VMI will make the short drive down I-81 tonight to take on Virginia Tech in Cassell Coliseum. This promises to be one of the more exciting non-conference games on Tech’s schedule.
The Keydets are off to a 1-2 start this season. They were defeated by The Citadel 84-76, and then lost to Army 80-74. Both of those games were in Charleston, SC at the All-Military Classic. The Keydets played their home opener this week, defeating Central Pennsylvania College 116-81.
The Keydets are always one of the top scoring teams in the country. They shoot the ball a lot, and they particularly rely on outside shooting. In three games this year, they are averaging 88.7 points per game. They’ve taken 225 shots (making 44.9%) and they’ve attempted 98 three-pointers (36.7%).
Because VMI’s style of play fits with what the Hokies want to do offensively (play fast and run), tonight’s game should be very exciting. Expect lots of points. Since the Keydets switched to their up tempo style of play, they have faced Virginia Tech just once, back in 2009. The Hokies won that game 98-73, and it featured lots of action. Not only did Tech score 98 points, but they also grabbed 59 rebounds in that game.
If you’re in the area and you want to watch a basketball game features a lot of running and a lot of points, then stop by Cassell Coliseum tonight. It will be an entertaining game.
Here’s a look at VMI’s starting five, all of whom average double figures in scoring.
Rodney Glasgow (5-10, 170, Jr.): Glasgow is averaging 11.7 points and 6 assists per game. He was one assist away from a double-double against Central Pennsylvania College.
Brian Brown (5-11, 185, So.): The sophomore guard is averaging 14.7 points per game. He scored 22 points against The Citadel, knocking down seven three-pointers in the process.
Stan Okoye (6-6, 215, Sr.): Okoye scored 31 points against Army, and he is VMI’s leading scorer overall. He averages 20.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He has been an efficient outside shooter (54.5%), but he has good size for his position and does most of his work from inside the arc.
Nick Gore (6-6, 215, Sr.): Gore averages 12.7 points and 8 rebounds per game. He’s a versatile scorer who can put the ball in the basket from outside the arc or inside the line.
D.J. Covington (6-9, 235, Jr.): Covington is VMI’s biggest player. The next closest in size is Jarid Watson (6-7, 215, So.), but he hasn’t scored in his two appearances this year. Covington averages 12.3 points and 8.3 boards per game. He will be the biggest inside player the Hokies have faced, thus far.
VMI will also bring Tim Marshall (6-3, 185, Fr.), Gavin Stephenson (6-3, 185, Fr.), Phillip Anglade (6-5, 210, Fr.) and Joe Carr (6-3, 190, Sr.) off the bench. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of experience there, and if the Keydets hope to hang with the Hokies they are going to have to get some major efforts from their starting lineup.
Virginia Tech and VMI aren’t particularly close in offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. The following numbers come from Ken Pomeroy’s ratings:
Offensive efficiency: VT #91, VMI #198
Defensive efficiency: VT #62, VMI #327
Efficiency ratings look at basketball on a per-possession basis. Things like scoring offense and scoring defense don’t always necessarily reflect whether or not a team is good.
Although the Keydets do score a lot of points, they have been below average when it comes to offensive efficiency. On the defensive end, they just aren’t getting it done at all. They’ve failed to hold any of their first three opponents under 80 points, and The Citadel, Army and Central Pennsylvania aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts. Overall, VMI is ranked #279 in the Pomeroy Ratings, while Virginia Tech is #68.
VMI will likely have success in the Big South, as usual, but their style of play isn’t conducive to knocking off a team like Virginia Tech. The Hokies and James Johnson want to run, and they want to play an up-tempo game. The Keydets will likely play right into Tech’s hands, as the Hokies have the superior athletes. I don’t think tonight’s game will be particularly close, but it should be pretty exciting.