2006-07 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Appalachian State

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Fresh
off their resounding victory over a solid Old Dominion team, the Hokies return
to Cassell Coliseum on Sunday to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers. This
should be another win for Tech, but the Mountaineers aren’t a team that can be
overlooked.

Appalachian State is a solid Southern Conference team that enters the game
sporting a 5-2 record. They lost 79-49 to the Clemson Tigers and 88-78 to Wake
Forest, so their two losses came against good competition, and they managed to
compete very well with the Demon Deacons.

Like most teams from small conferences, Appalachian State will use a
three-guard lineup for most of the game. The Mountaineers feature the most
experienced backcourt in the conference, and one of its most dynamic players as
well.

Appalachian
State Starting Lineup

Position

Name

Ht

Wt

Year

Pts

Rebs

G

D.J. Thompson

5-8
170
Sr.
17 5

G

Nathan Cranford

6-2
190
Sr.
8.4
N/A

G

Demetrius Scott

6-2
190
Sr.
10.7 3.1
F Jeremy Clayton 6-7 215 Jr. 9.4 8.4
C Davis Bowne 6-8 210 r-Jr. 4.6 4.1

D.J. Thompson obviously lacks height, but that doesn’t stop him from scoring.
He averaged 19.1 points per game last year and is a First Team All-SoCon player.
Even more impressive than his scoring is the fact that he averages five rebounds
per game, which ranks second on the Appalachian State team.

Thompson also averages 4.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game, both tops on his
team. He scored 25 points against Wake Forest earlier this season, so he is
capable of putting up points against top competition. The Hokies need to play a
physical defensive game against Thompson with their big, veteran guards Jamon
Gordon and Zabian Dowdell.

Appalachian State starts two other seniors in the backcourt, Nathan Cranford
and Demetrius Scott. Scott is the only other player on the team that averages
double figures in scoring.

Overall, this is a very experienced group. They will also bring sophomore
Eduardo Bermudez off the bench. Bermudez averages 9.3 points per game, and he
has actually started two games this season.

Forward Jeremy Clayton is Appalachian State’s most physical player on the
inside. He is 6-7, 215, and has the body of a small forward, but he is the best
Mountaineer rebounder. He has attempted just one three-point shot on the season,
so his game is best suited for inside play. Davis Bowne is the tallest player in
the Appalachian State lineup, but he hasn’t been all that productive.

Appalachian State looks to be one of the better Southern Conference teams
this year, but they don’t match up well with the Hokies. They have a major
size disadvantage, and simply don’t have the athletes.

The Mountaineers have played two ACC teams this year, Clemson and Wake
Forest, and have shot just 35.1% against those two teams. They probably won’t
do much better against the Hokies, and their backcourt will be bothered by
Gordon and Dowdell, who rank first and fourth respectively in the ACC in steals.

This should be a relatively easy win for the Hokies. Then they’ll have a
week off to prepare for Wake Forest’s visit to Cassell on Sunday, December 17.

BourbonStreet’s View

In a return to our very own sporting past, our Hokies host Southern
Conference
member Appalachian State this weekend in the Cassell. The Appy
State Mountaineers are expected to be a bit improved as Southern Conference
hoops teams go this year, led by a strong backcourt tandem of mighty-mite 5-8
Sr. D.J. Thompson and his diminutive sidekick, 6-1 backcourt mate Demetrius
Scott.

It is rather interesting to see that the Mountaineers are 22nd in the nation
in offensive rebounding, despite the fact that they only field one baller who is
taller than 6-3 in their top six scorers — that would be the 3rd leading
rebounder in the Southern Conference, Small-Forward Jeremy Clayton.

The Mountaineers return all five starters off of a 14 win team a year ago,
and have only been beaten by two ACC big-names this year (Wake and Clemson).
Appy State goes four deep into their bench on a routine basis, as nine different
Mountaineers are logging double-digit minutes.

In the national stats rankings, our Hokies have nearly a 100 spot edge in
defensive FG%, a 256 spot edge in offensive FG%, and a minor edge in rebounding
margin (which was boosted by a +9 rebounding margin edge last time out vs. ODU).
That’s what I need to see more of, getting after it on the glass at both ends
of the court, a surefire sign of intensity.

Virginia Tech 88 Appy State 73

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