#39 R.P.I. Wake Forest @ #34 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech basketball remains @home and firmly ensconced in defense of our very own Cassell at 4:3o pm on Saturday afternoon down in the suddenly springtime chilly New River Valley.
The Deacons of Wake Forest are coming to evangelize our Senior Day departures… namely: r-senior and Mr. Clutch Seth Allen, the human (near) double-double r-senior Zach Leday, seldom seen though practice glue-guy r-senior Greg Donlon, hand injured t-senior Johnny Hamilton, r-senior and now occasionally seen back-up G, Matt Galloway. Thank you all for a virtual two decades of combined service to Virginia Tech hoops; and may Coach God bless you next season wherever that takes you in the Game of Life. That Hokie gratitude firmly in place, we have a final home-game to play; we have a curiously improving Deacon team on the way that is post-season tourney needy too. As in don’t sleep on this one or pencil this one into the O&M W column as a triumph just yet. Wake checks in at 17 up and 12 down (8-9 A.c.c.) and hot off of a major #8 Louisville upset– and is a conference tourney sleeper as they may just have the best A.c.c. baller that less than everyone has heard of. Although who will win Saturday on Raycom (check local listings)? Read on, to find, out…
Wake Forest Head Coach: Daniel Ricardo “Danny” Manning: 77–77 (.5oo) overall, 39–48 (.448) at Wake Forest.
Baller Manning is the son of the late Ed Manning (R.I.P.), who was a longtime N.b.a. and red, white and blue; ball; A.b.a. player then a professional and college coach. As a junior at Page High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, Danny averaged 18.8 points and nine rebounds per game, leading the Pirates to a 26-0 record and the North Carolina state title. Baller Danny Manning also won the national championship with the Larry Brown led Jayhawks in 1988 as a player. Danny left Kansas as the all-time leading scorer in Kansas basketball history with a mere 2,951 points! He was also the all-time leading scorer in Big-8 Conference history with 2,951 career points. Danny won the Wooden, Naismith, and Eastman Awards as the college player of the year in 1988. And K.U.’s 11 L’s that national championship year is still the most L’s of any crowned D-1 men’s hoops titlist, ever! Manning was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame with the 2oo8 class.
He was then the #1 draft pick overall in the 1988 N.B.A. Draft by the L.a. Clippers. Baller Manning spent 15 seasons in the Association. During his N.b.a. career Manning scored 12,367 points and averaged 14.o points per game. He was a two time all-star, once the Sixth Many of the Year and a three time A.c.l. victim who some say had a Hall of Fame ceiling if not for such ruinous knee knocks throughout his gimpy professional career (Godspeed).
(Assistant) Coach Manning won another National Championship Jayhawker ring again on the K.U. coaching staff in 2oo8. After which he spent two successful years as the big whistle at Tulsa, garnering a post-season bid each time and an N.c.a.a. bid for his 21 win C-USA crowning second season. After which he inked with the Dec’s and posted two initial negative (<.5oo) seasons before landing five games above .5oo this year as I type. Coach Manning team’s have a rep’ for free-flowing, skillful; finesse based inside-out offense first, second and defense third; (if that). He is also thought to be something of a program-builder and a pretty decent recruiter by-the-bye.
Dec’s at a glance:
- 14th best in FT-percentage (77%).
- 24th in scoring O (81.6 ppg).
- 30th in assist:turnover ratio (+1.33).
- 54th in 3-point shooting (38%).
- 58th in FG shooting (46.9)%.
- 82nd in rebounding margin (+3.2rpg).
- 280th in scoring D (77.8 ppg allowed).
Wake Returning Starters=3
Wake Forest Strengths:
- “Jay-Cee” or one #20, John Martin Collins III, is: “…as good a college basketball player as there is in the A.c.c.” -Coach Rick Pitino, just three days ago. I’d say that counts as a, strength and so does Collins’ likely all-conference first-teamer run that has seen him net at least 2o points in 11 straight contests averaging 24.2 points and 11.1 boards over that very same time span. Per an increase from his annual digits of 19.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and a lowly league-best 62.1% field-goal percentage overall. He sucks, rip his schoolie right now —although the 6’1o”, 239 lb. super-Soph’ is the first Deacon to do so (i.e. be the alpha A.c.c. shooter) since Charlie Davis did so the year I was born (in 1969 A.D.). And this is up from his former merely team leading tally of 54.7% shooting last year; as a back-up; as he was not good enough to start until this previous autumn. This after being named the 2o14-15 Florida Class AAAA Player of the Year as a senior, when Collins was also named Palm Beach Post Player of the Year and the Gatorade Florida Player of the Year as a relatively mere *** or three-star recruit who was only the 36th ranked P/F coming outta high school in the nation. Prior to that he balled for the A.a.u. touring Florida Flash, formally known as e1t1 Flash. Now mix in nearly 70 more defense-boards than any other Dec’, a serviceable 72% on a team leading 171 FTA’s, 1.7 bpg, as a pure post-up old-school back to the basket Four (P/F) who’s only knock would be lack of 3-point range if he was not operating down-low in the paint full time. So it kinda makes you wonder how Wake found what all the national recruiting services clearly; missed. Ditto Lindy’s pre-season magazine which spent exactly one sentence, six whole words, and 29 whole letters/characters on Mister Collins who could be the straw that stirs the 2o18 A.c.c. drink. If he returns that is, as this kid is certifiably an Association Pro’, when; not if.
- Bryant “Bee”Crawford is a 6’3”, 2oo lb. lead-G in his second season from Gonzaga College High School (Wash. D.C.); and yes that confused me as well. However, being named the 2o15 District of Columbia Gatorade Player of the Year accordingly helps to connect a few dots. As this kid was tabbed 2nd or 3rd string all-A.c.c. preseason by all my magazines with good reason(s). Among them would be his ability to distribute (5.4 dimes or apg), defense (1.6 spg), and his ability to hit the 3-pointer (35%). Now mix in a second-best 15.4 ppg and 3.9 rpg and suddenly you’ve got a pretty handsome all-around baller on your Atlantic Coast power-conference hands. 78% from the charity stripe on 129 FTA’s is pretty lucrative as well; although he could cutback on his turnovers (2.3 tpg) and be a bit more picky or judicious on his shot selection (43%). Still yet, this is a real quality overall baller whose foibles to issues most teams would love to have. As Crawford does have something of a tag for clutch-play, fearlessness, and stepping it up come tourney time. NTTAWWT from the 74th ranked baller coming outta high school according to Scout.
- 6’3”, 2o5 lb. r-sophomore (transfer) Keyshawn Woods is a pretty fair to middling off-G down in Winston Salem. Woods transferred to Wake during in the summer of 2o15 after playing his freshman season at Charlotte in 2014-15 where he merely led Conference USA in 3-point shooting at 46.6% as a rookie. That sucks, and so do his contemporary 12.7 ppg on 48% from downtown. As this kids range is the gym, if he’s in it, he’s …open. As this is one Wing that can flat out shoot that rock and he sports a bit of a Laurence Fishburne Boyz in da Hood look to boot. Bonus points hereby awarded to anyone with the 2o17 swag’ to pull that off prior to being able to buy beer (legally). Not half bad for having oxidized a year on the sit from the former North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year in 2o14 who only won two straight states to close out his AA high school career. As Woods has added ~10 lbs. of muscle since Charlotte which only gives his perimeter game more self-getting-open pop. Notice as well that Keyshawn just dropped 2o big points vs. Louisville, and has hit 1o-of-2o 3-point attempts in his past five games. Now drop 4.3 boards and 3.9 dimes and you suddenly have more than just a spot-up-shooter on your hands –as somebody overseas could always use another shooter who can rebound and pass a bit on top of that.
- Imported baller and junior season 6’1o”, 255 lb., Konstantinos Mitoglou by way of Thessaloniki Greece -may the Vlatádon Monastery there bless and intercede- is an imported baller from the land of ouzo and metaxa. Which was a rental agreement for me, as I saw each of ’em twice, once going down and once coming back… anywho, Constantine (in English/Turkish), nets you 9.1 ppg with 5.4 caroms and yet he is curiously still hovering right on 42% overall. Not (quite) what you’d expect from a skillful Euro stretch-Four who hits 82% from the Line and a reasonable 34% from the Aegean (or deep). “Dinos”, courts a lot of national-team, regional, Euro’ and even International playing experience and if you did not know it, roundball is very very keen in Greece— believe it or not. Inconsistency has been the bugbear fly in the ointment here, as Konstanious is said to have all the tools -including inside play- it’s just that his internationally flavored tool-belt is a bit leaky indeed. That said, Dinos will get carded until his 40’s and he probably can still strike an international career be that in hoops or in business as he already has a Greek degree and had Pro’ Greek league offers before electing to come to the States.
- Do you see a sophomoric, trend, here? (if this team remains intact, look for Wake and d.Manning to be your next Virginia Tech and coach Buzz A.c.c. climbers)
Wake Forest Weaknesses:
- This is not the most experienced team I’ve ever previewed; as coach Manning is playing 2o18/2o19, today.
- This is not the best defensive team I’ve ever previewed, either; as coach Manning is a fluid offensive coach who’s best defense is a: “can you keep up?” question asking O.
- This is not the best shooting team, from the bench; as you will see below.
- Newcomers Childress below and 6’6” 23o lb. Milwaukee transfer-senior Austin Arians were penciled in to do more than they have done, thus far. S/F Austin’s 7.1 ppg on 40% long are okay, although he (somehow) found ~30 lbs. and cut nearly 6 ppg off of his average from last year.
Dec’s Bench: (depth= 3-4 deep)
6’2” 175 lb. junior Mitchell Wilbekin is a 3-point sniper from long-distance with a nifty looking 42% hit ratio from the same. And the book here says that that is about all he is as his overall FG percentage plummets to a shocking 32% from the floor! As this kid is a pure shooter and not much else at the moment as his 7.4 ppg mostly come from beyond the arc or off of a sizzling 93% from the line; (which makes his overall shooting snide all the more, puzzling).
Doral Moore is a 7’1” 265 lb. second year skyscraping monsta sized sub who plays a bit smaller than he looks. Moore is a true-C and he is a back to the basket guy who protects the rim (1.1 bpg) with 3 points and rebounds alike off the pine. Doral’s shooting is down virtually 14% this year and that’s not a good sign from the 72nd ranked ESPN baller who looks a bit and plays a bit like Brad Daugherty once did of C-town Cavalier fame. Same as above/below, (and pardon the pun) Moore was expected here, indeed.
6′, 170 lb. rookie year Point-man Brandon Childress adds his 6.2 ppg on 34% from the floor and his all-American pops (Rudolph, of Portland Trailblazer fame) adds more than just a red-nose as an assistant on coach Manning’s bench. The bloodlines are clearly willing here, and the whispers say that legacy Childress can pass and net the three (33% so far). That being said, give this kid some room and some time in the weight-room and the cafeteria and then let’s ask back in 2o19 and see if he can sleigh or slay some of his D.n.a. Christmas in March expectations or not.
Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:
Number of Dec's who could peach @Tech=2.5 or so.
The takeaway here is… I’m not saying that Wake Forest is gonna upset Virginia Tech in basketball —I am saying that Wake Forest has a shot to upset Virginia Tech. As I just sense a hooping entropy rich game somewhere upon the remaining 2017 March menu.
Why am I saying that however? I am saying that because we are still a wounded sporting animal; and we were a frontcourt needy sporting animal even before the harsh injury to Clarke and the harsh injury dodge by Bibbs. And guess whose coming to frontcourt dinner as a 6’1o”, 239 lb., 3.5 point dog (Wake+3.5) out on the Vegas big-board?
Nonetheless, let’s ask our pet metrics what they have to say before we put the cart out in front of this preacherman’s, horse…
- VT is +1 on rest. EDGE=VT.
- Wake is .333% on the road whereas VT is .938 at home. EDGE=VT.
- Overall this year long and VT is +1 in scoring margin, +2% from the floor, +1% on 3-point margin, -4.4% from the charity-stripe and -5 boards in rebounding margin. So I’ll call this part even. EDGE=push.
- The Home/Away splits say that VT is +17 in scoring margin, +14% in shooting margin, +10% from distance, and shockingly virtually tied in rebounding margin. EDGE=VT, in no small way.
- In most recent 5-game terms… scoring margin is nearly deadlocked, although VT is +3% in total shooting and a noticeable +11% from range with Wake however posting a likewise noticeable +11 rebounding margin advantage on the glass. Edge=mixed.
- Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame actually says that Wake wins by ½ of a point. EDGE=toss–up.
The second-longest current winning streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference belongs to Virginia Tech, which has won three in a row heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale at home against Wake Forest —and that should tell us all a little something-something right ^there^.
As it is Mohs Scale hard -like a diamond- to string together too or even two many A.c.c. consecutive VicTories this time of the year. As twelve consecutive games with 2o+ points from Mister Williams is at the very least a match-up foible which is mostly likely code for a real live match-up, problem. Further, I’m inclined to agree with Chris Coleman here that Williams might just be our worst individual match-up of the year.
That recognition being rightfully bestowed, coach Buzz and company are 1st-best in the A.c.c. in 3-point shooting at 40.9 percent and feature three of the top nine shooters from long range in the league. Outlaw (second at 48.4%), Seth Allen (third at 47.4%) and Justin Bibbs (ninth at 43.1%). And I like that percentage to heat up inside a (now) crowed and therefore finally sold-out 1980’s esque: warm, warmer, warmest Cassell Coliseum.
Yes, “Stranger Things” have happened indeed; tho’ I’ma gonna side with the homesteading team to keep it cooking from the outside and just barely offset the highly credible Williams kid advantage down-low.
(64% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=83, Wake Forest=76