2004-05 Basketball Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Temple, NIT

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Men’s Basketball Preview: VT vs. Temple

by Chris James, TechSideline.com,

Virginia Tech (15-13) vs. Temple (16-13)
NIT Opening Round

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005, 8:00 pm



Special Preview Items:

For the first time since 1996, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team
returns to postseason play when the Hokies host the Temple Owls in the first
round of the National Invitation Tournament Tuesday night in Blacksburg. The
game will be televised by ESPNU and will tip off at 8pm.

Temple brings a 16-13 record, the matchup zone defense, and Hall of Fame
coach John Chaney into Blacksburg, rekindling some not-so-fond memories of the
five years that the Hokies spent as members of the Atlantic 10. Whenever the
Tech basketball team was down, and they frequently were as a member of the A-10,
Temple and Chaney were there to kick them. Even a Tech team ranked high in the
national polls, the 1995-96 team, couldn’t give the Owls a game, falling 57-41
in Philadelphia. The Hokies are 0-8 all-time against Temple and rarely have come
close to beating them. Chaney will return to the bench to coach the Owls after
being suspended for the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Temple is a guard-oriented team that plays a slow-down offense while relying
on their outstanding zone defense to hold opponents at bay. Their guards are
tall, all standing at least 6-4, as height and long arms are needed to play the
type of zone packages that John Chaney employs. They don’t score a lot of
points, but they don’t give up a lot either. They are a battle-hardened group
of players who played a very tough out of conference schedule. They had close
losses to Wake Forest (67-64) and Duke (82-74), blew out Georgetown on the road
(75-57) and upset Villanova (53-52).

Temple is led by guard Mardy Collins, who is the heart and soul of the Owls.
Collins leads Temple in scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (5.7 rpg), assists (106
total) and steals (85 total). He is one of the top players in the Atlantic 10,
earning First Team All-Conference Honors, as well as being named to the
All-Atlantic 10 Defensive Team.

Guards Mark Tyndale and Dustin Salisbery also averaged double figures for the
Owls this season, scoring 12.7 ppg and 10.5 ppg respectively. Tyndale was named
to the All-Atlantic 10 Freshman Team.

To pair with their big guards, Temple also has some big-time size in the
frontcourt. Junior Keith Butler started 19 games for the Owls this season, and
he stands 7-1, 250. Sophomore Wayne Marshall started 26 of 29 games. Marshall
measures out at 6-11 and tips the scales at 285. These two players don’t
produce flashy statistics, combining to score 10.9 ppg and grab 9.2 rebounds,
but they are large players who are very effective defensively in the zone. They
also have the potential to toss the Hokies around on the inside, where Coleman
Collins and Deron Washington weigh 228 and 190 respectively.

From glancing at the team statistics, it is easy to see that Temple’s
strength is playing defense and protecting the ball.

Key States: VT vs. Temple




Points Per Game



Points Against






3-pt. FG%









Rebounding Margin






Turnover Margin



Temple puts up outstanding defensive numbers and good numbers in the steals
and turnover margin categories. That is normal for a John Chaney coached team.

For a guard oriented team, Temple does not shoot the ball very well. Antywane
Robinson is the best 3-point shooter on the team at 33%. Mardy Collins shoots
only 27.5% from the outside, and Tyndale only 21.3%. All of those players have
attempted over a hundred 3-pointers on the season, so shooting from the outside
is something Temple does fairly often, just not very well. Overall they have
four players who have attempted over a hundred 3-pointers, and as a team they
have tried 643 shots from downtown this year. In comparison, Tech has only
attempted 437 3-pointers this season.

This will be a tough matchup for the Hokies because of Temple’s size
inside, length along the perimeter, and disciplined play. To pull out a victory
over the Owls, the Hokies must concentrate on a few things:

  • Be patient in the face of a tough zone defense.
  • Don’t give a poor shooting team easy shots.
  • Hold their own on the boards.

Tech stands a great chance to win the game if they can do a relatively decent
job in these tasks.

The home atmosphere of Cassell Coliseum will also be of great help to Tech,
where the Hokies generally beat any team that doesn’t possess a wealth of NBA
talent (as opposed to UNC and Wake, who do). Temple has played at Duke this
year, but generally travels around the northeast to play in front of sparse
Atlantic 10 crowds and aren’t used to playing in front of packed, noisy
arenas. The home court advantage can be a tremendous boost to the Hokies.


  • Temple coach John Chaney returns
    from suspension
    to coach the Owls against the Hokies.
  • VT reserve guard Marquie Cooke has taken a
    leave of absence
    from the team for the remainder of the season.
  • Tickets are general admission (no assigned seats, sit where you wish) and
    were still available at the time of this release. Prices are $15 for
    non-students and $5 for students.
  • Click
    here for Virginia Tech’s NIT FAQ page,
    which answers questions about
    tickets, parking and seating.

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