2008-09 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Miami

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Virginia Tech (13-5, 3-1 ACC) at. Miami (14-4, 3-2)

Sunday, January 25, 2009, 5:30pm

TV: FSN (Check Local Listings)


Special Preview Items:

Fresh off a huge win at #1 Wake Forest, the Hokies have another tough road
game on Sunday against Miami. The Hurricanes are a very good team that appears
set to make the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. Miami also
features one of the top players in the ACC in Jack McClinton. Tech will have to
bring their A-Game yet again.

Miami is a battle-tested team that has faced off against some of the best
teams in the nation this year. Their four losses have come to teams that will be
making some noise come March.

Miami
Losses
Date Opponent Score

Nov. 23

vs. #3 UConn
76-63

Dec. 2

Ohio State
73-68

Dec. 21

#9 Clemson
91-72

Jan. 17

#6 at UNC
82-65

The Hurricanes are very similar to Virginia Tech. They did not pick up their
first win over a Top 50 opponent until Wednesday night, when they defeated
Florida State 75-69 at home.

Miami
Starting Lineup
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Assists
G
Jack McClinton
6-1 185 Sr. 17.8 3 55
G
Lance Hurdle
6-2 183 Sr. 7.6 1.5 44
F
Brian Asbury
6-7 221 Sr. 6.2 4.7 21
F
Cyrus McGowan
6-9 236 Jr. 6.7 5.8 11
F
Dwayne Collins
6-8 238 Jr. 11.7 7.8 38

Miami features an excellent guard, a very good forward, and a nice cast of role
players. The ‘Canes are an athletic team that can play as many as 10 players in
their rotation.

Senior guard Jack McClinton is the star of this Miami team. Though he can be
streaky, McClinton is a dynamic scorer who is capable of putting his team on his
back and leading them to victory. He is a 46.8% three-point shooter, and he has
deep range on his outside jumper. All he needs is a small space between him and
the defender and he’s willing to put up the shot.

McClinton also has a good first step and knows how to draw contact when going
to the basket. However, he struggled in his last outing against the Hokies.
Guarded by Malcolm Delaney, he was 4-of-17 from the field and 3-of-11 from
three-point range. This should be a terrific battle between two very good ACC
guards. Delaney and McClinton are very familiar with each other, as they both
hail from Baltimore, MD.

Three other players share quality minutes in the backcourt, and all three are
capable of starting. James Dews (6-4, 209, Jr.) is the team’s third leading
scorer, averaging 8.8 points per game. He shares playing time with Brian Asbury
and Lance Hurdle. None of these players is outstanding, but they are all very
experienced and play good basketball. However, none of them will be mistaken for
great scorers. All three are shooting below 40% from the field this year, though
Hurdle and Dews are capable of knocking down the open outside jumper.

Miami has a very good interior duo. Dwayne Collins is a very physical player
who is tops on the team in rebounding. He is especially aggressive on the
offensive glass, averaging 4.2 offensive rebounds per game through five ACC
games. Tech’s frontcourt has to play hard and physical against Collins, who has
started since he was a freshman at Miami.

Collins is joined up front by Cyrus McGowan, a transfer from Arkansas.
McGowan barely played in two seasons with the Razorbacks, but he has started 17
of 18 games this year at Miami. McGowan is a solid rebounder. He’s not a great
low-post scorer. He’s shooting just 38% from inside the three-point arc this
year, an unusually low percentage for a post player. However, he is 10-of-23
(43.5%) from the outside. The Hokies must be aware of his outside jumper.

Miami will bring in Jimmy Graham (6-8, 256, Sr.) and Adrian Thomas (6-7, 227,
r-Jr.) off the bench on the inside. Graham in particular is very physical and is
tough on the glass. Despite only playing 17.2 minutes per game, he is averaging
5.9 rebounds. He is an enforcer on the inside for the ‘Canes.

Miami’s biggest advantage in this game is their experience.

Miami
vs. Virginia Tech, Experience
Miami Virginia
Tech
Player Year Player Year

Jack McClinton
r-Sr.
A.D. Vassallo
Sr.

Lance Hurdle
Sr.
Cheick Diakite
Sr.

Brian Asbury
Sr.
Lewis Witcher
Jr.

Jimmy Graham
Sr.
Malcolm Delaney
So.

Cyrus McGowan
r-Jr.
Jeff Allen
So.

Adrian Thomas
r-Jr.
J.T. Thompson
So.

Dwayne Collins
Jr.
Dorenzo Hudson
So.

James Dews
Jr.
Terrell Bell
So.

Julian Gamble
r-Fr.
Hank Thorns
So.

DeQuan Jones
Fr.
Victor Davila
Fr.

Eight of Miami’s top 10 players are three years or more into their careers.
Seven of Tech’s top 10 players are true sophomores or younger. The ‘Canes
definitely have the experience factor working in their favor in this meeting.

That said, they had the experience factor in their last meeting with Virginia
Tech as well, an
easy 63-49 Hokie win
in the ACC tournament last season. The main
reason for that victory was that Tech has more star power than the ‘Canes. Jack
McClinton was the only Miami player to score in double figures in that game, and
even he had a terrible day shooting (4-of-17). Meanwhile, Tech had four players
in double figures, and two players finish with double-doubles.

This year is no different. Jack McClinton is an excellent guard, and Dwayne
Collins could start for just about anyone in the conference on the inside, but
Miami can’t match the Hokies in terms of star power. Virginia Tech has three of
the ACC’s top 15 scorers (conference games only), Malcom Delaney (7th, 19ppg),
A.D. Vassallo (10th, 17ppg) and Jeff Allen (15th, (14.5 ppg).

Miami has played five conference games, while the Hokies have played four. At
this point we can begin comparing statistics in conference play.

VT
vs. Miami, Conference Games Only
Miami VT
Category Stat Rank Stat Rank

FG%
42.8% 4 45.1% 2

FG% Def.
43% 6 44.2% 8

3-Pt.%
38.3% 3 33.3% 6

3-Pt.% Def.
37.2% 10 34.2% 9

FT%
61.9% 10 61.7% 11

Rebounding Margin
+2.4 4 -0.8 8

Turnover Margin
-1.4 8 +1.75 5

Assist/TO Ratio
0.8 8 0.8 8

Scoring Off.
70.2 ppg 8 69.8 ppg 9

Scoring Def.
74.6 ppg 8 71.5 ppg 5

Average
6.9 7.1

The stats indicate that this will be a very competitive contest. The Hokies
can’t afford to have an off-game from one of their “Big 3” of Delaney,
Vassallo and Allen.

Miami is a very good rebounding team, and the Hokies must play with the
energy they had against the ‘Canes in last year’s ACC tournament. Tech
outrebounded Miami 51-25 in that game, an amazing margin. Stop me if you’ve
heard this before, but the Hokies were tougher. They’ll need to play tough this
time around as well.

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