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With the powder puff games behind them, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team will open up ACC play on Saturday with a game against the Maryland Terrapins. What many hoped would be a promising season after a 7-0 start, now worry about what the record may look like at the end of Coach James Johnson’s first season.
So, what exactly can be dissected from the first 13 games of the 2012-2013 season?
Article by Josh S.
Heading into the ACC schedule, the Hokies, offensively, are at 41st in the country in points per game, scoring 77 points per contest, 243rd in assists with 11.9, 46th in offensive rebounding and 153rd in field goal percentage. Although this team has proven they can score, it’s very apparent that they do not share the ball enough and have also shown a tendency to turn the ball over a little too much with 12.9 turnovers per game.
On the defensive side of the ball they are ranked at 292nd in points per game, giving up 73.1 points, 316th in defensive rebounding and 121st in field goal percentage. Needless to say, there is much to be desired on the defensive side of the ball for this Hokies team. Allowing 73.1 points per game in ACC play is probably not going to render winning results. The thing that really worries me is that these rankings are results of playing teams that should be considered tune-up games, before heading into conference play, with a few exceptions.
The Hokie faithful can be comforted heading into ACC play because this Hokie team has proven that they are capable of defeating quality opponents. They defeated a ranked Oklahoma State team, a pretty good Iowa team and then missed on a last second jumper that would have defeated West Virginia. This team very well could have started out 9-0 if Erick Green’s jumper would have fallen in Morgantown.
With the wins against OSU and Iowa it proves that this team can be competitive in ACC play. That comes with the caveat though that the scoring falls on the shoulders of one individual, Erick Green. The Winchester native has proven he is a capable scorer, however, on Saturday against BYU he scored a measly 12 points. The senior came into that contest as the nation’s leading scorer. After Saturday’s game his average fell to from 25.4 to 24.4 points per game. This decrease drops him to second behind Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum. In order to beat quality opponents, which this team will face in the ACC, they are going to need the senior point guard to be at his best, but yet also the other role players in Jarell Eddie and Robert Brown need to step up their play as well.
The downside to their start so far is that this Hokie team has lost to teams they shouldn’t have. Two of their most recent losses came in blowout losses against Colorado State, beaten by 36 points and Brigham Young University, defeated by 26 points. Those losses can be attributed to being shorthand, though, with Marshall Wood being out indefinitely with a broken foot. This team is going to have to look to others to step up in Wood’s absence, perhaps even a few walk-ons, in order to notch some wins in the coming weeks.
This shorthanded team has now dropped 4 of their last 6 games, and currently finds themselves at 9-4. It’s easy to assume the worst, but overall, this Virginia Tech team has probably exceeded most of the fans’ expectations coming into this season. With the attrition this team suffered in the offseason it was easy to assume the worst when this season started, even though the fan base was energized with the hire of JJ.
If this team can improve on the defensive side of the ball and continue to score we all may be pleasantly surprised.
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