#56 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #97 R.P.I. Oklahoma State:
TV coverage: ESPN2 and ESPN3 12 noon New Year’s Eve
Vegas Line: VT is a 1 point dog
Tough little Holiday road trip to peg.
As I’d favor a 10-3 VT to win vs. a 7-5 OK.State at home inside of the Cassell; and I’d favor VT to win vs. OK.State on a neutral court, as they have already done that this season up in Madison Square Garden. That said this one is out in Stillwater and that makes this one anybodies game.
VT has been playing better of late, and yet I’m just not so trusty of so much O&M hooping youth out on the road, all things being equal.
Oklahoma State at a glance:
- 3oth in blocks per game (5.5)
- 46th in defensive FG% allowed (39%)
- 290th in defensive rebounding
- 316th in personal fouls per game (21.9)
The Cowboys are lead by one #1 the 6` 175 lb. freshman Point-Guard Cezar Guerrero. Cezar is hailed for his long-range shooting as he won the national 3-point competition last year in Houston Texas. He nets you a team leading 8 points per game, mostly from the outside and has already showcased a willingness to take and make clutch game-winning long-distance shots only four games into his rookie season. He is 35% from downtown and he is so good right away that he has seized his high school digit (#1) from sophomore Jarred Shaw which tells you a little something-something about Mr. Guerrero. That said, he has cooled off by 6 points per game since we last saw him and is due to break outta his recent shooting slump. Forth in scoring (8.7) is the 6`3“ 185 lb. former Louisiana high school player of the year in one Mr. Markel Brown. Markel Brown -there are two Markel’s on the OK.State roster mind you- is a pure bread stud scorer even in his freshman season who is surprisingly first best in pacing OK.State rebounding at 6.1 boards and he leads the Cowboys in steals at 1.9. Clearly this Bayou import has a nose for the basketball even if his jumper does not yet have a lot of range on it. Keiton Page is one of the best 3-point shooters in the entire Big-12 despite his diminutive 5`9“ frame the 165 lb. junior season shooter (pic: right) manages to get his shot off from range as he is the fourth highest ranked returning 3-point shooter in the Big-12 this season. This kid can flat-out put the biscuit in the basket from beyond the arc as he now leads the Cowboys with 13.1 points per game. The final backcourt rotational piece, Mr. Fred Gulley the 6`2“ 175 lb. sophomore and his 4.0 ppg (points per game) re-injured the very same shoulder he hurt last December a couple of weeks ago and has not been the same since.
Up front the Cowboys are really depleted, no thanks to the marijuana off-court issues of Big-12 leading rebounder Marshall Moses, who has been kicked off the team, and due to graduation departure of fellow front-courter Matt Pilgrim.
Manning the Cowboy frontcourt and second in scoring (12.3) is versatile freshman year Swing Le’Bryan Nash. Mr. Nash goes 6`7“ and checks in carved outta wood at 236 muscular looking lbs. and he to was a awards circuit stud this time last year, winning the McDonalds’s all-American slam-dunk competition as Mr. Nash is know for his SportsCenter ‘esque open-court finishes. Mr. Nash is also second in rebounding at 5.o per contest and he leads the way in FTA’s at 59, although he never met shot that he did not like. Jean-Paul Olukemi is a 6`7“ 215 lb. slashing defender who gets you 9.5 points per night, 4.8 boards, 1.2 steals and leads the way at 78% from the FT stripe for the Cowboys. This kid has a nice in-between game and he will get to the rim if you do not keep him out of the key.
6`11“ 270 lb. true-Center Philip Jurick is a former JuCo all-American Pivot outta Chattanooga State who decided to kick his game a notch to the D-1 level this past spring. Obviously, Jurick gives you big-time size down in the lane and he leads the Cowboys in rebounds with 6.4 and in blocked shots at 2.3 per contest even if he is still very raw offensively. Such makes him something of a shorter if not thicker version of Roy Brow in O&M terms. That said, those aforementioned digits are fairly productive when only given 18 minutes of playing-time as the last off the bench sub for coach Travis Ford if you can get ‘em. Helping out in the post are 6`8“ 245 lb. senior Darrell Williams and likewise 6`8“ 220 lb. freshman Michael Cobbins. #25 Williams was charged with rape last February and is surprisingly still an active member of the Cowboys basketball team in spite of an initial suspension for such from Coach Travis Ford. His trail goes to court in a little over a month (i.e. this January). Pending legal resolution or restitution, the senior Chi-town native gets you 3.8 points and 2.4 boards in front-court relief off the Cowboy bench. Cobblins gets you 4.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and a second best 1.3 blocks per game off the pine. Not bad work for only 19 minutes of P.T. (playing time) for the rookie from Texas.
Conclusion(s), illation and OPT digits:
This is one of those overlooked, under-watched, sleepy looking games that will actually tip-off at 11am for Seth and company’s internal chronometers.
Well, other than this one is “FREE!”
As in 100% free-admission to this basketball game, all you gotta do is show up to see the A.c.c. battle the Big-12 in a made for TV basketball game folks.
And guess what, the dynamic(s) of this one just changed men.
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I was all set to pick VT to barely win one out on the road. VT has improved in no small way in the last 15-20 odd days as Seth has done one of his better true basketball X’s and O’s coaching jobs at approximately the 33% mark of a given season since his arrival at Virginia Tech. VT looked better than OK.State head-to-head up in the N.I.T. in the N.Y.C. a few weeks back and won despite shooting 31% from the floor! That and the fact that OK.State has really not show me much upward mobility since the last time we faced them. In fact the Cowboys have been lassoed by a 4 up and 5 down record since the last time we saw them at Thanksgiving. Ditto the fact that OK.State has one win by 5, one win by 3 and one win in double-OT last time out at home vs. S.M.U. Or in other words, when OK.State has won they have not exactly been setting the world much less the stat-sheet on fire.
VT has been better of late, 78 points per game on 50% from the floor, 40% from range, 80% from the line and +8 in rebounding margin in their last 5 games says so. I however consider that to be an artificially inflated set of metrics. Artificially inflated by beating a buncha very lowly D-1 teams like a drum, at home, with pleanty of practice days inbetween.
So “yes” this 2011-2012 Seth Greenberg basketball squad has improved of late, the only question just by just how much?
That said, OK.State is noticeably better at home in the Iba Arena and VT has just been as strong as the visitor thus far this campaign. The aggregate shooting margin swings in the Cowboys favor by 9% and OK.State rebounds much better at home on top of that. This is prolly an upset pick on my part, though I’ma gonna call for the Cowboys to low-post VT in a game that will not be easy on the eyes.
Virginia Tech=58, Oklahoma State=64