What Hokie Fans can Garner from the Out of Conference Games

by JoshS on January 1, 2013 · 13 comments

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940x 300x251 What Hokie Fans can Garner from the Out of Conference GamesWith 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.

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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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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

justinc January 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Really good article by our newest basketball blogger Josh! (We’ll have his account created shortly).

I think the rest of this season is going to be a struggle mired by inconsistency. I could see us getting up to play Duke at home but then finding a way to lose to BC, GT, and UVA. If the last few games are any indication, we just don’t have the depth or the composure right now to play on the road. So, if we even win a game on the road in the ACC, I will be surprised. I mean we went out west twice and barely beat a good Bradley team then lost to Colorado State by 36 and BYU by 24.

The loss of Marshall Wood hurt, not only from a depth standpoint but he’s really replaced Finney-Smith as our best rebounder. Losing that presence on the board puts added pressure on Cadarian Raines to be that beast downlow and he’s just not a natural rebounder. I also think he gets tired through the course of the game and can’t expend the energy needed to be a tenacious rebounder.

At this point, JJ needs to work Christian Beyer into the mix just to add energy on the floor and have him work the boards. He’s proven he can do that much but he’s just a non-factor offensively, for the most part. As much as it pains me to say, I don’t envy this team going forward. If we win 5 or 6 games in ACC play, i would be surprised. We just don’t have the depth or the ability right now, unless Erick Green scores 32 every game.


Ben January 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

What are the names to keep an eye on for replacing some of our current coaches? What do you think our coaching staff will look like next fall? And which recruits are playing in showcase games?


justinc January 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Hey Ben, I wrote an article listing out most of the All-Star game recruits awhile back. You can read it here: http://www.virginiatechfan.com/2012/12/2013-recruiting-class-star-studded/

As for our coaching staff, its really hard to say. I think Pep Hamilton has emerged as the front runner for OC but other than that who knows. One of the questions that needs to be addressed is how much control will the new OC have in naming his position coaches. Does he have full control or will Frank still pick his guys?


69HOKIE January 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Both of you have great points. I keep asking what happened. Raines has disappeared. Brown can’t hit the side of a barn. Barksdale? Lousy shooting teams are torching us. We are NOT that bad!

This is where JJ starts earning his money. Hopefully they can fix enough to still have a decent season. One thing would be stop falling back into Greenburg’s offense.


justinc January 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Well… he’s not falling back into Greenberg’s offense by design. We have one scoring option right now and when you have only one option, and he just happens to be the point guard, you’re offense is going to look stagnant at times.

We really need Jarrell Eddie and Robert Brown to get going. Both guys have a lot of potential and both guys have disappeared lately. When those guys get going, so will our offense.


Josh January 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm

The main issue I’ve seen from watching this team so far is one word, defense. This team has proven they can score. The defensive effort for this team just does seem to be there though. The big men are getting man handled and this is allowing for cuts and when the defense collapses it allows for open jumpers. As I wrote after the BYU loss the defensive rotation when they went to the zone defense was especially atrocious. If they can match the defensive effort with the offensive then they may be able to turn things around a little bit. JJ definitely has his hands full now that they are heading into ACC play.


LJ January 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

VT is in for a truly rough ride the rest of the way. They are looking at 14/15 win tops. Currently I have them only better that Wake and Clemson and tied with BC at the bottom of a weakened ACC. Some may argue that we are better than BC but they are coming off and impressive win over Providence and I think they are an improving team and will surprise some people. After those big blowout losses to CSU & BYU, both not at the top of their conferences it will be interesting to see how we play against Maryland…another big loss and our confidence will be shot. Playing the weakest schedule in the country after the first five games it actually helped against the next 3 opponents but if you watch us closely you will see we don’t play the kind of defense that is needed in conference play. Prediction 16-16 regular season….


justinc January 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I don’t think we’re that bad but right now, I completely agree with that assessment. Now, if something changes and we find a way to beat Maryland then I may change my tune. But, I’ve lost a lot of faith in this group. We’ll stay competitive at home but we need to prove we can win away from Cassell. The Bradley win was nice seeing they have about as much talent as a mid-level ACC team these days but our last two losses are major red flags. Hopefully JJ can fix it and get it going.


69HOKIE January 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I hope they regain some of their confidence and enthusiasm to at least have a winning season. Nobody was expecting them to accomplish that before the season started. A winning season would be a positive for this bunch.


JoshS January 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

A winning season is not out of the realm of possibilities, but they definitely have work to do. JJ has said they are not as good as their 7-0 record they started out with, but they are not as bad as the last few games they’ve played either. If they can fine tune their defense a little bit, then I think, they will be ok and could upset a few teams.


Vhokie January 4, 2013 at 10:39 am

Is Marshall Wood out for the season?


JoshS January 4, 2013 at 11:27 am

He is out indefinitely but is out of his walking boot, which is good news, as of one day this week. He has been ruled out of the game on Saturday against Maryland, but will be back before the end of the year. He will probably return, more than likely, midway through ACC play.


justinc January 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I’ve heard as little as two weeks, which would be great but I just can’t see him coming back that fast. Getting him back by February would help. That’s what I’m hoping for. We’re going to need him at close to 100% when we hit the NC State, Duke, UNC part of our schedule.


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