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

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

Info Center

TSL Roster Card


(PDF format)

Cassell
Coliseum
Seating Chart


2007-08 VT Roster
Miami Links

Official
Site

Rivals Site
Rivals
Msg Bd

Scout Site
Scout Msg Bd
Miami
Herald

Sun-Sentinel
Palm
Bch. Post

USA
Today

HokieSports.com Links

Game Notes (PDF)

Radio Stations

Live Stats

Virginia Tech (14-9, 5-4 ACC) vs. Miami (15-7, 2-6 ACC)

Saturday, February 9, 2008, 2:00

TV: None (ACCSelect.com)

Roster Card:
Click here

Game
Preview Presented by:

Collegiate
Inn of Blacksburg
.

Hassle-free ownership is here! You can own a Luxury Hotel-Condominium in
Blacksburg. Imagine a fully loaded VIP experience when you’re in-house and fully
taken care of while you’re away1. The Collegiate
Inn of Blacksburg’s
rooms and amenities
include custom made cherry wood furniture, professionally designed interiors,
42″ LCD TV, granite countertops, and more. Prices start at $119,900. (1Ownership
may include the opportunity to place your suite in a professional rental
management program.)


Game Preview:
You’ve heard the expression “every game is big.”
That couldn’t be more true than in ACC basketball, but it’s especially true for
Saturday’s game between Virginia Tech and Miami. The loser of this game can
pretty much forget about having a chance at the NCAA tournament, unless they can
make a run in the ACC tournament in March. The Hokies are playing at home, and
they need to hold serve.

Despite sitting at next-to-last in the ACC with a 2-6 conference mark, Miami
is still a Top 50 RPI team. If they can somehow get on a run and finish .500 in
conference play, they would have the RPI to make them an NCAA tournament team.
The chance of that happening becomes extremely remote if they do not win in
Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

Virginia Tech has a 5-4 conference record, but they need a couple of things.
First, they need at least four more ACC wins to give themselves a chance at the
NCAA tournament. That would put their record at 18-12 overall and 9-7 in the ACC
at the end of the regular season. They would have a fighting chance, especially
if they managed to win an ACC tournament game. Second, they badly need a win
against a Top 50 RPI team. Although Miami would likely drop out of the Top 50
with a loss on Saturday, they have the ability to climb back into the Top 50
later in the season.

This will be a battle of desperate teams, as we’re seeing all across the ACC
right now. Just because the Hokies are the home team doesn’t mean you should
chalk this one up as a win. In the last five ACC games overall, the road team
has won. On Wednesday night, Georgia Tech won at Wake, Maryland won at BC,
Florida State won at Miami, Duke won at Carolina, and on Thursday night Clemson
won at Virginia.


Miami Projected Starting Lineup

Pos

Name

Ht

Wt

Year

PPG

RPG

Assists

G

Lance Hurdle

6-2

180

Jr.

7.7

1.8

53

G

Jack McClinton

6-1

185

Jr.

15.8

2.4

58

G

James Dews

6-3

203

So.

11

2.8

40

F

Dwayne Collins

6-8

235

So.

9

6.4

8

C

Anthony King

6-9

246

r-Sr.

7.7

7.7

27

Miami has talent, but they have not been playing well recently. They have lost
six of their last seven games, all in ACC play. They have not won a road game
since they won at Mississippi State back on December 13.

Jack McClinton is Miami’s top player. They have made it a point to get him
minutes at off guard. He was playing a lot of point guard early in the season,
but they want to free him up and let him be a scorer. McClinton is a very good
player who is very hard to handle when he gets a hot hand from the outside.
However, his production has been way off recently, as has the production of
several other key Miami players.

The following table shows the regression of several Miami players since ACC
play began.


Shooting Dropoff

Name

Overall FG%

ACC FG%

Overall 3-Pt.%

ACC 3-Pt. %

Jack McClinton

41.9

34.4%

43.5%

35.6%

James Dews

42.1%

41.1%

40.2%

27.0%

Brian Asbury

45.6%

36.8%

39.2%

22.2%

Those three players are playing anywhere from 27 to 35 minutes per game in ACC
play, and they’ve all suffered dropoffs in their shooting. McClinton’s dropoff
has been significant. He is playing six minutes more per game in ACC play, yet
his scoring in ACC play is only 0.3 points per game higher than his overall
average.

Miami
has gone from being one of the league’s most dangerous outside threats to one of
the ACC’s worst three-point shooting teams. That said, they do have the ability
to get hot from the outside.

On the other hand, Lance Hurdle has gotten more playing time since ACC play
began, and he’s benefited. With McClinton moving to shooting guard,
highly-touted freshman Eddie Rios stepped into the point guard position and
proved that he isn’t ready to be an ACC point guard yet. They gave Hurdle the
chance, and he has handled himself pretty well.

Miami does lack backcourt depth off the bench. They will bring Brian Asbury,
a former starter and third leading scorer at 9.5 points per game, off the bench.
He will rotate with Hurdle, McClinton and Dews on the perimeter. Eddie Rios’
minutes have dropped to just 6.8 per game in ACC play. He is really struggling
against top competition.

Miami
has more depth on the inside, which is why they are one of the best rebounding
teams in the ACC. They have three legit inside players in Anthony King, Dwayne
Collins and Jimmy Graham. They also have the solid, experienced senior Ray Hicks
coming off the bench.

Collins gave Tech some trouble last season in Blacksburg, finishing with 11
points and six rebounds. With Miami’s group of frontcourt players, and Virginia
Tech’s rebounding prowess, this could be the best boards battle we see this
year.

Despite not being nearly as good at rebounding last year, the Hokies managed
to out-rebound Miami 36-34. Cheick Diakite had six rebounds in 19 minutes. If
Tech wants to match Miami’s physical play inside, look for Diakite to be in the
starting lineup.

Miami isn’t a big running team and prefers to play in offensive sets, so a
smaller lineup that could outrun the ‘Canes big men up and down the court is
intriguing as well. J.T. Thompson is the choice in this situation, as he is good
enough to match Miami on the boards, and athletic enough to beat them in
transition.

Here is how the teams compare statistically in ACC play.


VT vs. Miami (ACC Games Only)


Category

VT

Miami


Advantage

Stat

ACC Rank

Stat

ACC Rank

FG%

41.60%

10

41.50%

11

VT

FG% Defense

43.20%

2

43.40%

3

VT

3-Pt.%

26.70%

12

31.70%

10

UM

3-Pt.% Defense

37.60%

8

40.10%

11

VT

FT%

68.70%

9

74.80%

3

UM

Rebounding Margin

+5.1

2

+2.1

3

VT

Turnover Margin

-1.00

8

-1.12

9

VT

Assist/TO Ratio

0.64

12

0.78

10

UM

Scoring Offense

72.4

8

71.8

9

VT

Scoring Defense

73.9

3

76.6

7

VT

Average


7.4


7.6

VT

Virginia Tech holds most of the advantages, but as you can see from the average
rankings, things are extremely tight. That’s typical ACC basketball.

The Hokies are actually running into someone that ranks lower in field goal
percentage in ACC play, albeit just barely. Also, it hasn’t been often that the
Hokies hold the advantage in turnover margin before the game, but that’s the
case in this game as well.

Four ACC teams have beaten the Hokies: Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Duke and NC
State. The common theme in those games has been the other team shooting very
well (Wake is the one exception) and taking care of the basketball better than
the Hokies (NC State is the exception). Heading into this game, Miami does not
hold an advantage over the Hokies in those categories. Though be warned … the
‘Canes are capable of getting hot from the outside.

Finally, keep the following table in your mind.


Turnover Margin, Last 4 Games

Game

Virginia Tech

Miami

Game 1

0

-1

Game 2

5

-2

Game 3

3

-3

Game 4

7

0

Average

+3.75

-1.5

Virginia Tech has been looking like last year’s team in turnover margin over the
last four games, while Miami continues to have a negative turnover margin. When
you struggle offensively like the Hokies, you need extra possessions. Winning
the rebounding war and the turnover margin would give them those extra
possessions, and those stats will be critical in Saturday’s game.

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit