#113 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #133 R.P.I. Wake Forest:
Coach Buzz and Virginia Tech enter this one (apparently) playing a bit better of late. Whereas Wake enters this one as one leaky looking Atlantic Coast crew. Or the proverbial … two ships passing in the night.
I don’t (yet) know if that’s code for the Little Engine That Could. Although I’m pretty sure that that is no longer code for the little engine that, kan’t. And I for one like to view this as Hokie progress and likely some Deacon regress.
Wake ain’t super bad –pretty much nobody in the A.c.c. is.
Nevertheless, 11 up and 17 down says so; as does 2-14 intra-league play is what it is. Or exactly o-n-e, whole, win, since our Wake game however is south of encouraging. Likewise some off-court stuff of late down in Winston-Salem that almost leaves you wondering just how much longer coach Manning can preach to the Dec’s?
That being said, to me this contest is your truer measure of millibars of mercury; or a Hokie hooping barometer. As a credibly improved Buzz bunch will take care of their O&M business and win on the road vs. an Atlantic side squad that they have a decent enough shot to beat.
…IF we really are, improved, that is…
Wake Forest at a glance:
- 335th in Turnover Margin (-3.3 tpg)!
- 320th best in scoring defense (79.2 ppg allowed |20 spots worse)!
- 63rd in Blocks (4.5 bpg)
- 25th in total FTA’s (716 FT’s attempted)
- 1-12 since we last saw ’em!
- NO injuries listed (Thank God!)
Wake Returning Starters=4
- #2, final year P/F, 6’9” 255 lb. Devin Thomas is the truth. Don’t believe me? Just ask him; as this is one loquacious baller. Or maybe ask his team leading 15.8 ppg with his likewise team leading 10.2 rpg and now listed at 245 lb frame. Which seems to make more sense to me, as I just could not see that much mass on this guy in breaking tape for this preview. This Forest alpha blocks shots at 1.6 bpg and he is the likewise leader in FG percentage checking in at 54,1% from the floor. Can you say: “Deacon M.V.P.”? Mister Thomas can, and you might just get around to saying all-A.c.c. while you are at it. 121 career starts and counting is code for very experienced in Atlantic Coast hooping waters. It is also code for epic durability as Devin has been a starter for Wake since day #1. That means you can count on Mr. Thomas nite in and nite out to show up and ball. Both on the glass and now in terms of scoring, as his ppg have risen all the way up from 9.1 ppg as a rook’, to nearly 16 ppg as of now. Although Devin has cooled off a bit of late, what with not breaking 35% from the floor since early February. And Devin is something else, he’s very very efficacious in when and where he shoots on the floor. No wasted motion in this guys game and that -and strongly- posits a very high hooping I.Q. Known for being a rugged internal baller with toughness makes that sage approach all the more impressive to moi. As this #2 is prolly a late 1st-round draft pick. (OVERALL PLAY since we last saw him ↓ or down a bit. As everything less rebounding has cooled since we last saw #2; ditto the factoid that he is coming off a 2-game suspension for “violating undisclosed athletic department policy”, typical that is code for a testing violation, however, there were WF.edu whispers, here )
- after that there is a Deacon hooping committee of sorts; as seven Dec’s play regularly; six of those seven average between 13.4 ppg and 7 .oppg and four of those seven pull down between 2 and 5.1 rpg. See what I mean? This ain’t quite a one trick pony; though it is pretty close to a fairly tricky pony and a lotta workhorses after that.
- Best of the rest is either Bryant Crawford or Konstantinos Mitoglou. Then there is a drop off from the these two trail-horses to the true workhorses in support of this upper tirade of Wake. Bryant Crawford is a very serviceable scorer; though that’s about what he is. Maybe not “all”, though pretty much what he is. A second best 13.4 ppg is actually pretty nifty enough. Though Bryant is listed as a true Pt.Guard who strikes me as a true Pt.Guard with a scoring itch that needs to be scratched. 6’3” and 190 pretty strong looking lbs. as a nugget (or rookie) does not suck. Neither does the team lead in 4.3 assists. or the team lead in steals at 1.6 spg. Though his shot selection is the gym. If he is in it, he’s open; at least in his own mind and 39.5% strikes me as a gunner with a possible career as a suit at Remington or Smith & Wesson up next. (OVERAL PLAY since we last saw him is ↑ or upwards, in particular his shooting from the floor, virtually 4% improved in only 10 games for the season is quite a statistical movement)
- Konstantinos “dino” Mitoglou is a 6’10” 225 lb. Euro big who is versatile, skillful and very European. In that he was stuck on only 224 lbs., could finish better, harder, stronger on in the paint. Now however he’s gone out and found about 20 lbs. of right mass; and “dino” finally looks the part and at least passes (pardon the Euro’ pun) and at least passes the power-conference P/F eye-exam at this point in his second season. I like “dino”, he’s a smooth, smart, big who can shoot the rock (33.6% from downtown). 9.7 ppg with 5.1 boards and a block ain’t too bad. As I’ll be pretty curious to see where he and Crawford team up to be in 2018 terms. (OVERALL PLAY since we last saw him ↓ down, shooting particular and from range have all dropped off)
- head coach d.Manning is said to be bringing in better talent(s) –also said to still be 2 years away.
- last years leading scorer and very solid Atlantic Coast baller Codi Miller-McIntyre has been lame for about half the season recovering from a busted foot. Godspeed on that. 6’3” 2o5 lb. former ~15 ppg scorer who is suffering or scuffling along at 8.6 ppg thus far on 31% from the floor. That’s not the C.M.M. I remember. As this poor kid just does not look healthy to me. (however, if he gets his left-foot, right; this is a different Deacon team for it, make no mistake) Has been better of late after a truly torpid mid January six game slump.
- defending and FT-shooting have been a problem under former Kansas star head coach d.Manning.
- Wake, same as Virginia Tech, is officially rebuilding. 4 senior starters help now; and yet hurts next year; and beyond that. That, and this is not the most physical team I’ve ever seen upon breaking A.c.c. tape; either.
Wake Bench: (depth=3, and nothing much beyond okay level D-1 guys; 2 F’s and 1 G. 6’8” string bean Fr. 207 lb. forward John Collins and his 7.5 ppg 3.9 caroms is the best off the pine)
Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:
The takeaway here is… that I’d sure like our chances a whole helluva lot better, if Devin Thomas had served a three game suspension -as opposed to the two game suspension he received and has fulfilled- and would therefore have to sit this one out.
Our Hokies will try for their first three-game winning streak in A.c.c.c play in over six years when they visit Wake Forest on Sunday night. That says a lot, as does Will’s the Atlantic Coast visitor wins 30% of the time metric.
Though do consider just how far we’ve come, from 312th in the nation to 147th in the nation in the computer rankings thus far this season, and this season ain’t over yet.
In fact it actually begins Sunday at half past six (6:3o pm) down at Wake.
As in any (potential) C.B.I or Vegas Virginia Tech post-season Tournament run begins –or possibly ends, here.
As to the game proper itself… Wake opened as a 2 point betting favorite at home; and the Dec’s have gotten some better bench low-post play from freshman 6-10 forward John Collins and 7-1 rookie Doral Moore of late. Or in other words, beleaguered head coach Danny Manning is playing 2017, today.
Virginia Tech is +1 in rest, and that never hurt anybody late in the 2015-2016 scrum. However, Wake is shooting, defending and rebounding better in each teams most recent five games. Whereas coach Buzz and company are 3-point and FT shooting better over the same frame. See what I mean? Defense and rebounding should never go cold, in particular in your own backyard.
However, our handy dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is actually predicting, wait for it, … a … draw! Or at least overtime; which is pretty staggering, if not pretty sobering!
Nevertheless, I’ll go against the team who appears to have figured out how to L and go with the team that is beginning to learn how to Win. Or so we all, hope…
(53% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=69, Wake Forest=68