2009-2010 Basketball Game Preview: UNC Greensboro

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Virginia Tech won their season opener against Brown on Sunday, and now they
have a quick turnaround game as they host UNC Greensboro on Tuesday night. The
Spartans are 0-1 following their 96-62 loss to Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium,
but they have a very experienced starting lineup and some guys who can score.

UNC Greensboro starts three seniors and a fourth-year junior. This is a very
experienced lineup, though they are starting a true freshman at guard.

Greensboro Starting Lineup
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr.
Kyle Randall
5-11 165 Fr.
Brandon Evans
6-2 210 r-Jr.
Mikko Koivisto
6-4 195 Sr.
Ben Stywall
6-5 210 Sr.
Pete Brown
6-6 242 Sr.

As you can see, this is a short starting lineup with no player taller than 6-6.
The Spartans do have a few 6-8 players coming off the bench, but they combined
for just 22 minutes of action against Duke.

The Spartans had a rough season last year after losing All-Southern
Conference forward Kyle Hines following the 2007-08 season. They only went 5-25
overall, with a 4-16 mark in conference play. They are expecting better results
this year, but they have to prove it on the court.

Ben Stywall is the player to watch. He is somewhat similar to J.T. Thompson.
He’s an undersized power forward who is strong on the boards. Stywall averaged
8.4 rebounds per game last year, and he entered this season sixth in UNC-Greensboro
history in rebounding. He also averaged 11.7 points per game.

Stywall got the season off to a good start, scoring 19 points at Duke in the
first game of the season. All 19 came in the second half. He also finished with
eight rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. Stywall has been a terrific
offensive rebounder his entire career, so boxing out will be top priority for
the Hokies.

Mikko Koivisto is UNC Greensboro’s best outside threat. He led the team in
scoring last season, averaging 12.4 points per game. He has made 213
three-pointers during his career as a Spartan, which ranks third on the all-time
list. Koivisto is also an impressive free throw shooter, with a career mark of
86.3%, which is the best in UNC-Greensboro history.

Koivisto is a very experienced basketball player. He has spent the last two
summers playing for the Finnish National Team. Defending Koivisto and Stywall
will be key for Virginia Tech. The Spartans need big games from both players if
they hope to pull off the ACC upset.

Another key will be stopping the penetration of freshman point guard Kyle
Randall. Randall is a scoring point guard who averaged 26.5 points per game in
each of the last two seasons. As a junior, he led the state of Pennsylvania in
scoring. He was rated as one of the top 30 point guards in the country by ESPN
and Scouts, Inc. MaxPreps ranked him the #87 overall prospect in the country.

UNC Greensboro can be very dangerous with Randall penetrating and kicking out
to Koivisto. He knows how to get to the glass. The Hokies need to keep the
basketball in front of them.

Everyone else for the Spartans is just a role player at this point. Brandon
Evans is a transfer from East Carolina, but he only averaged 3.2 points per game
there. However, Evans is a solid athlete who has competed at a high level in
Conference USA. He will make UNC Greensboro a better team this year.

Pete Brown is the space eater of the Spartan starting lineup. At 242, he
weighs more than any other player on the team. Brown has played in all 91 games
in his UNC Greensboro career, but he’s never been a very effective scorer. He
averaged just 3.9 points per game last year. The Hokies need to keep him off the
offensive glass and make sure he doesn’t get any easy buckets.

The Spartans have four players who will see significant minutes off the
bench: guard Kendall Toney (6-3, 202, Sr.), guard Korey Van Dussen (6-2, 175,
Fr.), forward Darrius Sellers (6-7, 230, r-So.) and forward Brian Cole (6-8,
220, Fr.).

Cole scored eight points in his collegiate debut at Duke, and the UNC
Greensboro coaching staff is high on Van Dussen as well. Kendall Toney is a very
experienced player who is a former starter. He ranks seventh in school history
in three-pointers. When Toney and Mikko Koivisto are in the game at the same
time, the Spartans have quite a threat from the outside.

UNC Greensboro should be a lot better this year than the 5-25 record they
posted a year ago. However, they obviously lack the talent and size to compete
effectively with ACC teams. This should be a relatively easy win for the Hokies.

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