Previewing Virginia Tech

2010 Scouting Report / 2010 Game Plan / 2011 Scouting Report / 2011 Game Plan
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2011 Roster
2011 Schedule

Virginia Tech Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.6 263
Turnover Rate 17.6 36
Off Reb Rate 35.5 70
FTA/FGA 42.9 61
Virginia Tech Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 52.2 59
Turnover Rate 20.0 147
Off Reb Rate 31.2 227
FTA/FGA 42.5 66

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Tech lost J.T. Thompson before the season and Dorenzo Hudson before conference play, and both figured to be important parts of what figured to be a team that would have little trouble clearing the NCAA tournament bubble.  Other than those setbacks, things have gone well for the Hokies.  Those injuries left Seth Greenberg with an extremely short bench, but the Hokies are playing well in a forgiving ACC nonetheless.

The biggest adjustment Greenberg has had to make is at the defensive end, where Virginia Tech has had to play a lot of zone in order to avoid foul trouble and save some energy.  Malcolm Delaney gets a couple of minutes of rest if he's lucky, and three other starters average 30+ minutes per game.

So far that hasn't really mattered.  In conference play the Hokies have been more efficient at both ends than they were in 2010; the defense's improvement is particularly impressive given that offense is up league-wide this year.

At the offensive end, the Hokies' strength is in their shooting, both from the field and at the line.  Led by Malcolm Delaney, who has always been very good at getting into traffic and drawing fouls, Virginia Tech also gets to the line a bunch.  Their ball security is mediocre (definitely not bad enough for turnovers to be a concern vs. NC State) and their offensive rebounding, limited as the roster is, has been virtually non-existent. 

Starters

Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 190) -- Delaney has never been very accurate inside the arc and still isn't.  His strength there is in his ability to get to the line, where he is money.  The difference in Delaney's game this season is his outside shot; he hasn't been this effective from three since his freshman year, and that was when he could be more selective in his shooting. Last season he shot around 31% beyond the arc, which limited his scariness. This year he is full-on terrifying.

Erick Green (6-4, 185) -- Tech desperately needed to find a third option somewhere.  Dorenzo Hudson was the third guy and then there was no third guy and without one life would be that much harder, though it wouldn't necessarily doom the season.  A moot issue, or a lesser one at least, because Green is stepping up in a big way. In the process, he is making one of the bigger freshman-to-sophomore leaps the league has seen this season.  Did you even know Green was around in 2010? I could have sworn this was his first year.

Green's shift from an occasionally-used role player to a primary contributor has been made possible by dramatic improvements in free throw and two-point shooting.  He showed no range as a freshman and an outside shot continues to elude him (but it's a matter of time given his FT%).  Also important is his miniscule turnover rate, which comes despite an assist rate that suggests a player with the ball in his hands quite a bit.

Terrell Bell (6-7, 205) --Bell only takes the occasional shot, which is doing wonders for his effectiveness--over 52% inside the arc, over 37% from three.  He isn't very reliable at the line, and turnovers are a problem, as they have been throughout his career.

Jeff Allen (6-7, 230) -- I used to think there were big things in store for Allen. Setting the way back machine to four years ago:

The sub-100 offensive rating is underwhelming by itself, but the rest of his profile shows that he is holding his own as a true freshman, maintaining a decent shooting percentage despite using a high number of possessions. That context--workload and production relative to class--is what's important in understanding how a guy is likely to develop. There is a big, big difference between a player shooting 52% while using a go-to guy number of possessions and a player shooting that same percentage in a more secondary role. It's a fair bet the Hokies have found a future All-ACC contributor.

A fair bet, perhaps, but the wrong one.  Allen is still a high workload/low offensive rating guy.  He never improved his low-post scoring and his three-pointer comes and goes.  Turnovers and foul trouble were issues then.  They're issues now.  He's a good player, just not the dangerous offensive focal point it seemed like he would be.

Victor Davila (6-8, 245) --Davila is similar to Bell in that he doesn't shoot very often--it's tough to find opportunities when Delaney, Green, and Allen take 75% of the shots.  But that's no crime; his workload is where it should be, and he does well with his limited opportunities.  Given his poor free throw shooting, State needs to make him earn the opportunities he does get.

Bench

Manny Atkins (6-7, 200), Tyrone Garland (6-1, 170), Jarell Eddie (6-7, 209). In Virginia Tech's last game, a close win over Miami, these three guys played a grand total of 20 minutes.  In conference play, Atkins is the only bench player averaging double-digit minutes. He's also been their most effective reserve.  He's shooting 45% from three and 67% in the paint, but we're talking about fewer than 30 attempts in both cases.

Virginia Tech Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 44.6 21
Turnover Rate 22.2 63
Off Reb Rate 33.2 200
FTA/FGA 35.1 124
Virginia Tech Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 45.6 45
Turnover Rate 23.7 35
Off Reb Rate 32.1 160
FTA/FGA 33.0 80

 

 

 

 

 

State has seen some zone this year.  Syracuse's expert 2-3 gave the Pack a lot of problems.  Miami's 2-3, which is well executed to the extent that the players know where they should stand at the start of each possession, was of no concern.  Virginia Tech figures to offer a challenge much closer to the Syracuse end of the spectrum.  They'll play some 2-3, they'll throw in some 1-3-1.  Hell, Greenberg's done an instructional DVD on the 1-3-1, so you know they're doing that right.  If it's on TV it must be true.

The usual clues are there: opponents are attempting more threes this season, turning the ball over more often, grabbing more offensive boards. In conference play, the Hokies rank 11th in defensive rebounding percentage, but their FG% defense has been very good.  Toss in a bunch of turnovers and you have an effective defense.

They aren't going to go full-court with that zone because they can't afford the effort, which simplifies some things for the Wolfpack but does not change the fact that they're going to have to be sharper than usual in the half-court. Hey, it could happen.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Tech by four.

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