Tag Archive | "Virginia Tech basketball"

VIDEO | Virginia Tech’s ACC Outlook – 2012

Here’s my breakdown of how the Hokies look heading into ACC play, along with predictions of how the teams will flush out in the ACC standings by season’s end.

Posted in 2011-12 Season, Around The ACC, HighlightsComments (10)

Around the ACC (and VT’s Other Opponents) | Niemo’s Notes

  • Wow, it has been a wild week to say the least.  And the ACC is taking it harder on the chin than a bukkake recipient.  But none of the bad losses compare to the drama related to the mississippi state bulldogs.

Days of Our Lives, starring the mississippi state bulldogs:

  • After playing VT in the Bahamas, and getting waxed, the bulldogs headed for the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, HI.  As my buddy VT1Fan put it, “I want miss st frequent flyer miles.”  Well, maybe not…
  • Former 5-star recruit Renardo Sidney, who made his debut against VT last weekend after being suspended for one full season plus nine games this year, was suspended for the first game of the Diamond Head Classic for an outburst in practice.  The bulldogs lost that game by 26 to washington state.
  • But here’s where it gets wild – the next day, after Sidney led the bulldogs with 19 points in a win over san diego, he got in a fight in the STANDS with a TEAMMATE, Elgin Bailey.  And just our luck – the cameras were rolling!  Check out this VIDEO (LINK).  Sidney’s career could be over after two games.  While hilarious, it also means the bulldogs (picked to win the SEC West) probably aren’t going to work themselves into a ‘quality win’ for the Hokies now.

General Hospital, starring the ACC:

The ACC may need to go to the hospital to get repairs.  I’ve noted some of the bad losses the ACC has had already this year, but this week takes the cake…

  • Almost the entire league – Everyone in the ACC has at least 3 out of conference losses except #1 duke (undefeated) and bc (2 losses). 
  • wake forest – The deacons had already lost to stetson, winthrop, unc-wilmington, xavier, and vcu, but hit a new low this week – they lost to presbyterian.  Yep, the blue hose (and yes, I had to look that up, and no, I have no idea what it means) beat the deacons, possibly causing a Holy War.  To be fair, presbyterian isn’t awful – they beat auburn and lost to kansas state by just 9, and are #89 in the current RPI, but come on.  ACC teams should not lose to the hose.  And wake barely beat unc-g-spot last week by 2 – unc-greensboro is 0-11.  wake might be the worst team in ACC history.
  • uva – After beating norfolk state (1-9) by just 1 point on Monday (and that was on a tip-in with 4 seconds left by Sene who has just 6 made FGs all season), the hoos lost to seattle.  No, not the Super Sonics with Shawn Kemp, the redhawks.  That improved the ‘hawks to 5-10.  seattle, even with the win, is still #291 in the RPI. I think that qualifies as a BAD loss (FYI: norfolk state is #324 of 345 teams).  Mike Scott missed the norfolk state game (he had minor knee surgery), but had 12 points and 8 rebounds in 31 minutes versus the redhawks.  This shows the hoos, who I picked to finish 12th, are almost wake forest bad without the great Scott, and can be beaten by anyone (and we mean anyone) even with him.  Yet, they are a contender in the ACC for an upper half spot.  Yes, the ACC is that bad this year that one guy can make all the difference. [Thanks Zach for the correction.]
  • georgia tech – Gotta love the jackets!  I’m been saying all year that Paul Hewitt, the second worst coach in the league, will not survive the season.  So what does he do?  He goes out and beats a quality richmond team in the Bahamas appetizer before the VT/mississippi state game.  But you don’t get to be rated my #2 worst coach without a reason – the jackets turned around and lost to siena (#108 RPI – so not bad at all, but still).  It just shows how inconsistent they are.  Earlier in the season, georgia tech lost to kennesaw state, who weighs in at an offensive lineman like #318 in the RPI. 
  • fsu – The noles were looking like a contender in the ACC… that was until 6’11” center Xavier Gibson had to helped off the floor with an apparent left knee injury in their loss to butler at the Diamond Head Classic last night (this was not in a teammate brawl, I’ll note).  No word on how severe it is, but considering how much the noles depend on their defense, losing their giant in the middle would be devastating.
  • miami – The canes lost to undefeated central florida last Saturday in Miami (but at the Heat arena). The loss isn’t so bad, it is the fact that they played a game in THEIR CITY yet their were more ucf fans at the game than canes fans.  And of course, florida had way more fans than either team in the second game of the doubleheader when they upset kansas state…

wildcats Gone Wild – Speaking of kansas state…

  • The wildcats lost to florida and unlv this week.  Neither loss is bad, as they are #23 and #18 in the RPI respectively, but it is more interesting because…
  • Peter Warrick Lives! – ksu star Jacob Pullen and doghouse regular Curtis Kelly “were being punished for receiving impermissible benefits in connection with the purchase of clothing at a local department store.”  Ah, brings back memories of Peter Warrick and Laveranues Coles getting the old nole discount at Dillard’s department store back in 1999… “The Tallahassee police charge that [cashier] allowed the two to buy $412.38 worth of clothing — designer labels such as Nautica and Polo — for $21.40 on Sept. 29.”  I ran into Warrick at the Bourbon Street McDonald’s a few days before the 1999 National Championship game.  He was purchasing some burgers and after he left, I yelled, “How’d he get 3 Big Macs for $1???”  The Hokies in the place laughed, but I’ll admit, I didn’t say it while his bodyguards were around.
  • ksu is #10 in the RPI.  That would be good for VT if they had beaten the wildcats or the rebels.  At least it helps their SOS a lot.

Good news:

  • VT sits at #43 in the RPI right now.  Keep winning and VT is ok.  But that’s going to be a challenge with eight scholarship players.
  • Tech is 1-3 against top 50 teams (okie state is #38)
  • The Hokies are 2-3 against top 100 teams (st. bonnie is #89)
  • VT has had the 18th hardest schedule to date
  • Tech gets to play duke (#3), bc twice (#19), miami (#20), and unc (#30).  Assuming at least some of those rating hold, VT has five shots at high quality wins.

Final thought – can you believe I’m not ganging up on the wolfpack and Sidney Lowe?  Well, after they lost to arizona by 10, they rebounded to beat delaware state… by 2.  But hey, a win is a win.  The pack freshmen just aren’t playing that great yet (freshmen rarely do in the ACC) and stud Tracy Smith out the last 9 games with a knee injury (he should be back soon), they are struggling.  Getting him back in full though will have as big of an impact as the hoos getting Scott.  Well, but uva doesn’t have Lowe as their coach.

But let’s not end with a note on nc state – Merry Christmas, Hokies!  See you in South Beach in a week!

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Around The ACCComments (5)

Delaney Named to Bob Cousy Award Nomination List

Once again Malcolm Delaney has made the Bob Cousy Award nomination list.  This award goes to the top point guard in the nation, according to the committee that decides it, at least.

Delaney is part of an “exclusive” list of 67 players nominated.  That list will be trimmed to 20 on the day of the Orange Bowl.  A month later, it will be paired down to 10 on February 3rd.  A final five nominees will then be selected on March 3rd with the winner announced on April 4th.

There have been seven previous winners, three of which were from the ACC.  This includes the last two winners – Ty Lawson of unc and “Greasy Face”-quez of maryland.

Interestingly, Delaney’s likeness is used in the link to the nominees on the homepage: Cousy Award Official Web Site

I am confident Delaney will make it to the next round of 20.  It will be interesting to see if he makes the final 10 announced on 2/3.

Three other ACC players were on the list – Irving of duke (who likely won’t make the cut due only to his injury), Kitchen of fsu, who likely also won’t make the cut (he’s not that good), and Stitt of clemson (he has a shot at advancing).  Hank Thorns, the former Hokie who is in his first year at tcu, is also on the list.  He’s averaged 8.9 ppg and 6.1 assists through 11 games.  Thorns still can’t shoot, hitting just 37% of his shots, but he has hit 15 of 41 three-pointers (37%) — he shot just 26% from deep as a Hokie and under 30% overall from the field as a sophomore.  So that’s good for him, but I don’t miss him.

Posted in 2010-11 SeasonComments (0)

Niemo’s Notes | Around the ACC, TechTalkLive Notes, and Other Ramblings

The season is a month old now.  Before it started, I knew the ACC was going to be down again this year.  How down are they?

  • The ACC is just 74-32 (70%).  Not very elite.  The Big East has fewer out of conference losses (31) despite having four more teams.  The BE is 117-31 (79%).
  • Everyone in the ACC but duke has lost at least 2 games out of conference.  The ACC has 8 teams with at least 3 losses out of conference.  Half the Big East has 1 loss or less (4 are undefeated).
  • The ACC has lost to powers like kennesaw state, yale, stetson, winthrop, northwestern, and unc-w.
  • I know, the ACC isn’t as good as the Big East… but it used to be.  It just shows how the ACC has fallen, while the Big East has risen.

I knew that duke was the #1 team in the league by far.  I though VT was a solid #2, and unc had a strong shot at #3 (or #2).  I was wrong.  Slots #2 through #10 are completely up for grabs.  Here is what I’ve gathered.

  • #1 – duke (10-0, 0-0) is the best team in the league, with or without Kyrie Irving.  Irving was the best player on the team and gave them a different dimension (athletic PG) than they have had in a long while, since maybe Jason Williams (the non-murderer).  Still, even without him, they may be the best team in the nation, let alone the ACC.  duke lost Scheyer from last year, and Zoubek game them a little bit, but they are just fine.  If they get Irving back at close to 100% at any point this season, game over.
  • #12 – wake (5-4, 0-0) would finish last in a lot of leagues this year other than the ACC.  In fact, they lost by 12 points on Sunday to unc…. wilmington.  unc-dub was picked dead last in the Colonial.  wake also lost by 10 to stetson, 21 to vcu, and 9 to winthrop.  Yep, it’s that bad in deaconville.
  • co-#12 – georgia tech: (5-4, 0-0) You know how much I dislike Paul Hewitt (though he’s better than Sidney Lowe).  The jackets have already lost to kennesaw state by 17 (wow!), to syracuse by 4, at northwestern by 20 (wow!), and at home to georgia.  They did beat savannah state though!  Hewitt will not be coaching the jackets this time next year.

Those are the only spots I feel comfortable predicting.  But I have also noted a few things (in no particular order):

  • The eagles are soaring: (8-2, 1-0) I’m kicking myself but boston college is the team I should have picked as my big mover this year.  Instead, I picked miami based on what I saw for one weekend last year in the ACC Tournament.  But bc looks like a legitimate team.  They are veteran, they are experienced, and they are balanced.  The athletic Reggie Jackson is averaging 19 per game, and Joe Trapani, who reminds you of a 1980’s Boston Celtic, is scoring 12.8.  Raji and Paris are also contributing double digits.  This team is experienced and you regular readers know how much I love experience.  bc has 8 seniors, 3 juniors, and 2 freshmen on their roster.  I.e. Been there, done that.  They won at maryland on Sunday in their ACC opener.  Yes, they also lost to yale, but bc loses to teams like yale.  It just shows everyone in the ACC is vulnerable this season.  And here’s the biggest shocker – bc sits at #14 in the current RPI (yes, it is extremely early, but still, they have the 11th toughest schedule and are 8-2).
  • c-a-n-e-s canes:  (7-2, 0-0) I predicted the canes to jump from dead last to #5 this season.  I may be right for thinking highly of the canes, or I may be wrong.  Hard to tell.  miami lost a close one to memphis, a bad one to rutgers, but then beat wvu and mississippi at home.  Now the canes are 15th in the RPI.  But I won’t know what to think of them for a while… they open up ACC play at duke on January 2nd.  That should be a good test.
  • nc state is on the move! (5-3, 0-0) Hahahahahahahahaha.  Hold on…. hahahahaha.  The media thought they’d be a big mover this year because Tracy Smith is back and they have some good freshmen.  Stop me if you’ve heard this, but the media is dumb – they forget they still have Sidney Lowe as their coach, or “the ricky stokes of Raleigh”.  The pack are 5-3 and their three losses are also against good teams – to georgetown, wisconsin, and syracuse.  But they lost by 15 to g’town, 39 to wisconsin (that’s not a typo), then played the ‘cuse tough, losing by just 6 (Huh?  Why can’t the cuse kill crap ACC coaches?).  The pack have no quality wins.  If and when they win some tough games, and win the games they should, maybe I’ll start to believe in them… nah, that’s not true.  Lowe’s that bad.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see wake beat them on January 8th.
  • Are the heels for real? (7-3, 0-0) I’m not sure.  They beat k-y kentucky.  Barnes is averaging 12 ppg, Henson is up to 10.5 ppg.  They miss Davis and Graves and the Wears.  That’s a lot to lose, three of which were after recruiting had ended.  Drew is still pretty lousy, and has lost minutes to Arlington, VA freshman Kendall Marshall.  They aren’t an elite team.  They aren’t in duke’s class.  They have a shot at #2 in the league, and I don’t see them going 5-11 like last year.  But I think 9.5 wins and 6.5 losses in league play might be the betting line for them.
  • florida state: (7-2, 1-0) They beat clemson.  That shows they are better than clemson.  That’s what I expected.  I picked fsu #4 and they were scoring a lot early, but have struggled of late.  They are similar to what they were last year.  They are big inside and that’s bad for the Hokies.  I still see fsu finishing in the upper half of the league.
  • terrapin fading: (7-4, 0-1) With the three stud seniors maryland lost from last year, you knew they were going to have a drop-off after tying duke for the regular season title.  The loss to bc on Sunday confirmed that.  Yes, it is just one game, but they are very much in the middle of the pack of the ACC.  And losing at home to bc you simply cannot do.  maryland has also lost to pitt, illinois, and temple.  So while they are just 7-4, they have played some tough games.  I think they very much look like the rest of the league.
  • tiger bait: (5-4, 0-1) They have two good guards who are a combined 11’11”.  Stitt and Young are their only players hitting double digits.  Other than that, they are average guys, and Stitt and Young cannot carry a team.  They lost to odu and have now lost three in a row to michigan, usc (cocks), and fsu.  I see them in the 7-10 range in the final ACC standings.
  • uva: (6-3, 1-0) Yeah, they are better than I thought (I picked them to finish last).  They lost to 21 to an average stanford team, by 43 to washington, but have since won at minnesota and at VT.  But they just won 54-44 over radford in a snore-fest.  I think they are average, but like I said, better than I thought.  I could see them finishing anywhere from 5th to 10th.  Scott is good inside and can give the league problems, as he always gives VT issues.
  • FYI: VT is sitting at #63 in the RPI to date and have the 20th most difficult schedule.  So the challenging schedule has paid off in that department, VT just needs to start racking up wins.

Tech Talk Notes:

  • Greenberg mentioned Cadarian Raines could have played yesterday but they want him back 100%.  Might play this week.  They have to decide by the unc game (Jan. 13th).
  • He noted the fans were better yesterday (that were there) than for purdue or uva in terms of being “invested”.  I agree at least in terms of uva – the crowd was dead for that.
  • Mentioned Garland needs to do better on defense – I agree, he wasn’t fighting through screens very well.
  • Delaney bit through his lip.  He should be fine for Saturday.  Got stitches but was at the after game event.
  • No TV Saturday (whoops).

Posted in Around The ACCComments (4)

2011 Recruiting Stats and News Page Added


The page linked above will keep you up to date on all published stats related to Virginia Tech’s four signees for 2011 – C.J. Barksdale, Robert Brown, Marquis Rankin, and Dorian Finney-Smith.  The first three all play for Hargrave’s undefeated post-grad team, so their games include stats for all three players.  Finney-Smith plays for the defending VA AAA champion Norcom Greyhounds.  They are off to a 2-0 start and play in the National HS Hoops Festival on Saturday night in Hyattsville, MD (Dematha HS).

The best game so far goes to Barksdale – he had 42 points and 13 rebounds against roanoke college on November 16th.

Posted in Home, Recruiting NewsComments (0)

Ben Boggs is Transferring

People have been guessing that some of the bench players, who aren’t getting jack for playing time, might leave.  Well, they were right.  Sophomore guard Ben Boggs has decided to transfer after he finishes up finals next week.  He cited playing time (or lack there of) as the reason.

Here was his quote on Hokiesports.com, “I have enjoyed my time at Virginia Tech and would like to thank Coach Greenberg and the coaching staff for all they have done for me,” Boggs said. “A desire for more playing time is the reason I’m leaving Virginia Tech. I will miss my teammates and wish them the best of luck in the future.”

Boggs had played in just half the games so far this season, collecting a grand total of 11 minutes.  Last season he played in 25 games and averaged close to 9 minutes per game, so he’s seen a huge drop-off this year.

Ben is from Roanoke, but his next destination is not known at this time.

This now means that Seth has had at least one player leave VT before his eligibility was done in 6 of his 7 seasons at VT.  This also frees up another scholarship for next year.  Tech had counted on taking a full class for next year, but couldn’t after JT Thompson got hurt (and would be returning next year).  Expect Seth to go after a big man to complete the class, though it hurts to lose out on 4-star stud Baru, who is going to college of charleston (?!)

Posted in 2010-11 SeasonComments (11)

Niemo’s Notes | How ‘Bout Those Pretty Gray Uniforms?

At some point last night as I was heading up I-66 around midnight on my way home from the VT/uva game, doped up on enough 5 Hour Energies and Coke Zeros to kill a spastic child, I kind of hoped a deer would dart out in front of my pimp rental Cadillac DTS ($30/day – thank you Linda!!!).  Why did I hope to see a deer?  I was going to picture it wearing a #23 jersey (i.e. Mike Scott who now has 3 straight 20+ point and 10+ rebound games against VT) and finally put a stop to him since Jeff Allen clearly couldn’t.  But then I realized uva needed something to be happy about.  They’ve had it pretty rough.  I’m glad their fan finally had something to take pride in.  (Seriously, Mike Scott must salivate waiting to play VT)

Then I wished a deer with the ACC preseason predictions painted on it would dart out, and I could blow it up like things have seemingly blown up for VT.  Or maybe the deer would have a basketball dry erase board around it’s neck… blank like VT’s playbook seems to be.

Alas, as you can probably guess, no deer dared across the highway.  Probably for the best, VT doesn’t need any additional bad PR with the hippies from PETA.

I decided to take a deep breath and not write anything today.  Well, I made it 21 hours, but here are my ramblings…

The Offense… What can I say that hasn’t been said?  Emilio Estevez’s Mighty Duck team looked more organized at the beginning of that movie than our offense does.  All you had to do was watch last night’s game and you got a clinic in what we are doing wrong.  What did uva do all first half?  Either dribble inside the three point line, draw the defense, and kick it to an open wing.  Or feed the post, and if VT doubled, the perimeter guys would slide to an open area and the post player would kick it out for a wide open look.  And you know what?   They made their wide open jumpers.  No double?  Mike Scott would back his man down, drop step, and score.

The point is, uva got a LOT of wide open looks, and shot 56% for the first half.  That’s easy to do when you have no one in your face.  And Mike Scott abused Jeff Allen like a rented mule.  Jeff was trying to overplay him to one side, or front him, and it didn’t work.  A good feed to the opposite side and Mike was drop-stepping and laying it in.  I actually thought Davila did a nice job on Scott (playing behind him) – when Scott got the ball, faced up, and went up to shoot, Davila would step into him and put two hands straight up right in his face and that’s when Scott went cold.

Now, there was the Tech offense.  When VT fed the ball inside, the perimeter players wouldn’t move.  As a result, if the defense keeps their eye on the ball while they look to double, they are also able to keep a hand in the passing lane because our guy was in the same exact spot!  If you move, the defender either has to double down, and you are open, or he stays with you and the post player has a one-on-one, and I like Allen or Davila in that situation.

On VT’s first possession Jeff got doubled and Delaney got a wide open look.  Second possession, Allen had a one-on-one inside.  Third possession, Davila thought he was going to get doubled and went to kick it out, but since Hudson hadn’t moved, the pass got intercepted.  After that, Tech seemed to go away from this.  But the point is, you have to have movement on offense or it is very easy for the opponent to guard you.  I remember one play in the oklahoma state game where one of our post players had it down low.  osu doubled him.  But the two players on the left wing were standing in a straight line (one behind the other).  So one guy was able to guard both and stay in the passing lane.  The right wing?  Same exact thing.  So a third player was able to come down and take the ball away from the post player while two other guys were able to guard four Hokies.  Terrible spacing, no movement.

Because of the lack of spacing and movement, guards are forced to try and fit the ball into tight spots.  I mean, if no one is moving, then no one is open, so if you get stuck, you have to throw it somewhere.  And our bigs aren’t great passers, but more on turnovers in a bit…

Turnovers… VT is averaging 3 more turnovers per game this year than last.  Tech has had a negative turnover margin in 5 of their 8 games so far (including all 4 losses).  The guards are either forcing passes in the half court or on the break, and our post players aren’t great at kicking the ball out (they really aren’t used to doing it).

Fast Break Points… The other thing greatly missing from VT’s arsenal this year is easy buckets.  Tech just is not getting many fast break opportunities.  The catalyst of this is the Hokies not creating, or converting, live ball turnovers.  Check out this crazy stat: in the unc-g game, the Hokies pilfered 20 steals.  20!  In the other 7 games, they have just 24 steals. Tech averaged 7 steals per game last year but average just 5.5 this year (and that’s including the unc-g game).  Throw out the game in Greensboro and the Hokies are averaging just 3.4 steals.

During their current three game losing streak, the Hokies have forced just 29 total turnovers combined, for just 30 total points (exactly 10 in each game).  Last year Tech was regularly getting 20 or more points off turnovers per game.

Live ball turnovers lead to odd man rushes (to steal a hockey term), which lead to easy bucket opportunities.  The fewer turnovers you get, the fewer the fast break points you’re going to get.  But even when Tech gets a chance, VT is horrible on the break anyway.  Players are too selfish and go right at a defender or settle for a pull up jumper.  What they should be doing is drawing the defender and then kicking it to the other man (far enough from the hoop) for an easy bucket.  Instead, when VT does pass, it is either too tough to catch, too late and the guys are too close together (and therefore easier to defend), or the Hokie jumps drops it.  Either way, it ain’t working.

Also, uva was clearly prepared for our 1-3-1 half court trap and neutralized it for the most part.  ACC teams are going to have practiced against it, and it isn’t going to work as well as when it was a novelty earlier in the season.  Tech needs to find different ways to be aggressive and create turnovers.

Scoring… VT is 271st in the nation in scoring at 64.4 ppg… out of 345 teams.  Tech has now failed to reach even 60 points in 4 straight games and were held in the 50s in all 4 losses.

Shooting… VT is in the 200s in 3-point percentage, FG%, and Effective FG%.  Tech cannot hit their jumpers, largely because they have a man in their face (due to the reasons listed above), while opponents like uva get wide open looks.

The Cassell… Tech went 17-2 at home last season.  They are 1-2 this season.  Conjuring up the ghosts of ricky stokes!  And I’m sorry, but the crowd sucked last night.  No energy, no enthusiasm.  It was maybe, and I mean maybe, 80% full.  Yes, I know many of us were at the ACCCG Saturday night.  I was there, I was up until 3 AM, and I still made it to the Cassell and was loud and proud, knowing I still had a 4 hour drive home to go afterwards.  Do I want a cookie?  No.  I want fans that give a crap.  This was uva.  Yes, I know we stunk worse than a NYC cab driver in July in the first half.  I’m talking about before the game, when it started.  The place was dead.  And when the football team came out?  Suddenly all these people had life.

I watched the Sunday Night Hoops game last week… it was unc vs college of charleston.  unc had a huge crowd and they were into the game, even though their team was stinking it up and trailed in the second half.  I’m not saying we have to be unc (nobody wants that).  But this was uva!!!  I mean, come on, we won’t have another wahoo turd in Lane or Cassell for another 13 to 14 months.  Have some enthusiasm, or give your tickets to someone that will.  And show up or give your tickets to someone that will.  Yeesh.  I’m calling all of you out.  It’s sad when you can’t get up for uva.  Our fans need Viagra for cheering/rivalries.

I’m tired of us being a football school only, and if football is doing well, we don’t give a crap about basketball.  I want us to be great at both.  If we had made that place crazy last night, the guys would have raised their game early and had more energy… trust me.  Instead, the fans and the players were flatter than my tire after I accidentally backed over the “Severe Tire Damage” spikes pulling into the rental return lot this morning (just kidding).

ACC Openers… The Hokies are now just 1-6 in ACC openers.  So VT is certainly familiar with this hole.  It just stings because this was at home against a team picked to finish at the bottom of the ACC.  Only one other loss in an opener was at home (for some reason VT had opened on the road in 4 of their first 6 seasons in the ACC).

Loss #4… VT didn’t lose their 4th game until January 31st last season.

Davila… He actually looks good to me right now.  I was stunned he only had 4 points last night on 2/8 shooting.  Seemed better than that.  And as I said above, his defense looked good, too.  Feed him the ball.  No, his hands aren’t great, and no, he isn’t a good passer, but we don’t have many other options.

Hudson… Some people keep wondering where his three point shot has been this year but that’s not the issue.  He hit just 21% from deep as a freshman, 33% as a sophomore, and 29% last year (so not as high as many, including me, remember — he did go nuts from deep in the middle of the season but he also went 0/13 to close the regular season, so this wasn’t a huge part of his success last year).  He’s back down to 21% this year (3/14), but it is his midrange jumper that we really miss.  Last year he getting pull up jumpers on the baseline, or coming off a curl and getting a jumper at the elbow… and hitting them.  He’s not getting those looks this way.  I don’t know if those plays were scrapped (especially the curl to the elbow) or what, but let’s bring it back.

Conclusion: Are we not as good as we were last year?… I actually don’t know how to answer this question yet.  Basically, we are the same team as last year, but without JT Thompson, our heart-and-soul guy who brings high energy.  We miss him a lot.  But before you say, “What about Cadarian Raines?” remember one thing – he missed 40% of the games last year, so Tech survived in large part without him.  Though it would be great to have him.  So essentially you’ve traded Jarell Eddie for JT Thompson… and that hasn’t been a good thing to date.

But let’s look back at VT’s ACC games last year.  They remind me of the Atlanta Falcons games this year.  Like Matty Ice and the Dirty Birds, Tech would hang in games, and find a way to win at the end.  While “lucky” isn’t the right word, Tech also easily could have lost many of their 10 ACC wins last year.  Tech trailed by 3 to bc at home with 29 seconds to go last year, but won thanks in large part to a questionable jump ball call when Jeff Allen was standing out of bounds.

Five days later VT won at uva despite being behind by 10 with under 3 minutes to go.

The unc at VT game was a 2 point game with a minute to go (though VT did lead the final 17 minutes of it).

Tech trailed by 3 in the uva at VT game with under 2 minutes to go.

The Hokies were down 61-50 to wake with 12:30 to go in the second half in the demon deacon game, but won.

Tech lost to the ACC’s last place team, miami, TWICE.

So were the Hokies as good as we made them out to be last year?  Or were we somewhat lucky in that we won so many close games, while they haven’t been able to close the games this year?  I just don’t know.  And I don’t think we will know until our sample size is larger.  I do know that yesterday was just one game.  There’s 15 more to go (in the ACC).  And we were 0-1 last year, opening up with a loss to one of the ACC bottom feeders.  So all is not lost, but I’ll admit I have a lot more doubt.  Luckily we have 5 weeks to figure things out before our next ACC game.

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I’m Still All In, Are You?

It’s December 2nd.  Virginia Tech has just lost a heartbreaker on their home floor.  The team is disappointed.  It hurts to lose a one possession game like that.  All you can do is get up the next day, lace up the shoes, and get back at it.

By the way, I’m not talking about the loss to purdue on Wednesday.  I’m talking about December 2nd, 2002.  Virginia Tech has just lost to… are you ready for this?  wofford.  That’s right, wofford.  Do you even know what state wofford is?  Or their nickname?  I’m pretty sure they are in South Carolina, but I couldn’t tell you their nickname if it got me a night with Jessica Biel.  The game was played in front of 3,114 fans at the Cassell.  Rather, that was the PAID attendance.  How many people were actually there?  I have no idea.  I wasn’t there.  I probably didn’t even see the score until the next day.  I sure as heck wasn’t ‘all in’ before the loss, and sure as heck wasn’t after that point.

If we were on TV, I watched.  Like our win over uva at home later that year.  But after only missing one home game in my four years at VT in the mid-90s (and it was my first game – stupid frat commitments), I had completely lost interest in our program.  It was too painful.  Too rough.  I used to sit near the VT bench and watch ricky stokes stand around the huddle, saying absolutely nothing.  I actually wondered if he was in a coma at times and it just hadn’t been diagnosed yet.  He looked as prepared as the “Boom goes the dynamite” guy for most games.

This season marks the 50th season VT has played in the Cassell.  You know how many losing records the Hokies have had at home for a season?  One.  The 2000-01 season where Tech went 6-9 at home, including consecutive home losses to bill & mary, uva, and liberty.  The Hokies lost their final 10 games that season and went 2-14 in the Big East.  Thanks, ricky.

That 2002-03 season, stokes’s last (thank goodness), VT went 12-17 and 4-12 in the Big East, ricky’s best season in the Big East.  If a tree had fallen in the Cassell during most games, only about a dozen people would have been hurt but they’d surely have heard it since it was so quiet.

Fast forward to December 2nd, 2010.  Tech lost to #22 purdue the night before.  The loss stings.  In a year that we all expected great things from the Hokies, they now sit at 4-3 and have missed several chances at great wins that would look fantastic on their NCAA Tournament resume come March.  It will be tough to make the Big Dance now, and VT has an uphill battle.  Tech went 10-6 in the ACC last year and didn’t get in, largely because they didn’t beat anyone of any merit out of conference.  And the ACC is even more down this year than last, so barring a win over duke at the Cassell in February, VT won’t have many chances at a big time win in conference.  Their strength of schedule will be a lot better which will help, but you still need quality wins, there are no ‘quality losses’.

But you know what?  Who cares?  I still know this is a good Virginia Tech team.  We aren’t as good as we thought because we lost our energizer, JT Thompson.  And we don’t have Allan Chaney to help inside like we hoped, but we didn’t have him last year, either.  And Dorenzo Hudson is really struggling battling chronic injuries.  But this is still a solid, and veteran team with a couple of stars and boatloads of experience.  As they do each year, they will ratchet things up in ACC play.

Yes, they have major issues on offense, and 3-on-1 or 2-on-1 fast breaks might as well be 1-on-1 because we don’t know how to pass in transition.  But they had those issues last year, too.  This team plays great defense and that will keep them in almost every game.  They just have to re-discover that magic they had last year at closing games.

And I’m telling you right now the ACC is BAD this year.  wake’s already lost to stetson, vcu, and winthrop.  georgia tech lost to kennesaw state, the ‘cuse, and by 20 at northwestern (and they have the second worst coach in the ACC who will not be around next year).  nc state is coached by Sidney Lowe… nuff said (he’s the worst).  They lost by 39 to wisconsin last night (wisconsin usually doesn’t score much more than 39).  unc was once again way overrated by the media, and while Harrison Barnes is good, he’s not a John Wall or Kyrie Irving type impact freshman (nor was John Henson last year).  They just lost too much, and that was off a team that went 5-11 in conference last year.  maryland lost three of their top players from their experience, VT-like team from last year.  florida state still can’t score against good teams.  clemson lost Booker and has no inside presence, just two midget guards that can score.  boston college lost to yale earlier this season, and while they are improved, they still have too far to go.  uva is awful. Yes, they just won at minnesota, which is better than any win VT has, but they also lost by 21 to stanford who just finished 7th (of eight) at the 76 Classic.  Then uva lost by 43 to washington and later to wichita state.   miami, who I thought would be greatly improved, lost by 16 at rutgers.  I think I overhyped them… I mean, they did go 4-12 in the ACC last year.  How good could they really be?

duke?  Well, yeah, they are amazing.  They are the clear-cut #1 team in the nation.  Kyrie Irving is the real deal.  Heck, they bring Curry off the bench.  But if the Hokies can finish as the #2 or #3 seed in the ACC, and I’m telling you they can very easily, they wouldn’t face duke until the ACC Finals if VT could make it that far.  And that’s if duke isn’t upset in the quarters or semis.

In all honesty, what would you rather have: a NCAA Tournament appearance where VT is a middle of the pack seed and might lose their first game, or an ACC title?  I know what I’d pick.  Even if you said the Hokies couldn’t play in the NCAA Tournament if they won the ACC (I know, just go with me here), I’d take that in a second.  Winning the ACC is a big deal, even this year.  40 years from now when I’m getting my diaper changed and I’m telling the other old farts around me about our ACC title, no one is going to ask, “But wasn’t the ACC down that year?”

We can win the ACC.  Say it with me.  WE CAN WIN THE ACC!  Believe it, I do.  And that journey starts Sunday.  Let’s be there and support the boys.  Let’s remember the days of 3,114 fans and take pride in what our program has become.  Virginia Tech basketball is meaningful now, it is relevant.  That’s awesome.  And as we all know, we do two things really well: chew bubble gum, and pound uva.  And Sunday we are all out of bubble gum!

I’m all in, are you?

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Niemo’s Nugget | florida state

With the upcoming ACC Football Championship Game this weekend, I thought I’d share this little interesting nugget: florida state is the only ACC team Virginia Tech has not beaten on the road in basketball or football since joining the league.  And I’m talking in either sport.  VT has beaten the other 10 schools on the road in both basketball and football, yet haven’t beaten the noles in either.  Tech is 0-5 at florida state in hoops and 0-1 in football.  That’s right, VT has won at the Dean Dome and Cameron, but not the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center. 

VT is just 2-6 overall in hoops against the noles and 1-2 with the pigskin.  VT has beaten every ACC school at home in both sports.  The Hokies are 23-5 in ACC road games since joining the league, easily the most impressive state of Tech’s domination of the league.  Tech has actually won at least twice at every football road venue except fsu, bc (1-2), and clemson (1-0).

Luckily, the football game this weekend is in the state of North Carolina, which the Hokies own.  VT is 11-0 in the state against ACC opponents since joining the league.

Tech will not get a chance to win in Tallahassee this season in hoops.  The lone game is on Saturday, January 8th at the Cassell.  VT won’t play at fsu in football until 2013.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, HomeComments (0)

Ticket info for tonight’s game

Basically, if you want to get into the men’s game tonight for $8 instead of $20, buy a ticket to the women’s game (tickets go on sale at 4 p.m.) for $8 and it’s good for the men’s game, too. The women play at 5:30 and the men’s game will begin about 20-30 minutes after the completion of the men’s game, probably around 8 p.m. The only catch is, after the first half of the women’s game, you won’t be able to buy a ticket for the women’s game any more and you’ll have to buy a men’s game ticket at regular price, $20. See you at the game!

Here’s the official mumbo-jumbo from HokieSports.com:

Fans wishing to purchase individual game tickets for the basketball doubleheader home opener this Friday can do so at the Cassell Coliseum Ticket Office prior to the game only. The women host Presbyterian at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men versus Campbell at 7:30 p.m.. Any fan with a ticket to either game will be admitted to both games to fill any unoccupied seat.

Tickets for the women’s game only will go on sale starting at 4:00 p.m. through halftime of the women’s game. Women’s tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children under 18. Following halftime of the women’s game, tickets to the men’s game only will go on sale and are $20.

Posted in 2010-11 SeasonComments (1)

2010-11 ACC Preview

“And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it.  And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground.” -Preacher Purl in ‘Hoosiers

Hopefully that will be the quote that comes to mind on Sunday, March 13th as the ACC Tournament Championship Game concludes.  Hopefully Virginia Tech will be cutting down the nets in the Greensboro Coliseum.  Hopefully the Hokies will have risen to the top of the ACC and captured their first ACC title while the Philistines, unc and duke (with nine NCAA Tournament Championships and 35 ACC Tournament titles combined), lay on the ground in disbelief.

It won’t be easy, though.  unc and duke have combined to win 13 of the last 14 ACC titles.  Oh, and duke is the reigning national champs with two huge stars (Singler and Smith) back and a man named ‘Curry’.  unc has the top freshman in the nation in Harrison Barnes, a guy you would think was already Kevin Durant by all the hype.  There are also nine other pretty good programs to deal with that you cannot forget… actually, let’s forget about them.  The ACC champion will be unc, duke, or Virginia Tech, I’ll say that right now with strong confidence.  But seriously, the Hokies have a real shot at hoisting up the hardware on that fateful Sunday.  Tech returns 10 of the 12 guys that scored a point last season (it was 11 of 12 before JT Thompson’s injury), have an All-American candidate in Malcolm Delaney, one of the top rated power forwards in the country in Jeff Allen (I’ve seen him ranked as high as #2 at PF), Zo Clutch who is money when the game is on the line, and all these guys have loads of experience and tons of hunger, having never played a NCAA Tournament game.  Plus they add two 2,000 point scorers from their respective high schools in Jarell Eddie and Tyrone Garland.  And the biggest sign of Hokie respect?  The ACC media picked VT to finish second in the conference, ahead of the might tar heels. That’s one small blow to the Philistines.

The League:  This will likely be another weak year for the league by ACC standards.  Going into last season, 10 of the 15 All-ACC players from the year before were gone, leaving a lot of holes in terms of star power in the conference.  This year is a little better – seven of the 15 All-ACC players from a year ago are back.  But four of those seven that are returning are on either duke or Virginia Tech, hence why you see them at the top of the class.

Let me breakdown the league this year from worst to first.


12. virginia

The hoos have lost 34 ACC games in the last three seasons.  They’re, uh, they’re not good.  Adding to their misery is the fact leading scorer Sylven Landesberg is gone after just his sophomore year.  He was their one big, consistent threat and gave them some star power and cannot be replaced.  Their #4 and 5 leading scorers are also gone in Jones (who also bolted) and Meyinsse, and Tristan Spurlock (who had been a 4-star recruit) decided to leave.  uva has to play duke and Virginia Tech four times, which won’t help.

Big man Mike Scott does return.  He has a wealth of talent, but like Jeff Allen, is very inconsistent.  He’s not the type of player you want as your leader.  Outside of him they don’t have a real scoring threat returning.

The good news for the handful of hoo hoops fans is they did bring in a solid recruiting class.  K.T. Harrell is their stud.  Rivals.com had him as the #30 guy overall in this past class.  He’s a shooting guard.  K.T. will have to fill the void left by Landesberg’s departure.  But even if he does, they’d only be back to where they were last year, and that was a team that went 5-11.  So things are not looking bright for uva, at least not this year until these freshmen get some experience.


11. wake forest

Just two years ago wake forest claimed the #1 ranking in the country.  Now, heading into the 2010-11 season, most predictions don’t have them in the top 10 in the ACC.  The media had them dead last.  Gone from last year’s squad are lightning bolt point guard Ishmael Smith and NBA first round pick Al-Farouq Aminu.  Both were ACC Second Team last year.  They also lost their best defender, L.D. Williams, and their top big man, Chas McFarland.  wake has just five scholarship guys back who had a combined 30 starts last year (that’s less than the number of games they played).  In contrast, VT has 166 returning starts from a year ago.

Like uva, the future is what the deacons are banking on.  They bring in four 4-star recruits plus another 3-star guy, filling out an entire lineup.  How they do this season depends on how those guys develop under new coach Jeff Bzdelik.  But freshmen tend to struggle in the ACC, and it isn’t like they have kentucky’s class of last year, or even the star-studded class they had two years ago that was more hype than substance.


10. georgia tech

I’d probably have the yellow jackets down here at #10 even if they had Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors back.  Why?  Paul Hewitt is still their head coach.  He’s the second worst coach in the league, posting a 67-93 record in ACC games in ten seasons at georgia tech.  That’s at georgia tech, in the ATL.  A great city that has to be easy to recruit to (and they do recruit very well).  Yet he’s posted just one winning record in conference play in 10 years.  How does he still have a job?  Yes, he did make it to the 2004 NCAA title game, but that was six years ago… and they lost it.  Hewitt’s ability to lose road games is legendary – they are 1-15 on the road in ACC games the last two seasons.

Gone now are Lawal and Favors to the NBA, and Zachery Peacock is also gone, leaving a gigantic hole in the low post for georgia tech.  They only return one player over 6’6″, and he’s not very good.  Two of their other bigs redshirted last year which tells you all you need to know about them.

The jackets are strong on the perimeter with Shumpert, Miller, Udofia, and Rice.  Shumpert could become a star in the ACC this year.  But those guys are turnover machines, probably thanks in large part to poor coaching.  Plus, they don’t play smart defense, taking way too many chances and giving up easy hoops.  Plus, now they have no low post presence.  All this equals Paul Hewitt’s final season at georgia tech.


9. clemson

I see clemson and bc as very similar unknowns this year, but I like bc’s returning players more than clemson’s, hence they get the nod.  clemson has a new coach in Brad Brownell.  Gone is the strangling, up-tempo press style of Oliver Purnell.  While that could be good for the tigers long term, it changes the type of players you need.  For example, forward Jerai Grant is 6’8″ but just 220, not exactly a bruiser inside.  Brownell’s system may not work with the athletic bodies Purnell coveted who couldn’t shoot to save their lives.

clemson must learn to live without their long time star, Trevor Booker who is with the Wizards.  He averaged 15.2 ppg and 8 rpg and was just a beast of a presence inside.  They have two quick, and good three-point shooting point guards in Stitt and Young.  Good guard play can carry you.  But who can they feed the ball to when they get cut off?  That will be the big question they have to answer.  Grant isn’t good at creating his own shots or scoring with his back to the basket, Tanner Smith is a very streaky shooter at guard (28% on 3’s), and Milton Jennings was a huge disappointment as a former 5-star recruit at forward.  He averaged just 3.3 ppg and 2.7 rpg last year.  If he can elevate his game under Brownell, they have a chance to vault up the standings to the #6 range.

FYI: They only brought in one recruit, a 3-star.


8. boston college

The eagles, like clemson, also have a new coach in Steve Donahue.  I like them more than the tigers because they return Joe Trapani (14.1 ppg) as a perimeter-shooting forward, and electric guard Reggie Jackson (12.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.5 apg).  They also have wing player Corey Raji (11.4 ppg).  Not many ACC teams have three returning double-digit scorers.  The eagles also have a quality shot-blocker in Josh Southern inside at 6’10”.

Had the eagles been able to keep Rakim Sanders, they really could have contended for a bye in the league.  But he bolted for fairfield along with his 11.3 ppg.  Seldom used Evan Ravenel also left.  The eagles added no recruits of note.

The eagles are experienced and I like teams with experience.  Just look at unc a few years ago, duke last year (and this year), maryland last year, and VT this year.  While Jackson, Trapani, and Raji don’t have the talent those other teams had, they also are in the ACC in a down year.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see them vault us as high as #5 in the league.  And I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish ahead of nc state…


7. nc state

The media picked the wolfpack to finish fourth in the ACC… hold on… give me a minute… I’m still laughing hysterically… OK, I think I’m better.  Word to the media – SIDNEY LOWE IS STILL THEIR COACH!!!  In his four years at the helm, state is 20-44 in ACC play.  That’s an average of 5-11, which was their record last season. They’ve lost at least 10 games in conference every year, including the year they had J.J. Hickson who is tearing it up for the Cleveland Cavs.  And you think now he’s going to start winning?  Ha!

So why is the media high on the pack?  They do return Tracy Smith, a preseason All ACC pick and a very good 6’8″ forward.  I like him.  And their three recruits coming in are absolute monsters.  They bring in two 5-stars in PF C.J. Leslie and PG Ryan Harrow, and fellow PG Lorenzo Brown was #37 overall.

But Gonzalez their point guard shoots under 40% from the floor.  In fact, five of their seven main returning players shoot under 40% and state is not known for their defense.  Also, guards tend to struggle their freshman year in the ACC adjusting to the skill and speed of the game, as well as the intensity.  So I’m not expecting much from Brown or Harrow.  Leslie may do well, but they stunk when they had Hickson with Costner and McCauley.  These guys are going to have to learn to all play together at the same positions, and based on Lowe’s track record, I’m not banking on it.  In fact, I can’t believe I have them as high as I do at #7, but the rest of the ACC is just that bad.  If I had been their AD, I would have waited until their stud recruits signed their LOI, immediately fired Lowe, hired a new guy, and tried to convince the recruits to stay.  But that’s just me.


6. maryland

Other than wake forest, no one in the ACC was hit hard by lost players than maryland.  Gone from the team that tied duke for the regular season title last year at 13-3 (yes, tied duke) are super punk (and arm-curl victim) Greasy Face-quez, forward Landon Milbourne, and guard Eric Hayes.  That’s a loss of 44 ppg, 12 rpg, and 11 apg.  That’s a lot to make up for.  But Jordan Williams is set to be a Tracy Smith-like star and Sean Mosley started every game last year and averaged 10 ppg.

The terps have struggled to recruit in the last several years and that trend continued this past offseason.  Despite the ability to sell early playing time at a basketball crazy school, they signed just one 4-star recruit of the five they inked (who would have thought VT’s recruiting would be surpassing maryland’s).  Mychal Parker was #60 overall and gives them an athletic wing player at 6’6″ that can help fill Milbourne’s void.

The key for the terps is how their guys that used to be supporting cast like Bowie, Gregory, and Tucker can step up.  I bet they will lose a couple of bad out of conference games, but Gary Williams is a good coach and knows how to beat the weaker ACC coaches in the league, as well as pull off the occasional upset.  This pick is based solely on my familiarity with Williams.  I don’t think maryland will finish any higher than this, and I think they could finish as low as 9th.


5. miami

You have to have one crazy pick, right?  There’s always one big mover each season.  And I am NOT putting nc state in that role.  So why not the c-a-n-e-s canes?  Yes, they finished 4-12 in the ACC last year.  But then they beat #5 seed wake and #4 seed VT before battling #1 duke in the semi-finals, all without Dwayne Collins who isn’t back this year anyway.

Sophomore guard Durand Scott became a money playmaker at the end of the year, beating VT almost on his own with his ability to drive.  Malcolm Grant is a big time three-point shooter, giving them a deep threat.  Inside, Reggie Johnson is really fat (295 lbs), but showed he can play in spurts and be productive.  They have a decent cast of supporting characters, too.  And they add 4-star SG Rion Brown to lessen James Dews’s loss, but you know how I feel about freshman guards in the ACC.  That said, he doesn’t have to do much since they have two good guards already.

The key is can they play the rugged, street-mugging style defense Frank Haith had them playing a few years ago?  If so, they are always a tough team to beat.  And with the ACC down again this year, someone has to finish 5th.  I could also see the canes fall as low as 9th, too.


4. florida state

It is scary to think Leonard Hamilton is now considered one of the better coaches in the ACC, but quietly he has turned the noles into one of the better programs in the ACC.  They’ve had three winning seasons in the ACC in the last five years, including two straight 10-6 seasons and a first round bye in the ACC Tourney.  They played in the ACC Tournament title game two years ago.  Hamilton’s success has been built on defense.  The noles don’t score a lot, but they also don’t let you.  And in a conference that doesn’t play much defense, Hamilton has found that as their way to win.

The noles lost probably the best true big man in the ACC, Solomon Alabi, to the NBA.  That will leave a void in the middle.  But they have had the ACC’s defensive player of the year two years in a row, and last year’s winner is back – Chris Singleton.  He is an extremely athletic 6’9″ post player who averages 10.2 ppg and 7 rpg.  Michael Snaer came on at guard as the season went along and could explode this year.  Xavier Gibson gives them a 6’11” low post player to lessen the loss of Alabi.  Kitchen is an average PG, but will be a three year starter this year.  And Dulkys gives them an outside shooting threat.

The noles also add two 4-star recruits, a PG (Miller) and a PF (White).  They don’t have to produce a lot, but can certainly add depth to an already solid club.  I see a third straight first round bye in the ACC Tournament for fsu.


3. north carolina

Harrison Barnes.  That’s what it all comes down to for the heels.  Harrison Barnes.  A guy that has never played a minute in college is the reason why the heels, who went 5-11 in the ACC last year, are picked third in the league and in the top ten in the nation.  He’s the consensus #1 recruit in the nation.  He just became the first freshman ever named a preseason All-American (yes, first team All-American… nationally).  If he can have the type of impact a fresh like Kevin Durant had at texas, unc will live up their hype.  But that’s a lot to live up to.

The heels do not return a lot of studs.  Gone is Ed Davis, their best player and a very good big man, to the NBA.  The Wear twins transferred.  Will Graves was kicked off the team.  Tyler Zeller struggles to stay healthy but should be a very good big man when he does play.  Larry Drew gets a ton of assists (6 per game), but let’s face it – he’s not even half as good as Ty Lawson was.  Drew is a distributor, but not a playmaker like Ty was.  Drew’s maturation and development will be one of the big keys to the heels’ success.  And can he hit open shots?  Kendall Marshall (a freshman from my neck of the woods in Arlington) will push Drew for time at PG if Drew struggles again this year.

The other big key for the heels is John Henson.  He was a very highly rated 5-star recruit a year ago.  But beanpole Henson struggled to make the adjustment to ACC play, though he did get better as the year went on.  If he isn’t much better than the 5.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg he had a year ago, or if Harrison Barnes is more Henson than Durant, this could be another rough year for the powder blue.  Either way, it shows the Hokies have arrived when the unc hype machine still is behind the Hokies in the preseason predictions.


The Hokies are the second best team on paper in the ACC, plain and simple.  Thank goodness the media realized that.  The loss of JT Thompson for the season and Chaney’s healthy issues hurt, but this team is still loaded and have over 300 career starts as a whole.

For more on the Hokies, see our SEASON PREVIEW.


1. duke

duke won the ACC regular season title, tournament title, and NCAA title last year.  They return two of their three best players (Singler and Smith, Scheyer is gone).  Singler could battle for National Player of the Year, and Smith is a great playmaker (what unc is missing).  They added a Seth – Seth Curry.  They have the Plumlees and Dawkins, plus Kelly.  They add a 5-star PG (Irving) and a 4-star PF (Hairston from VA).  They don’t have many weaknesses.  They are good.

If they do have a weakness, it would be in the low post.  They lost starters Zoubek and Thomas.  But neither of those guys were counted on to score.  But they were great on the glass and Thomas was solid on defense.  Kelly did not have much strength last year.  How much he’s bulked up will decide how effective he is, and the Plumlee’s are athletic bigs.  The problem for everyone else is they can’t exploit this – there aren’t many talented bigs in the ACC this year.  And duke has the experience and talent to kill you in an up-tempo or half court game.  They are good in either style.

It will be interesting to see how Seth Curry adjusts to being at duke.  His dad was the man at VT.  His bro was the man at davidson.  He was the man at liberty.  Now, he’s just the third man at best for the defending champs.  Can he play close to the level Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer played at?  Either way, duke is still loaded.  They are far and away the best team in the league on paper.  But the Hokies can make it interesting and do get the blue devils at home in their only meeting, and the Hokies do have more experience.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Around The ACC, HomeComments (0)

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