#63 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #64 R.P.I. Klempson:
TV coverage: Saturday high-noon on ESPN2
Vegas Line: Tigers-3/5, O/U=127.5
“No excuses, no regrets. Trap game, quick-turnaround, whatever … Tech won’t have any excuses for not playing well against BC. They can’t have any regrets about the way they played when the game is over.” -Coach Seth Greenberg-
I wonder if my boy MD-2o-2o regrets the nonsense showcased on the right.
You just had to dis’ a pretty good hoops team, that you had to play in 72 hours, that courts a style of play that we had trouble with and were beaten by a few weeks back? Kick some O&M sand in Boston College’s face pre-game? If you just had to say something; why not say something about a team you are finished playing for this season; preferably one from out-of-conference that you can NOT possibly see again in the A.C.C. tourney – or does that make too much Sports Psych 1o1 sense?
Think Boston College might have somehow heard about this ESPN Gameday dig pre-game? Think it might have ticked them off; even a little tinsty-tiny bit? Think the Klempson staff will tell their ballers about what Jeff Allen said about them prior to Saturday night? Yup; me too – and for senior year team leaders to do this … tisk-tisk!
Hence, we now find ourselves in a must win game vs. a very tough Klempson team that also finds itself operating under must win circumstances in terms of controlling Tiger post-season destiny for March 2011. Madness is about what I expect to unfold in this one. VT should get its legs back with +3 in rests for this one — although Klempson is 14-2 at home for a reason.
“Pressure makes diamonds.”
-General George Smith Patton Jr.-
You can go ahead and expect intra-league Atlantic Coast pressure to ratchet itself up several notches in these two teams’ regular season finale.
Klempson at a glance:
- 13th in scoring defense (60.0)
- 35th in blocks per game (4.9)
- 41st in FG% allowed (40.1)
- 64th in defensive rebounding
As you can already see, a bad defensive basketball team Klempson simply is not. The part that is conspicuous via its absence is the fact that I did not list a negative(s) or even a couple of things that VT might be able to take advantage of. Why you ask? Because such did not exist – as the Tigers lowest national ranking was a very pedestrian or middle of the road 179th best in 3-point% out of all 346 D-1 men’s basketball teams with the Tigers checking in at 34.1% on the year from downtown if you are keeping score at home. Or in other words, there was no conspicuous hooping attribute for VT to game-plan for or focus upon in Death Valley terms. Klempson is average to great across the entire national statistical categorical spectrum; and the Tigers tenacious brand of defense already tells me that points will be at a premium come Saturday night down in South Carolina.
Speaking of points; leading the Klempson Tigers in scoring would be one #2, the 6`2“ 180 lb. Demontez Stitt at 14.1 points per game. ‘tez also paces the Tigers in assists with 3.2 dimes dropped on average per contest to go with some decent enough range from downtown as he hits at a 38% clip from beyond the arc. ‘tez is a senior year baller who has something of a shooters rep’ to go along with being know for being a tad loose with the rock; his 300 career turnovers to date speak to this; even if ‘tez has a slightly better handle on the rock this year. That said, you might want ask Mr. Stitt to cover his mouth when he coughs; as sources close to the team report that an ugly case of strep-throat has this by the tail.
Horace Grant, errrrrrr, ahhhhh, I mean his 6`8“ 230 lb. senior nephew #45 PF-C, Jerai Grant (dunking above) leads the Tigers in rebounds with 6.5 and is second in points with 12.4. That’s a useful A.C.C. big right there; if not a dominate one. However, what I like about Jerai is that he goes hard in the paint, with the third most Conference swats and team high lead in blocks at 2.8 per game this season. Jerai is also netting a Klempson leading 59.3% from the floor and he also gets to the FT-stripe early and often with 138 FTA’s on the year. Memo to Jeff Allen, don’t enlist in the paratrooper club and don’t bite on the pump-fake dawg; keep your feet on the ground and just play tall with your long-armed wingspan down in the post. To me there is something a little bit Jimmy Carruth about Jeari Grant’s game, think Jimmy albeit a bit more fluid or a bit less robotic; take thy pick. Just like Jimmy Jeari has always been a bit better on the defensive end as a PF-Center combo goes, who’s offensive game just so happens to enjoy a ceiling that is several notches higher than Jimmy’s was. And just like Jimmy Jeari comes to punch the clock and go to work each and every night.
Second in board-work (5.4) would be fellow PF-C combo baller one #31 Devin Booker, who is a 6`8“ bulky sophomore who is a legacy baller himself as big bro’ Trevor Brooker just took his game to the Washington Bullets. Little brother gets you 7 and change per night and he does have some bigman skill as his sneaky 3-point range (31%) suggests; even if his 2010-2011 contributions have fallen just a tad short of their lofty preseason expectations. Third in scoring at 10.9 per game would be one #11, mighty-might 5`8“ Pt.Guard Mr. Andre Young. Young is the Tigers best perimeter defender as his lack of stature helps him naturally time dribbles as he often gets his fingers on a few (cough-cough) balls. ‘dre has lead the Tigers in steals for two straight seasons although he is coming off of his worst game of the season by far two games ago vs. lowly Wake Forest.
#24 Milton “big time” Jennings is a second-year baller who is by far and away the highest ranked recruit of former Klempson head coach Oliver Purnell’s Tiger tenure to date. “big time” is getting you 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest even if he leads Klempson in turnovers with 56. He may indeed be the forth highest ranked ESPN frontcourter from a year ago; although he has yet to live up to all of that national VHT (very highly touted) one man constellation (think: five-star) mega recruiting hype. Coach Brad Bornwell is said to be attempting to develop “big time’s” plethora of impressive perimeter credentials; and if he ever does this guy will be a load out on the wing as a oversized SF at 6`9“ and 229 chiseled lbs. #5 Tanner Smith is a 6`5“ 210 lb. 2-guard from Georgia who is pretty good at most things even if he does nothing great in and of itself. Tanner is a junior who nets you 8 points to go with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Mr. Smith is a pretty well rounded baller who does need to work on his shot-selection as he never met a shot he would not take.
Helping off of Coach Brownell’s bench would be #3 Zavier Anderson, a 5`9“ 165 lb. raily Pt.Guard former walk-on who made his Tiger bones via running the scout-team in practice. Zavier is experienced, and reliable and he is also one other thing; he is a sizzling hot 50% from downtown for this campaign! 7`2“ 250 lb. true-Center #10 Catallin Baciu (right) is a junior year project pivot who gives you skyscraper verticality on defense off the Tiger pine if nothing else. Well, nothing else beyond a Greg Brady suburban fro’ that only Alice the maid could love. #12 Cory Stanton is a scorer disguised in a Pt.Guard’s body at 5`10“ 165 lbs. making him something of a freshman year version of our own departed Hank Thorns. #21 Bryan Narcisse is a junior year relief swingman at 6`6“ 215 lbs. who has big-time highlight reel athleticism as his quad-A State Championship in the High Jump so eloquently attests.
Fourm-Guide, conclusion(s), prediction:
As I said above, Klempson is 14-2 at home for a reason; whereas VT is only 4-5 as the visitor this campaign, again for a reason. This game is very close to being the de facto first-round bye in the A.C.C. Tournament determining factor. As you can plainly see at the bottom; the top-3 teams are locked in, one way or another. The only thing left is the ordering between Duke and U.N.C. being #1 and #2 or #2 and #1 respectively. F.S.U. is locked in at #3 and that only leaves one first round bye up for grabs. Somebody is gonna get the first day off down in Greensboro North Carolina and then likely draw the Wake Forest #5 seed winner on Friday. Conversely, the beaten team on Saturday at high-noon will get to tip things off on Thursday at 2pm vs. Wake Forest, prolly beat the Dec’s rather soundly; and then have to play the #4 seeded and well rested VT/Klempson winner for the second time in only five days on 21 hours rest. Ergo, go ahead and expect to see Klempson again; one way or another. Though playing two A.C.C. basketball games in a 21 hour span would be very very daunting for such a depleted VT basketball squad.
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I’ll be back after scouting Klempson @ #4 Duke on Wednesday night on ESPN at 9pm.
As you can see the Duke vs. Klempson game changed things a bit since I wrote what I did above. Right now VT is a ½ game up in the all-important L column. The current standings have brought B.C.’s bid for forth place into play as B.C. holds the head-to-head sweep vs. VT and is extremely likely to win vs. Wake Forest at home on Sunday with the all-important VT vs. Klempson results in pocket. Boston College did however drop their solo contest vs. Klempson back on o2.o8. Or in other words, VT’s destiny is now officially and mathematically in VT’s very own O&M hands. Win at Klempson on Saturday and VT is in as the fourth place A.C.C. team who gets to take Thursday off next week down in Greensboro. Although, if we take an L for our Death Valley troubles and we are very likely the sixth place team which means we would play the eleventh seed on Thursday which irrefutably means we would play Gah.Tech. Such would also mean we would need at least 2 A.C.C. wins to even get back on the Selection Committee proverbial bubble in my book; and that might just be code for needing 3 A.C.C. wins. Even if we beat Klempson on Saturday we dang well could need at least 1 A.C.C. triumph no matter what.
Note as well that I updated the Real-Time R.P.I. rankings at the top and that Klempson dropped a whopping 20 spots in R.P.I. rankings after Wednesday night which did VT NO favors whatsoever (VT dropped 8 spots themselves).
Note I have updated the Real-Time R.P.I. rankings at the top (Friday afternoon) and Robin Williams was right … “Irony is ironic.” Two teams on the NC2A bubble with one ranked #64 and the other one one better — I for one consider that to be prophetic indeed. One is in and the other one is out, in what now fully amounts to an A.C.C. play-in game of sorts.
Our friend the Fourm Guide is predicting a very very even game. VT beat Miami by 4, Klempson beat Miami by 4. VT beat Wake by 14. Klempson beat Wake by 14. Both Virginia Tech and Klempson were upset at u.v.a. In the end, the Fourm Guide predicted a 4 point VT victory. VT enjoyed a noticeable nod on the glass, a small check-mark in the Hokies favor on offense; and defense was nearly even with the slightest of edges going to Vah.Tech.
The Home/Away splits were a different animal all together. When visiting Virginia Tech was compared to hosting Klempson, the Tigers enjoyed an 11% edge from the floor, a 4% edge from downtown, from the FT as well and a 4 board edge on the glass. None of that may be unbeatable in and of itself; though all of that does add up to a decent sized Klemspon homecourt advantage in this one.
Recent play analysis shows that VT is better on offense, Klempson is better on defense, and that the Hokies are down to 65% from the FT-stripe in their most recent five basketball games. VT must take care of its 15` set-shot business down in South Carolina as this game could indeed come down to a FT contest late.
VT should benefit from +3 days wroth of fresh legs and Klempson just played what really amounts to a 7-man rotation vs. Duke on Wednesday night; with token minutes for a eighth man attempting to buy a couple of minutes of relief per half for the Tiger’s backcourt. Thankfully, that tells me that our rather short rotation does have a chance to steal one out on the road.
To be perfectly candid, I was planning on picking Klempson in this one; pretty much told C2 so Thursday night. A.C.C. homecourt teams win ~70% of the time longitudinally speaking. However I do favor the top-3 VT ballers (Allen, Delaney and Green) as being superior to the top-3 Klempson ballers (Stitt, Grant, and Booker) when compared head-to-head. It is however worth noting that two of Klempson’s top-3 play down low or close to the basket, and that two of Tech’s top-3 play in the backcourt or further away from the basket. Grant has been nothing if not steady at home; Stitt has been steady both home and away; Booker however has been off his A-game since the end of January. Ergo, I’ll side with VT’s big-3 to somehow play just a hair better than Klempson’s big-3 as VT somehow manufactures a way to win out on the Atlantic Coast road.
Praise be to Chris Coleman for tipping me off to this … the last four VT visits to Death Valley have been killer good games. All four have been decided by 3 points or less and one game went into O.T. VT’s scoring however is down to 63 and change per game in our last four tests, I’ll go with that as we are prolly hitting something of a depleted wall right about now. Klempson has not busted 63 themselves since the 8th day of February. 63 sounds about right, first team to 63 wins.
Virginia Tech=63, Klempson=59