2006-07 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Richmond

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Virginia Tech will look to put Saturday’s upset at Marshall behind them
when they return to Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night to host the Richmond
Spiders. The Hokies played their worst game of the season in the 59-58 loss to
the Thundering Herd and can’t afford any more setbacks before conference play
begins.

Richmond is a very young basketball team, with four freshmen logging over 25
minutes per game. These four freshmen are the core of the future of Richmond’s
program. They have combined for 45 starts already this season, and they are four
of the team’s top five leading scorers.

It’s difficult to project a starting lineup, because the Spiders have
started nine different players this year. In fact, only one player has started
all 12 games. So we’ll just list Richmond’s top five players, and as you can
see, they are very young.


Richmond’s Top Players

Position

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Points

Rebounds

C

Dan Geriot

6-9

225

Fr.

13.1

3.8

G

Peter Thomas

6-5

210

Sr.

10.1

3.4

G

David Gonzalvez

6-4

190

Fr.

8.3

3.8

G

Ryan Butler

6-6

185

r-Fr.

7.6

2.8

G

Brian Morris

6-6

180

Fr.

6.9

3.1

Richmond runs a perimeter-based offense, as you can tell from the statistics
above. However, they aren’t a fast-paced team. Instead, they are deliberate,
and they focus on keeping the game low-scoring and within their range.

This year, they haven’t been too successful. The Spiders are just 4-8 on
the year, and they have lost to some bad teams. None of their victories have
been very impressive, and they don’t stand much of a chance at beating
Virginia Tech in Cassell Coliseum.

Richmond opened the season with three victories over East Carolina, American
and Longwood, but each of those teams has an RPI of 211 or lower. The Spiders
then lost to Old Dominion, Radford and Marist. The Radford loss was particularly
humbling, because the Highlanders are 3-10, and they beat Richmond 67-50 on the
road in an easy game.

Richmond’s best win of the year came at 9-5 South Florida on December 5.
The Spiders beat the Bulls 56-46. South Florida has since beaten Wake Forest.
But since the USF game, Richmond has lost five in a row to VCU (68-54), VMI
(93-84), Wake Forest (72-59), Tulane (75-63) and William & Mary (61-53).
They are young, they don’t have much offensive firepower, and they are in a
major slump.

Richmond only averages 63.2 points per game. They shoot 46.5% from the field,
and a solid 36.5% from three-point range. But with so many freshmen on the
court, the Spiders struggle with turnovers, even in a slowdown offense. Richmond
has 181 turnovers in 12 games, while they have just 157 assists, a good matchup
for the experienced Virginia Tech backcourt.

Also, Richmond is possibly the worst rebounding team the Hokies will face all
season. The Spiders average just 27.3 rebounds per game and on average get
outrebounded by 7.1 per game. They have some height on their team, with a lot of
wing players that stand 6-4, 6-5 or 6-6, but they aren’t especially athletic
and aren’t physically tough enough to do a good job on the boards.

The main thing to watch for is three-point shooting. Richmond hits an average
of seven three-pointers per game, and if they can get hot against the Hokies,
they have the potential to stay in the game. But Virginia Tech should have a big
advantage on the boards, and should force enough turnovers to come away with an
easy home victory.

Bourbonstreet’s View

The A-10 Richmond Spiders enter the Cassell this Wednesday night to take on
our basketball Hokies. Richmond really is an impoverished man’s version of the
Princeton offense that Pete Carrill made so famous for so many years in Ivy
League play. Outside shooting, backdoor-cuts, slip-splits (power forward
back-door cut) … the Princeton offense has it all. But how will five Spider
freshmen be able to run such plays in their first year of play for Coach Chris
Mooney? The answer is: not real well, as the Spiders are only 4-8 after playing
a very small-time opening 12 game schedule.

In assessing the Spiders for this article a few things jumped right out at
me: first, the aforementioned youth of UofR; second, the fact that they only
play one baller in their top-9 rotation that stands under 6-5 in height. I’ve
been harping about our Hokies playing such small teams of late, but that is not
the case when one sizes up the Richmond Spiders. However, it is highly
conspicuous that such a lengthy team is dead last in offensive rebounding and
308th in rebounding margin in all of D-1. All of this is a reflection of
the amount of outside shooting the Princeton offense relies on, and the expected
long rebounds off of misses that carom outside the key, which tend to favor the
defense gaining possession of the ball most of the time. Richmond runs a very
patient offense and therefore attempts to play a deliberate and efficacious
version of stall-ball. This will hold the total down for both teams, but I do
not expect to hear any “We are U of R!” chants ringing inside the Cassell in
the end.

Virginia Tech 69 Richmond 58

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