Hokies host #8 Notre Dame

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Date: Thursday, January 22
Time: 7pm
TV: RSN

Notes: Justin Bibbs (concussion) and Joey van Zegeren (suspension) are expected to miss this game.

Even though the Hokies are finally back home, things aren’t getting any easier. #8 Notre Dame comes to town for a 7pm tipoff tonight, and the Irish are one of the best teams in the country.

After facing then-#6 Louisville and #15 North Carolina in back-to-back road games, Tech now gets #8 Notre Dame and #2 UVA in back-to-back home games. The front end of VT’s ACC schedule couldn’t possibly be much harder.

The Irish are 17-2 and 5-1 in the ACC. Their only losses have come 75-74 to Providence (who is 14-5) and 62-56 to undefeated UVA. They are undefeated on the road, and they will bring a very experienced and talented group of starters to Cassell Coliseum.

Here’s a glance at Notre Dame’s projected starters.

G Demetrius Jackson (6-1, 198, So.): 13.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.3 apg. Jackson is a 41.7% three-point shooter, and he leads the team with 39 steals.

G Jerian Grant (6-5, 204, Sr.): 16.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 6.4 apg. Though he’s not a point guard, Grant still leads the ACC in assists. He is Notre Dame’s top scorer, and they are a much better team with him in the lineup. They struggled last season following his suspension.

G Steve Vasturia (6-5, 211, So.): 8.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.8 apg. Vasturia is a 38.8% shooter from three-point range.

G/F Pat Connaughton (6-5, 218, Sr.): 13.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.6 apg. Connaughton is one of the toughest and most experienced players in the ACC. Despite his lack of height, he averages 8.3 rebounds per game, and he is also a very good scorer. He shoots 43.6% from three-point range, and is arguably the most underrated player in the ACC.

F Zach Auguste (6-10, 242, Jr.): 13.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg. Auguste is Notre Dame’s only true post threat, though he is a good one. He is shooting 64.7% from the field.

Like the Hokies, Notre Dame employs a four-guard lineup. Like the Hokies, Notre Dame shoots the ball well. However, as good as Tech has been shooting it, the Irish are even better.

FG%: VT 46.3%, Notre Dame 52.8%
3Pt%: VT 39.9%, Notre Dame 40.1%

Those numbers are very impressive.

The one thing the Irish lack is depth. Four of their five starters play 30+ minutes per game, and three of the five play 33+ minutes per game. Of all the backups, only VJ Beachum (6-8, 200, So.) plays more than 9.9 minutes per game. However, that lack of depth hasn’t seemed to hurt the Irish so far. They are rolling, and they will compete for a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Let’s get a further comparison of those teams by using advanced stats:

Offensive Efficiency: VT #135, ND #1
Defensive Efficiency: VT #185, ND #78
Rebounding Rate: VT #319, ND #100
Turnovers per possession: VT #168, ND #2
Opponent TOs per possession: VT #74, ND #265

The Irish are #1 in the country in offensive efficiency, and that gets back to turnovers, where they are #2 on the offensive end. When you don’t turn the ball over and you shoot over 50% from the field, you are going to score a lot of points.

Notre Dame’s defense is also 100 spots higher than Virginia Tech, and their rebounding is 219 spots higher. The Hokies need to have a hot shooting night, and they need to find a way to win the turnover battle.

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6 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. I believe it is possible because ND doesn’t seem to have all the length that UNC does nor is their defensive efficiency as high as UNC’s. I’m basing that on stats alone…I haven’t seen ND play this year so I may wrong.

      There was no mention in the article about Bibbs…is he set to come back for this game? I’m guessing JVZ will still be out as I’d imagine him coming back would be huge news. And is the trainer bringing extra-heavy-flow tampons for Johnston’s nose, just in case? 🙂

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