The 8-1 Hokies took the week off for exams, and now they’ll welcome
Charleston Southern into Cassell Coliseum on Saturday night. The Hokies have
three games in a row against opponents from small conferences, and if they win
them all they will be 11-1 heading into the January 2nd game against Seton Hall
Charleston Southern is 4-5 on the season, though they have no impressive
wins. The Buccaneers have defeated The Citadel and Stetson, and they also have
wins over non-Division I teams Trinity College and Toccoa Falls College. The
Bucs have lost to Maryland, Air Force, Liberty, VMI and College of Charleston.
The one common opponent is VMI, whom the Hokies beat 98-73. Charleston
Southern lost to the Keydets 103-91.
The Hokies and Buccaneers faced each other last season in Charleston, with
Virginia Tech pulling out a 75-66 win. Tech didn’t play very well, allowing the
Bucs to go wild from three-point range. However, the Hokies kept their Southern
Conference opponent at arm’s length in the second half and won the game.
Southern Starting Lineup
Charleston Southern has pretty good size for a Southern Conference team. The
Bucs have three very good players in Jamarco Warren, Jeremy Sexton and Kelvin
Martin. Virginia Tech’s perimeter defenders will have to play well on Saturday,
and the Hokies must close out on shooters.
Warren is the leading scorer, and he is shooting 41.3% from three-point
range. He scored 22 points against Tech last season, and was 6-of-12 from the
outside. The Hokies must do a better job against him this year.
Jeremy Sexton is a solid freshman guard who has a good chance of making the
Southern Conference All-Freshman team. He is a 38.9% shooter from the outside,
giving Charleston Southern a very effective duo from the outside. Sexton is a
quality all-around player who sees 27.8 minutes per game as a freshman. He has a
Kelvin Martin might be the best overall player on the team. He’s not an
outside threat, but he’s very good around the basket. Despite his lack of size,
Martin averages 8.6 rebounds per game, and he also leads the team with 14
blocked shots. The Hokies held Martin to two points and six rebounds last year,
and they hope to have a similar effort on Saturday.
Charleston Southern has solid size on the inside with Kenny Mitchell and
Quinton Goods. Mitchell is a r-freshman who is playing well in his first year on
the court. He’s a solid scorer and solid rebounder, with nothing really flashy
about his game. Mitchell is particularly effective on the offensive glass, so
Virginia Tech’s frontcourt must make sure they box him out.
Goods is a fifth year senior who is averaging career highs in points and
rebounds this year. Goods is a transfer from East Carolina, and he hasn’t been
very productive throughout his college career, though he’s developed into a
solid starter as a senior.
It will be very important for the Hokies to play good perimeter defense
against Charleston Southern. The Bucs shoot 37.2% as a team from the outside,
which is a very strong mark. By comparison, the Hokies are shooting 29.9% from
three-point range, which ranks last in the ACC.
Tech needs to take advantage of their athleticism and size and score in
transition, as well as get the ball inside to Jeff Allen and Victor Davila.
There is a chance we could see some zone defense from Charleston Southern, and
the Hokies have to handle it better than they did against Penn State.
Virginia Tech should win this basketball game, but beware the trap game and
playing in an empty gym. The Hokies haven’t played in a week, and with a nasty
snowstorm rapidly approaching Blacksburg, Cassell Coliseum could be a very empty
place on Saturday. It’s important for the Hokies to show up ready to play in
that atmosphere, or lack thereof. If they don’t, the Bucs can shoot the ball
well enough to pull the upset.