2007-08 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia

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Virginia Tech (13-8, 4-3 ACC) vs. Virginia (11-8, 1-5 ACC)

Saturday, February 2, 2008, 1:00

TV: Raycom/Lincoln Financial (click
here for listings
)


Special Preview Items:

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Game Preview:
Virginia Tech goes for a season sweep of in-state rival UVA
when the teams meet in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies won
the first meeting 70-69 in Charlottesville on a Deron Washington running layup
in overtime, and the teams split their two games last season.

This is a game of two teams that have been moving in opposite directions.
Virginia Tech comes into this game with a 13-8 mark overall, and a 4-3 record in
conference play. That puts them by themselves at third in the ACC, half a game
ahead of six other teams who have a 3-3 record. The Hokies have won five of
their last seven games, including two impressive wins in a row over Boston
College and Florida State.

Virginia, on the other hand, has dropped six of their last seven games,
including three in a row. Two of the losses have come at home in overtime to
Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The Hoos are 11-8 overall and 1-5 in the ACC.
They are the only ACC team with less than two conference wins.

The Hoos have struggled on the road recently, losing their last four games
away from Charlottesville, three of them by double digits. They lost to Xavier
108-70, got beat at Duke 85-65, lost a tough one at Florida State 69-67, then
recently lost to Maryland 85-75.

Virginia’s starting lineup will look the same as it did the last time these
two teams faced off.

UVA
Probable Starting Lineup
Pos Player Ht Wt Year PPG RPG Assists
G Sean Singletary 6-0 185 Sr. 18.3 3.8 123
G Calvin Baker 6-2 186 r-So. 10.2 2.4 46
F Mamadi Diane 6-5 201 Jr. 12.6 4.5 26
F Adrian Joseph 6-7 201 Sr. 11.9 7.5 20
F Mike Scott 6-8 233 Fr. 6.1 6.1 5

UVA
point guard Sean Singletary is the great equalizer for the Cavaliers. When he’s
on, he’s as good as any point guard in the country. He is battling a hip pointer
and was noticeably limping at times during the Maryland game on Wednesday, but
he still managed to score 23 points and put a scare in the Terps towards the
end.

Singletary has scored in double figures for 41 consecutive games. He is the
type of player who can take over a game by himself. He scored 34 points against
Virginia Tech in the first meeting, but the rest of the team combined to go just
12-of-42 from the field and 4-of-18 from three-point range. Adrian Joseph added
11 points in that game, but he was the only other Cavalier to score in double
figures.

Singletary also grabbed 10 rebounds in that game, an amazing stat for a
player who is generously listed at 6-0.

Tech must not allow Singletary to score that many points again, because it’s
not likely that everyone else will be completely off from the field. UVA has
some very good complimentary players on the perimeter, and they are capable of
knocking down a lot of outside shots.

Mamadi Diane is the second leading scorer on the team, adding 12.6 points per
game. He is a 44.8% three-point shooter. UVA will start four perimeter players,
and combined with Adrian Joseph (37.6%) and Calvin Baker (43.8%), they are very
capable of getting hot from the outside. Perimeter defense will be the most
important part of this game for Virginia Tech.

On the inside, things haven’t been quite as good for UVA. They are missing
post players Tunji Soroye and Laurynas Mikalauskas. As a result they’ve gone
with a smaller lineup, while starting freshman Mike Scott on the inside. Scott
is very athletic, but he’s only a freshman. He’s given Virginia solid play this
year, but he can’t do it all on his own.

Unfortunately for Scott, he doesn’t have much help. The other regular on the
inside has been Ryan Pettinella, a big body, but who lacks the skillset to play
regularly in the ACC. He had two points, no rebounds and five fouls in the Hoos’
most recent game at Maryland. He struggles against athletic post players, and
doesn’t match up particularly well with Jeff Allen or J.T. Thompson. Jerome
Meyinsse should see some action on the inside as well.

Virginia’s bench has been inconsistent, as well as banged up. The only
reserve who has played in all 19 games for the Cavs is Jeff Jones, who actually
started the first 13 games before being benched for ineffectiveness.

Let’s see how the teams compare statistically.


VT vs.
UVA (ACC Games Only)

Category


VT

UVA


Advantage

Stat

ACC
Rank

Stat

ACC
Rank

FG%

41.10%

12

41.20%

11

UVA

FG% Defense

43.20%

3

45.10%

8

VT

3-Pt. %

27.90%

12

33.10%

7

UVA

3-Pt. % Defense

36.60%

8

33.60%

6

UVA

FT %

69.10%

9

71.30%

6

UVA

Rebounding Margin

+5.9

2

+0.2

4

VT

Turnover Margin

-2.71

11

0.00

6

UVA

Assist/TO Ratio

0.63

12

0.91

6

UVA

Scoring Offense

73.7

8

73.7

8

Even

Scoring Defense

75.3

2

78.2

10

VT

Average

7.9

7.2

UVA

What’s interesting is that Virginia is considered an offensive juggernaut
compared to the Hokies, but since ACC play began both teams are averaging the
same amount of points and the field goal percentages are basically equal. The
main advantage the Hoos have over the Hokies is three-point shooting. UVA has
four quality outside shooters in their starting lineup, while Tech has just A.D.
Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney.

Virginia
is fourth in rebounding margin, but that margin is just +0.2 per game. Still,
that’s very solid considering their lack of inside players this year.
Unfortunately for UVA they are going up against the #2 rebounding team in the
ACC in Virginia Tech. Tech out-rebounded UVA 47-39 in their first meeting. The
Hokies have out-rebounded every single ACC foe they’ve faced this year. This is
a battle within the overall war that Virginia Tech should win.

Turnovers will also be very important. Tech has won two games in a row. They
broke even in turnovers with Boston College, and they were +5 against Florida
State. Even though they are near the bottom in the stats, they have shown signs
of improvement in their last two games. They were -1 in turnovers in their first
meeting with UVA.

Throw the records out the window in this one. UVA isn’t a great team by any
stretch, but they are also a couple of shots away from being 3-3 in the ACC.
They can still turn their season around, and what better place to do it than on
the home court of your in-state rival?

Still, if this game comes down to the wire, you’ve got to like Virginia Tech’s
chances. The Hokies struggled in close games out-of-conference, but that
experience made them ready for conference play. They are 2-0 in overtime games,
both games coming on the road at Virginia and Boston College. They also squeaked
out a one-point win at home against Maryland.

Virginia has struggled in close games. They are the opposite of the Hokies,
having lost two home overtime games. They also lost to Florida State on the road
by two, despite holding a second half lead.

This game should be fun to watch. If the Hokies win, they’ll go to 5-3 in the
ACC and will still be sitting alone in third place. A win would put them in a
strong position to make the NIT or CBI at the end of the season, and they’d also
warrant some NCAA tournament bubble consideration.

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