Tech got off to a great start against UNC on Saturday. The Hokies had a lot of guys who had never played in that arena before, but they did a good job of playing the UNC players rather than the arena, the banners and the retired jerseys.
Tech took Carolina out of their transition offense, and that helped them stay in the game. If you can keep them from scoring in transition, you can beat them. UNC only had six transition points on Saturday. That’s how Tech held them to 55 points in regulation. Johnson isn’t sure of the last time UNC only scored 55 points in regulation at home.
Everybody knew Carolina was going to make a run. They are a good team and they were playing at home. The Hokies played calm and collected, but UNC pulled it out in overtime.
Erick Green didn’t feel comfortable attacking in transition as the game went on, and maybe he was worried about not getting the call from the officials. Tech shied away from contact a lot in this game. The Hokies need to attack and put the pressure on the refs to make those calls.
UNC always had a fresh defender going up against Erick Green, and Johnson is worried that Green and some other members of the team might be wearing down a little bit. He started worrying about that during the Clemson game. He thinks they have heavy legs right now. There’s not much you can do about it right now other than cut back on practice a little bit.
Johnson gave his players Sunday and Monday off. He told them not to even come by the facility unless they are getting treatment. He wants them to have fresh legs. They played good basketball against Miami and UNC. They got better last week, they just have to find a way to finish.
Cadarian Raines has played with a lot more confidence recently. He put back-to-back games together, and that’s something Johnson has been waiting to see all year. Raines is a 2009 car, but he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on him. He is still gaining experience because of all the time he missed with injuries early in his career.
Robert Brown sometimes shows signs of breaking out of his slump, but then he goes right back into it. He hit shots early against Miami, but he had five turnovers against UNC. Johnson is telling him to just let the game come to him, and to not force it. Sometimes he tries a little too hard.
Johnson felt like the zone defense was better on Saturday, and it’s gotten better each game. The more the Hokies play it, the better they’ll get at it.
Johnson likes the new recruiting rules passed by the NCAA. They let schools get involved with kids earlier, and that helps a program like Tech. You can call and text more, there are no limits on media guides, etc.
Green has been creating shots for others, but those guys aren’t knocking them down all the time. Defenses will keep doubling Green until others prove they can make shots consistently.
Johnson would certainly vote for Erick Green for ACC Player of the Year. If he couldn’t vote for his own player, he would vote for Shane Larkin of Miami.
Maryland is 14-1 at home, but 1-4 on the road. This will be the second meeting between the teams. Maryland is playing good ball, but Tech is playing much better ball right now than they did during the first meeting. The Terps present problems with their size. They are big, athletic and deep.
Georgia Tech had a great comeback win against UVA. UVA went cold at the end of the game. The Hokies will face Georgia Tech again this Saturday, in Blacksburg this time.
Johnson wants to get more guys involved offensively in the second half of the ACC schedule. That is the top focus offensively. Green needs some help.
Erick Green took 20,000 shots in the practice facility over the summer before the season started. They keep track of things like that. He didn’t become a great player by accident.
Marshall Wood is starting to get his wind back. That will get his minutes up as the season goes on.
Tech is already working on next year’s schedule. They are waiting to see which tournament is the best fit for them. Tech will stay away from games out west. Tech had to do that twice this year, and that took it’s toll on the team. Johnson would like to have 15 to 17 home games.
Monday was Day 2,992 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.