#134 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #22 R.P.I. virginia:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball travels (pardon the in-situ pun) VeeTee basketball travels 150-miles to renew a recently far more sparked-up Commonwealth Cup rivalry Saturday at 2 PM on Regional Sports Network. (which is mostly code for FOXSports and a few others).
The Hokies were just 15-years sparked-out by Perk’ and crew for the first time since 2004 A.D. on the gridiron. So, this hardwood contest will be played at a very needy and hard-way level you’d have to fully expect. virginia enters the contest as your defending National Titleist in men’s D-1 hoops, and as the no.19 ranked team in the country at a good looking 10 up and 2 down overall and 2-nil inside the A.c.c. Nonetheless, you wanna know hoo is gonna win and by how much, right? A.c.c.ordingly, read on; to find… out!
Crooner: Anthony Dominick Benedetto: age=93, with 19 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in 2001) and two Emmy Awards, and was named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. Bennett has sold over 50 million records worldwide.
$200,000,000.oo (est. net worth)
This Tony, known professionally as Tony Bennett, is an American singer of traditional pop standards, big band, show tunes, and jazz. He is also a painter and the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, New York.
Virginia Head Coach: Anthony Guy “Tony” Bennett: Age=5o, 333–124 (.729) overall, and 264–91 (.744) @UVA.
The other Tony Bennett is also a pretty fair to middling basketball coach up at uva. In point of fact, he is basically the Bud Foster of D-1 men’s hoops in defensive terms. His motion-offense is about an efficacious as can be, albeit overshadowed a bit by his much-ballyhooed pack-line defense. Coach Bennett is the only A.c.c. coach to win 16 conference games in consecutive seasons, and one of three in A.c.c. history to enjoy back-to-back 30-win seasons overall.
Coach Bennett is known as a rapport annexing basketball player developer or the coaching (verb) in the truest sense. He has only won (an updated) 16 Coach of the Year Awards (national+conference) at Washington State and uVa combined, and yet curiously enough Coach Bennett only wears six conference crowns to show for it. He does own the single-season win records at both Virginia (35) and Washington State (26, twice). And he does sport a: FIBA Under-19 World Championship gold medal to boot. As a Christian, coach Bennett is known for the use of his father’s “Five Pillars”: humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness.
Baller Bennett, one (retired #25), was a 6′, 175 lb. lowercase shooting man’s Jeff Hornacek/Jonny Stockton hybrid type of player of a Green Bay Wisconsin Pt.Guard who balled for coach Dick Bennett (his pop’s); and oh yes… Tony Bennet the now elite coach, and formerly ex-baller, is merely the #1, as in first-best all-time in college basketball history for career three-point field goal accuracy, at 49.7%, peaking at 53.3% in 1990–91; wow! i.e. baller Bennett is the best shooter in college basketball history; all-time; ever! He was awarded the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in 1992 as the nation’s top player under 6′ in height and was twice an Academic all-American in ’92 on top of all of that. While merely being the 2x M.c.c. (today’s Summit League) Player of the Year; mind yah! When Bennett left college, he was the Mid-Continent Conference’s all-time leader in both points and assists before being drafted 35th overall in the 1992 NBA draft.
Then playing three years for the Charlotte Hornets and several more in Australia and New Zealand, where he started coaching after foot and knee injuries forced the now highly esteemed coach Bennett to suit-n-tie, up.
And oui-oui oh by the way… he just won a National Championship on a magical 35-3 2019 maddening title run. Whereby thereafter Coach Bennett declined a raise when extending his contract before the season, leading hooVa President James Ryan to call him “one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met.” (as inside this hoo there is a Hokie screaming to get out!)
Daddy Bennett and his wife, Laurel, have two children
—a daughter, Anna, and a son, Eli.
u.v.a. at a glance:
- 1st best in Scoring D!!!
- 1st best in FG percentage D allowed!!!
- (and yet) 3rd fewest Personal Fouls ‘whistled’ against!! (go fig’, right?)
- 39th fewest Turnovers on O.
- 61st in Swats.
- 69th in Rebounding Margin.
- 3o4th in FG percentage O!
- 339th in 3-point percentage O!!
- 348th in Scoring O!!!
- 1 eligibility casualty. (St.Catherine help).
cavalier Returning Starters=2.
Tutorial: The Pack–Line 1o1:
The “pack line”, is a defensive strategy that was actually convinced by his father (Dick). The pack line is designed to clog up potential driving lanes to the paint by forcing ball handlers to the middle of the floor where more “help” is concentrated. It forces opposing teams to pass and shoot well while limiting dribble-drive penetration and post play.
(tho’ I do feel our Youngling version of the elbow-high-post Point-Forward set would work well here; if/when Coach Mike can find that very Point-F kinda playar)
- 5′9″, 163 lb. mighty-mite former caddying now starting and two years ago the former alpha-recruit, Pt.Guard, Kihei Clark is a fun little bugger to watch and an instant fan-favorite for it. Ditto, any kid who refuses to sit and balls-out in a left-wrist cast/brace for it. That makes him a tough little bugger as well. Per his bio’, this hawt Cali’ recruit: “spent several hours at the Children’s Hunger Fund in Sylmar, Calif.” whatever that means though “yes” that is more hours than I spent there, admittingly. That jab being rightfully placed… Lindy’s says Clark has: “extreme quickness” and is a dangerous open-court player for it. Although he must improve his shooting depth (9.1. ppg on 37% deep) and avoid 1-on-1 facebook type tête-à-tête battles for it. Although he did (somehow) find one-inch (1″) in height (allegedly); and he did grow in the weight-room by a much needed 8 lbs. So there is that, and the sophomoric Clark enjoys a good set-up or Qb tag’ to his Pt.Guard swagg and he did end up starting 20 games last year. So, this Clark bar is not shy about tasty development at this early/premature career stage. And apparently he is now recovered from the broke left-wrist (his off-hand as an orthodox shooter) surgery; may St.Julia bless.
- The loquacious Braxton Key who is at least an S/F anywhere else is a towering 6′8″, 23o lbs. starting shooting-G at u.Va. And he is your surprise team leader in Windex work swiping the glass for a 7.o rpg with 9.4 ppg per a now even clankier 22% from long-distance as a lifer back-up until this campaign. The Oak Hill Academy basketball factory heritage kid was rolling the tide at ‘Bama before transferring to hooVa. Still yet, make no mistake, this kid is a real overload for any S/G or Two he faces. And he’s not an easy match-up even for a legit Three or S/F. Even if his debuting ‘Bama numbers (~13 ppg) suggested more longitudinally. As the Key was the no.33 baller coming outta high school nationally and the #2 hoopster in Va.H.S. basketball according to ESPN. Although Braxton has suffered a series of knee-knocks along the way and that has prolly knocked his career down a notch or three; (may St.Nikhon bless). Plus he’s been in a protective cast on his left-wrist since late November (St.Julia help). Yet Braxton does enjoy national Title bling; twice; as he led basketball factory Oak Hill Academy to the national championship and a 45-1 overall record five seasons ago. And Key was merely the two-time Class AA Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee (2014-15) prior to that. So that’s not the worst roundball jewelry collection when playing for keeps. (and if there ever was a guy who needs to be less unselfish and shoot more shots… (see: below!))
- 7′1″, 243 lb., r-Jr., stretch-P/F, Jay Huff -who apparently donated his inch in height to Clark up above- found himself about 10 lbs. this offseason. And then his game found about a 200% increase in all major metrics across the box-score board. With Huff now up to: 9.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg, and 62% in overall shooting. And he has really been on the come of late; as he’s been doing way more than most of my pre-season wraps expected. Even if his 3-point range has plum plummeted by a very shaky looking 22%↓ thus far. And the book here says that Huff is more parts size and defense/shot-blocking and less parts anything else. Therefore, the offensive betterment (less 3-pointing) is prolly gravy at this stage.
- One #25, or Conakry, Guinea (Africa’s) very own: Mamadi Diakite… all 6′7″, 224 lbs., r-Sr. worth of him is your sudden scoring pacesetter for hooVa at 13.8 ppg. And mind you… there is a noticeable 32% reduction in individual scoring roster wide after Diakite. Mamadi is second in board-work (6.5 rpg), second in swipes (1.1 spg), second in swats (1.2 bpg), and yet blue ribbon in 3-point netting at a nifty 44% from long-range. I’d say that makes him first in terms of being your early 2020 A.D. uva men’s hoops M.V.P. And this Guinean also fields a history of buzzer-beaters, six thus far. Ergo, you know Diakite is clutch when the chips get big-n-blue. Diakite is from the in-state Blue Ridge School (St. George, Va.), where he pocketed a double-A state ring way back in 2014. He also won the V.I.C. high jump championship in 2014 and 2015! So, you know he can flat out finish with the rock when he soars to the rack for la dunks. As Mister Diakite is a freakin’ french major— of all the things– in all the places. That satire aside, Mamadi can defend, he can rebound and he can jack 3’s from deep and that means he’s prolly an overseas Pro’. His penchant for foul-trouble notwithstanding… (so that foreign language skillz may just pay the bills). And oh oui, he pops something that looks like Ric Flair and Dennis ‘the worm’ Rodman had sex; twice, as his fro’ goes. NTTARWT.
- To say a metric ton of experience and production just went c’Ville: “PEACE-out yo'” is an understatement here. 2.2 decades of learning-curves and nearly 50 ppg with 15 rpg and one nasty outside sniper are all mowing someone else lawn right now.
- Sam Hauser is/was a 6′7″, 224 lb. r-Jr., S/F transfer baller by way of Marquette. The Marquette transfer was merely a second-team All-Big East selection last season after averaging 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. He’ll sit out this season due to NC2A transfer rules— and in general terms, this kid woulda been a major 2020 cavalier help. As he was the 74th ranked baller in America per Scout; and a serious sharpshooter (50.6% in high school) from Wisconsin long-range; (with a mere 48.7% deep collegiately).
la` Bench: (depth=2’ish; little thin this year…)
Yet another skyscraping pack-line jamming C, although may St.Nikhon bless this one’s, left-knee and get it all right. As Francisco Caffaro was done for the year last season. Thus, making this his r-Fr. debut at 6′12″, 244 lbs. of him— as ‘cisco has thoughtfully added a 10-plate and a cuff as sinew or right-mass goes. As the r-rookie year El Trebo, Santa Fe, Argentina imported native baller has a wealth of F.I.B.A. international hoops experience having balled for his nation since before he could drive (legally) in the states or since age 15! Averaging 16.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest in doing so and that makes this 2020 big-man addition no small measure indeed. Although his numbers (1.9 ppg and rpg alike on 62.5%) have yet to emerge as some had expected from this skilled-big who is supposed to be able to score in close and crash the boards. Time=tell here…
4.5 ppg and 2.2 rpg with 32% behind the arc belong to third-year Tomas Woldetensae… who is a 6′5″, 196 lb., Bologna, Italy import. And “si”, he has some game… not to mention an Irwin M. Fletcher type 6′9″ looking twist-top ‘fro. As I did not know you could even remotely pull twist-tops out this far? Nonetheless, this pretty swaggy back-up by way of Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa; or the place where “radar” O’Riley used to do work, is said to be: “a strong shooter” who is versatile enough to fill all three traditional perimeter positions. And Tony never takes any Community College lowercase types; so you know he does not have that many doubts re: this Tomas. As this Tomas just earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) first-team All-America honors after averaging 17.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 2018-19. The book says he can also defend a bit and he is one of the few peeps to only list his father in his bio’. May St.Thomas bless on dat.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of cavaliers hoo could zima @Tech=4.
The takeaway here is… well, Eye hate it as much as you hate it, although it would be totally bogus to say that such a greenwood O&M men’s hoops team is the rightful betting favorite over @The John.
That all being said, uVa does not have a plethora of offensive output returning. They are the lessor shooting squad— and right about now would be a very welcome time for our youngling freshmanic roundball club not to know any better as BIG-game rivalry State Championship pressure goes.
As pressure makes diamonds and bursts pipes alike.
(…and Winter is, here)
Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a… see you know hoo next time for lâ rendezvous. (as we are getting in-conference round-robin warmer and warmer here)
The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… nearly neither team is up in shooting percentage margin overall (tho’ VT is up +4% and change on O and uVa is better by a nearly +5% strictification on D), in 3-point percentage margin V.Tech is up a handsome looking +9% composite (all on O with uVa a little better in defense of the three on D); and yet uVa wins the battle of the boards with a narrow +2 carom edge in rebounding margin.
The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Hokies are now up a stunning in +8% shooting percentage margin (see below: although the Younger team is the better halt-unit of late here), with virtually neither team up in 3-point percentage margin (the hoos are close to +1%); and yet (somehow) the Fighting Gobblers are now up a nifty looking +4 in rebounding margin in the last couple of weeks.
As -insanely Packed Lined enough- Tony’s much-vaunted defense has loosed up by ~9% overall in the last fortnight of play. With uva and V.Tech each slightly better on O
and with V.Tech slightly better of late on D.
uVa is up +3% at the charity stripe for the year.
VeeTee is .667 in your house and uVa is .875 as a host.
Tech is actually a staggering +8 in R&R in the last 3-weeks.
- Freshmen accounted for 79 of the Hokies’ points in a 92-37 romp Sunday against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
- Virginia Tech prepared for the A.c.c. meatgrinder with a 92-37 demolition of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Sunday, winning its 32nd consecutive non-conference home game and posting its largest margin of victory since 2011 against Mount St. Mary’s.
- The Hokies have five players with at least 19 3-pointers and the team ranks eighth in 3-point percentage (39.4%) nationally.
- The cavaliers are 26-1 over the last two seasons (7-0 this season) when Key attempts at least five shots from the field. As Braxton is the shooting key at 50% from the field and 63.6% inside the arc, significantly higher than the uVa team averages of 40.9 and 49.2 percent.
- The wahoos average 59.9 possessions per game
-fewest in the nation- and their defensive rating of 83.5 is tops in the nation. (yikes!)
- virginia swept the two-game series last season and have won 12 of the last 15.
Well, if defense or 1950’s pre-shot-clock hoops is your thang?
You’ve come to the right place.
If ‘showtime” hoops or Denver McNuggets pinball scoring is your thang?
Not so much.
As points will be at a premium in this one and they will be mutually hard to come by. As uva defends like a Velcro and staple coated vice— and yet cannot score. Whereas the hurrying Hokies only have about 1.75 legit scorers on their own right and Tee.Bee. will wanna wahoo Nolley just as soon as Nooley cavalierly steps off the O&M team bus.
Nevertheless, as the most recent 5-game trends science-fact Coach Spock objectively demonstrated above… (while surprising the ‘bleep’ outta me); there is at least a little cogent Hokie lifeline hope here.
Although cynics will have me say this was more so a function of recent opposing S.O.S. (strength of schedule), or O&M lack thereof.
And frankly, they could very well be right…
^that^, and I’ma pretty gun-shy on how well novice or entry-level guys do facing the typically stifling Pack-Line D for the very first time.
As this one has race to 50 written all over it -maybe even a race to 40-
as the first team there?
(86% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=44, virginia=64