Of Note: Dorenzo Hudson became the 42nd Hokie to reach the 1,000 point mark for a career in the oklahoma state game, Part III.
Welcome back, VT football fans. I wish we were reuniting under better circumstances, but let’s just pretend like Tuesday didn’t happen and move on. The bball team is doing well! Hey, we might make the NCAAs this year! Ugh, forget I said that. Seriously, though, if you haven’t been following us so far, we have a lot of changes. This should catch you up…
On Saturday the Hokies open ACC play with a trip down to Winston-Salem to face the demon deacons of wake forest. wake finished last year 1-15 in the ACC and were probably the worst team in ACC history. Tech beat them by a combined 43 points last year. Their #2, 3, and 5 scorers either graduated or left school — J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart both left wake for the usc trojans (Terrell had a DWI) and Gary Clark, a deadly 3-point shooter but horrible defender, graduated. The deacons just lost to wofford earlier this week. So this should be a cake walk, right? Well, maybe not. I do think the Hokies will win, but I’m only 67% confident of that (i.e. if they played at wake 3 times, VT would win 2). I’ll get to why I feel that way in a few moments in “THE opponent” section.
Looking at the bigger picture, the Hokies can, and need to, get off to a fast start in the ACC. VT has 2 very winnable ACC road games sandwiched around a trip by a struggling fsu team to the Cassell next week. But after that, the Hokies play unc, @uva, byu, @maryland, and duke before the schedule gets easier. We’d obviously like to be 3-0 in ACC play heading into that tough stretch, with 2-1 a must at the very least. And that all starts Saturday.
Virginia Tech has owned wake forest since joining the ACC. Check out these numbers:
- In ACC action: VT 8-2 (their best winning percentage against any ACC team – LINK)
- Overall: VT 28-26 (1 of just 3 ACC teams VT has a winning all time record against)
- At wake in ACC play: VT 3-1
- Last February at wake: VT 76, wake 62 (LINK)
- Last January at VT: VT 94, wake 65 (LINK)
This will be the ONLY meeting of the regular season between the two schools.
NOTE: This marks the 3rd time Tech has opened ACC play with wake, choking a hearbreaker back in 2007-08 77-75 at wake (Dorenzo Hudson’s debut), and winning 63-60 at home in 2006-07.
|vs RPI Top 100||2-3 (sbu, nsu)||1-2 (yale)|
|PPG||71.2 (5)||70.5 (6)|
|PPG vs||59.4 (3)||69.8 (11)|
|FT%||75% (1)||71% (5)|
|FG%||45% (5)||45% (6)|
|3-Pt%||38% (4)||36% (7)|
|Made 3s PG||6.4 (4)||5.7 (5)|
|FG% D||39% (5)||43% (12)|
|3-Pt% D||24% (1)||33% (8)|
|Blocks||13.7 (4)||12.3 (7)|
|Steals||6.4 (5)||6.2 (9)|
|TO Margin||-0.6 (4)||+1.6 (3)|
|Off Reb %||38% (5)||25% (11)|
|Def Reb %||67% (7)||66% (11)|
|Scoring:||Green 15.5 (6)||Harris 18.7 (2)|
|Rebounding:||DFS 8.2 (7)||McKie 5.9 (15)|
|FG%||Green 49% (7)||Harris 54% (3)|
|Assists:||Green 3.2 (8)||Chennault 2.8 (-)|
|Steals:||Green 1.5 (8)||Chennault 1.3 (-)|
|Blocks:||DFS/CR 1.0 (-)||Desrosiers 2.6 (3)|
THE opponent – wake forest:
As I said earlier, don’t just chalk this up as a Hokies win like we could last year, even with wake coming off a 1-15 season and having lost to wofford. Why? Simple – C.J. Harris. Harris is averaging 18.7 ppg, 2nd best in the ACC behind maryland’s Stoglin. He’s shooting an amazing 54% from the field and 53% from behind the 3-point line (24/45)! And this is as a guard! To shoot over 50% is amazing for a perimeter player. If the season ended today, I’d pick him over Erick Green for 1st Team All-ACC (I’d also have Stoglin at the guard spot, with Barnes (unc), Henson (unc), and Scott (uva)).
Big deal, you say, they just lost to wofford… well, will you let me finish? Yeesh. I know you are upset about Tuesday, as am I, but can you let me get to my point? Thank you…
Harris didn’t play against wofford. He sat with a strained groin, but is expected back for the VT game. That means he has 5 days to heal. Personally, I’ve never pulled a groin (I leave that for the ladies), so I cannot say how close to 100% he might be. wake must have Harris near 100% to have any chance. Harris can shoot from deep as I said, but is also excellent at attacking the rim and scoring or drawing fouls (91 FTs, hitting 78%).
wake isn’t a one man band, though. Travis McKie, a sophomore from Richmond and an old high school rival of Cadarian Raines (Petersburg), is averaging 17.9 ppg, 3rd best in the ACC. McKie is a tad undersized as a big man at 6’7″ and 210 lbs, but he can shoot from the perimeter, too. He’s hit 16/41 3s (39%), so you have to respect him out there. Doe Doe should match up with him well with Doe Doe’s reach and athleticism, but McKie is a good low post player and could muscle Doe Doe. Raines could do a good job on McKie and/or VT could put Doe Doe on the 6’8″ Mescheriakov (or Davila could guard Mescheriakov if the 7-foot Desrosiers isn’t in).
Tony Chennault will also handle the ball a lot in addition to Harris, and the 6’2″ sophomore averages 11.4 ppg. Tony is an awful 3-point shooter (5/22) but does get to the rim a lot and can dish or get to the FT line.
Both Harris and Chennault will look to drive and either shoot, or dish to McKie or the other post players.
Chase Fischer, a freshman guard, is wake’s best bench player. He is exclusively a 3-point shooter. 75% of his shots are 3-pointers, so Tech must keep an eye on him outside when he’s in.
All that being said, the biggest advantage the Hokies have is on the bench. Tech has Seth Greenberg, while wake forest has the new sheriff in town in terms of Worst ACC Coach. With Sidney Lowe gone from nc state and Paul Hewitt history at georgia tech, Jeff Bzdelik is the new low in terms of suits. Jeff went 36-58 at colorado (10-38 in the Big 12) in 3 years before getting fired, yet somehow leveraged that into the wake job. It is eerily similar to the ricky “Program Bomb” stokes hiring at wake — Bzdelik has a close relationship with the wake A.D. The deacons went 8-24 last year including 1-15 in conference. They’ve already managed to win 9 games this year, and I think they’ll improve on that 1-15 record in the league, but Jeff is still the pits. He looks brain-dead on the sideline with no emotion. We’ll see if Steve Donahue can give Bzdelik a run for his money at worst coach, but with bc having gone 9-7 last year and tying for 4th, bc has a long ways to fall.
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
- Pound the glass: wake is an AWFUL rebounding team. They are 11th in the league in defensive and offensive rebounding percentages. In other words, they give up a lot of 2nd chances and don’t get many themselves. Look for VT to dominate the boards like they did against oklahoma state.
- Defense: When Fischer is in, overplay him on the perimeter. Play off Chennault on the perimeter – take away his dribble drive and dare him to shoot 3s. Harris will require help – you need to be on him outside, but when he beats his man off the dribble, the D must rotate without giving up easy looks inside (Rankin may get time on Harris).
- Get easy buckets: wake is not a good defensive team. They are slow in the post. Get out and run and get transition buckets. Tech is 8-0 this year when they shoot for a higher FG% than their opponent (3-3 when they shoot a lower FG%).
- Hot from deep: The Hokies are 10-1 when they shoot for a higher 3-Pt% than their opponent (if you remember this stat from last year, this stat determined the winner of Tech’s final 17 games I believe). VT is 1-2 when shooting a lower 3-Pt % than their opponent, so obviously that stat is again a big determining factor this year. The key is stopping Harris from deep, and then Fischer off the bench. Given the fact VT has been, or near, #1 in this stat in the nation most of the year, you have to like our odds here.
- Protect the ball: Both teams average 13 turnovers per game. I thought Tech had cured their issues here, but then they had 16 TOs vs okie state. The Hokies have had more turnovers than their opponent in all of their losses. With how bad wake is on the glass, if VT can limit turnovers, the deacons have no shot.
- Urgency: Hey, this is a big game. VT has lost their last 4 ACC openers, and are 1-6 all time in ACC openers. It is hard to come back from a 0-1 hole and have a big year in the ACC. If Tech wants a top 4 spot in the league, they need to get some wins before the stretch of unc, uva, maryland, and duke. And let’s get Zo (0-4) his first ACC opener win.
BORING FACTS ABOUT wake forest (“For humanity”):
|Enrollment||4.4k undergrad, 2.4k grad (smallest in a BCS conference)|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances||22 (1962 Final Four)|
|ACC Titles||5 (Last in ’97)|
|Famous Students/Alums||Tim Duncan, Randolph Childress, CP3 (Chris Paul), Jesse Helms, Billy Packer, Arnold Palmer, Brian Piccolo|
|Location Part II||wake forest was originally in, you guessed it, Wake Forest, NC. They actually moved from the town they were named after|