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Virginia Tech Vs. NC State Preview: Hope You Hate Defense

Saturday's game pits two of the league's worst defenses against each other. While NC State has been just bad at that end, Tech has been a train wreck.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
VT Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.7 222
Turnover Rate 18.8 85
Off Reb Rate 33.3 136
FTA/FGA 33.3 249

VT Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.9 246
Turnover Rate 17.3 26
Off Reb Rate 30.8 198
FTA/FGA 38.5 101

VT @ StatSheet
2013 Stats
2013 Roster
2013 Schedule

Virginia Tech began the season 7-0 with impressive wins over Iowa and Oklahoma State, and it appeared the Hokies might be a surprise team in the ACC. But that seems like ages ago now, as they've won just five games since then and have a 2-9 league record.

Erick Green has had a brilliant season, and he can keep Virginia Tech in games with streaky-hot shooting. His efficiency given his workload is astounding. The problem for the Hokies is the utter lack of support that he's gotten this year. Green has an effective field goal percentage of 52.7. The only other players with an eFG% about 50.0 are bench players who don't shoot the ball often.

They could compensate for some of the poor shooting with some offensive boards, but that is not a strength of this group. They do at least take very good care of the basketball.


Erick Green (6-3, 185) -- His 25.2 scoring average says plenty about what he's done this season, but it's the efficiency stats that really make his year look impressive. Green is taking a third of Tech's shots while on the floor. He is shooting 38.3% from three, 50.8% from two, and 81.6% at the free throw line. He's also good at drawing fouls, which just adds to the difficulty of containing him. His outside shooting is considerably better than it was early in his career, and the fact that he's become more efficient overall despite increasing his workload is huge for Virginia Tech.

Robert Brown (6-5, 190) -- Here we begin to see the problem offensively for the Hokies. Brown is a high-usage fella--he takes about 24% of the shots--and his effective field goal percentage is 36.0, which, ouch. That includes a 19-85 (22.4%) effort from beyond the arc. Here are the offensive ratings from his last four games: 61, 54, 32, 58. He's a bit turnover prone, and he doesn't get to the free throw line often, where he isn't a good shooter anyway. So yeah, this is not the most ideal allocation of possessions for VT.

Jarell Eddie (6-7, 218) -- Eddie is another high-usage guy, and while his numbers aren't impressive, he's far less of a liability that Brown. Eddie at least is making 34.1% of his threes, and he made over 44% last season. He's not getting to the free throw line a ton, but he's effective when he does get those opportunities.

C.J. Barksdale (6-8, 232) -- He's shooting a decent 48.8% from two, but he shoots sparingly. With those first three guys accounting for about four out of every five shots when they're on the floor together, there just ain't a whole lot to go around. Barksdale is also a decent rebounder at both ends. Not much of a shot botherer.

Cadarian Raines (6-9, 238) -- Raines is another secondary option, and he's making 48% of his twos, which is actually higher than his FT% (46.0). He is a major threat on the offensive boards and the team's best shot blocker.


Marquis Rankin (6-1, 170), Joey van Zegeren (6-10, 225), Marshall Wood (6-8, 210), Will Johnston (6-3, 190), Christian Beyer (6-7, 200). Rankin is a turnover machine whose only real offensive threat is the three-pointer; he's a career 35.1% shooter from beyond the arc. Aside from an occasional three, I wouldn't expect much else from him.

Van Zegeren is hitting 53.3% of his twos and he's rebounding well offensively, but good god man, the turnovers.

Wood is shooting just 38.7% this year. Good defensive rebounder though.

Johnston is a three-point specialist, and a good one: he's shooting 40.5% from deep.

Beyer is the team's best overall rebounder, and it's too bad for the Hokies that they haven't been able to give him more playing time because they could sure use the boost on the defensive glass...

VT Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.1 45
Turnover Rate 19.8 187
Off Reb Rate 34.3 255
FTA/FGA 35.7 164

VT Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.8 149
Turnover Rate 15.7 339
Off Reb Rate 33.7 250
FTA/FGA 34.8 151

Virginia Tech's defense was a flawed on last year, and now it's just a full-on disaster. The Hokies were lucky to have opponents make just 28% of their threes in 2012, which ranked second nationally. This year their opponents' 3FG% has regressed back toward the NCAA average, and their interior defense is only average as well. And just like NC State, they are hurting themselves with poor defensive rebounding and a total inability to force turnovers. That combination makes defensive success difficult, to say the least.

In conference games, Virginia Tech is dead last in defensive efficiency (1.1 PPP allowed), last in defensive TO% (14.3), last in defensive free throw rate (40.4), and not surprisingly, last in steal percentage (5.5).

The Pomeroy Predictor likes the Pack by 19.