nice lefty hook in the 2nd half and later followed it up with a turn to the baseline and a righty baby hook.  Also added a career high 12 rebounds.  He has to be a great rebounder for Tech, and was last night.
  • C.J. Barksdale – After just taking 1 shot in Game 1, I thought we’d see the improved C.J. we’ve heard about in Game 2 after he hit a jumper on Tech’s opening possession… Those were his only points of the game (and season) and he grabbed just 1 rebound while playing just 12 minutes (Marshall Wood played 28).  Not sure what’s going on, but the light ain’t on right now.
  • Marshall Wood – Very solid game.   4 blocks and 2 nice, acrobatic layups inside.  His motor was running high last night and that was great to see.  He plays tougher than most freshmen.  The problem is he still hasn’t hit a 3-pointer — 0/5 last night and 0/8 on the season.  Wood has no fear, though, and launches whenever he has any opening.  You gotta think they’ll start falling at some point, and you don’t want hesitation, but maybe he should consider a pump-fake and put the ball on the floor and drive – we saw he could finish inside.
  • Joey van Zegeren – Solid night, also.  Only had 1 official block but was battling inside all night.  Grabbed 6 rebounds in just 12 minutes.  Got lost on defense at one point that allowed uri a dunk, but his effort is there, which is all you can ask.
  • Marquis Rankin – on the bench but did not play as he transitions back from attending family funerals.
  • The Walk-Ons – not as successful as in the opener.  Johnston couldn’t slow Munford down at all on help defense but did hit a nice 3-pointer, and Patrick struggled running the point.  The latter will be resolved when Rankin returns to action.  But the two walk-ons that played averaged a +/- of -9.5 tonight, and that’s not a good sign when you win by 19.

Posted in 2012-13 Season, Game RecapsComments (4)

Game Highlights | VT 69, uri 50

Updated to include highlights from the first 10 minutes of the game…
BRRRRRRAHHHH!  The Hokies jump to 2-0!  Here are some of the highlights from Monday night’s action…


Posted in 2012-13 Season, HighlightsComments (2)

Game Plus/Minus | VT 69, uri 50

Here is the plus/minus breakdown from the win over rhode island and cumulative for the season through two games.

vs uri Season
Player +/- +/-
Green 29 43
Brown 27 45
Eddie 21 34
Barksdale 11 17
Raines 14 22
van Zegeren 5 15
Wood 10 25
Johnston -9 -2
Racer 0 0
Patrick -10 -10
Beyer 0 0

You can see Tech absolutely dominated with Green and Brown in the game, and also with Eddie in to a lesser degree (Eddie played 35 minutes, the most of any Hokie).  The news was also very good for when Marshall Wood was in (+10).  It wasn’t as positive when the walk-ons were in today — both Johnston and Patrick had solid negative totals.

Rankin was on the bench but did not play again as he gets back from his family matters.

Note: Again, +/- is the margin when a specific player is in the game, regardless of what they contribute.  For example, if a starter leaves the game with his team up 10 points (+10), then re-enters with his team up 2, and the game ends with his team up 14 (+12 during that second stint), his +/- for the game is +22.  Negative means your team was outscored while you were in the game.  It factors out big time scorers who can’t play defense (A.d. Vassallo).

Posted in 2012-13 Season, Game RecapsComments (4)

Game Recap | VT 69 (2-0), uri 50 (0-2)


This game was over before you could say “ram brutality”.  Tech jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to good low post play and fantastic defense and cruised to a 69-50 victory, just missing another Bear Fight (my liver is happy).

C.J. Barksdale, who had just one shot in the opener and 0 points, hit a jumper on Tech’s first possession.  All five VT starters would score before the rams scratched and Tech never looked back.  uri got within 4 in the first half but a late 8-0 put Tech up 36-24 at the break.  The rams never got within single digits in the second half.

The Hokies were led by Erick Green’s 25 points.  The senior was 8/15 from the field and 4/7 from the arc.

Robert Brown added 12 and Cadarian Raines looked much improved from Game 1, adding 10 points and a game high 12 rebounds.  Jarell Eddie just missed double digits with 9 points and 8 rebounds (he had a double-double in the opener).

Big props to freshman Marshall Wood who played 28 minutes (Barksdale played just 12) and had 4 points and 4 blocks!  But Wood needs to stop shooting from outside as much – he was 0/5 tonight and is 0/8 from deep on the year.  But he played tough inside and can finish around the rim.  JvZ also added 6 rebounds in 12 minutes.

Tech shut down Nikola Malesevic, who had 26 in the rams’ opener and 24 against VT last year.  Nikola had just 6 points and 1 made FG in this game.  Xavier Munford, who was 3/19 from the floor in their opener, scored 24 points.  He is now 3/19 on the year from long range (stop shooting 3s!!!), but was 10/13 inside the arc and killed the Hokies off the drive.

Tech cleaned up a few of the things I didn’t like in the first game (rebounding and post play), but I’ll get to that more in Niemo’s Bourbon Breakdown.

Posted in 2012-13 Season, Game RecapsComments (5)

Preview | rhode island (0-1) @ VT (1-0) | Monday, 7 PM | ESPN3

An old thorn in the Hokies’ side comes to the Cassell on Monday.  The rhodey rams, who are 3-1 all time at the Cassell, including knocking VT out of the NIT Quarterfinals three years ago, head to Blacksburg.  But this is a team that went 7-24 last season, including an 11-point loss at home to the Hokies.

While the Hokies rolled to an 18-point win in JJ’s debut vs etsu, the rams dropped their opener at home to norfolk state (the same spartans that beat #2 seed missouri in the NCAA Tournament so don’t read too much into that).

Tech will have to slow Nikola Malesevic, who exploded for 26 points against norfolk state and had 23 against the Hokies last year.  Meanwhile, xavier munford was 3/19 from the field for the rams including 2/10 from behind the arc.  VT should go ahead and let him shoot as much as he wants.  rhodey shot just 28% for the game, but did snag 15 offensive rebounds so Tech will need to do a better job on the glass.  The rams like to gamble on defense so the Hokies can have success pushing the ball and making the extra pass, or faking and either cutting or taking the ball yourself.

Green had 24 points off the bench in that game in Kingston last year, Eddie added 15, and Raines 12.

Posted in 2012-13 Season, Game Previews, HomeComments (8)

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