(17-8) Virginia Tech @ (8-19) Wake Forest basketball preview:

#65 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #245 R.P.I. Wake Forest:

TV coverage: Tuesday 7pm on ESPN2

Vegas line: Wake+14.5, O/U=145

Murphy’s O&M Law 1o1:
If VT basketball can go ‘rong — it will.

Seth’s very own J.M.U. pigskin Waterloo in hoops terms.

The script has now been written, no, make that more like recited twice by Coach Tony Bennett. Such reverberated was loud and clear on Saturday afternoon up in paris; and I for one expect other(s) to now begin to borrow a page from the HooVa stall-ball or Slowtime Tony Bennett script. Why would they not when VT obviously struggles mighty whenever our basketball offense is throttled down or left to red-line while stuck in first-gear.

That was simply not a fun basketball game to watch. U.V.A. (to their credit) made slop-shot after slop-shot and hung “H” after “H” on VT what would have been an audacious and highly entertaining game of H-O-R-S-E if this one had been contested on a play-ground near you. Such was not our fate however as the dirty buggers otherwise know as the french stole –or more like ripped- both Commonwealth hoops contest from us this season. The packline defense of Tony Bennet may be the opposite number of Walt Harris in football or something of an NC.State redux from a few years ago. I was ready to type out: “I wanna see france in the A.C.C. Tourney”; then I read the Box Score and experienced a moment filled with more than a couple second-thoughts.

Again; to their credit; the dirty french has done nothing short of control tempo vs. Virginia Tech for all save about 8-10 minutes of play out of our 80 collective minutes of scrimmaging this year. That’s the bad news; the good news is that Wake gives up 77 points per game on average. There are not 13 teams in the A.C.C. – if there were Wake would be thirteenth. The kicker is thus … how long can you afford to keep the pedal to the O&M metal if you are a six-man basketball team like Seth’s is after the unlawful news regarding Mr. Jarell Eddie’s possession of a controlled substance.

That said I am very interested to see how this team responds to yet another O&M gut-kick in what has been nothing short of a downright gutting season already. We are playing on the late-season quick Saturday-Tuesday quick turnaround which means we are only +2 in terms of days of rest. As was said in the opener; we are now functionally down to a pitiful hexa or 6-man rotation. It is though to imagine us running and gunning with only 12 legs trotting up and down the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum floor – even vs. pitiful Wake.

Wake at a Glance:

  • 10th best in blocked shots (5.8)
  • 16th best in FT% (75.6%)
  • 30th best in 3-point FG% (38.3%)
  • 322nd in turnover margin (-4)
  • 322nd in defensive rebounding
  • 332nd in defensive points allowed per game (77.2)

Leading the way –although not by much- for the Deacons would be 6`7“ 205 lb. Swing, and Richmond VA native, one #30, Travis MacKie. Travis is yet another t-freshman who was expected to mature slowly off the Deacon bench; yet instead he is starting and logging major minutes in his debut season. Travis came to Wake out of the Commonwealth with a sweet-shooting reputation (29% on threes this year); instead he is surprisingly leading Wake in rebounding at 7.5 boards and is third in blocked shots (1.0). Go fig’ from a kid who did not enjoy a defensive rep’ coming out of high school and yet is off to a fine A.C.C. start nevertheless. Second in points is #0, 6`4“ 175 lb. freshman G, J.T. Terrell who has cooled off a bit since we last saw him and is now down to a 11.8 points per game on average. J.T. was expected to be a zone busting long-range bomber off the Deacon’s bench in his first season; instead he is Wake’s second scorer from the lead-G spot; even though he has been in and out of the Dec’s starting line-up or sitting down beside Coach Jeff Bzdelik on the Deacon bench this campaign. Now all the way down to fifth in scoring (9.8) though still second in rebounding (4.9) would be #20 Ari Stewart. Ari is a long armed Wing at 6`7“ and 205 lbs; he is in his sophomore year and is leading the Deacon way at 84% from the FT-stripe. Again, we see yet another skillful medium sized (or smaller) Deacon hoopsters down in Winston Salem; yet wait, there’s more of the same as this 2010-2011 Deacon roster is riddled with so-called “tweeners”. The Deacon’s nearly have two more 6`4“ clone lead-G’s who can both shoot from range. One is #2 Gary “G-money” Clark (no Redskin relation) a 200 lb. senior from Florida and the other is #11 C.J. Harris a 6`3“ 185 lb. sophomore from Georgia. Harris shoots a reasonable 37% from range and leads Wake in assists at 3.8 per game, and has improved his scoring all the way up to a bronze medal (third place) in Deacon points at 10.7 per game. Whereas Clark only nets 58% of his three’s! Yes, that is not a typo, he is 46 of 79 from beyond the arc this season; making his range is the gym itself, if Mr. Clark is in the gym, he is open. Obviously, Mr. Clark is the best marksman in the A.C.C. at this time, hands down, no contest, he is pacing the A.C.C. from downtown by no less than 12% better than his nearest competitor at this time. To take that a step further, Mr. Clark could be one of the better pure shooters that you will see in the A.C.C. for this decade when it is all said and done.

Starting Center #33 Carson Desrosiers is a 6`11“ beanpole 210 lb. t-freshman all the way from New Hampshire who can send a shot back; even if his offense game is still playing catch-up. 1.7 blocks per game with only 3.5 points and 4.2 boards suggests that Carson is something of a project as a true-Center goes. Dood is long in the paint and other than that his favored face-up game is still developing. Leading the Dec’s in blocks is #40 and legit 7` 230 lb. junior Ty “sky” Walker who is sending back an impressive 2.8  shots per contest in barely 19 minutes of P.T. off the Deacon bench. Newly eligible (Georgetown transfer) #25 junior P-F Nikita Merscheriakov, is a Belarus native who is adding size to the Deacon front-line with his 6`8“ and 219 chiseled lbs. Nikita is getting 4 points and 4 boards to go with 30% from range as he plays his way into shape. #23 P-F Melvin Tabb a 6`8“ 225 lb. freshman provides front-court minutes of the Deacon pine.

G, Tony Chennault a freshman 6`2“ 195 lb. Philly Pt.G who was netting 6 points, dropping 2 dimes an getting to 2 boards in very limited playing time has returned from an eight week absence due to  a foot injury. This is significant as Tony was the one lifeline to something of a true-Pt.G. that Coach Jeff Bzdelik enjoyed this year. He has had a couple of nice games in fact since he got back in late January. Everyone else is a Shooting-G or a lead-G playing out of position at the One spot. (hence: the porous Wake Forest Turnover Margin above)

Did you notice a couple of things there? How about the fact that these Deacon’s are engaging in something of a wholesale youth movement with only two upperclassmen (one senior one junior) making any real contributions this year. Such hearkens the use of the word “inexperienced” when describing this year’s Wake basketball squad and inexperienced is not a good thing to be in Atlantic Coast intra-conference play. Also note that this is not a real physical Deacon club, it is kinda long in spots and it is also pretty lean looking all around. Wake has also been waxed most A.C.C. games thus far this year; and subsequently only owns a single A.C.C. victory (vs. the french) to show for their 2010-2011 troubles. That’s not good; nor is getting pawned by V.C.U., Richmond and Winthrop. I suppose beating Iowa helps a little and yet this Wake hoops team has the look and feel of one that will be staying home for the post-season come March of this season and very possibly March of 2012 and beyond; as these Dec’s look to be seasons away — plural. That’s what happens in Atlantic Coast terms when you return the least collective scoring and the least rebounding from last year in the entire 12 team A.C.C.

  • #23, 6`8“ 255 lb. low-post freshman year PF banger Melvin Tabb has been dismissed from the school for what are being called “disciplinary reasons”. Mr. Tabb has struggled with both mononucleosis and academic issues since he arrived in Winston-Salem.

Fourm-Guide, conclusion(s) and prediction:
Wake is o-for the year out on the Road (o-8). Only trouble is that VT is the visitor in this one where Wake is a much more respectable 7-9 as a host. Am I gonna pick the Wake upset? Nope. Not gonna bother yah with that this time out. However; I am upset by our lack of effort vs. the hateful french not once; twice this season!

Where will this nonpareil beleaguered Virginia Tech hoops team now turn?

R.A.T.T.......................what is Virginia Tech right now?

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I hesitated to report this; as I knew just at first blush that the Fourm-Guide would go bonkers and fall off of its much vaunted prognostication rocker for this one. The one thing that the Fourm Guide does not compute well is mismatches. Ergo, the Fourm-Guide is predicting a 134 point Virginia Tech blow out win. Yah; not gonna happen; though there you go. Like I said; the Fourm-Guide falters a bit in textbook transitive property terms when things get a bit lopsided. However, should anyone correctly predict a 134 point VT blowout win; I will name my first-born after you – and I’m not even married.

So our friend the Fourm-Guide was not much help and yet it is very difficult to imagine Wake Forest raiding and pillaging our Cassell for an extremely upsetting visiting win in this one. On the other hand, the Home-Away splits and recent 5-game trends paint a somewhat more balanced if not cogent picture. Well, maybe not, as the Home-Away splits only predict a 4 point Virginia Tech victory. It is the most recent 5-game trends that appear to finally shed some credible light into this league-play picture. 21 points; or an Ace-Jack Virginia Tech victory seems about right to me. Wake have averaged 81 points allowed in their most recent five A.C.C. games on average as the Dec’s have been slaughtered on the A.C.C. glass of late to the shrill tune of a backbreaking -17 rebounding margin per game on average in the last 21 days. That said; I am not expecting a very enthralled O&M effort after what I saw up in paris on Saturday — this one has lackluster or yawing-festival written all over it to me. Despite and as underwhelmed as all of that is … this is a must win game.

IF, Virginia Tech somehow drops this one the proverbial utensil you will see sticking out of the Hokies is another N.I.T. fork. Maybe not even that; as getting upset by Wake Forest, even on the road, could actually be code for a C.B.I. “spork”.

Virginia Tech=77, Wake Forest=70



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