Pre-Virginia Tech Thoughts | Syracusefan.com

Pre-Virginia Tech Thoughts

General20

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A quick look at Virginia Tech's numbers reveal some things that might scare you as a Syracuse fan. Here are a few of them:


They are number one in the ACC in three point shooting, hitting what is quite frankly an amazing 42.5% from three as a team.


Its not just one player you have to worry about shooting from deep. They have FIVE guys shooting over 40% from three this year.


Their leading scorer is Jarell Eddie who is a 6'7 forward who is shooting 47% from three, and there are not many ways to stop a 6'7 player who is hot from the outside.


They have what is statistically a very good defense, to go along with their good shooting. They are holding their opposition to 38% shooting from the floor this year.


They are a much better team at home than they are on the road. They have won almost 60% of their ACC home games, despite being a losing team overall.


Virginia Tech is one of the few teams who is taller than Syracuse. Their starting line up goes 6'5, 6'4, 6'7, 6'8, 6'10.


Virginia Tech's last game was on 12/31. This is the biggest game of their season and they have had a full week to prepare for Syracuse's zone.


Did I scare you?


Well, here is the other side of that argument.


Virginia Tech is a great shooting team, and they are big, but they are extremely unathletic. They are not going to score much inside the three point line, and they are very vulnerable against the press. After watching them play it does not surprise me at all that VCU beat them by 30.


While they have very good defensive numbers overall, the two best teams they have played this year (Michigan State, and VCU) both absolutely torched them scoring 96 and 82 points respectively in two blow out wins. From what I saw, Virginia Tech's defense is not very good at all, and their good numbers are the product of being a tall team playing a lot of mid-majors.


Virginia Tech is only 8-5 with losses to USC Upstate (whoever that is?), Michigan State (by 19), Seton Hall, VCU (by 30), and UNC Greensboro.


While they have five guys who can really shoot it from deep, they are probably not going to have any more than three on the court at one time. Not too many to cover, especially since they don't have anybody who is a huge scoring threat from inside.


Virginia Tech is only getting 2.9 steals per game this year (compare that to Syracuse's 9.7). They are terrible at forcing turnovers. Add that to Syracuse's ability to protect the ball, and you can be assured that Syracuse is going to get a shot just about every time down the court, and almost as importantly when they miss they will have a great chance at an offensive rebound.


Yes, Virginia Tech has enjoyed a longer than usual time to prepare for Syracuse, but there is a fine line between being prepared and being rusty. From what I understand a few of their players have not been able to practice because of the flu, and if they happen to come out rusty (or really anything other than red hot) from deep this game could get out of control quickly.



What you are going to see:


Virginia Tech is going to play a pretty standard man to man defense, with few wrinkles.


On offense my guess is that they are going to put 6'8 forward Marshall Wood, and 6'8 forward CJ Barksdale in the high post the zone most of the time (although they have several guys who could possibly function in this area).


Whoever they put in the high post will have the ability to hit shots, and will need to be covered. Since Syracuse can't leave any of Virginia Tech's three point shooters, it is going to have to surrender wide amounts of space down low.


This will probably lead to a few more rebounds for Virginia Tech than usual, and a few more points for their center Van Zegren than usual, but he is not the type who is going to kill us down low (he's only averaging 4ppg).


If Syracuse does get down, they are going to press Virginia Tech pretty hard, and it could be enough to turn things in around if they are struggling.




Keys to the game:


How does Virginia Tech shoot? If the answer is anything other than “lights out” Syracuse walks to an easy victory.


How does Trevor Cooney shoot? Can Syracuse match Virginia Tech's hot shooting with some of their own?


How does Christmas play? He is going to be on an island down low defensively. Can he handle it? On offense, he will have a chance to continue his improved play. Can he keep it up?




Predictions:


Virginia Tech's lumbering guards struggle to run after Cooney all game. He gets several good looks, like he did against Miami, but this time he drains them.


Christmas continues his hot play with 10 points.


Syracuse uses the press for at least five minutes in this game to throw Virginia Tech off.


Syracuse gets a bunch of offensive rebounds with Grant leading the way and getting most of his points that way.


Gbinije plays a little more than usual, because his length will help defend against Virginia Tech's shooters.
 
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Excellent I haven't watched VT all season and really didn't know what to expect.

Does anyone know if DC2 will sit out again? We may need at least his fouls Saturday against UNC.
 
This will probably lead to a few more rebounds for Virginia Tech than usual, and a few more points for their center Van Zegren than usual, but he is not the type who is going to kill us down low (he's only averaging 4ppg).





How does Christmas play? He is going to be on an island down low defensively. Can he handle it? On offense, he will have a chance to continue his improved play. Can he keep it up?


.

Great stuff as always. I wonder if JB will direct the centers to contest shots down low, but not as aggressively as we've seen in order to stay away from fouling their bigs too much and getting our bigs in foul trouble.
 
Great stuff as always. I wonder if JB will direct the centers to contest shots down low, but not as aggressively as we've seen in order to stay away from fouling their bigs too much and getting our bigs in foul trouble.

My guess is our bigs are forced to hang out around the free throw line most of the game to guard the high post. Fair or Grant is going to have to sprint down from the three point line to cover whoever is on the baseline.
 
My guess is our bigs are forced to hang out around the free throw line most of the game to guard the high post. Fair or Grant is going to have to sprint down from the three point line to cover whoever is on the baseline.

Right. You did mention that as well. So it will be on those two and maybe Roberson if he gets a little run to be smart and stay out of foul trouble.
 
Great stuff as always. I wonder if JB will direct the centers to contest shots down low, but not as aggressively as we've seen in order to stay away from fouling their bigs too much and getting our bigs in foul trouble.

If general20 is correct and we have to cover the forward at the FT line (that is if he can hurt us there) then I'd expect to see more Baye because he really does a great job getting to the FT line guy as he catches or before he turns. Often just that speed and awareness causes a quick pass back out and reset. Either way if they go to the high post a lot and play 3 shooters then that puts pressure on the wings for baseline cutters and whichever side the 5th guy is hanging around in. We generally try to contest without fouling for any shot that is taken in close against the zone and I see no reason why that would change.
 
A quick look at Virginia Tech's numbers reveal some things that might scare you as a Syracuse fan. Here are a few of them:


They are number one in the ACC in three point shooting, hitting what is quite frankly an amazing 42.5% from three as a team.


Its not just one player you have to worry about shooting from deep. They have FIVE guys shooting over 40% from three this year.


Their leading scorer is Jarell Eddie who is a 6'7 forward who is shooting 47% from three, and there are not many ways to stop a 6'7 player who is hot from the outside.


They have what is statistically a very good defense, to go along with their good shooting. They are holding their opposition to 38% shooting from the floor this year.


They are a much better team at home than they are on the road. They have won almost 60% of their ACC home games, despite being a losing team overall.


Virginia Tech is one of the few teams who is taller than Syracuse. Their starting line up goes 6'5, 6'4, 6'7, 6'8, 6'10.


Virginia Tech's last game was on 12/31. This is the biggest game of their season and they have had a full week to prepare for Syracuse's zone.


Did I scare you?


Well, here is the other side of that argument.


Virginia Tech is a great shooting team, and they are big, but they are extremely unathletic. They are not going to score much inside the three point line, and they are very vulnerable against the press. After watching them play it does not surprise me at all that VCU beat them by 30.


While they have very good defensive numbers overall, the two best teams they have played this year (Michigan State, and VCU) both absolutely torched them scoring 96 and 82 points respectively in two blow out wins. From what I saw, Virginia Tech's defense is not very good at all, and their good numbers are the product of being a tall team playing a lot of mid-majors.


Virginia Tech is only 8-5 with losses to USC Upstate (whoever that is?), Michigan State (by 19), Seton Hall, VCU (by 30), and UNC Greensboro.


While they have five guys who can really shoot it from deep, they are probably not going to have any more than three on the court at one time. Not too many to cover, especially since they don't have anybody who is a huge scoring threat from inside.


Virginia Tech is only getting 2.9 steals per game this year (compare that to Syracuse's 9.7). They are terrible at forcing turnovers. Add that to Syracuse's ability to protect the ball, and you can be assured that Syracuse is going to get a shot just about every time down the court, and almost as importantly when they miss they will have a great chance at an offensive rebound.


Yes, Virginia Tech has enjoyed a longer than usual time to prepare for Syracuse, but there is a fine line between being prepared and being rusty. From what I understand a few of their players have not been able to practice because of the flu, and if they happen to come out rusty (or really anything other than red hot) from deep this game could get out of control quickly.



What you are going to see:


Virginia Tech is going to play a pretty standard man to man defense, with few wrinkles.


On offense my guess is that they are going to put 6'8 forward Marshall Wood, and 6'8 forward CJ Barksdale in the high post the zone most of the time (although they have several guys who could possibly function in this area).


Whoever they put in the high post will have the ability to hit shots, and will need to be covered. Since Syracuse can't leave any of Virginia Tech's three point shooters, it is going to have to surrender wide amounts of space down low.


This will probably lead to a few more rebounds for Virginia Tech than usual, and a few more points for their center Van Zegren than usual, but he is not the type who is going to kill us down low (he's only averaging 4ppg).


If Syracuse does get down, they are going to press Virginia Tech pretty hard, and it could be enough to turn things in around if they are struggling.




Keys to the game:


How does Virginia Tech shoot? If the answer is anything other than “lights out” Syracuse walks to an easy victory.


How does Trevor Cooney shoot? Can Syracuse match Virginia Tech's hot shooting with some of their own?


How does Christmas play? He is going to be on an island down low defensively. Can he handle it? On offense, he will have a chance to continue his improved play. Can he keep it up?




Predictions:


Virginia Tech's lumbering guards struggle to run after Cooney all game. He gets several good looks, like he did against Miami, but this time he drains them.


Christmas continues his hot play with 10 points.


Syracuse uses the press for at least five minutes in this game to throw Virginia Tech off.


Syracuse gets a bunch of offensive rebounds with Grant leading the way and getting most of his points that way.


Gbinije plays a little more than usual, because his length will help defend against Virginia Tech's shooters.


"The Hokies may be without two of their top shooters with Adam Smith (strained calf) and Marshall Wood (flu) questionable. C.J. Barksdale, the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 per game, also could be out because of the flu."

Nothing like our players jumping around for 40 minutes with a bunch of flu invested hokies! Perfect timing for our players just before the UNC game. I hate when our players get the flu!
 
My guess is our bigs are forced to hang out around the free throw line most of the game to guard the high post. Fair or Grant is going to have to sprint down from the three point line to cover whoever is on the baseline.

Beat me to it and said it better with fewer words. Plus it will mean more Baye if he plays well as he defends the the FT line area better.
 
EXCELLENT preview. Thanks! Now you're on the hook to keep it at this level EVERY game.

I get the feeling that the "Questionable" tag on three key players is a bit of a smokescreen. Expect all (Smith, Barksdale and Wood) to play but may not be 100%. Expect to see us extend to Eddie on the perimeter and force him to beat us by putting the ball on the floor. Should be big opportunity for steals and transition for the off side guard.
 
"The Hokies may be without two of their top shooters with Adam Smith (strained calf) and Marshall Wood (flu) questionable. C.J. Barksdale, the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 per game, also could be out because of the flu."

Nothing like our players jumping around for 40 minutes with a bunch of flu invested hokies! Perfect timing for our players just before the UNC game. I hate when our players get the flu!

If they really do miss all those guys (or even if all those guys just play badly) Virginia Tech is screwed. That would take away a lot of their size, and two of their five three point shooters. Plus the two guys best suited to play in the middle of our zone.
 
"The Hokies may be without two of their top shooters with Adam Smith (strained calf) and Marshall Wood (flu) questionable. C.J. Barksdale, the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 per game, also could be out because of the flu."

Nothing like our players jumping around for 40 minutes with a bunch of flu invested hokies! Perfect timing for our players just before the UNC game. I hate when our players get the flu!
EXCELLENT preview. Thanks! Now you're on the hook to keep it at this level EVERY game.

I get the feeling that the "Questionable" tag on three key players is a bit of a smokescreen. Expect all (Smith, Barksdale and Wood) to play but may not be 100%. Expect to see us extend to Eddie on the perimeter and force him to beat us by putting the ball on the floor. Should be big opportunity for steals and transition for the off side guard.

A smokescreen that is contagious. The trainers need to put our players on 2 grams of Vitamin C everyday for the next two weeks!
 
If they put a guy who can shoot at the free throw line, as you predict, then I predict we see an awful lot of Baye Moussa Keita tonight.
 
Thanks General. I'm very excited to watch our guys perform on the road. My tendency is to expect big games from Grant and Cooney, simply because they had weak showings the last time out. That may be a stupid reason, but whatever.

I tend to think that way as well although often times the games dictates these things. general20 pointed out that they aren't the quickest at the guard or all that athletic upfront both of which could contribute to big games for Cooney and Grant.
 
I did not realize Tech runs that big in their starting 5. Watching them a couple times this year I did notice they play slow and turn it over a lot but also they didn't seem to play very big at all.
 
I did not realize Tech runs that big in their starting 5. Watching them a couple times this year I did notice they play slow and turn it over a lot but also they didn't seem to play very big at all.

Nice I wish I had gotten chance to watch them this year but I'm just getting into really watching a lot of bball lately.
 
If they really do miss all those guys (or even if all those guys just play badly) Virginia Tech is screwed. That would take away a lot of their size, and two of their five three point shooters. Plus the two guys best suited to play in the middle of our zone.

Agreed. But my bigger concerned is our players being exposed to flu contagions! This happens every year. But's it's just irritating.
 
"The Hokies may be without two of their top shooters with Adam Smith (strained calf) and Marshall Wood (flu) questionable. C.J. Barksdale, the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 per game, also could be out because of the flu."

Nothing like our players jumping around for 40 minutes with a bunch of flu invested hokies! Perfect timing for our players just before the UNC game. I hate when our players get the flu!

You know how it goes, I'll expect at least two of those guys to play and at least one to get a career high.
 
Agreed. But my bigger concerned is our players being exposed to flu contagions! This happens every year. But's it's just irritating.

This is something that we have no control over. Wash your hands, no post game kissing with the opponents, double up on the raincoats and hope for the best.
 
Excellent I haven't watched VT all season and really didn't know what to expect.

Does anyone know if DC2 will sit out again? We may need at least his fouls Saturday against UNC.

Based on this scout, I wouldn't expect this to be DC2's cup of tea anyway. At this point in his defensive development, DC having to cover the high post and be smart about sagging from shooters to cutters sounds like a recipe for them to run a layup line on us.
 

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