Virginia Tech Virginia basketball preview

 #66 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #1 R.P.I. Virginia:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball takes to the road to take on the team you love to hate over in C.Ville UVa., Saturday night at 6:15pm on ESPN/ESPN3.

The Hokies got a much needed and “tougher” looking home W vs. post-season bound NC.State on Wednesday night inside our very own Cassell. This however is a different animal as these Wahoos are big fishin’ indeed. Some would have me type that this is the 1st-best men’s college basketball in all the land. And at 23 up and just hateful w.v.u. (61-68) down they may have a point(s). As things stand right now virginia stands atop the Atlantic Coast standings and a couple of national rankings as well. So whereas we/Virginia Tech may be playing our arch-rival and we are playing for our post-season NC2A invite… uva is playing for an NCAA #1 seed. Though hoo will win? Read on, to find, out!

virginia Head Coach: Anthony GuyTonyBennett: Age=48, 280–117 (.705) overall, and 211–84 (.715) @UVA.

Anthony Dominick Benedetto (born August 3, 1926), 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.

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 a efficacious as can be, albeit overshadowed a bit by his much vaunted 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 annexed basketball player developer or the coaching (verb) in the truest sense. He has only won nine Coach of the Year Awards at Washington State and uva combined, and yet curiously enough Coach Bennett only wears three conference crowns to show for it. As a Christian, coach Bennett is known for the use of his father’s “Five Pillars”: humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness. Amen.

Baller Bennett  a Green Bay Wisconsin Pt.Guard who balled for coach Dick Bennett (is pop’s); 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! He was awarded the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in 1992 as the nation’s top player under 6′ in height and was an Academic all-American in ’92 on top of all of that. 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.

Daddy Bennett and his wife, Laurel, have two children – a daughter, Anna, and a son, Eli.

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 penetration and post play. i.e. this is not a good match-up in theory for the Wing slashing coach Buzz offensive set.

UVA at a glance:

  • 1st-best in scoring D allowed! (52.4 ppg)!
  • (by ~6 ppg better than anyone else); wow!
  • 3rd best in FG percentage allowed (37.5%)!
  • 9th fewest fouls “whistled” against.
  • 16th in Turnover Margin (+4.7 tpg).
  • 19th in FT shooting, 35th in 3-point shooting and 84th in FG shooting.
  • 3o6th in 3-pointers attempted and 333rd in FT’s attempted.
  • No injuries listed… thank Coach God.

Virginia Returning Starters=3 (tho’ one is on the bench)

Wahoo Strengths:

  • Quite possibly the #1 defensive team overall outta 351 D-1 teams this term.
  • ( hoops page reads: “Team”  not: “roster” like anyone else for their list of players– ain’t they clever?)
  • One #5, Kyle Joseph Guy is a 6′3″second year oppie man-bun (see: below pic). Kyle Guy is the gem of last years epic recruiting class. And he only won a slew of 3-point and slam dunk contests along the way to being named Mr. Basketball for the hoops happy Hoosier state of Indiana. He also won the U.S. Marine Boy’s 3-point championship– so thank you to any member of his family in Service for my freedom(s). This is basically another kid with a very wiling very sporting family tree, including a grandfather twice in the Indiana Sports hall of Fame {sic: football and hoops}. Kyle however brings a rep’ for hitting the 3 and being electric in the open court, and yet he could mix in a steak and a protein shake; although he us up from 165 lbs. to a buck-seventy-four (174 lbs.) Nonetheless, 7.8 ppg last year up to a team leading 15.4 ppg this year with a couple of caroms and dimes on 40.5% from the outside and 86% on FTA’s with that kinda marksmanship type resume` makes this guy one to watch going forth. Guy has one assist in 185 minutes over his last five games; although his numbers game -as Kobe used to call it- or pure output scoring is still growing as I type. (UPDATE: overall play is since we saw Guy last time, 3-point shooting in particular is 6% lower)
  • Isaiah Wilkins is a 6′7″, 7227 lb. final year Forward who leads uva in rebounding at 6.6 rpg. He drops you 6 ppg on 50% from the floor. Isaiah also leads uva in steals 1.3 per contest and in swats at 1.6 per game. The footnotes merely say he is a solid, sturdy looking interior player who rebounds and defends well and that uva wanted him to take over Gill’s role from 2o15-2o16. This all from the 2o14 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year in high school ball that seems like he could -and possibly even should- being doing more in collegiate terms. Although there is no biological relation; yes, his step-father is none other than “The Human Highlight Film” or one Dominique Wilkins of surreal mid 1980’s powering dunk contest winning high-flying fame. So maybe that has skewed some surname expectations in a trampoline type direction(s)? Isaiah is a solid, sturdy position based defender, who can play both interior ends of the court. Still yet, Isaiah is a member of the A.c.c. Academic Honor Roll and there are worse things you can say about a 2o18 kid than he leading his team in rebounding, stealing, blocking and schooling; just like ^that^. (Though I can say that only his rebounding has improved since last year, everything else is flat or down a bit in the meantime) (UPDATE: Wilkins play is in the last few weeks; down a whopping ~8% on shooting from the floor).
    What the hell is a man doing with a bobby–pin?!?”
  • r-senior 6′5″, 211 lb. Devon Hall is the silver medalist of the lawn in terms of both scoring and shooting acumen. At 12.3 ppg and 47% from beyond the arc and second best again at 94% from the charity-stripe makes it clear that Mr. D.Hall can flat out shoot the rock. Hall also leads UVA in dimes dropped at a somewhat miserly 3.1 apg and he is a member of the all-A.c.c. academic team; props on that! As some of my pre-season magazines did tab D.Hall as a breakout baller with all-A.c.c. mentioning at the Pt.Guard slot. As this is a One who can shoot, who does take care of the ball and who does all the little things well; even if some of those pre-season call-signs were too big on his final year. As his 77th national rank (Rivals) never quite jived with his scholastic stats. (UPDATE: across the board is Mister Hall, all facets, props!)
  • Ty Jerome is a 6′5″, 2oo lb. sophomoric combo’-G who is said to be a modern day Wing with good shooting range and solid passing instincts. Or basically a quality half-court coach Tee.Bennett fit. Right now Ty is -a somewhat surprising- third in points at 9.8 ppg and he does pace UVA from downtown (41.8% on 3’s) and he has missed 1 FTA since o2.o2 (96%); of last, year; dang! Now mix in 2.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.5 spg and that’s not half bad from a first time starting kid with a history of hip-surgeries to boot. God Bless. (UPDATE: Ty’s overall play is with just a modest 3-point% dip; and his defense has been straight fierce of late)
  • Seven, that’s (7) different hoos net .46o or more of their shots! Talk about a parsimonious and yet efficacious motion-offense and you are really talking about uva. (Tho’ not quite as efficacious as last years seven kids at 50% or better UVA offense).
  • Only two ‘hoos average more than o.8 tpg; and that’s pretty damn tight as handles go.
  • The 2o16 ***** or five-star cavalier recruiting class was whispered to be coach Bennett’s best recruiting class, ever! This is gonna show itself before too long one would have to think.

Cavalier Weaknesses:

  • Not the most senior or experienced team at C’ville, ever. The catchword is: “transition” here.
  • D is vicious | O ain’t delicious. As uva can hold you under sixty on the regular and struggle to bust sixty just the same.
  • Bennett coached kids always stay the full four years. Well at least they did right up until three untimely transfers last spring undid that neat little T.B. knot. (As the college hoops whispers hint that Bennett’s emphasis on defense 1st, 2nd and 3rd; finally offended more than a couple of kids.)
  • Nigel’s 3-game suspension is never a good thing — nevertheless, this Johnson is now cleared and has been reinserted into the cavalier rotation.

french Bench: (depth=3’ish)

Imported Conakry Guinea Africa native Mamadi Diakite goes 6′9″, 228 lbs. worth of P/F who is the primary frontcourt sub’ off of the Bennett bench. Mamadi is known to be a physically strong interior player who is even stronger at the defense end. 5.1 ppg and 3.2 rpg prolly do not paint the truest frontcourt picture here. As this is a downright solid baseline defender who does a lotta little things right; as this M.D. is a pretty fair to middling pure athlete who stared in track and field and soccer at Blue Ridge High School. Diakite won the V.I.C. high jump championship in 2o14 and again in 2o15 and Earned second team all-V.I.C. honors in soccer in 2o15. And oh yes, he’s a… French, major on top of all of that. (UPDATE: modest here, though nothing big)

6′,  182 lb. grad-transfer g-Senior back-up Pt.Guard Nigel Johnson comes to UVA with a rep’ for: scoring distribution, and defense. 5.5 ppg is down from his Scarlet Knight ways of 11.1 ppg; although maybe that’s not too shabby from a kid who can pocket a second degree who has never had the tag of being a pure shooter (at 37% career, with 65% FT’s and just over 30% from long-distance) to begin with. That being said, Nigel is said to be UVA’s best on-the-ball defender. (UPDATE: pretty much or flat since we say N.J. last)

6′1o″, 25o lb. r-senior year Steinlager imported and guzzling Auckland New Zealand native Jack Salt is your back-up hub in the Pack-Line defense. Jack is a rim-protector who brings starchy defense and scratchy rebounding to the Cavalier table even if he never quite exceeded his offensive or all-around production quotas. Jack prolly won’t get carded to buy beer until his late 30’s, he won 2 state championships down in N.Zealand where he also picked up 2 youth gold medals and his 3.4 ppg, with 3.9 rpg on a ripe looking 62% for the campaign is not the worst relief work if you can get it. (UPDATE: or not so Salty on O in particular in the last six weeks)

R.A.T.T.: VT odds to upset #1 uva @uva, as a 13 point dog are... what???

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of cavs who could start @Tech=3-4.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… that I sure did like what I saw at home after Buzz had the cahone’s to play the “toughness” card on his sometimes pretty dang “finesse” looking; yet rather offensive tradecraft skillful hardwood team.

Wilson’s defensive acumen is pretty “tough”; as is his overall gritty floor-burn waiting to happen approach to the game | “five” or J.Rob’ (Robinson’s) daring, penetrating good drives into the pretty right-sized NC.State pain provided some unction to the nebulous concept of O&M leadership itself.

Nonetheless, does this formally anoint us as (now) being: “tough”?

Well, that I do not (formally) know… however, I do know that Buzz played that jackknife razor’s edge “toughness” card and lived to tell the tale. And to tell the truth, visiting the pack-line defense over on the hooVa lawn is about as tough a row to hoe as there is.


the skinny
T.B. himself is 12-5 vs. Virginia Tech all time.. or in other words we have about a 9% chance to win out on the A.c.c. road in this one.

uva is 1.00 (14 of 14) at home; whereas Virginia Tech is a .571 road team. uva is 1% up from the floor and 4% better on 3’s with a +1 rebounding margin edge on the year. As the Home/Away splits go, the hoos are +7% overall (nearly all on D) and +11% on 3’s (nearly all on D, again); with a tough looking +13 rebounding margin check-mark. In each teams most recent 5-games, V.Tech is actually +3% from the floor although uva is +7% better behind the arc (nearly all on D, again(s)) and uva is +4 in rebounding margin in absolute value terms as both teams are in a rebounding deficit in the last two weeks.

(And oh yes, uva has not allowed a basket in their last 9 mins. of play!)

The roundball Bud Foster, 4sure!

the call
Or in other words… it is really difficult to find a credible hook up on which to hang an OPT upset pick for 13 point underdog Virginia Tech running over on Thomas Jefferson’s homecourt.

Beyond a modest offensive dip from uva of late; or a really cold boo-hoo shooting night; plus Buzz and company really do need to land their A-game punch… or this one could turn ugly; early. As even a Hokie B+++ caliber night will not travel well, here.

And now with #1 Villanova falling to St. John’s earlier in the week; hateful uva and Jeff Lamp and Ralph Sampson are once again poised to take over the #1 ranking in the nation with a VicTory over our beloved Hokies here.

To be direct, it is real tough for me to see hooVa forfeiting focus like that here

(89% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=59, Virginia=74




5 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. I view Buzz as pretty close.
      Though T.B. is just a total deuce on D.

      I can listen to his getting the basketball icon edge here.


  1. Big UVA edge in intangibles = Edge in coaching….and some JPJ arena. Hope the Hoos are looking towards next game vs the U…..and the Hokies steal a trap game. Go Hokies!

Comments are closed.