#60 R.P.I. Miami @ #74 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
TV coverage: Sunday 5:30pm FSN
Vegas Line: TBA
Pretty disappointing trip to the ATL; wasn’t it?
Seth took one for the Team Rule book and VT could have taken one for the season when we look back and add all of this up. (Academic Violations from Ty and Eddie) I support that. Tough not to as a student-athlete literally myself, and yet what if that left a little something something on the Selection Committee table come March? Nobody every said being principal centered was easy — did they? And the 2010-2011 Virginia Tech men’s hoops season has been anything and everything other than a walk in the proverbial O&M Park.
So now a well regimented Seth Greenberg and company get four days worth of fresh legs and hopefully my boy MD-2o-2o gets some lift and some springs back in his game just in time for Miami. The Hurricanes themselves have dropped five of their last six and may or may not be a top-half of the A.C.C. caliber hoops team. VT is right on that sixth vs. seventh cusp themselves (along with Maryland) right now as well mind you. That said, three of those Miami L’s have been by 3 points or less which makes Miami a frustrated basketball team in my book.
“Frustrated” is a dangerous word in A.C.C. inter-league play.
Miami at a glance:
- 31st best in FT% (74.4%)
- 46th in 3-point% (38.1%)
- Everything else is above average to just below average across the 20 team categories I track
Leading the way for the Miami basketball team this season would be #3, a red-junior year street-baller from Brooklyn New York, one mister Malcolm Grant. At 6`1“ 180 lbs. Malcolm leads the ‘Canes in points (16), assists (3.8), FT% (90.4%), and in 3-point% at 44%. Other than the Boston College game, Malcolm has been dialed-in ever since the month of December opened for business after a bit of an uneven start to the season prior to that. Malcolm can net you mid-20’s in points or he can still have the occasional off night and be hard-pressed to crack 8 points which he has failed to do four times already this season. We catch the chilly Mr. Grant and we have an excellent shot at winning this one. We catch the regulation (~16 per game) -or much less the smoking hot Mr. Grant- and we have a real live game on our hands; even at home. Malcolm has the reputation of being one of the best pure-shooters right now in the A.C.C. In fact Miami has no less than 5 guys in their top-7 rotation who all shoot 33% or better from range — thus making Miami a natural foil for Seth Greenberg’s new-found pet Zone defensing of late.
Also bombing away like mad from downtown would be #1 Durand Scott. Mr. Scott (no not that Mr. Scott) is a 6`3“ 200 lb. lead-G in his sophomore season from New York City, giving the ‘Canes an all-street backcourt if there ever was one in A.C.C. terms. Mr. Scott hits 43% of his treys and gives you a second-best 14 points and a surprising second-best 4.3 boards in the process. Mr. Scott also leads Miami in FTA’s which makes his 88% shooting on such rather helpful when it comes to netting 15` set-shots, with nobody defending, with 10 seconds to shoot. Do not forget that Scott was no small part of Miami’s upsetting A.C.C. tourney run (which included VT) last spring. Scott is unquestionably the lockeroom leader down on So.Beach as the next person that this feisty little NYC street-baller backs down from will be the first.
Third in scoring (12) and first in boards (10) is a baller whom I consider to be one of the very few true low-post players doin’ work in the A.C.C. right now; one #42, At 6`10“ and 303 lbs. Mr. Reggie Johnson is a big-boy down on the low-blocks and than some! Goodness this is a large and in change baller folks. Think of a lengthier “big-baby” Glenn Davis of boston keltics fame, or a stronger version of yesteryear Oliver Miller of Phoenix Suns fame and you just about have Miami’s Johnson on your hands. Mr. Johnson really came on at the end of last years and appears to have shaken off his early January offensive funk of late. Such gives Miami a very smart Outside-In game when they wish to play it. 56% shooting from Reg’ and a team leading 1.4 blocks per contest does not hurt either. This is prolly an N.B.A. frontcourt player whenever he comes out – if only based upon shear size and physical presence alone … even if his cardiovascular conditioning may or may not be tip-top. (pic below)
After those three Miami resembles more of an offensive via committee approach.
#30, 6`7“ 226 lb. senior Swing Adrian Thomas is another 3-point threat at 39% from beyond the arc; and he also chips in with about 4 boards per game to go with his 8 points. After that Miami has 6`6“ 196 lb. S-F, #25 Garrisu Adams a sophomore at the three-spot who shoots 33% from three-point land and gets you 7 points per contest. Rounding out the long-distance zappers would be #15 Roni Brown, a 6`5“ 188 lb. freshman Shooting-Guard from Georgia who hits at a 36% clip as the leading backcourt sub off the Hurricane bench. Roin is also Miami’s top-signee from least year’s recruiting class and appears to have a bright future in front of him down in the sunshine state. As you can plainly see shooters Miami has gots; what Miami does not have is a whole lot of size beyond Mr. Johnson down in the paint.
Rounding out the ‘Canes rotation would be #31 junior year DeQuan Jones – yet another Swing who is one of the best pure above the rim highlight reel dunkers in the whole A.C.C. along his way to 5 points per game – although he is now said to be “OUT” see below. #45 6`9“ 255 lb. junior true-Center Julian Gamble provides legitimate size off the Hurricane pine; even if he has regressed a bit from where he left off last season. Julian will get you 3 points, 3 rebounds and a block give or take per game. Current production has seen his game cut nearly in half from this time last year. #10 freshmen Raphael Akpejiori, an import baller all the way from Logos Nigeria is likely to pick up minutes due to the presence of Mr. Jones absence. Akpejiori is a 6`8“ 228 lb. P-F who will give the ‘Canes increased size off the bench if nothing else after missing his senior year in high school with an ankle injury which likely lowered his recruiting stock in no small way. Getting token minutes would be #32 Erik Swoope, who is a 6`4“ 210 lb. undersized Forward who gets it done on grit and hard work.
Miami is basically only going 7-deep right now. Sure would be nice to get Mr. Johnson in foul trouble early-on as he has already been disqualified three times this year and in critical (4) personal-foul trouble on nine other occasions. Doing such would make Miami nearly entirely a perimeter oriented team. Such may not be the best match-up for our newfangled assortment of zone defense’s, albeit, at least such would make defending Miami quite predictable. Virginia Tech is currently 71st best in 3-point defense in D-1 hoops right now. That is better than average; although we may need to tighten that up just a little bit more in order to close out on this many long-range marksmen like the Hurricanes currently court.
- Dequan Jones, a 6`7“ 218 lb. junior slashing finishing 2-guard is out for “an indefinite amount of time” with a hand injury.
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So on the one hand I do feel better about us/VT, after seeing us catch up to some fresh-legs for the first time in about 10 days. On the other hand, Miami is not a good match-up for our (now) Zone heavy defense and accordingly you have to wonder if Seth will risk foul-trouble via going back to more man-to-man defense; which I would prefer to help crowd all of the Miami marksmen out on the perimeter. Unless of course J.Allen can reverse his A.C.C. officiating misfortunes and be the one to get Reggie Johnson in foul-trouble early on.
Be back before this one tips (off) with some final thoughts and my OPT entry after the most recent 5-game splits are released.
The much vaunted Fourm Guide (oddly enough) predicts a dead even basketball game this time out. It posits Overtime in fact. It also lends a edge in rebounding to Miami, it gives VT the nod on defense; and gives a minor edge on offense to the ‘Canes. I’d be willing to go with that if this game were being played down on So.Beach — however, it is not.
Good thing I did wait, as the very first thing that jumped out at me is the fact that Miami is only 16% out on the road this season (1-5). Also rather helpful to have waited to see that Miami’s FG% from the floor drops by 5% out on the road and their marksmanship misfires by 8% from 3-point land as the visitor. That’s encouraging; as is the fact that VT is +1 on days of rest and therefore will enjoy the fresh(er) legs in this contest. Finally, I really enjoyed the fact that VT is downright constricting when it comes to FG% allowed at home, as VT has tightened up to a downright parsimonious 37% permitted in the Cassell from the floor this season. To put that into perspective, 37% would be good for fifth best in D-1 FG percentage allowed overall this year. Fifth best out of three-hundred forty-six D-1 teams mind you! It is my hope that that will only tighten up all the more with the VT students and Cassell Guard back in full force from Xmas Break.
Virginia Tech=76, Miami=64