#46 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #16 R.P.I. Lousiville:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball sojourns 383-miles Nor-by-Nor-West to face hardwood well-fabled nearly classical Louisville on Wednesday nite. And yet, Tech is indeed the alpha (i.e., highest) ranked Atlantic Coaching Conference team in a couple of polls/ratings. Wildly, enuff…
The Hokies must now battle 7 up and only 1 down Louisville (1st-place, 2-nil in the A.c.c.); who is also o-1-1 on postponements and cancelations outright. And this is an unfamiliar Louisville who really just super shuffled their off-season (not)-all-hands-on… deck line-up card. As there is turnover, there is attrition and then there is Louisville basketball. That squarely said, L’ville did go talent shopping and did pretty well for themselves in all 2nd-hand candor here. And a couple of kicked-around guys seem to have developed pretty sharply too boot. Nonetheless, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, right? So, read on to find, out!
Louisville Head Coach: Christopher Lee Mack: age=5o, 265-119 (.690) overall,
50–22 (.694) at Louisville. Has a rep’ of a rare dinosaur kinda go Inside 1st¦then outside (3-pointer) last old-school key/paint flavored coach.
Baby Mack was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in North College Hill, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. He graduated in 1988 from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where he was named 1987–88 Cincinnati Post Metro Basketball Player of the Year.
Baller and 6′5″ Mack continued on to the University of Evansville, where he played basketball for two seasons. He then transferred to Xavier University in 1990, where he played his final two seasons of eligibility (after redshirting one for transfer rules) and graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in Communication Arts. 7.2 ppg at Evansville and not much after that at Xavier. Though still yet… that’s 7.3 ppg more than you and me (combined).
Coach mid-Mack started his coaching career as junior varsity head coach at McAuley High School, an all-girls high school in Cincinnati, in 1993. In 1995, Mack was named head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team at Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading, Ohio, where he received the 1996 Coach of the Year award from the Cincinnati Post.
Coach Mack then went back to Xavier and later to Wake Forest as an assistant coach. Then he landed the big-whistle job at his secondary alma matter of Xavier. Where he only went for this… Big East Coach of the Year (2018), Henry Iba Award (2016), Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (2011) and the very interesting Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award (2011). Dang. Impress much? Coach Mack has never had an L’ing season as a big whistle at any level. His bottom year was 17 wins and he went to the big dance 90% of the time at Xavier. And although he curiously only holds one conference crown to his credit, coach (big) Mack also holds: 1 final-4, one Elite-8, and not less than 4 Sweet-sixteens behind that. Or in other words… this is (apparently) a big-time post-season pressure-cooker-coach. Then last March Coach Mack inked a very fiscally lucrative seven-year deal at basketball factory Louisville that flirts with nearly $30 XL before it’s all said and won.
Coach Mack is known for his physically brash style, man-to-man D, rebounding, and offensive freedom (i.e., he doesn’t call as many sideline plays); in his signature ½-court O.
The Mack daddy is married to the former Christi Hester, a Louisville native and former University of Dayton and Holy Cross guard (1996–2000). They have three children.
In 2017, Mack earned an honorary degree from Arizona State after
beating Arizona in the NCAA tournament.
Cardinals at a glance:
- 29th in scoring D allowed!
- 32nd in FG percentage D allowed!
- 47th best in Rebounding Margin.
- 66th best in FT-percentage.
- 290th fewest 3-point-attempts/game! (not in modern era love with the “3”).
- 320th fewest swipes per game!!
- 2 injuries listed. (Coach God twice bless!)
Returning Starters=zero! (not one, zip, zilch), they all graduated and/or, bailed!
- This is a REALLY good defensive rebounding club. You are likely one-n-done if you miss, here.
- Lindy’s A.c.c. Playmaker of the Year pick, or 6′5″ and 210 lb., second-year David Johnson was No. 76 in the land according to ESPN this time two years back. And one #13 arrived with some pretty stacked-up expectations let me tell you. Accordingly, he’s nearly doubled last year’s tally and is now up to a still improving 13.3 ppg, with nearly doubling his 6.3 rpg and betterment at 4.o apg. Clearly an early-season A.c.c. candidate for: Most Improved. He has mutually lengthened the reach on his 3 and is now more than doubling up behind the arc— and up to a saltly 45.2% from deep. This is no surprise, as David enjoyed a 3-point shooting rep’ and a tag’ of a player who takes a shine to the spotlight itself in bigger games while winning a State Title over in hometown, homegrown, homespun (Louisville) Kentucky in 2019. The rep’ here is that of a versatile guy who can slide over in either backcourt direction. From the One to the Two or from Shooting-G back to Pt.Guard just the same. Tho’ Johnson has had a few knee dings and dents along the way (may St.Nikhon bless); he is cut from a Professional family tree. Per F, Ray Spalding (his cousin), who played with the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. This from a multi-outlet Mr. Kentucky Basketball 2019 winning kid who is coming in hawt like the Sun off a career-high. This from a kid who also wears the mutual tag of: ‘dynamic-passer’ and that of a ‘dynamic-playmaker’ which is not always overlapping in Venn Diagram 1 through 5 hub(s) terms. And as of this 2021 preview, I’ma thinking that not only is this kid a pro’ he has some remaining collegiate headroom in which to grow. Be that export or domestic… time=tell here. As his defensive acumen (1.2 spg) as a lockdown perimeter defender should never go cold.
- 6′7″ and 21o lb., Sophomoric Samuell Williamson is an S/F by way of everything’s bigger Texas. Including his scholastic box scores with routinely read high 20-somethings for ppg and lowercase teens for rpg. As this is a highly athletic-looking Swingman who can get to the glass and put the biscuit in the basket even if a pure shooter he just ain’t; or at least not just yet. Still yet, 10 ppg and 6.2 rpg with 1.5 apg in a still-developing beyond his purest slashing elements is not the worst work from the bullpen, now turned starting work if you can get it. And most publications (easily) had Sam I am penciled in as the Cardinals 🂡 or Ace of Spades last year recruiting wise. So, let’s ask 2023 -if he is still in Louisville that is- how all of this tastes. As everyone says there is plenty of potential and a pretty dang cathedral ceiling in play for this Cardinal. What with Mister Williamson only being ranked 15th nationally by 247Sports.com last season. Although he still does want for behind-the-arc efficacy, what with a choppy looking 28.6% from downtown. This is (↓) or down by nearly 6% from downtown since last season mind yah. However, it would seem that mytharc of his game does exist… what with having won the 3-point competition at the 2019 American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk & 3-Point championship nationwide just two springs back. This all from the very same kid who Lindy’s says has: “…3-level-scoring, rebounding-chops, and a Pt.Guard’s passing vision.” We shall see on that, tho’ this is indeed a ***** (five-star) Constellation Class recruit, so expectations are high for Sam’ (Williams) I am here.
- Carlik Jones is your leading scorer at 16.7 ppg. Jones goes 6′1″ and 180 lb., as a grad-student starting Qb-One. Carlik (phonated: car-LEEK) is a real springy Pt.Guard at the One. Great lift on his J. And was only said to be the alpha or the top graduate transfer in the whole entire country by ESPN in 2020. That’s all. car-LEEK, a Highlander of Radford’s Bus-Stop and Sackets yesteryear(s) transfer fame… you may recall; was the only player in the nation to average at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per outing last season. Additionally, Mr. Jones was one of just 16 players in Division I men’s basketball to do so since the 1996-97 season. His scoring average was 28th in the nation and his assists per game ranked 36th nationally. He was also honored as the 2019-20 Big South Player of the Year. That’s all, he sucks; cut him now! Prior to all of dat… car-LEEK was a pure Cincy High School area outburst scorer over in Ohio. Where he routinely went for fiddy-sompthin (50’s) on O as a blowtorch of a One with the rock. This year Jones is nearly triple-crown leading Louisville in all three major offensive categories less being seconded by just 3/10ths of a rebound. What with the blue-ribbon of 16.7 ppg, (a second-best) 6.6 rpg, and the lead again with 5.1 apg. Now mix in a nifty 40% when dialing long-distance and 80% at the FT-line and same as Wr’s in football, you suddenly have a seriously ‘complete’ basketballer on your hands. CeeJay also comes complete with a history of buzzer-beaters and he does ride clutch. And he gets to the charity stripe a lot; nearly 200% mo’ than any other Cardinal does. The book reads that Jones is a scupper of a lead-G who is an incisive play-maker on the ball. That reads to me like he’s pretty close to playing his way into an overseas, career.
- Did Eye mention the Louisville roster departing flights, yet? So, I added it up fo’ yah; across seven that’s (7) -or close to 50% of most D-1 men’s rosters worth of kids- the Cardinals just watched ~60 ppg, ~22 rpg, and ~12 apg Exit Stage Left. That’s, all…
- Additionally, most of my preview mags decry that Louisville is unusually frontcourt thin. For actually being Louisville I mean.
- 6′4″, 208 lb., thrid-year, S/F, Charles Minlend and his San Francisco transferring 14.5 ppg are whispered out a few more games with a sprained M.c.l. (St.Culbreth bless). Also out are his 31% 3-ball and overall mid-range throwback stylized game. This is a significant sit down for L’ville on O. As the Cards O is just “O”kay. As this is a rarefied highly experienced and downright physical backcourt scorer.
- Also out for a spell is BIG-man: Malik Williams. Who Coach God Bless, has had a series of dings, dents, and hurts dotting/capping his college numbers. (right-knee; with a screw already inserted in his busted foot). Sr. year and team vocal leader/Captain, Malik goes 6′11″, 248 lbs. as a legit “Four” or P/F down low. He has the voltage and physique and is not a Euro-stretch-4 by any measure. Sitting as well are his 9 ppg and 6 rpg (2nd broken right-foot, St.Servatius double help!) on 50% shooting with 1.2 bpg. This from the careerist limited so far: Indiana’s Mr. Basketball. Who was only ranked No. 21 nationally by Scout.com. (this kid is most legit; even if his insalubrious medical-jack (sadly) is not).
- Now, marry these two hurtful hurts to all that left… and do the maths… as there is bucu missing 2019-2020 talent(s), here.
Cardinal Nest: (depth=4’ish give/take)
6′8″ and 23o lb., r-freshmenic or debut year Jae’Lyn Withers is a leaner looking than he is listed P/F by way of the Queen City of Charlotte, Nc. He is also said to be a high-riser who can and will dunk all over you off the dribble. The fact that Joe’Lyn won the team slam dunk competition at the preseason “Louisville Live,” a preseason outdoor event at Fourth Street Live in downtown Louisville might just speak to this. His pops (Curtis) was only all-conference U.S.A. in hoops down at Charlotte his ownself. Ditto his 1st-cousin: (Jaire Alexander) who played football for three seasons at Louisville (2015-17) and is currently a Cb for the Green Bay Packers, where he was a first-round draft pick in 2018. So, the N.b.a. D.n.a. could be at least a recessive gene here. Maybe mo’… as the relative athletics are in place. As 9.0 ppg and the team-lead at 6.9 rpg in relief are none too shabby on just 23 mpg. And the 57.1% from the floor tells you just how often this finisher keys the paint. Interesting 100th ranked national prospect by Rivals who could blossom if his shooting (25%) deepens a bit more in time.
Dre Davis C + Hogan Orbaugh C + Gabe Wiznitzer C = 2o′, 690 lbs. down low off the pine in the paint for L’ville. They also conspire to give you 11 ppg and almost 5 rpg. So, don’t let the collective production scare you, tho’ the size match-up foible is a pretty big deal.
Second season Quinn Slazinski is a 6′8″ and 215 lb., 3o4-homeboy by way of nearly gone full-fledged basketball factory Huntington Prep’. 6.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg on 83% FTA’s are not ½-bad this early on. Q’ does need a bit more range on his 3-ball (20%) and yet he played just 12-days after undergoing an appendectomy last year. St.Elmo’ bless! As this kid does not melt as a softie in a snowflake world. Slazinski also courts an AAAAA Texas championship bling from earlier on in his scholastic career where he had a label for 3-point-shooting and for collecting a few diamond or baseball offers along the way to boot. And seeing that he shot just below 50% from range last year he’s prolly due to snap outta his opening 2021 shooting slump soon enough as an infrequently seen hybrid-F who may just grow into a bigger body if the weight-room is wiling.
Back-up Off-G, 6′4″ and 205 lb., second-year Josh Nickelberry (3 ppg, with 30% long; old right-ankle-sprain (may St.Philip help)) and caddying 6′10″ and 245 lb. P/F and Ireland imported Aidan Igiehon (2.6 ppg 1.6 rpg, 37% FTA’s) with a bum-shoulder (St.Christopher bless) are both back. And both get you some buffer/filler type minutes. Josh (No.83 via ESPN) has the look of the Card’s new defensive-stopper (despite being only the: the second-leading all-time scorer in the history of North Carolina high school basketball!) And the Irishman plays well, ’cause he’s big and strong. Seriously, this has to be the most cut-up Frontcourt baller in all of Ireland. As his moniker of: “the Irish Hulk” is well spent. Last name is pronounced ee-GYAY-hawn. 50th ranked baller from ESPN and Igiehon had a sharp New York state high school rebounding and defending career. With anchoring 3-straight-State titles to show fo’ it to boot. Not too shabby for a kid who did not start hoops until age 12; and who fought his way up to nearly 25 ppg as a scholastic senior.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Cards who could shuffle @Tech=at least 5-6.
The takeaway here is… most percentage-based probabilities have L’ville likely to win by somewhere in the vicinity of 6o-4o% or six times in 10.
They could indeed be probably right.
Most previews have Louisville pegged to win by between 3-and-1o points.
They too could indeed be probably right.
Because as we all know -per Will Stew’- the A.c.c. visitor wins right at 3 in 10 times as the guest out on the in-conference road.
A.c.c. on A.c.c. crime very much favors the homesteading team in historic terms; and that team’s Wednesday night name is the Louisville Cardinals here.
Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for an ask-back after we catch a little mo’ same-on-same round-robin in common opponent(s). (although, L’villes opening A.c.c. work is not south of our own, on n=2 or a limited population basis).
The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… Louisville is up +6% in shooting percentage margin (2/3rd on better D and 1/3rd or slightly better O); nobody is really up any% in 3-point percentage margin (VT was +3% on O and L’ville was +3% on D), with Louisville up +2 caroms in rebounding margin year-to-date (VT is backboard good, L’ville is fiberglass better).
The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Cards are now only up +1% in shooting percentage margin (L’ville has cooled a bit on O recently); yet again, nobody is really up anything% in 3-point percentage margin (tho’ the margin has mellowed to 2% better VT O and 2% better L’ville D), with nobody up much of anything on Windex Work in rebounding margin (L’ville is not as clean on the glass whereas VT was about the same in miss-collection in the last couple of weeks).
L’ville is up +5% at the charity stripe for the year.
VeeTee is up a whopping +9 in R&R in the last fortnight of play.
L’ville is a 1.oo (5-o) host; whereas VeeTee is .ooo (o-o) yet to play away guest.
No.34 Net Ranking Virginia Tech @ no.33 Net Ranking Louisville:
The Hokies are not exactly expected to win here.
And frankly, I’d have to R.A.T.T. expect our chances to win would indeed be better @home.
…and this just in, rain is rumored to be, wet.
Eye type ^thus^ because… Louisville has won 16 straight games against Virginia Tech. The last Virginia Tech win was 1991. And, Louisville has won 13 of the last 14 meetings played in the bluegrass state of: Kentucky.
This and the really BIG jumbo-2-Te sized oLine-up of Louisville is a real live match-up foible or worse, probably, very.
Still yet, this is why you play the game… and to be sure -although Louisville is prolly the rightful home favorite- they are not such a favorite as to be credibly beyond our depth.
And yes, Eye know, I’ma statistically
probably, ‘rong; here.
(44% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=7o, Louisville=68