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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    NC

    MBB: Duke vs Virginia Tech (2/14 7:00pm ET, ESPN2) Pre-game and In-game Thread

    Valentine's Day present to Duke fans. Home game. Discuss.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    NC

    Scouting report

    Big game to begin what is a really tough stretch to finish the regular season. No more "easy" games left. Everyone is a top-50 team until the tournaments (and depending upon how things play out in the next few weeks, possibly even true in the tournaments). Time to discuss Virginia Tech.

    The Hokies are a team on the rise since they hired Buzz Williams. Williams made his name at Marquette, where he constantly seemed to have tough, overachieving teams that were no fun to play. This team is still working to develop Williams' identity, but they are getting there.
    They like to play an interchangeable parts approach (semi-positionless), just like he used to do at Marquette. They are a small team, but very scrappy, and more than willing to throw junk defenses at bigger teams to try to throw them off. They used a 1-3-1 to flummox Yurtseven and the Pack recently.

    The Hokies do one thing really well this year, and that is score. They are one of the most efficient and prolific offenses in the country (top-20 in KenPom, top-25 in T-Rank. They shoot the ball EXTREMELY well, with a top-5 eFG%. They are good both on 3s (top-20) and especially 2s (top-5). It's a really impressive offensive team. They don't turn it over much, and they don't crash the glass on offense. But they score and score and score. The defense is not as impressive. They don't force turnovers, don't rebound at a high rate, and don't hold opponents to poor shooting. The best thing they do defensively is avoid fouls, although even that has slipped for them a little bit in ACC play. Given the pace that both teams like to play, this game should be a high-scoring one. Somewhere around 170 pts would be my guess for the over/under.

    Centers: Kerry Blackshear Jr (6'10", 260lb junior) is the man in the middle. Blackshear is a big body who rebounds well and can block the occasional shot. But his best attribute is that he can shoot from the perimeter, including a 39% 3pt shot. Like many big men, Blackshear can get in foul trouble. When that happens, the Hokies go extremely small. Blackshear is the only guy who is taller than 6'6" in their rotation. Their other big man (Khadim Sy) withdrew from school in the Fall.

    Forwards: Chris Clarke (6'6", 210lb junior) is arguably the Hokies' best player in my opinion, although he comes off the bench. He's kind of a Justise Winslow-like, do-it-all forward. Clarke can defend any position on the court, is a tenacious rebounder on both ends, and can handle the ball and distribute. He even has developed a sneaky 3pt shot (not great, but 35%). He is an All-ACC caliber player who doesn't always show up in the scoring column but seems to always affect the game. PJ Horne (6'5", 215lb freshman) backs up Clarke. Horne is a solid rebounder and but not as good (in most cases not nearly as good) at anything else. Those are really the only guys I'd classify as forwards, and in Horne's case even that is stretching it.

    Wings: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (6'5", 210lb freshman from Canada) is arguably their best player on the wings. He is a smooth player with solid ball skills and great shooting ability. Not a super athlete, but very capable scorer using his length and shooting touch. In some ways he is like a poor-man's Trent, although not as physical. He is a dangerous scorer though. If Alexander-Walker isn't the best, then it would have to be Justin Bibbs (6'5", 220lb senior). Bibbs is another guy who is sort of a poor-man's Gary Trent. He can really shoot it, and is a bit more physical than Alexander-Walker, though a bit less impressive off the dribble. These two guys make for one of the best 3pt shooting wing duos in the ACC. Behind them is Ahmed Hill (6'5", 205lb junior). Hill is basically a clone of the other two: fantastic 3pt shooter, tough kid. The three will also share the court a fair amount, and that's a very dangerous set of wing shooters.

    Guards: The Hokies have started a pair of PGs recently. The primary starter is Justin Robinson (6'2", 190lb junior) who has emerged as one of the better PGs in the ACC. Robinson is second in the ACC in assists behind Markell Johnson at 5.7 per game. He is also (stop me if you've heard this before) a terrific 3pt shooter at 40%. Robinson is also fearless attacking the rim. He will be a real headache for us. Robinson's running mate is Devin Wilson (6'4", 195lb redshirt senior). Wilson has seen his role steadily decline over the years as Va Tech has gotten better. But he is a do-whatever-the-team-needs type of guy. He's a very pesky defender (he was the back "1" in that 1-3-1 vs State) and sneaky rebounder. The one thing he doesn't do well is shoot: a 16.7% 3pt shooter and sub-60% from the line. But he's a very able ballhandler, driver, and passer. He's played very well in their two recent wins. Wabissa Bede (6'1", 195lb freshman) is the third PG. Bede is kind of a Tyler Thornton like guy: not terribly athletic, but very tough, very smart, and very hard-working. Bede is also a pretty good perimeter shooter. But he plays sparingly.

    Va Tech is going to be a very interesting test in that they are fairly different than most of the teams we have played. I guess they are closer in style to UNC in that they play mostly small and everyone can shoot. So in that sense, it will be a very good test for our defense. They have done a good job this season of hiding their lack of size. So it will be interesting to see how/if we are able to exploit that against them. And of course, their 3pt shooting quality and depth is a challenge for us. Hopefully we are up to the challenge!

  3. #3
    The NBA guys are announcing this game I think - I always like when we get one of those.

  4. #4
    The wise guys out west say Duke wins by 1.
    Dont know if Bagleys injury plays into that.
    But giving 1 at home tells me Duke needs to be very ready for this one and may need to play more than the 25 to 30 min game we seem to play. Is zone the move against a team with five shooters? Can we play man any better? Call me cautiously optimistic.
    The ceiling is the roof

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Beach
    Both the games with Va Tech Duke has coming up are going to be interesting to watch. They are a good team and Buzz gets the most out of them especially in big games as of late, just ask UNC and UVA. Duke needs to be on their toes with them and play solid 40 minutes. If they don't, they'll be in big trouble and this is a good test for Duke. The Hokies are team they type of team Duke could possibly see in the Rd of 32 or the Sweet 16.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MrPoon View Post
    The wise guys out west say Duke wins by 1.
    Don’t know if Bagley’s injury plays into that.
    But giving 1 at home tells me Duke needs to be very ready for this one and may need to play more than the 25 to 30 min game we seem to play. Is zone the move against a team with five shooters? Can we play man any better? Call me cautiously optimistic.
    That won't be the spread. You're looking at lines too early and therefore you've gotten bad info. Lines will come out this evening, and Duke will be favored by 11ish, I'm guessing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    That won't be the spread. You're looking at lines too early and therefore you've gotten bad info. Lines will come out this evening, and Duke will be favored by 11ish, I'm guessing.
    Yeah, for reference, T-Rank has us as a 16-point favorite. I'd imagine KenPom has something similar. Obviously Vegas will have a lower spread than that (in part because of our play of late and in part because Bagley's status is unclear).

  8. #8

    Hokies will enter Cameron expecting to win!

    Virginia Tech probably entered UVa Saturday thinking they could win. And they did. So you can absolutely take it to the bank that they'll enter Cameron thinking they WILL win. They always play well against Duke anyway, even when they aren't very good.

    They are of course much older than Duke, more consistently tough than Duke (toughness comes with age) - so Duke is gonna have to continue to grow older in order to win this game.

    They are a very good offensive team, and they played UVa quality defense on Saturday. Scary game, good chance for Duke to continue building towards where they want to be when the NCAAs roll around.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    That won't be the spread. You're looking at lines too early and therefore you've gotten bad info. Lines will come out this evening, and Duke will be favored by 11ish, I'm guessing.
    Oops, I mean lines will come out tomorrow (Tuesday) evening for a Wednesday game.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Quick side note for anyone interested; EJ Montgomery will be in the house. He'll be in Chapel Hell this evening for the Catholics vs the Cheats, so sounds like he and his family will be hanging out in the Triangle over the next few days.

  11. #11
    I'd like to see the buttons on Buzz's vest burst open from exertion in a big fat loss for the orange and maroon hokie team. I am also not a fan of Buzz's decision to grow his hair out. He'll be wearing a beret next.

    As always, jeeeebus, orange and maroon.
    Nothing incites bodily violence quicker than a Duke fan turning in your direction and saying 'scoreboard.'

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Quote Originally Posted by weezie View Post
    I'd like to see the buttons on Buzz's vest burst open from exertion in a big fat loss for the orange and maroon hokie team. I am also not a fan of Buzz's decision to grow his hair out. He'll be wearing a beret next.

    As always, jeeeebus, orange and maroon.
    Buzz Williams just needs the orange Crocs to go full Mario Batali*.

    * Just in terms of looks. If we're talking behavior, Josh Pastner has allegedly gone full Mario Batali.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    Will Marvin play Wednesday night?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mount Kisco, NY
    We owe these guys some payback for last year's beat-down and need to keep showing improvement. This is a tough little close of the season, not the time to drop a home conference game. Hopefully Marv is playing.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Yeah, for reference, T-Rank has us as a 16-point favorite. I'd imagine KenPom has something similar. Obviously Vegas will have a lower spread than that (in part because of our play of late and in part because Bagley's status is unclear).
    KenPom gives us an 85% chance of winning the game an expects the score to be 92-80.

    Double digit spread seems a little high to me.
       

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Quote Originally Posted by brevity View Post
    Buzz Williams just needs the orange Crocs to go full Mario Batali*.

    * Just in terms of looks. If we're talking behavior, Josh Pastner has allegedly gone full Mario Batali.
    Is it just me, or does anyone else believe that Josh Pastner did the Oscar Meyer commercial as a kid?!? My bologna has a first name . . .
       

  17. #17
    It's a great test for us. I mean, I'm really looking forward to this game. VaTech has shooters galore, lots of quickness, a playmaking 4 in Clarke that should be tough for Bagley to guard, and they love to run PNR.

    I mean, can we do anything against this team defensively? Or do we have to score a 100 to win?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    It's a great test for us. I mean, I'm really looking forward to this game. VaTech has shooters galore, lots of quickness, a playmaking 4 in Clarke that should be tough for Bagley to guard, and they love to run PNR.

    I mean, can we do anything against this team defensively? Or do we have to score a 100 to win?
    Last year we played VT to open the ACC slate up in Blacksburg -- they beat the pants off us, 89-75, in a game we trailed from wire to wire. That was the post-tripping "indefinite suspension" game, so maybe Grayson will be the X-factor for us...Marques and Jack White both played 3 minutes each.

    Virginia Tech lost Seth Allen (14 pts, 5 ast) and Zach LeDay (11 pts, 7 reb) from that team, but return Chris Clarke (13 pts, 6 reb), Justin Robinson (14 pts, 7 ast, 5 reb), Justin Bibbs (18 pts), and Ahmed Hill (17 pts). So plenty of firepower. Im really hopeful for this game -- they do always seem to play us well, though we are 2-1 against Buzz. Id love to see us win by 20 in Cameron.

  19. #19
    Virginia Tech has the team that can put up a lot of points against Duke if the D isn't there. I hope i'm wrong, but this game could be a close one. Hopefully Duke is starting to make strides in the right direction, watching the past few games (including the end of the GT game) isn't having me feeling too confident.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by TruBlu View Post
    Is it just me, or does anyone else believe that Josh Pastner did the Oscar Meyer commercial as a kid?!? My bologna has a first name . . .
    Oh, that's him no doubt....I haven't felt a discovery like that since I figured out that Bernie Sanders was the Aardvark in "The Ant and the Aardvark" cartoons (part of Pink Panther).

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