Posted on 03 December 2010.
It’s the throwback gray game, people! Gray it up! Wait, wasn’t gray what the Conferates wore? And didn’t they lose? Anyway, it is good to see VT finally dedicating a game to gray. I mean, we have Orange Effect, and Maroon Monsoon, and White Out, and Black Out, why not gray? It used to be one of our colors a bazillion years ago. I can’t wait until we find records that show turquoise was one of our original colors and we start having the Turquoise Tornado Effect! game each year. Anyway, I digress…
The ACC slate kicks off for both teams on ACC Sunday Night Hoops this weekend! Sure, Tech has been a disappointing 4-3 to start, but you know that when conference play begins, the Hokies step up. The difference this year is there are lofty expectations for Virginia Tech, with the media picking them to finish second in the league.
This is a game Tech has to win. They are much better than the hoos. It is at home. So win. But VT has showed numerous flaws, especially on offense, to date. This game will be a grind, I’m sure, but if Virginia Tech can actually convert their opportunities in transition and make their layups, they should win this game and by double digits. Let’s hope the team doesn’t start pressing (mentally) though. Just play their game, and VT is better.
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
- Keep Jeff on the Floor: Jeff Allen has had a lot of foul issues this year other than the last game against purdue, but he has really had issues with uva. He got kicked out of the game at uva last year for a flying elbow and sat almost the entire first half at home with foul trouble. He’s averaged just 23 minutes per game in five games against uva, and just 8.6 points, well below his average. While Mike Scott has torn it up against the Hokies.
- Good Malcolm: Delaney has not historically shot well against the hoos, hitting just 36% of his shots and just 18% from three-point range. Coming off a 2/18 effort against purdue, I expect to see Delaney really step up and have a good game. Otherwise, it might be another night where VT fails to reach even 60 points, which has happened four times already this season.
- Not Great Scott: Mike Scott, uva’s big man and best player, averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds versus Tech last year. It didn’t help that Allen wasn’t around for big minutes in those games. Scott will lose focus if he isn’t involved. Don’t let him erupt early. Force him to shoot jumpers, not dunk or shoot easy layups.
- Harris Teeter: Joe Harris has been the man for uva so far. He simply makes shots. VT must stay on him and not give him open looks. He’s hitting over 50% from the field, 50% exactly on threes, and 100% from the line. No open looks (Bell will be guarding him in all likelihood).
- What’s a Fast Break? Tech continues to struggle to get easy buckets, especially in transition. When you don’t have a good half court offense, you have to be able to get easy points in transition. Yet VT is very selfish on breaks, rarely passing and forcing it at the hoop, or when they do pass they throw it way too early and often launch it out of bounds. Draw the defender to you, and then make the pass where your teammate has the ball in a place where he can easily finish. It’s pretty easy, people.
- Pop the Cork: Get your bubbly ready! I’m hoping for a sweep this weekend as I take in the ultimate doubleheader – ACC Football Championship, and VT/uva hoops. Let’s just hope this weekend goes better than 2005, when VT lost to fsu in the football title game, then lost at duke the next day in hoops on that 40 foot shot at the buzzer. That was not a good weekend, this, will be better (I hope).
uva leads all time 79-52. But VT has won 5 of 6, and swept the series last season. VT is 7-6 against the hoos since joining the ACC.
Recaps from last year:
||23 Delaney – 6-3
||5 Hudson – 6-5
||1 Bell – 6-7
||0 Allen – 6-7
||14 Davila – 6-8
||11 Green – 6-4
||4 Raines – 6-9
||31 Eddie – 6-7
||1 Evans – 5-11
||24 Harrell – 6-5
||12 Harris – 6-6
||22 Sherrill – 6-9
||23 Scott – 6-8
||2 Farrakhan – 6-4
||5 Sene – 7-0
||15 Baron – 6-2
THE opponent: hoo’s your daddy? VT is.
Oh, what a golden era we live in. Virginia Tech football continues to perform at an extremely high level and will play in their fifth ACC title game (counting the game against miami in 2004) in seven years in the league, looking for their fourth title. Hokie basketball has risen to heights unseen since the Dell Curry days and has finished in the top four in the ACC in four of their six seasons. Meanwhile, uva football and basketball have all but hit rock bottom. wahoo football has endured three straight losing seasons. How bad is it? They’ve lost to duke three years in a row… in football. And uva basketball isnt’ something to brag about, either. Since uva tied for the regular season title in the ACC in 2006-07, they have gone 14-34 in league play in the last three seasons. They haven’t made it past the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals since the mid-90s.
Adding to the hoos misery in hoops, they lost their star from the past two years, Sylven Landesberg. His 17 ppg, best I can tell, is playing for the Maccabi Haifa Basketball Club in the Israeli Super League.
The good news for the hoos is they did return their Jeff Allen, Mike Scott. Much like Jeff, Mike Scott is very unpredictable. He’ll look like a monster for a half, dominating inside, then disappear the next half or for an entire game. But he’s been pretty consistent this year, and in a good way for the hoos. He’s reached double digits in all but one game (and he had eight in that game), and has four double-doubles. And unlike Jeff Allen, Scott doesn’t get in foul trouble much. He’s the key for VT to stop. Davila isn’t physical enough to stop him, in my opinion, and if you put Jeff on him, you risk Allen getting in foul trouble. But I also think the match-up will bring the best out of Mr. Allen. The two have been locking horns for four years now and often have good games against each other (when Jeff is able to play the whole game). Scott averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two games against the Hokies last year.
Beyond Scott, virginia is either very young or very old. They only have one sophomore and one junior that’s stuck around and still plays. They do have three seniors that play a lot (Scott plus Farrakhan and Sherrill), but those latter two have been scrubs for three years. Farrakhan has been muched improved this year, though, and has given them a three-point threat at times. Mustapha has reached double digits off the bench in five of their seven games. Still, I’ll take the chance that he can’t beat us. He hit four of five threes against minnesota in their upset win Monday… yeah… I don’t expect to see that again but VT will need to get a hand in his face. If he misses his first couple shots, he’ll fade.
virginia did bring in a decent, and big, recruiting class for this season. K.T. Harrell was the headliner. He’s a 6’4″ shooting guard and some thought he’d fill the void of Landesberg’s departure. Rivals.com had him as the #30 recruit in the nation for 2010. But K.T. has just averaged 7.4 ppg and shoots under 40% from the field. He doesn’t shoot a lot of threes, but does hit about one per game. Harrell also doesn’t get to the line much, which was Landesberg’s trademark, so he has not been aggressive to date. And he’s not even that good of a foul shooter (60%).
virginia’s best freshman to date has been 6’6″ guard, Joe Harris. Harris has shot lights out so far. He’s shooting 55% from the field and 50% from behind the arc, hitting 14/28 attempts. Tech must respect him from deep, but he’s also deadly inside the arc, hitting 17 of 28 two point shots. But he only has six free throw attempts on the season, which tells you he also isn’t banging inside or attacking the tin. Just stay with him and don’t give him open looks.
FYI: Sammy Zeglinski is still around but is out with a knee injury. He should be back in a few weeks, but don’t expect him for this game.