Virginia Tech North Carolina basketball preview

#2 R.P.I. North Carolina @ #85 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball gets back home into our very own Cassell Coliseum court vs. one of the two annual hottest men’s hoops tix not named arch rival uva.

The Hokies play host to the 2017 men’s D-1 national champion North Carolina Heels this Monday night on a made for T.V. date on ESPN2 at 7pm. U.N.C. storms our Cassell at 15 up and 4 down and has been playing very well; although possibly not national titlist great thus far this campaign. That being rightfully said, U.N.C. will only improve as their green-wood parts receive some sky-blue seasoning week by week by week. Nonetheless, who wins on this particular night? Read on, to find… out.

North Carolina Head Coach: Roy Allen Williams: age=67, 829–220 (.79) overall, and 411–119 (.775) at North Carolina.
$2,088,577.oo (with $1mill bonus, +incentives)

Baller Williams lettered in basketball and baseball at T. C. Roberson High School in Asheville, NC all four years. In basketball, playing for Coach Buddy Baldwin, he was named all-county and all-conference for two years (1967 and 1968), all-western North Carolina in 1968 and served as captain in the North Carolina Blue-White All-Star Game. Williams has stated that Coach Baldwin was one of the biggest influences in his life. Williams went on to play on the freshman team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and study the game under legendary coach Dean Smith. When Williams was a sophomore at Carolina, he asked Smith if he could attend his practices and would sit in the bleachers taking notes on Smith’s coaching. Williams also volunteered to keep statistics for Smith at home games and worked in Smith’s summer camps.

After coaching golf and hoops in high school for five years; in 1978, Williams came back to the University of North Carolina and served as an assistant to Coach Dean Smith until 1988. During his tenure as assistant coach, North Carolina won the NCAA national championship in 1982, the first for Smith (and Roy); and second for North Carolina. One of Williams’ more notable events came as assistant coach when he became instrumental in recruiting a nobody who was already cut from his H.S. team, some kid named… Jordan. After that, taking over at Kansas, his Jayhawk career was riddled with wins (28 per year on average!); conference titles (9); and more a few recruiting foibles as well. Since getting home to U.n.c. coach Williams has notched two national championships (2oo5) and (2008). Coach Williams is the only basketball coach in NCAA history to have 35o or more victories at two NCAA D-1 schools {sic: Kansas and North Carolina}. Coach Williams is the only coach in NCAA history to have led two different programs to at least four Final Fours each; wow. In 2oo7, Coach Williams was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Coach Williams’ teams have made the post-season 29 outta 30 times. He was won a stunning 15 different coach of the year awards nationally or in-conference combined. He has won 23 total regular season or tournament conference titles and put 39 kids into the Association.

Coach Williams chairs a $10 mil’ dollar U.n.c. basketball endowment and Roy had surgery September 19, 2012 to remove a tumor from his right kidney; God Bless.

Daddy Williams is married to Wanda Williams. They have a son, Scott (ex-UNC Pt.Guard), a daughter, Kimberly (dance school owner), and three grandsons.

U.N.C. at a glance:

  • #1 in rebounding margin (+11.1 rpg)!
  • 21st in assists (21.6 apg).
  • 50th in 3-point percentage (38.5%).
  • 65th in FG percentage D overall (41% allowed).
  • 3o7th in 3-point percentage D (37.4% allowed)!

‘Heel Returning Starters=2

North Carolina Strengths:

  • Being named Most Versatile from Lindy’s pre-season does not suck; and neither does Joel Berry II. Although maybe they should have named him: Most Competitive, or maybe most silly…after he broke his right hand when he punched a door after losing a video game; no joke! (missed 4 weeks for it, too). The fiery 6′, 195 lb. sparkplug looking last year baller has put on some cuts in his years down on Chapel Hill and yet he’s not gained 1 (listed) oz. of weight. That’s what I call living right and 17.4 ppg on 38% from distance is pretty comely too. His 39% shooting overall is not so joyful as Joel’s go; as the determined Berry II never met a shot he did not like | or would not, take. One of two players in A.C.C. history to earn A.C.C. Tournament MVP honors in one season and Final-4 Most Outstanding Player honors in another. Dang, and oh yes, that means this mean boy is tough; tough in the clutch where you can make use of being mean, if you know what I, well, mean. Says he worked on playing smarter and shooting in the off-season and the book here says Berry II has become a complete One. As this Pt.Guard can score off the dribble, shoot well enough from the outside; and defend. Does have a history of foot and ankle midsize dings going back through senior prom terms; although being the first player in Florida high school history to win Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Basketball award three times is about as good as any part-time football player (Qb) merits in roundball terms. As 90% FT-shooting on 69 FTA’s, 3 apg, 3.1 rpg and a steal later… Joel is the kinda kid you rather fight with than against; and yah; he’s a pro’, only question is export or domestic?
  • One #32, 6′8″, 240 lb. Jr. year P/F Luke Maye has game; the alpha scorer at U.N.C. (17.8 ppg) virtually always does. Ditto being the 14th Tar Heel to earn Academic all-A.C.C. honors in multiple seasons— as likewise his father (Mark) also earned Academic all-A.C.C. honors as a UNC Qb -who only led the A.c.c in passing back in 1986- way back in 1986 and 1987 in educational terms. So smarts run in the family. Good on them! And good on the team lead in rebounding at 10.5 caroms per contest, and in swats with 1.1 bpg; all that on 51% overall and a nifty 48% from range. As the only thing being forced with this Luke is his clanky looking 59% from the charity-stripe; go fig’ on that from such a skillful big? Though fix that and be a rich man for it and prolly invest it well (7th ranked student in the school of business) to boot. As Luke was the Florida high school 3-point contest champ’, a VHT baseball recruit (outfielder); and he paced nationally in the USofA wide French Honor Society and Math Honor Society alike. Plus Luke enjoys a rep’ as one of the hardest working Heel hoopster in years!  That’s a complete person folks; never-mind a complete baller. (UPDATE: Probable with a 5-stich friendly fire rebounding facial gash; God Bless.)
  • Theo Pinson is a 6′6″, 220 lb., S/F and S/G ‘tweener. He is also dropping 9.1 ppg with 5.3 boards albeit on only 12.4% shooting when dialing long-stance. In scholastic terms Theo got his… as he won two consecutive 3-A NCISAA state championships; the Charlotte Observer named him Mr. Basketball for North Carolina in 2014; and he only won the Elite 24 dunk contest in 2013. So you know he has some juice in his hops and his high school rep’ as a spring rebounding Wing did not disappoint. Theo’s shooting range may never be there though his athleticism will always be there and that makes him a tough open-court cover no matter what.

North Carolina Weaknesses:

  • 5′13″, 185 lb. back-up Pt.Guard Seventh Woods -kool name- is out indefinitely with a left-foot stress fracture; may St.Servatus bless! Gone as well are his 2.4 ppg and 1.4 rpg. Ditto his 1.2 apg as Seventh Woods is said to be a solid passer who needs shooting and handles work as a One.
  • Front-line experience is said to be wanting; as nearly fiddy ppg and thirty rpg Three through Five frontcourt numbers departed from the defending national champs last spring.
  • S/G and Pitt grad’-transfer 6′7″, 185lb. Cameron Johnson appears to have snapped outta his post-eligibility regained shooting slump in the last game… now up to 11.7 ppg on 40% from behind the arc after a chilly start to his debuting T.Heel New Year.

T.Heel Bench: (depth=5 to 9 deep, phenomenal depth)

Garrison Brooks and Sterling Manley are your main box score stat-sheet contributors here in raw numerical terms; though make no mistake folks; this is as deep of a bench as it gets in Atlantic Coast terms. As deep as I’ve seen in many a year and I’ve been at this for years; quite plural. As no less than 14 total Heels could be said to compromise this 2018 playing rotation.

Brooks goes as a 6′9″, 220 lb. rookie year voter from Auburn Alabama who prolly broke some S.E.C. hearts down south when he climbed up Chapel Hill. Garrison was a scoring and rebounding machine in high school who was (barely) the Alabama State player of the Year runner-up.  Brooks has a old-school Big-E (Elvin Hayes) face-up and shoot game and he will block shots; (plural). As first year 5.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg on 58% in relief is no bad work; if you can get it.

6′11″, 244 lb. honor roll student (props) Manley is a manly set baller already; as he came to U.N.C. with a prefab turnkey ready made D-1 body; just adds P.T. His great, great uncle Willie Thrower played football at Michigan State, where he won a national championship in 1952 and was the first African American quarterback in the N.F.L. (playing for the Chicago Bears in 1953); wowow on dat! And 6 ppg with 4.8 rpg on 56% shooting with a swat does not a bad substitute baller make. Pretty decent for a late bloomer who only took up hoops in high school and was said to be an inside-out player who needed to add strength to this game.

The key to upsetting defending National Champion U.n.c. is... what???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Heels who could start @Tech=7.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… that there is just something here that just does not pass the feel-test here.

As something feels off -and has felt off since right before the home game vs. uva- regarding this 2018 men’s hoops team to me. Yes, it’s true, he who livith by the 3-point sword shall perish by the same; and if you don’t believe that just ask the N.B.A. Finals of two years back.

And yet this is more than an off shooting night or nights, plural. As something did not feel right up in NYC vs. St.Louis when a senior returned to the line-up and went Smith & Wesson and started gunning right away. Something did not feel right on a flat looking night hosting arch rival uva at home. And something did not feel right with Buzz’s first period ending emotional eruption right before the half @Louisville.

To leave the clinical of Sports Psych at the University of Illinois under Dr. Minnix aside for a change; in layman’s terms? Well in layman’s terms that all rang “hollow” to me. Not quite contrived… although the word: “forced” comes to mind here if you favor a different synonym vector.

And yet the hooping 1 through 5 Tech truth is… just how many options do you have on a team whose shooting-Wings have been clipped of late?


the skinny

Oddly to the point of virtually heretofore unseen enough… our handy dandy friend the so called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is operating off of a seldom if never seen before double-negative here. As both Virginia Tech and North Carolina have been clean swept going o-4 vs. UVA and Florida State thus far. Thing is, North Carolina has been better at being worse or beaten by less than Virginia Tech was here. And in a rarefied quad-negative moment… the Forum Guide predicts a ugly looking 22 point U.N.C. victory Monday night.

the call...

Tougher than he is given credit for…

The good news is that U.N.C. is a paces friendly team at ~86 ppg this season. Likewise, there will be a night or nights where O&M 3-pointers heat back up as the law of probability favors this in strategic terms. Tactically, being the homecourt team favors this even more, as the Hokies net 39% of their 3’s in Cassell thus far.

The news however is that those very same Hokies are down by 3% from the floor and by a whopping 9% from deep in our last five runs {sic: games}.

That and we are softer on D by 7% overall allowed and by a staggering 12% allowed in defense of the three in those same five ballgames And that’s just not a tasty recipe vs. a full menu team such as North Carolina.

Then we see a lack of O&M focus… as Virginia Tech has been plagued by mistakes, hitting double digits in turnovers in 15 of its 18 games this season, including a total of 32 the last two times out. Yikes!

Still yet, a upset win here at home against the basketball factory named: North Carolina would penance a lotta recent sins. As to me this may dang well be our make or break N.I.T. vis-à-vis N.C.A.A. tournament game. As Buzz’s bunch needs this one like a dead man needs a coffin, all fingers point to that, and a blind man could see it with a… cane.

Sadly, I’m just not seeing it, here…

(74% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=8o, North Carolina=88