- Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
- Time: 7pm
- TV: No TV
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Virginia Tech did not make the NCAA Tournament, but on the bright side
they’ll have a chance to host three more home games as a #1 seed in the NIT. The
first of those opponents, Quinnipiac, will come to Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday
If you’ve never heard of Quinnipiac, here’s a short primer.
The Bobcats set a school record with 23 wins this season. They won the NEC
regular season championship, but were upset in the conference tournament finals
by Robert Morris. As a result, Quinnipiac earned an auto-bid to the NIT.
Quinnipiac generally sticks to playing games in the northeast, as they surely
don’t have a lot to spend on travel budgets. The 580 mile trip to Blacksburg
will be their longest road trip since playing at Northern Arizona in 2004. The
Bobcats could be feeling some travel fatigue on Wednesday night.
This team features some of the best players in the Northeast Conference.
Though their schedule wasn’t particularly tough, they did lose to NCAA
Tournament team Vermont by just three, and they also played A-10 contender Rhode
Island very close on the road. Here’s a look at their starting lineup.
James Feldeine is the leading scorer, but power forward Justin Rutty is arguably
the heart and soul of the team. The Bobcats are a physical basketball team,
particularly in the paint. They dominated the boards this year with a +9.1
rebounding margin advantage over their opponents.
Quinnipiac takes offensive rebounding very seriously. The Bobcats missed
1,025 shots this year, but they managed to grab 470 offensive rebounds. Think
about that for a moment. That’s an offensive rebound percentage of 45.8%. The
Hokies better come into this game ready to box out. The Bobcats will play hard,
and they have the ability to hang around if they get second chance points.
Rutty is a shorter inside player with a similar build as Jeff Allen. He
averaged a double-double this season, and he’s had a double-double in his last
seven games. Rutty collected 158 offensive rebounds this year, and shot 53.4%
from the field. Tech needs to keep him off the offensive glass, which is where
he gets a high percentage of his points.
James Feldeine is a quality overall player who can score and rebound. Not
many 6-4 guards average six rebounds a game. He shoots 35.2% from three-point
range. Feldeine might not be great at any one thing, but he’s a good all around
James Johnson is the youngest starter, but he averages nearly 12 points per
game. Johnson will be the smallest player on the court for either team. He is a
38.9% three-point shooter and 82.4% free throw shooter. He doesn’t finish
particularly well inside because of his height, but he can put up some points
when given space. Johnson runs the point for Quinnipiac, and he also leads the
team with 47 steals on the season.
Jeremy Baker is a solid senior guard who averages nine points per game. Baker
is a team captain and leader. He’s a stocky guard who could draw the assignment
of defending either Malcolm Delaney or Dorenzo Hudson. While not a great
shooter, Baker is a competent scorer.
Jonathan Cruz is the fifth and final starter. He lacks the size to play the
“4” position against power conference teams. However, the Bobcats have
no one in their playing rotation taller than 6-7 or who weighs more than 240, so
Cruz will have to see a lot of action. It will be difficult for him to defend
bigger players such as Jeff Allen or Victor Davila, and J.T. Thompson is a good
matchup as well because of his athleticism.
Eight Quinnipiac players play 14.9 minutes or more. No other player averages
more than three minutes. This is an eight-man rotation, and head coach Tom Moore
relies on his top three scorers to play 30+minutes per game. This is not a deep
team, and they’ll try to keep the game low scoring against Virginia Tech.
The Bobcats are likely to pack their defense in tight to try and force the
Hokies to beat them from the outside. Tech is obviously the much more athletic
team, and if they get their outside jumper falling and force turnovers to score
in transition, this should be a relatively easy home win.
If the Hokies get past Quinnipiac, they will face the winner of #4 seed UConn
vs. #5 seed Northeastern. The time and date of that game has yet to be decided.
Please see the link below for the Roster Card.