Virginia Tech Alabama NCAA Tourney preview

#42 R.P.I. Alabama vs. #51 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball tries to keep it’s third season alive and get dat damn NC2A work; after a downright gutting Catch-44 or 27 point swing in the final 15 minutes when while miles ahead vs. 2 point fave Notre Dame in Atlantic Coast Conference round no.2 – on Wednesday night.

The Hokies are coming off a fold-job that left Alice the maid all wet and accordions everywhere gasping for Heimlich manoeuvre air. Though all A.c.c. sins are forgiven with just one NCAA win. As the 19 up and 15 down (8-10  S.E.C.) Alabama Crimson Tide is loquacious, they are young and they are uber youth movement talented. Though you want to know how Buzz and company will fare on Thursday night @  ~9:20pm on Turner Network,  right? Well read on, to find… out!

 Alabama Head Coach: Avery DeWitt Johnson: Age=52, 496–299 (.623) Pro+College overall, and 56–45 (.554) at Alabama.

Yes, this is the Avery Johnson; the 4/pint sized Pt.Guard and lockeroom mini-me alpha leader of early(ier) Greg Poppovich on-court fame.

Baller Johnson was a high school senior in 1983, when Johnson led New Orleans’ St. Augustine High School to a 35–0 record and the Class 4A Louisiana State Championship. Johnson matriculated at New Mexico Junior College before moving on to Cameron University, and finally Southern University, at which in his senior season in 1988 he led NCAA Division I with 13.3 assists per game, an all-time record. Upon graduation (psychology) in 1988, Johnson was not selected in the N.B.A. draft.

The pugnacious/tenacious Johnson’s pro’ career included pit-stops with the Palm Beach Stingrays, the Seattle SuperSonics and the Denver McNuggets. All prior to his six year run where he netted the Finals Championship clinching shot in game no.5 vs. the Riley/Larry Johnson/Ewing NY.Knickerbockers way way back when. Afterwards Avery had tourstops with G.State and the Mavericks before ultimately becoming the Mav’s Finals runner-up head coach and N.b.a. Coach of the Year in 2006. Avery also took his turn as big whistle for the NJ.Nets as well. Afterwards, A.Johnson became a two year colour-commentator on the N.b.a. for ESPN.

It is early enough in his collegiate coaching career; though thus far A.J. coached team’s have a rep’ for: defense, rebounding at both ends, turnovers, limited scoring and mo’ defense. And coach Johnson -and his deep southern fried accent- have a no nonsense rep’ for motivational speeches; extraordinaire. He is known as a pocket-sized “minister” and mentor to the kids he shepherds/coaches. He is also a two time book author.

Johnson and his wife Cassandra have two children, Avery Jr. -who transferred last year to ball for his old man @’Bama- and Christianne. Johnson himself has 10 bro’s and sisters in total and his signature motto (#, or hashtag today) is: “buckle up!”

 Crimson Tide at a glance:

  • 10th in swats (5.5 bpg)!
  • 23rd most FTA’s (778).
  • 25th in 3-point D (31.8% allowed).
  • 41st in FG D (41.3% allowed).
  • 307th in FT shooting (67.2%).
  • 308th in 3-point shooting (32.4%).
  • 328th fewest turnovers (481).

‘Bama Returning Starters=4

Alabama Strengths:

  • 6th best recruiting class in America last season ¦ with no less than two guys listed as potential one-n-done’s!
  • Leading the (potential) one-n-done way would be all-World t-freshman Pt.G. one #2, the 6′3″, 181 lb., Collin Sexton. To put it mildly… Lindy’s preseason magazine merely describes Sexton: “as a once a decade recruit.” WoWoW! Or basically the Tide’s “bimbo” Coles+. As Colin only leads ‘Bama in ten, that’s 10 different team categories that I can find. Among them would be… 19 ppg and 4.5 apg, as well as having his own Wiki page for four years; already; to go with 44% overall, 34% deep and 78% on FTA’s with one swipe. Sexton dropped, forty; that’s four-o points on Minnesota in a game earlier this year when the Tide rolled shorthanded and played a actual game of 3-on-5; and he still went for forty! Sexton has a history of buzzer-beaters so you know he pops clutch. Colin has balled since the age of three; he was only the no.3 baller in the country coming outta high school according to 247sports with a lo-ball national ranking of #7 per Rivals; he only won one AAAAAA or six-A Georgia High School state championship; he only won the McDonald’s all-America Game Jam Fest Dunk Contest at halftime; he was only the AAAAAAA or seven-A Georgia H.S. Player of the year his senior season; and he was only the F.I.B.A. <17 gold-medal winning M.V.P. last year. That’s all; he sucks; rip his schollie right now! Yah; this kid is a professional baller, an Association pro’… only question is: when, not if.

    Does #2 only have one game left?
  • Rebounding leader (6.9 rpg); FG percentage leader (a sizzling 72.1%) and S.W.A.T. team leader (2.1 bpg) -or one Danta Hall- are all listed as: “QUESTIONABLE” to play with what ‘Bama is calling: “a head injury” for Thursday nights game. Godspeed as everyone else is calling this: “a concussion” as the grey matter that is the human brain is not not not something that you merely white-athletic tape-up and suck it up while taking one for the team. Sources close to the team hint that Danta is a: “game time decision”; and that he will not practice early in the week. The 6′9″  232 lb. all-defensive S.E.C. team P/F nets you a second best team wide 10.9 ppg on 55% FT-shooting and 0% from long and a steal. That said, this is a banjaxing or banging Four, not a Dirk stretch-Four who is there to do work, keep working and work sum mo’. Hall is also the two year in a row team leader n dunks; as he will throw down and he will throw down hard in and around the ring. And last year he scored on 96% of his possessions (214 touches | 196, scores)! Think about that one for a; moment; then think about the fact that he played and balled-out a mere five, that’s (5) post-wrist-surgery days earlier this year! As this former no.81 ranked national recruit is #1 in heart and the smart money says he gives it a go on Thursday night. And here’s hoping such a grim, gutty, gamey worker-bee finds at least an overseas paycheck for all his third year warrior troubles. (UPDATE: sourcing says Hall is improving; I’d say Hall balls Thursday night)
  • John Petty is the only other elephantine mascot looking Tide baller to bust double-digits in scoring thus far this season. John is a 6′5″, 195 lb. nugget or freshmanic year lead-G who the same as Irwin M. Fletcher is more like 6′9″ give/take with the twist-top ‘fro. Seriously… when did the Arnie era Predator/Marley look get so, vertical? As Petty has it hirsute going up. He also has it going on; which is actually to type he has it going in 3-ball wise from downtown as he’s the third most prolific 3-point shooter in the So.East’ right about now in terms of raw number of 3-point biscuits in the basket. His 36% from behind the arc is none too shabby though Petty might as well be nicknamed: “long-John” as he will let fly just a few dribbles beyond halfcourt. John -same as Sexton above- was a very high Q-score hooping recruit for the Tide as he was only Mister Basketball in the state of Alabama as a junior and again as a senior; and he was only listed as the #21 scholastic in all the land and the no.2 ranked S/G by this time last year. Petty also cut down back-to-back AAAAA or 5-A Alabama state championship nets in those final two seasons to boot. John’s 38% overall tells you just how many 3’s he takes statistically —as 77% of his shots are from long-distance. Petty is also said to be: “a beast in transition” as this kid is dunk or fire from 20′9″ or more with no real mid-range game to speak of. And make no mistake, this kid is a blowtorch or spark-less as Petty has logged a very triskaidekaphobic looking thirteen games ≥5 ppg (including two goose-eggs) and yet he has also lit peeps up for eight games at ≥18 ppg. So here is hoping he leaves his acetylene at, home.
  • 6′5″, 207 lb. Dazon Ingram rounds out Coach Johnson’s signature 3-G line-up. Dazon is second season baller who is dropping you a smooth 9.9 ppg on 27% behind the 3-point line with a helpful 5.8 caroms and second best 3.5 apg. Dazon is no Ingram Rb relation although he does have a history of left-foot injuries (may St.Servatius bless) and this has retarded his progress a bit. As Lindy’s magazine went so far as to label Dazon ‘Bama’s “most complete player and best overall play-maker”. As it will be pretty curious to see what Ingram looks like on two good wheels come 2020; Coach God wiling.

Alabama Weaknesses:

  • 6′6″ 202 lb. final year Ar’Mond Davis is done with a deeeeep knee bruise; thereby effectively ending his basketball career. May St.Nikon bless, as Ar’Mond was a transfer baller (College of Southern Idaho, 18 ppg) who somehow never quite made the So.Eastern transition with 6 ppg at ‘Bama. That said, he did rip the Tide with several outburst type conference outings and he was said to be a gunning or Smith & Wesson revolving type pure scorer who never meet a shot he did not like; or would not… take.
  • Riley Norris (hip) is also said to be done for the duration as a 6′7″ 210 lb. senior year Swing or S/F who was a 9 ppg on 37% from range starting Three last year who had given way to younger more VHT (very highly touted) ballers this campaign. As Riley was said to be the Tide’s best pure shooter and he only ranked in the 85th percentile of nationwide defenders last year!
  • i.e. the Tide is a thinner  team currently speaking with these two very well seasoned starting quality back-ups on the shelf and dressed out in civis.
  • Accordingly, this is not the most experienced team I’ve ever scouted; as there is something of a youth movement in effect here; and you have to wonder how rookie year voters handle the NC2A spotlight their first go-round. Further the Tide has no (remaining) seniors in their Top-10 rotation; and 80% of them are underclassmen.

 Tide Bench: (depth=5-6’ish)

The ‘Bama pine-squad is a lotta things and deep is one of them; if not the alpha thing among them. As there may not be a whole lotta numbers here; although there are a whole lotta bodies here as this Tide bench comes at you in… waves.

Coach’s son -and likewise mighty mite sized- 5′10″ , 187 lb. third year Avery Johnson Jr. drops you 4.4 ppg on 37% deep though is said to be a stopper as much as anything else. As youngling and Texas A&M transfer Avery has a worker-bee rep’ same as his old-man and he was just named Most Improved last spring. And guess what? This Avery also wants to roll as Coach Johnson; someday; once his playing days are done.

Herbert Jones is another VHT debut year 6′7″, 200 lb. grinder who just set a record for charges, taken! That and he lead the Crimson in swipes with 1.6 spg in relief. Not many blue-chip all-this all-that kids cosign the “okay coach” on that. Though Herbert did net 4.2 ppg and he does lead the Tide sub’s in Windex work at a very decent 3.8 rpg. (Although Jones’ shooting from all three measurements could stand some polishing up this off-season) And yes, this no.71 prospect (ESPN) in America is also a coach’s son; and he was only on the high school varsity squad ever since the 6th grade! If/(when) Jones finds his power-conference shooting range, the rest of his high octane game will leave Tide finds jonesing for more.

The key to advancing to the Round of #32 is... what???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Tide's who could start @Tech=3 maybe 3-n-change.

the takeaway:

“S (hooters) happens…”

Yah; Roger that, big 10-4 good buddies and no shoot!

Just ask our nearly 25% second-half shooting from deep vs. Notre Dame and 37% overall in an erstwhile healthy enough looking ballgame at the intermission if you don’t believe me yet.

And “aye”, I have indeed typed those very same words out three different times; now. As anything can and prolly will happen with a finicky/finessing buncha shooters; including getting hot like the Sun and scorching Alabama and then giving (likely) #1 seeded ‘Nova a lesson in (sun) screening from deep.

Or, we could be unable to make a “2” with a pencil —much less a three.
And thus have 40 minutes remaining in our season for it.


That one I can not predict for you; only Coach God can call those plays; nevertheless, I can tell you that nobody will wanna deal with Buzz’s bombers should they suddenly ignite from range.

Best I can give you is calling the V.Tech team total bang on the chin twice since G.Tech and then calling for a single shot game @Miami. Getting all that perfectly right and yet going a totally piss poor .333 to the ‘rong for those three calls.

Time to do something, ’bout, dat…

…and oh yes, guess who slots as our Sweet-16 match-up?!?

Just like foot-ball!” (clapclapclapclapclap)

the skinny...

Alabama is .625 when neutral and Virginia Tech is .333 when Swiss.

The seasonal stats say that V.Tech is +3% from the floor, +3% from 3-point land and yet chasing in rebounding margin where ‘Bama is up +4 boards. The Neutral Court splits notch Tech up by a serviceable +3% overall, a noticeable +12% better from beyond the arc, though down 3 boards in rebounding margin. The last 5-games say that overall shooting is virtually awash; that the Hokies are actually down 1% in 3-point shooting; and the Tide pwns the Gobblers on the glass at +10 rebounds. The Hokie A.c.c. margin is still trading underwater and now regressing again- at –24 points. Whereas the Tides S.e.c. margin was a hard to figure +20 points— as ‘Bama fielded no less than a whopping twelve S.e.c. games decided (pro/con) by at least 8 points and eight of those were +/-15 points either way. Or in other words ‘Bama is a very volatile hoops club gents; as ‘Bama is either really really good or really suspect at times.

Tech is however up 4% on FTA’s for the duration. And oh yes, our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide is merely calling for a 12.25 point Hokie VicTory.

the call

Per OXVT, Virginia Tech is the 12th best team out of 351 D-1 team’s this season at winning close games. And yah; you’d have to figure this one ultimately ‘caps out as being pretty even. Although you do have to wonder outloud if the Notre Dame four tire mental blowout might just leave an applied sports psychology mark?

Further, we see that V.Tech has not busted 68 points on O since St.Valentine’s Day; whereas ‘Bama has oscillated between 52 points and 82 points over the same timeframe.

Buzzketball however is +3 on rests -no thanks to our Shamoo sized tank job eight nights ago- and you’d have to think that legislates the O&M shooters with some very fresh legs this late in the 2018 docket.

I like that here as Buzz and Co. are due to break-out of their recent offensive funk and ‘Bama’s younglings appear willing enough to try to shoot it out with the Hokie shooters here. So I’ll do something I’ve not done since last season… I hereby gar-ron-damn-tee VicTory here or I will eat these very words.

See you and the fighting Rolile Massaimno’s in the round of 32!

May St.Patrick, bless!!!

(66.7% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=77, Alabama=7o