#125 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #42 R.P.I. Syracuse:
Virginia Tech goes National Basketball Association roadie and stays out on the road for this one in a very professional looking itinerary of two games in three nites all away from your very own 24060 home.
Syracuse is an interesting team as the tale of the tape goes.
16 up and 8 down is prolly on tempo for be declared post-season good looking; though which post-season is that one code for? As the ‘cuse is a .5oo (5 & 5) men’s hoops team in Atlantic Coast play.
Or in other words?
Syracuse is prolly Virginia Tech at full strength.
Or maybe even just a 1/2 a notch less than Buzz on full deployment.
Still yet, we are up in their “Jiffy Pop” lyte version or their much vaunted Carrier Dome; and let us hope that the ugly Pitt game does not carry over or Syracuse will at least carry on, and they may even get carried away.
Syracuse at a glance:
- 13th best in 3 point percentage allowed (29.9%)
- 22nd in Steals (8.2 spg)
- 31st in scoring D allowed (64.4 ppg)
- 286th in Defensive Rebounding
- NO injuries reported (thank God)!
‘cuse Returning Starters=4
- Leading the way is #0 Michael Gbinije. Michael is a 6’7” 2oo lb. versatile r-Sr. year Swing. He is so versatile in point of fact, Lindy’s pre-season magazine thought enough of him to name him Mister Versatility for the whole entire A.c.c. this campaign. In addition to a pretty stinging eye-poke last game, this former Duke transfer has put together a very well rounded final season. Pacing Syracuse in points (17.2 ppg) and in assists (4.5 dimes) and pulling down 3.4 boards does not suck; and leading the whole entire A.c.c. with 2.4 spg is prolly enough to ink a professional defending contract sometime after this upcoming June. As every Pro coach wants a guy who can do numerous things and do those numerous things; well, plus defend. This Richmond, Va. native -that got away- can pass, he can score off the dribble (1o7 FTA’s), he has some measure of range to his game (38% on 3’s), and he can rebound and defend. Yah; I’d say that’s pretty damn versatile indeed. There is however something about Gbinije’s game that does not strike me as super athletic; additionally he has not quite hit the expected mid-20’s national recruiting ranking numbers coming outta high school. Though tell that to his overseas 6-digit paycheck while you are at it.
- It seems like every single Syracuse men’s hoops team has a back court Trevor Cooney, only because every single Syracuse men’s hoops team, does. The ubiquitous pasty gangatar, who draws a lotta visiting attention via bringing just enough shoot, pass, drain the 3 and run the O game. 6’4” and 194 lbs. of veteran final year red-shirt One –who is netting you 13.7 ppg on 36% from range and yet 35% from the floor overall. Which tells you more about from where he shoots than how well he shoots inside the three. Cooney is a real streaky guy from range, who can heat up or chill out from distance on any given nite. He has gone up by 6% from distance this year, so there is that, and he can be a sudden raining rainbow 3’s outburst scorer. As two games in his last five between 22 and 25 points demonstrate every bit as much as his two games bound by 7 and 8 points over the very same five contests as well. Does bring an amateur Gold Medal to the court for international play; and he is pursuing a u.grad’ degree in… get this… rhetoric! Yah; I’d have to wager the over on his ability to run smack; and here is your in-game barometer folks. if Cooney is on, Syracuse will be very very tough to beat in their own backyard; however, if Cooney is way way off… Tech has a chance. And Cooney is mired in a four game slump, 29% overall in his last four, if you are keeping score on this One at home.
- Malachi Richardson is a 6’6” 190 lb. blossoming rookie year S/F. 13.5 ppg and 3.8 caroms on 36% shooting from beyond he arc in only your rookie year of voting as a power-conference human-being? Yah; I’d have to say that counts and it already has me wondering how good m.Rich’ is come 2019? Well, if he sticks around that long that is, as this kid has a rep’ as a pure scorer who can fill it up from downtown of off the bounce. Very fluid looking or effortless stroke on film, looks like he could shoot it the same way out to 30’+ before it became a trying to just get it there heave. Mutually, not only does he have a really sweet looking J, he is said to be the most pure athlete on the ‘cuse club. Let’s see; can shoot, can jump and stuff finish, and is only a rookie? And all that already on a rebuilt junior high school season blown-out knee. Dang, wow!
- the pre-season mag’s for one, as none of them have the ‘cuse tabbled lower than 4th or 5th in the A.c.c. pre-season; as ‘cuse is right now a middle of the pack A.c.c. squad.
- Trouble(s), legendary coach Jim suspended for the first 9 A.c.c. games, reduced schollies, team now on Probation Nc2a style; bad vibes, worse ju-ju.
- Jim is back, though where is his much ballyhooed Zone defense after all of this?
- Lotta nuggets or rookies getting some extra time. Syracuse’s Top-3 (above) are quality, the rest may be quality; although they are surely young.
- I did not list them up above, although ‘cuse is between 247 and 277 in all less one major offensive category. Not awful, though below average on O.
Bench: (depth=2, P/F 6’8” 2o4 lb. stringbean t-Fr. wing Tyler Lydon and 6’5” lead-G t-Fr. Franklin Howard. Howard is more of a pure match-up guy who is an over sized One who can leap. Although Lydon’s 8.7 ppg and very impressive 6.6 boards in relief are something to keep an eye on off an erstwhile thin Syracuse pine)
Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:
The takeaway here is… I need to get this published in a hurry on the short writing turnaround. And yet this is a real short O&M turnaround off of 4 straight L’s for Tech.
However, and that being said, the schedule and Jim’s Zone D is doing my heavy lifting for me. As the ‘cuse is +1 in rest and that means Virginia Tech and coach Buzz are -1 in terms of prepping for the heretofore unseen and signature Boeheim 2-3 match-up Zone defense. I’d say notching 874 career wins, 28 NC2A tournament bids, 9 conference titles and 1 National Championship matches up pretty damn well; don’t you?
I’m not a big coach Jim guy; although he did run ball at ‘cuse with hall of famer and Detroit Piston stud Dave Bing –and had a good enough Orangeman hoops career in his own right to lead Syracuse to their first ever NC2A bid as team captain. Which means coach Jim will prolly have won over 1,000 total games one way or the other (player+coach) for Syracuse by the time he and his hall of fame big whistle retire. Last time I checked; nearly nobody can say that.
On to the game itself and our handy-dandy friend the Forum Guide is predicting a 24 shellacking in this one. As Syracuse has significant advantages in defending (7.1% less allowed) and in rebounding (+9.9 rebounding margin) over these two teams respective most recent five-game trends. As the only major Hokie metrical advantage I could find was 3% and change in shooting overall. Which may or may not mean that much on short-rest up in the zany 30,000+ -when it wants to be- Carrier Dome.
And understand this, it is not that I find Syracuse to be that that that epic. They ain’t. However they are noticeably better since Jim got back (W’s in 5 of their last 6) and we/Virginia Tech are in a real bad short-rest vs. the 2-3 Zone spot. Ergo, can’t R.A.T.T. say I like our chances here…
The ‘cuse has won four of their last five; whereas we Virginia Tech enter this one trending in the opposite direction with four straight L’s of increasing intensity– two points, five, eight and 19, respectively.
I call that two ships passing in the nite…
(73% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=56, Syracuse=69