2009-2010 Basketball Game Preview: Longwood

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  • When: December 30, 2009
  • Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA
  • Time and TV: 2:00 pm, no TV

Virginia
Tech has one more chance to improve before finally tipping it off with their
first quality opponent since Temple. The Hokies will face Longwood on Wednesday
afternoon in Cassell Coliseum, and though the Lancers aren’t particularly good,
a win is a lot better than a loss.

The Hokies are currently 10-1, and with non-conference games remaining
against Longwood and North Carolina Central, they have a chance to win 12
non-league games. That’s a big step forward from what they have managed in the
past, and they would likely only have to win eight ACC games to become a strong
contender for the NCAA tournament.

Tech faced Longwood last season, winning 79-57 in Cassell Coliseum. However,
the Hokies turned the ball over 23 times and played a very sloppy game. This
year, they’ll look to polish things up a bit before traveling to Cancun to take
on Seton Hall.


Longwood Top Players

Pos.

Name

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

PPG

RPG

APG

G

E.J. Dawson

6-2

185

Sr.

3.7

1.7

3.1

G

Martiz Washington

6-0

170

So.

7.1

1.8

2.6

G

Kevin Swecker

6-1

180

Sr.

8.6

2

1.9

F

Billy Robinson, Jr.

6-7

200

Sr.

7.7

5.5

0.4

F

Dana Smith

6-5

230

Sr.

15.6

6.7

2.4

6th Man

Antwan Carter

6-6

225

So.

16.1

7.4

0.7

That’s a very small lineup, and the Lancers aren’t particularly athletic either.
Last season Jeff Allen finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds against Longwood,
and he had a double-double by halftime. With the type of size he’ll be facing on
Wednesday, he should be able to put up similar numbers.

Dana Smith and Antwan Carter are Longwood’s best players, though Carter comes
off the bench. They are quality guys who finish well on the inside, and who can
knock down the open jumper from the outside. They are efficient rebounders, and
they are certainly the strength of this Longwood team.

However, last year they combined to go just 8-of-24 from the field against
Tech. They have the height of wing players in most conferences, and they aren’t
going to finish as well against ACC caliber teams. If Jeff Allen stays out of
foul trouble, and Victor Davila plays a consistent game, Tech should be able to
go inside at will. Cadarian Raines should also continue to see more playing
time.

Longwood can’t match Virginia Tech in the backcourt. Malcolm Delaney
outscores all three Lancer guards by himself, on average. Throw in Dorenzo
Hudson, who is starting to play at a much higher level against small
competition, and the Hokies have a huge matchup advantage on the perimeter. With
an advantage on the inside and the outside, if Tech comes to play, this game
shouldn’t be anything other than an easy win.

Longwood is not strong on the boards, getting outrebounded by an average of
five per game. Their size also limits them defensively. The Lancers are allowing
76.7 points per game, and their opponents are shooting 47.7% from the field and
38.9% from three-point range. Expect to see them in some zone against the
Hokies, which should open up Malcolm Delaney, Dorenzo Hudson, etc. for some
outside shots. If they knock them down, Virginia Tech should cruise.

For Virginia Tech, it doesn’t matter who their opponent is from game to game.
It’s only important that the Hokies keep improving. That’s exactly what has
happened since Tech returned from their tournament in Philadelphia over
Thanksgiving weekend. They have progressed at a steady rate since then, though
their competition has been less than stellar.

Now the Hokies have one more warm up game before going to Cancun to test
their mettle against a Big East team. It’s important to not take a step back at
this critical juncture, before classes have started, when all players have to
focus on is basketball. Tech should win this one with relative ease, and then
we’ll find out exactly what they’re made of in Cancun on January 2nd.

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