#313 r.p.i. Appalachian State @ #199 r.p.i. Virginia Tech:
tip-off: 2pm Friday,
VT is a 20.5 point fave
Virginia Tech is a shiny looking 4-o with that new car scent for the first time in eight years if you are keeping score at home, and we appear to be a stuffed Turkey Day+1 40 minutes away from opening up 5-o for the first time in 28 years. Yes, that’s in twenty-eight seasons folks! That’s a long dang time no matter how thrifty your opening O.O.C. (out-of-conference) schedule may indeed be when it comes to lack of opposition or raw talent.
Accordingly, right now Virginia Tech is atop the Southern Conference standings, at a sporty looking 1-zero which is soon to be code for 2-zip!
Yah-yah, I know no biggie b-street!
Well, although that may be true in and of itself, opening up 5-o effectively puts coach J.J. and company 33% of the way to backdooring some variety of post-season tournament one way or another.
Yes, it is true, we won’t know what J.J. really has -or has not- until after we play Iowa if not the giant-killer otherwise known as OK.State. That’s all well-n-good; though so is opening up with a perfect record and playing a very fan-friendly vareity of basketball. That does not suck and neither will beating sucky looking Appy.State on Thanksgiving+1.
Appalachian State: (2 starters return)
- picked dead last or 6th in a 6-team race in the Southern Conference North Division pre-season via most pundits
- last season the Mountaineers had 10 different guys averaging double-figures in minutes and only one of them averaged double-figures in points –and he and his likewise team-leading rebounding are both gonzo!
- Coach Jason Capel went through 13 different starting line-ups last season –hoopology triskaidekaphobia indeed
- backcourt heavy team and the backcourt is only a middleweight at best (or at least they were)
As in at least they were until Mike Neal got declared ineligible until the first of 2013 next year. The departure of the 6`2“ 186 lb. highly streaky 2-guard cleverly disguised in a point-guard’s body effectively leaves Ap.State with one single solitary starter and that leaves the Mountaineers very inexperienced upfront and all over for that matter.
Right now the only returning starter is one # Tab Hamilton a 6`3“ lead-Guard in his second-year and he is only third best in scoring at 11.3 ppg. Tab is the leading Mountaineer marksman from range at a sizzling 48% from downtown. That’s not half-bad and you leave this kid open at your own peril. Leading he way in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 boards) is 6`6“ 200 lb. lanky looking r-sophomore #35 Jay Canty. Jay has a history of right-foot injuries that have dogged him out off and on; however, if that podiatry problem has been solved, you can see for yourself what a fully healthy Mr. Canty can do. He can leap; he can finish, he gets to the rack –as his 29 FTA’s already would attest- and he plays above the rim. His shooting may lack polish though this kid is an old-fashioned slashing kinda scorer. Second in rebounding and scoring is Nathan Healy. Nate is a 6`7“ 210 lb. team captain senior who nets you 13.5 points and hauls in 6.o rebounds. Nate just like Tab above can flat out shoot the rock; 60% from the floor and 47% from 3-point land says so. Not bad work from the 4.o G.P.A. all-everything honor roll student with the Jersey state championship ring. Tevin Baskin is the one quality defender on a team that lacks defense itself. Tevin is a 6`6“ 210 lb. small-forward combo in his third year outta UConn’s very own backyard. Tevin is well traveled having already laced ‘em up for Quinnipiac and Chipola College along his way to Boone North Carolina. Tevin will get you 11 points, 6 rebound and he by far and away leads Appy.State in steals (11) and is second in blocks with just enough range (33%) that you must honor his 3-point shot. That’s what I call versatile swing folks – and you can already see the pattern emerging. As this is a ‘tweener type team with lottsa guys trapped in what effectively amounts to small-forward bodies no matter where their true home position may be.
After that Coach Capel has four guys who all chip in here and there as best they can via limited means. Jamaal Trice, Chris Burgess, Michael Obacha and Tommy Spagnolo have all played in every game and sub in-and-out for the duration. As Coach Capel uses an interchangeable 8-man rotation even if that is only token minutes from the Spagnolo kid. Spagnolo was at Radford where he put up 15 per game; though his departure was a sticky one to put it mildly. Parental involvement, marijuana, academics and injuries all conspired to aid and abet his dismissal. This 6`7“ 210 lb. third-year Tommy-gun can score, when it does not misfire off-court. Trice is a 6`6` 220 lb. Hollywood import from Los Angeles California. Thrice has some 3-point range in relief off the bench and he was good enough to be a UConn Huskie for a year; even if he has been in a shooting slump since this particular season began. Obacha is a 6`8“ 215 lb. freshman year baller from Nigeria. Michael is more of a defensive player who needs to grow into his regulation frontcourt sized body. Chris Burgess is a shortie at 5`8“ and 175 strong-set lbs. worth of pure point-guard who is fun to watch. Chris is a scoring point who was no less than a four year all-state player that nobody wanted outta Florida due to his size restrictions.
Closer and OPT digits:
Right now coach J.J. and his boys…are fun to watch and are good and maybe even possibly great on offense. They are also thin off the bench and a bit short on defense as rotations or switching goes. Much less when we have to stop the dribble-drive penetration. I keep hearing about how much this team is buying in, how much they like and trust each other; about Thanksgiving dinner at Coach J.J.’s house, etc. etc. etc. That’s all fine-n-dandy in a feel good Hallmark Channel savvy holiday sense. However, there is the possibility that you can get to close to the hired help … or in this case too your very own players. Is that the case here? Ask me again after they face some adversity and after they face some adverse words from their coach. In the meantime Virginia Tech will open up five-dash-o and you may BOOK IT on that.
Why? Because as you can now objectively see up above, this is a very lean looking Appy.State basketball team folks. Raines and Eddie and Barksdale and even Joey and M.Wood off the O&M pine really should have their way down inside vs. this flimsy looking Southern Conference foe. Appy.State gives up 90 points on average and 57% from the floor!
Can you say career high(s) abound? Yah, me too – as it sure looks to me like Virginia Tech and coach J.J. will have their way with Appy.State before the season begins for real at home with back-to-back out-of-conference toughs vs. Iowa and then again vs. nationally ranked #2o Oklahoma State.
Virginia Tech=91, Appy.State=66