Monday, February 04, 2008

Previewing Virginia Tech

2008 Scouting Report / 2008 Game Plan
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

Virginia Tech Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.7185
Off Reb Rate35.582

Throughout the Dowdell/Gordon era, but particularly over the last two seasons, Virginia Tech took great care of the basketball. Opponents stole the ball from the Hokies on just 6.9% of their offensive possessions in 2007, a figure that was the 3rd-lowest in the country. While they aren't a disaster in this regard today, they've slid pretty far. Having a first-year guard running the point will do that (don't we know it...).

Compounding matters, they're also shooting a good bit worse from the field, so not only are they getting fewer shots at the hoop, they're making less of the opportunities they do get. The result is an offense that's scoring about 10 pts/100 poss fewer than it did a year ago.

They've gone from a serviceable-but-infrequent three-point shooting team to a terrible-and-slightly-less-infrequent three-point shooting team, and that's hurt a lot.

Their NCAA tournament fate is going to be decided on this side of the ball; they played outstanding defense throughout the pre-conference slate, and they've remained very good at stopping conference foes as well. If they can start scoring more efficiently, they'll find themselves a lock come March; if not, they'll be biting their nails on selection Sunday.


Hank Thorns (5-9, 140) -- Taking just 15.5% of the shots, which is a good thing until the outside stroke starts to come around.

Malcolm Delaney (6-2, 175) -- Good assist rate, and he's the only guy aside from Vassallo who has provided good outside shooting.

AD Vassallo (6-6, 215) -- He takes more than 27% of the shots while he's on the court, a high figure you'd think would be a bad idea for such a one-dimensional player. His efficiency has declined considerably now that he's trying to more of an inside-the-arc scorer, but... really, there aren't a lot of alternative options for these field goal attempts.

Deron Washington (6-7, 210) -- It's been a rough season for Deron, whose numbers are down in a lot of categories. He's never been an effective outside shooter, and now his two-point shooting has abandoned him. His block and steal rates are down as well, so he's making less of an impact defensively, too.

Jeff Allen (6-7, 258) -- He isn't quite ready for the amount of offensive responsibility that's been granted him, but that can't be helped, and under the circumstances, he's doing a good job. 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.


Between Cheick Diakite (6-9, 220), Dorenzo Hudson (6-5, 220), Lewis Witcher (6-9, 228), and JT Thompson (6-6, 224), they have a lot of bodies they can throw at our front court.

None save Hudson tend to be involved at the offensive end, and turnovers are an issue for most of them. Diakite and Witcher have been good offensive rebounders.

Virginia Tech Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.3171
Off Reb Rate28.521

Two-pointers have been difficult to come by against the Hokies, and they've also done an excellent job rebounding the ball defensively. It'll be tough going for Hickson and McCauley in the post, making it as important as ever that they stay patient.

Pomeroy has Tech winning by one, 61-60, in a game with 63 possessions. This one might sting the eyes a little.