#168 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #17 R.P.I. NC.State:
TV coverage: 2pm, ESPN2
Vegas line: VT+15
$-line: bet $1 on VT to win $8.5o, bet $14 on NCSt to win $1
Buy or Sell: coach J’s and his 2012-2013 Virginia Tech men’s hoops team are done winning until November?
I am unable to speak to the veracity or otherwise of that. At least not until we get to Wake –whom we have already beaten thus far this season. However I can speck to the veracity –or should I say vitality- of our remaining schedule. Right now we have 6 games left prior to hopefully beatable Wake. 50% of those six games are vs. opponents ranked 3rd or higher in national terms. No, that’s not a typo folks, nor is the fact that the team we play next was only pre-season #1. Nor is the fact that one of the other teams (Clemson) has already beaten us by 7, nor is the fact that we never match-up very well with Florida State, even at home.
I am also sure that if you think things are suspect now … just ask fall of 2013 when the nation’s leading scorer (Erick Green) is no longer on campus. You concerned yet? You should be, because if we do not beat (or should I say upset) Wake at Wake to close the year, we could very well wind up as a 20 L team, as opposed to a 20 win one, which we were a mere two years ago under none other than one of ESPN’s best college basketball analysts; one Seth Greenberg.
NC.State at a glance:
- 5th in offensive FG percentage (50%)
- 10th in 3-point FG percentage (40.1%)
- 13th in scoring offense (78 ppg)
- 61st in fewest turnovers per game (12.1)
- 273rd in scoring defense (70.7 ppg allowed)
N.B.A. pros=2 at some level or another (R.Howell and C.J. Leslie)
#5 C.J. Leslie and #1 Richard Howell for a rather formable 1-2 frontcourt punch for the NC.State Wolfpac down-low. Some might say the most formable 1-2 punch in all the A.c.c. Richard Howell is a 6`8“ 257 lb. burly looking rebounding machine. Don’t believe me? Just ask ESPN.com who named Howell to its Top-6 rebounders in the country. Right now Howell only leads the A.c.c on the whole, the team otherwise known as the NC.State Wolfpac in rebounding that that merely places him sixth nationally at such! Yah; I’d say this senior year kid can do some mean board-work indeed. In addition to that, Howell nets you a second-best 13.4 ppg on 58% shooting from the floor due to his propensity for gobbling up offensive rebounds near the basket. As his offensive to defensive rebounding matrix (or ratio) is a astonishing 37% to 63%! Or in other words, this kid lives on the glass and he lives on the offensive glass in particular. Howell is also a remarkable second-best in assists (2.o) and he contributes a steal and a block per game as well. Not half bad for the Georgia AAAAA state champion who was the 15th ranked power-forward outta high school who has a history of dings and dents at NC.State. And who now carries a subtle whiff of Buck Williams 1980’s rebounding and defensive game to him and that carried Buck all the way to a 17 year N.B.A. career and a 13th all-time ranking in Association rebounding. Such is the nature of defense and rebounding which should never go cold. C.J. Leslie is a human-free-throw-attempt just looking for a place to happen or waiting on a favorable whistle to blow. 157 FTA’s on the season thus far speaks to this even if 63% from the charity-stripe results in partially slurred speech. Cee.Jay does still manage to lead the Wolfpac in scoring at 15.6 ppg and he is second in rebounding at 7.5 boards; and that’s quite a bit of cumulative box score (pardon the pun) packing firepower when you sum it all up. Now mix in 55% shooting from the floor and the team lead at 1 block per contest. Only real catch I see here is that that is something C.J. does not always do well down on the low-blocks as he also leads State in turnovers with 75 this season. Mr. Leslie is said to be an N.B.A. athlete without an N.B.A. position. As he goes 6`8“ and yet only tips the Toledo’s at a bantamweight 200 lbs. Accordingly, this junior year hoopster was rated the 11th best player in the nation coming outta high school even if his home position remains camouflaged indeed. In fact Lindy’s pre-season magazine went so far as to name Mr. Leslie the #1 player in the A.c.c for the 2012-2013 season. I don’t care if you have a home position worked out or not; that’s some rather tall praise to be sure. Cee.Jay has a history of off-court issues, including receiving “impermissible benefits”; even if the highlight reel benefits whenever he attacks the basket as this springy jumpy ‘tweener will dunk on you whenever he can.
Scott Wood starts upfront as the other forward in a more modern era three forward Wolfpac frontcourt rotation that lacks a true center. Scott Wood however is the Matryoshka doll of the A.c.c. As he is basically a point-guard weight wise wrapped up in a shooting-guard height wise inside a string-bean small-forward mystery. Scott Wood is also the all-time consecutive A.c.c. FT streak shooter with 66 makes in a row from the charity stripe just last year. He is also a dead ringer of a shooter from range on 43% marksmanship from downtown which has allowed him to net a staggering 292 3-points in his senior season A.c.c. career to date! Basically, this kid’s range is the gym, if he’s in it, he’s open. Which makes his expatriate status from the scholastically basketball rich state of Indiana all the more intriguing. Though most 29th ranked shooting-guards outta high school can pretty much go anywhere they want. Likewise when they are durable enough to only miss one single solitary career game; that’s pretty decent medicine from an 11.5 ppg scorer, who chips in with 3.o boards on a sizzling and Atlantic Coast leading 92% from the FT-line.
Association pros= looks like 2 here (Purvis, Lewis), though double-check with 2017 just to be sure.
Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis start in the Wolfpac backcourt. Purvis is a 9.3 ppg scored on 41% from the outside as a 6`4“ 190 lb. rookie year shooting-guard. That’s pretty fair to middling to me for a kid who is only 18 years of age; unless you take a looksee at Rodney’s FT-shooting which is a bricky 50.8% from the charity-stripe despite playing shooting-guard itself. Ever heard of that one before? Me neither; though I have heard that this kid is said to be an flat out explosive scorer who can put his offensive punches together in bunches. In fact, Lindy’s described his game as “…less parts shooter and more a force of nature.” That’s pretty heady talk for the North Carolina prep player of the year who was only the 9th ranked high schooler according to Scout this time last year. Purvis is a very intriguing prospect for down the road, as there is some real live potential that this kid develops into the leading A.c.c. scorer before his A.c.c. career is all said and done. He can put the biscuit in the basket even if his scoring has been a bit off as his new to voting freshminc legs may indeed be hitting the proverbial D-1 30+ game regular season wall at this time. Lining up across from Mr. Purvis in the State backcourt would be Ty’ Lewis. Ty’ is an in-state (Oak Hill Academy) escapee who was only named the 2012 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year … and he only captured the Powerade Jam Fest skills competition title. That does not suck, and neither does this 18-year old newly adult kid. Ty’ was a big time scoring point-guard in high school and of course you can see right away, that the 2012-2013 NC.State starting backcourt is already loaded for 2015-2016 bear. As of now, Ty’ nets you 3.3 ppg on what I can only describe as erratic shooting, both from the floor (35%) and from range (26%). Now mix in a rebound and an assist and you nearly have to wonder why Lorenzo Brown is no longer starting for coach Mark Gottfried. Ty’ does have the look and feel however of a slickster One or point-guard who has some style to go along with his substance; even if his substance is not that substantial in his debut season down in Raleigh North Carolina. That said, Ty’ has notched two rather keen looking outburst games (16 and 13 ppg) in his last there, so there are flickers here and glimmers there; as some kids are just not well suited temperamentally to coming in off the bench. Such segues me quite effortlessly into the State Pine and Mr. Lo.Brown himself.
Wolfpac Bench: (2-deep, 2-deep with 2 Pros!)
Brown is basically the only backcourt sub of the State bench –in a close game- and T.J. Warren is basically the only frontcourt sub when the Wolfpac is in tight as well. If I was a betting man –and I am- I’d wager that Lorenzo Brown is the hands down A.c.c. Sixth Man of the Year award winner in a New York second. This guy starts for 8-10 other A.c.c. teams the moment he transfers in and sets foot on campus. And you have to applaud Brown for his teammate first approach via sitting himself down and taking one for the same. Ditto Mr. Warren being the A.c.c. Rookie of the Year; read on…
T.J. Warren is a 6`8“ 238 lb. bruiser of a power-forward upfront as a right-sized t-freshman for the Wolfpac. T.J. is a rugged looking combo forward who can swing between all three of the pseudo NC.State frontcourt spots in a pinch. (after that State must resort to softer looking import ballers from Australia (Jordan Vandenberg) and Belgium (Thomas de Thaey, injured)). Tee.Jay is a former McDonald’s all-American, who only won the high school National Championship at Brewster Academy this time last year! The T stands for Tony and Tony’s dad is a legacy late 1970’s Wolfpac baller under coach Sloan. T.J. was the 6th ranked small-forward coming outta high school last season and right now he only nets you 11.5 ppg, with 3.5 boards on a mere 62% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc! WOW! Can you say A.c.c. Newcomer of the Year award winner? Yah; me too, and do be sure and check back in 2016 to see just how
good, great, this kid will be. If he sticks around that long that is.
Lo.Brown is a 6`5“ 186 lb. lead-guard or former point-guard as he did finish second in assists in the A.c.c. a season ago and that tells you something about his basketball acumen right there. Right now brown gets you 12.8 ppg, 4.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists, all in relief as he averages right at 30 odd minutes off the Wolfpac pine. Lo.Brown was the Georgia player of the year, and he was also the 7th ranked shooting-guard outta high school. Lo.Brown also fields a little range (34% from downtown) and he does lead State in steals at 2.o, so you know this is a quality on the ball defender. Scoring, passing, rebounding, defending … all off the Wolfpac bench … all rolled into one. That sure reads like a sixth man of the year to me. Hell; that might even read like the rarefied substitute baller to be crowned with all-A.c.c. honors. As Lindy’s magazine has Mr. Brown listed as the best-all-around player in the whole darn A.c.c. Finally, junior year Lo.Brown also has a knack for late game heroics and/or elevating his game vs. BIG-name competition when NC.State takes the big-stage. You gotta like that in any unselfish team-first kinda kid. (READERs note: Lo.Brown is listed with a late ankle injury and officially listed as “PROBABLE” for this one, this after logging 32 minutes last time out vs. Clemson)
Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
Oddly enough, and as if Virginia Tech needed this, NC.State is +2 in rest, due to a late season Atlantic Coast scheduling quirk. As coach J’s boys have been quirky enough of late and yet the loaded for bear Wolfpac has been rather quirky in their own right; what with a lowly 37% record over the last calendar month of play.
That said, here are the Virginia Tech stat line(s) over the last five games. Surgeon General’s Warning: if you are a PA.T.T. or if you may be preggers with a P.A.T.T., the following section may be hazardous to your health.
- ppg on offense=57.6
- overall field-goal percentage from the floor=36.4%
- 3-point percentage from range=32.2%
- free-throw percentage=61.4%
Or in other words, Virginia Tech -just like the 1970’s epic Western movie- is now officially The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. That’s a whole lotta Hokie points left out on the floor folks, and it doesn’t exactly take a whole lotta points to beat a 36% FG shooting team either. The Forum Guide is predicting an absurd looking 39 point NC.State blow-out victory. And do mind the store that I halted my Forum Guide calculations after our most recent three game opponents; as 39 points reads bonkers enough as is. That said, State is not the best defensive team of late, and maybe State will fall asleep at the wheel as they have been uneven at best over the course of their last four weeks. Now mix in the Lo.Brown injury and maybe Virginia Tech is catching an unfocused and lame NC.State at just the right time. Well, beyond the fact that the Wolfpac is 93% at home this year; yah, there is that.
Virginia Tech=59, NC.State=75