#22 R.P.I. Louisville @ #21 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns home on an approximately 53 hour looking N.b.a. turn to play nationally ranked (no.16) Lousiville in a Metro Conference Mr. Peabody “wayback machine” match-up on Monday night.
The Hokies are coming off of punting NC.State good-n-hard out on the hard-fought hard-won Atlantic Coast Clubbing road after (somehow) holding the ‘pack to their all-time penultimate offensive nadir of 24 freakin’ points! Hoorah! And if you bet that… you Sir/(ma’am) can finish this column for me write now. As I yield at your prognosticenti green-light. In the meantime, however, we’ve got another really tough one on our homesteading hands after the greatest Hokie hooping gut-check I’ve seen since “bimbo” upset uva all by himself his final year. As Saturday was indeed a helluva a Hokie win although Monday promises to pretty much be a helluva a Hokie (re)test. Nonetheless, you wanna know who is gonna win, right? So read on, to find… out!
Louisville Head Coach: Christopher Lee Mack: age=49, 227–102 (.690) overall,
15–5 (.8) at Lousiville.
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 Mack 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 its all said and won.
Coach Mack is known for his physically brash style, man-to-man D, rebounding, and offensive freedom (i.e. he don’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 and resided in Northern Kentucky before he took the Louisville position. In 2017, he earned an honorary degree from Arizona State after beating Arizona in the NCAA tournament.
Louisville at a glance:
- 4th most FT’s made (∑=390)!
- 47th in scoring O (79.6 ppg).
- 19th in FT percentage (76.2%).
- 39th in defensive rebounding (27.86 d-rpg).
- 41st in rebounding margin (+5.6 rpg).
- 72nd in FG percentage D (41.3% allowed).
- Everything else C to B+++/A-.
- NO injuries listed (thx @Coach God)!
Cards Returning Starters=1
- Pretty much ALL of my pre-season mag’s rave on coach Mack’s coaching acumen. They all say this guy is legit. Very. And that he will need to be a big-Mack for a year or three after the Pitino/Padgent diddling departures to boot.
- 6′, 180 lb. r-Jr. Ryan McMahon is a shooting specialist at off-G. 7.7 ppg at 34% from beyond the arc is no bad thing. Ryan was the somewhat overlooked 2015 AAA Florida Player of the Year. With McMahon said to be a Baltic Avenue man’s Mark Price lyte. Ry’ has found about 10 lbs. of much needed right-mass since we saw him last although his shooting is (weighed) down by about ~5% from deep. Although a twice-broken left-rib may have something to do with that (may St.Adam bless). And McMahon does have a Paxon brother history of late-game long-distance heroic clutch makes. He also has a sporting family pedigree what with his father (Dave) who played basketball at Valparaiso, his mother (Kim) played volleyball and his sister who also volleyed at Jacksonville. Can’t coach… height yet again. And it should be noted that Ryan has improved basically his all-around game each and every year. Would that we could all say that. Ditto saying 94% or first best in the Atlantic Coast in FT-shooting! Don’t like this guy make one in a game of 21!
- Dwayne Sutton goes 6′5″ and 215 lbs. as an undersized r-Jr. year P/F-Wing. He of the double walk-on, once transferred (U.N.C.-Asheville) finally earned a U of L schollie last spring fame baller. Great on him as every team needs an overachieving worker-bee feel-good story such as Dwayne who relentlessly drones on and on and on. Sutton spearheads the L’ville in caroms with 6.9 rpg, on 10.2 ppg and a not-half-bad 37% from range. As he did average 13 ppg and 6 rpg as a walk-on rookie at U.N.C.-Asheville; where he did most of his damage close to the rim. And yes, he three is a Louisville homeboy. He’s also a sleeper Most Improved Ac.c. candidate and Sutton’s been setting career highs recently as well.
- One #33, 6′7″ and 225 lbs. Jordan Nwora is a sophomoric baller that has (somehow) grown 2″ and found ~20 lbs. since he was a freshmenic baller. And yah; me neither on understanding that. However, I do understand that leading Louisville in scoring typically leads to $coring a pretty good life for one’s self more often than not. 18.2 ppg with a likewise team pacing 7.8 rpg and likewise first-best team-wide in swipes (1.1 spg) is almost surely code for: Team M.V.P. Now mix in 39.7% long with 48.3% overall and you’ve got a pretty good overall offensive weapon on your hands. Now mix in some chin-zen and a nearly Jersey Shore looking blowout ‘fro and you’ve got a very interesting peep on your hands. And Jordan is also a member of the 2018 All-ACC Academic Team. So L’ville.edu props on that! This from a kid with sharpshooting and rebounding scholastic markers where he was only the no.54 ESPN baller who only won basically any’all New England and/or Manhattan accolades you can name. Foreshadowing intended indeed. With a State title as a high school Jr. to back dat up. He would most like to meet Beyonce and he says his best basketball advice is: “to always work your hardest.” Well alrighty then… as Jordan has been a hot player of late mind yah. And daddy Nwora has been the head men’s basketball coach at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y. since 1999. Pops played basketball at Daemen College, where he is the career rebounding leader with 1,104 rebounds ranks sixth in career scoring with 1,514 points (1989-93). So the “coaches son” family-tree sprouts hoops here indeed.
- Pt.Guard Christen Cunningham is 6′2″ and 190 lb. grad’-transfer from: Samford. He is also an imported Team Captain who won the captaincy right away and I’ve never ever read that one before. So C.Cun’ must be doing something(s), right; as in very right to garner that kinda lockeroom respect-quotient honor as a seeming outside-in transferring baller. Christen nets you a third-best 10.3 ppg on a first best 4.4 apg and 1.9 rpg just to pitch in. Cunningham also shuffles the Cards as the alpha 3-point shooter with 41% long and 50% overall. So aim this One clearly has. CC came to Louisville with a pass-first rep’ as he does hold the Samford career and single-season assisting marks. He had a 125 consecutive games started streak working before missing one earlier this season so Christen is an Ironman in addition to all of that. Although he did also get a med’-red due to a history of illness (undisclosed) not injury early on; so God Bless on that. He is a 2014 (Lexington), Ky. state titlist and he does have his Samford bachelor’s degree in public administration in hand and this kinda worker bee is just the kind that serves long and serves well. Good on Christen.
- Virtually 7′, 264 lb. Steven Enoch is a true-C who honestly does not look it. Especially on the tipping the Toledo’s (weight) metric. Nevertheless, this r-Jr. year Transfer Five from the University of Connecticut was the no.44 baller nationally per Scout and Enoch was the 2014-15 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Where he routinely tabbed high-teens in both scoring and rebounding alike. Right now he’s at 9.7 ppg with 5.3 rpg and a sendback (block). This on 57% shooting from a kid with wingspan (7′4″) who was late to roundball and said to be still developing.
- Deng Adel, Raymond Spalding, Anas Mahmoud, Quentin Snider, Brian Bowen II all gonzo and the talent drain was a rich one here. Right at 50 ppg and 25 rpg if you are keeping score at home.
Cardinals Bench: (depth=4’ish)
6′6″ and 215 lbs V.J. King is the only (former) returning Cardinal starter and you can see where he is right now. Or in other words where you see him is when you see him checking in from the… bench. That’s unselfish enough as coach Mack is clearly building for the future with a very sophomoric line-up overall.
V.J. is a G/F ‘tweener in the classical sense and he plays more so as a glue-guy with 4.6 ppg and 3.1 rpg with so-so (at most) shooting skills with 13% from 3-point land and 37% overall. As the tags here read: “inconsistent” and “frustrated”; and lest we forget this Fairfax, Va. native and Commonwealth refugee VeeJay was only the no.20 kid in America per ESPN and he was only the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year. So “yes”, more was projected here. Tho’ King does have 2 gold medals (one USA basketball and one FIBA) and that’s three more gold medals than you and I combined. He also has three All-ACC Academic basketball team selections and that is four more than you and we. Thus making this King one that you can easily hope does get crowned and turn in a royale season before it is all said-n-done.
Darius Perry 6′2″ and 194 lb. back-up second-year One. Perry drops you 5.9 ppg in relief with a couple of assists. Perry was merely the no.52 kid outta after his Wheeler win in the Georgian Class AAAAAA state championship run per ESPN. He did start off-n-on last year and the expectations are higher than the current productions are here.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Cardinals who could start @Tech=4 or 5.
The takeaway here is… that coach Mack has Louisville playing some big-ball of late with their recent six-game winning streak in what most thought to be (something) of a rebuilding -or at least something of a reloading- type of year.
As 16 up and 5 down (and a shiny 7-1 in the A.c.c.) is prolly a year ahead of schedule or hooping pyrite. Nonetheless, we will have to ask 2020 up on that as that is the difference between retrospect and prospect indeed.
Though either way… this too is an Atlantic Coast Coach of the Year candidate, to be sure.
V.Tech is still 1.00 or a perfected (11-zip) @home whereas Louisville is a rather respectable .667 visitor in your house. The Hokies are also +3 in rests in the last fortnight of play and balling at home on top of that.
In annulaized year to date terms… V.Tech is +5% in FG-percentage margin overall, +6% in 3-point percentage margin although Louisville is +3 carroms up in Rebounding Margin for the year.
In most recent 5-game trends… V.Tech is holding steady at +4% in FG-percentage margin from the floor, although now only up +2% on 3-point percentage margin (thanks to better Cardinal defense) and surprisingly enough, Rebounding Margin is only a couple of tenths removed from equilibrium or push.
With the Gobblers are a nominalized +1% for the year from the charity stripe.
- The Cardinals have allowed 54 or fewer points in three of their last four games.
- The Card’s have been beaten once, since Jan. 09th.
- Virginia Tech held North Carolina State to 16.7 percent from the field – the lowest mark in ACC history – and 24 points, the least by a Division I team in a conference game since 2008, in Saturday’s win.
- The Hokies are off to their best start in ACC play since joining the league in 2004-05, but the Cardinals won all five meetings in that stretch.
For me at least— Lousiville is a tough call as they (seemingly) have one offensive swagg artist (Jordan Nwora) and a bunch of very complimentary ballers who have bought into coach Mack’s system in full. Investment 1o1…
That’s no insult either, that’s complimentary in 2019 every single girl is pretty and beautiful terms. As those of us who is: “D, none of the above” already know, Louisville hardwood is Gestalt Theory personified right now indeed.
As this team plays hard, it plays tough and it plays, smart. (that remind you of anyone?) And even if these Cardinals are something of a snipe-tipping, unicorn hunting, red-herring wearing paper-tiger… these Cardinals have for sure been soaring of late. So they have to be doing something right as they force you to beat them head-up without beating themselves.
Likewise I’ma left wondering how much petrol we have left in the tank after a stunning @NC.State VicTory on such a quick turn for such a thin O&M squad? As there is no denying that Louisville is the deeper club here and that may factor in later on in this contest.
And it is strikingly curious that Louisville only allows 21% of opposing 3’s to tickle the twine out on the road. With the Card’s up nearly 10 Windex wipes as visiting rebounding margin goes… per coach Mack being a true road-warrior indeed.
As one could argue that in horse-racing terms the Hokies are due to:
“bounce” here as mixing of sporting-metaphor goes.
That and Kerry’s ankle (may St.Servatius bless)
have me bugged-out.
(51% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=62, Lousiville=64