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  1. #1

    MBB: Duke @ Virginia Tech (Tue 1/12, 7:00 pm, ACCN) Pre-Game and In-Game Thread

    The sun comes up, the sun goes down and Duke plays a road game in Blacksburg, Virginia; some things just never change. This will mark the 5th consecutive season Duke will play at Virginia Tech while the Hokies have only made 2 visits to Durham during that timeframe. Overall, Duke has a 32-7 record against VT but just a 7-5 record when playing on the road. It's been a tough place to play.

    After a long tenure as head coach at Wofford, Mike Young has the Hokies moving in a positive direction in year 2. The team has been ranked twice, the first after an impressive OT win over Villanova during the first weekend of the season. They also have a blowout home loss to Penn State, a 6-point victory over Clemson, and a more recent 2-point loss to Louisville last week on their record. They are a good squad and have a solid resume at this juncture. Their profile is one of being solid everywhere without excelling in any single facet of the game.

    The Hokies are a slightly better offensive team than a defensive unit. They play at a methodical pace, take a lot of 3's, look for good shots, and generally try to out-execute the opponent. Mike Young does not have his team shooting the ball as well as he had Wofford. In his last 4 seasons as head coach at Wofford, the terriers were a top-10 3P% team in 3 out of the 4 years. This team doesn't have that level of shooting yet but is getting there. The top players are all Mike Young guys. The headliner so far this year has been Wofford transfer 6'9" JR F Keve Aluma. The forward had a sensational opening week, averaging 21 points in his first two games including that big upset of Nova. Since then, he's fallen back to Earth a bit but still presents a challenge to opposing teams. He has added a 3-point shot to his arsenal this year and can score there, at the midrange, and around the basket. He's fairly athletic, too, and can both dunk it and defend the rim. He'll be a tough matchup for Matthew Hurt in this one. One thing to watch is his attacking game. He is taking more than 6 FT attempts per game and puts a lot of pressure on the interior defense. Having Jalen Johnson available to matchup with Aluma would be a big help, if only for the extra fouls and rim protection. Aluma shares the frontcourt with another transfer, 6'7" F Justyn Mutts, who is playing his first year for VT after transferring from High Point in 2018 and then Delaware after last season. Mutts is also a versatile forward and can shoot it and score closer to the rim. Mike Young is giving spot minutes to a pair of 6'9" forwards, including Iowa grad transfer Cordell Pemsl and FR David N'Guessan. Neither are much more than offensive afterthoughts there to grab rebounds and spell the starters. More likely than not, Young will play 4 guards and a forward if either of Aluma or Mutts is sitting down.

    In addition to Aluma, the core of the team includes a quartet of sophomore guards that Mike Young recruited when he was named head coach. That includes 5'10" Jalen Cone, 6'2" Tyrece Radford, 6'3" Hunter Cattoor, and 6'4" Nahiem Alleyne. After missing a few games early in the year, Cone, a former top 100 recruit, has really come alive on offense of late. The diminutive guard can light it up and is averaging a team-best 17.8 points over the last 4 games. Almost all of that is coming from behind the arc, too. He's shooting more than 11 3-point attempts per content. Hunter Cattoor is another 3-point specialist and is hitting almost 45% of his 3's on the season, too. Both Cone and Cattoor have been coming off the bench so far this season while Alleyne and Radford have started. Obviously, Cone is a high-usage player and is getting more minutes as he appears to be healthy again. Alleyne has a more diversified game but can also light it up from outside. Radford is the biggest of the guards if not the tallest and he is the only one that isn't a jump shooter. He is just 4-18 from behind the arc on the year, preferring to attack the basket instead. Only Keve Aluma has taken more shots close to the rim than Radford. Joining Radford and Alleyne in the backcourt is 6'1" SR PG Wabissa Bede. Bede is a limited offensive player but will take the occasional jumper if left wide open. His play style is a lot like freshman year Tre Jones; he's there to setup his teammates and play defense. With so many offensive-minded guards on the roster, Bede is content to feed them the ball and then get back on defense. He's a holdover from Buzz Williams's time as head coach on this roster.

    This team, even with limited height, is a good rebounding unit. The two forwards and Tyrece Radford really get at the defensive glass. Outside of rebounding, they are solid if unspectacular all around. They don't force a ton of turnovers, don't block a lot of shots, or force teams into very difficult shots. They just play solid defense and try to limit the opposition to one attempt. They take and make a ton of threes and then compliment that with a relentless attack on the rim that gets Aluma, in particular, a lot of FT attempts. The guards also get to the line a lot. Through 10 games, they have taken 215 FT attempts. Duke, in 7 games, has taken less than half that amount. Duke is going to have to play disciplined defense and not allow open looks or backdoor cuts to the rim. Allowing Aluma to go one-on-one against Matthew Hurt could lead to foul trouble for Hurt, too. Having Brakefield or, if possible, Jalen Johnson around to provide help defense on the interior would go a long way. Preventing open looks from 3 is going to be a key for the Blue Devils. Duke has the personnel to matchup well in this one. If they can find a way to limit Aluma and prevent Cone from going off, Duke should have a shot in this one. It won't be easy but it would go a long way towards showing that this team is moving in the right direction as the season progresses.

  2. #2
    Wait... We've played 12 of 49 games against VaTech on the road? That seems very unlikely.

    This team is very much a "one game at a time" squad. I suspect that given everything going on, we aren't likely to get caught looking ahead. Each game is a unique adventure this year.

    This will be a good test - road game against a solid opponent. Take nothing for granted, be pleasantly surprised be each positive development.
       

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    Wait... We've played 12 of 49 games against VaTech on the road? That seems very unlikely.
    Since VaTech joined the ACC in 2004-05, we've played them 23 times: 11 times in Durham and 12 times in Blacksburg. Assuming DBA's all-time record is correct (I didn't check), that would mean we played them 16 other times (because he mentioned 39 games, not 49), either on neutral courts (e.g., 2019 NCAA tournament; 2011 and 2012 ACC tournaments) or before they joined the ACC. Presumably all regular season games we played them before 2004 were at Duke or in pre-season tournaments (or possibly in the ACC/Big East challenge, though I don't recall us playing them in that). Since we rarely play true road games against out-of-conference teams, it seems likely enough.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    I moved. Now 12 miles from Heaven, 13 from Hell
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    Since VaTech joined the ACC in 2004-05, we've played them 23 times: 11 times in Durham and 12 times in Blacksburg. Assuming DBA's all-time record is correct (I didn't check), that would mean we played them 16 other times (because he mentioned 39 games, not 49), either on neutral courts (e.g., 2019 NCAA tournament; 2011 and 2012 ACC tournaments) or before they joined the ACC. Presumably all regular season games we played them before 2004 were at Duke or in pre-season tournaments (or possibly in the ACC/Big East challenge, though I don't recall us playing them in that). Since we rarely play true road games against out-of-conference teams, it seems likely enough.
    We used to play OOC games on other teamís home courts; the neutral or home only games didnít really start until the 2000s.

    Anyway, the Duke media guide (latest I found was the 2019-20 one) says weíre 16-1 in Cameron, 6-5 in Cassell (now 7-5) and 2-0 in the ACC tournament.

    It indicates that pre-2005, we played 7 games in Blacksburg, the last one in 1954. Since 1954 thru VT joining the ACC, we had one home game in 1970, and 9 on neutral courts (all in Dec or Jan, so likely holiday tournaments.)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    Wait... We've played 12 of 49 games against VaTech on the road? That seems very unlikely.

    This team is very much a "one game at a time" squad. I suspect that given everything going on, we aren't likely to get caught looking ahead. Each game is a unique adventure this year.

    This will be a good test - road game against a solid opponent. Take nothing for granted, be pleasantly surprised be each positive development.
    Sorry, I should have clarified. Duke is 7-5 against VT @ Cassell Coliseum since the Hokies joined the ACC in the 2004-05 season.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    On Jan. 2 1978, Gene Banks freshman year, we played Virginia Tech in the Roanoke, Virginia Civic Center and beat them 86-79. I remember because this long suffering Duke fan (we sucked in the 70's) drove up from Durham with two of my high school friends home on Christmas break from college to root on our Devils. After the game we went to get something to eat at a local dive and the team was there eating. I got to shake Gene's meat hook of a hand. I haven't washed that hand in 43 years.
    "This is the best of all possible worlds."
    Dr. Pangloss - Candide

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Wherever the wind blows and the leaves dance.
    I do not like this matchup for Duke, particularly right now. Though I don't when would be better. I think the Hokies backcourt is going to give Duke fits and Mike Young is going to have them ready to make a statement. The only matchup I like is Hurt but I worry about foul trouble. Teams are really going to be going at him as Duke needs him on the court.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Hot'Lanta... home of the Falcons!
    Quote Originally Posted by chrishoke View Post
    I haven't washed that hand in 43 years.
    Actual photo of Hoke's hand:
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  9. #9
    Virginia Tech has a couple impressive wins on their resume, particularly their win over Villanova. Going to be a huge test.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueDevilStop View Post
    Virginia Tech has a couple impressive wins on their resume, particularly their win over Villanova. Going to be a huge test.
    They also got beat by 20 against Penn State. It's an interesting team, one that could give Duke fits. Keve Aluma presents an interesting matchup problem for Duke. If Jalen Johnson is available and plays, he could neutralize some of the defensive issues Duke has had recently.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBenAkiva View Post
    They also got beat by 20 against Penn State. It's an interesting team, one that could give Duke fits. Keve Aluma presents an interesting matchup problem for Duke. If Jalen Johnson is available and plays, he could neutralize some of the defensive issues Duke has had recently.
    I think Wendell Moore get's to guard Aluma... a lot. He could be more valuable on defense than he is on offense for this game.

    GoDuke!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jv001 View Post
    I think Wendell Moore get's to guard Aluma... a lot. He could be more valuable on defense than he is on offense for this game.
    As well as every other game.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    As well as every other game.
    I think Mike Young is going to do well at VT. As a Furman guy I saw what he did with Wofford. Give him 4 or 5 years and they could be a perennial top 25 (already are!). Is telling that one his top 2 players is Aluma who he had playing at Wofford! That's impressive scouting/recruiting ability to get that kid at Wofford. He took Wofford to the round of 32 where they scared the junk out of UK. Beat UNC etc.

    Ken Pom has them 27th on O and 49th on D. Put another way, despite the fact Young is only in his second year and still working with transfers this is the best team we have played other than Illinois per KenPom. Will be a tough one - but good to have him coaching in the ACC to increase the prestige of the league

  14. #14
    Duke-Virginia Tech game preview and what to watch for.

    https://bluedevilstop.com/duke-virgi...-game-preview/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    As well as every other game.
    I see what you did there. I'll take ever other game but that remains to be seen so far this season.

    GoDuke!

  16. #16
    I know this has been said before, but I have to say it again:

    Shame on the ACC for creating a private new cable network that I cannot receive through my cable company. I know Comcast in horrible, but the ACC sold me out.

    It's 2021 -- what kind of a new tv service is too incompetent to allow me to pay it directly ala carte for membership? I cannot change my provider, and I cannot justify purchasing a second full cable package to reward the ACC for its greed.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cary, NC
    Random question but why does the team fly to Blacksburg when itís like a 3.5 hour drive?

    https://fb.watch/2YO9xV1Ter/

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by UrinalCake View Post
    Random question but why does the team fly to Blacksburg when itís like a 3.5 hour drive?

    https://fb.watch/2YO9xV1Ter/
    because it's a 45 minute charter, and that's less, and the program has little incentive to keep costs down, I would assume.
    basketball is back, baby!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cary, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    because it's a 45 minute charter, and that's less, and the program has little incentive to keep costs down, I would assume.
    Is it really less than going to the airport and also landing and driving in from whatever little airport is close to Blacksburg? Never mind the additional exposure the team faces by flying, even on their own chartered plane.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by UrinalCake View Post
    Is it really less than going to the airport and also landing and driving in from whatever little airport is close to Blacksburg? Never mind the additional exposure the team faces by flying, even on their own chartered plane.
    I don't mean to be condescending, but have you ever flown out of the general aviation terminal? It is like 50' from parking lot to tarmac. There's no security, no checking bags, no line up and wait at the gate, no fighting for overhead bin space.

    It's a 25 minute drive from cameron, and 38 minutes from roanoke to VT. so about an 1:45...we'll make it 2 to account for some time schlepping stuff off the busses and onto the plane.

    So we've already saved an hour base.

    Now, lets consider the potential for traffic going through the triad, or snow on some of those mountain roads. I'm not saying it's the most cost effective way, or that you couldn't get by driving, but it's definitely faster, and more consistent, than would be busing it.


    And this is all assuming they can't use a plane small enough to land at blacksburg executive, which is another half an hour off. I don't know what they charter for this, but I would assume some smaller jets can land there (though the runway is pretty short...)
    Last edited by uh_no; 01-11-2021 at 10:55 PM.
    basketball is back, baby!

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