This might be the toughest week of the season for Virginia Tech basketball. The Hokies play two top 15 teams, including the defending National Champions on the road.
Hokies Face Big Challenge at Home
When: Monday, January 4
The Hokies will take on one of the most efficient teams in the country when they play Virginia Monday night (9:00, ESPN2). UVA is ranked #5 in the country in both polls, and they are one of the favorites to win the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Hoos are extremely efficient in both the regular efficiency ratings, as well as Ken Pomeroy’s advanced metric…
Offensive Efficiency: #8
Defensive Efficiency: #70
Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Offensive Rating: #1
Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Defensive Rating: #8
Tony Bennett is known for his Pack Line defense, and it is extremely effective. However, this year UVA is arguably a better team on the offensive end of the court. They won’t wow you with huge numbers, and they don’t play at a fast pace, but they execute their elite system with maximum efficiency.
G London Perrantes (6-2, 192, Jr.): 10.4 ppg
G Darius Thompson (6-4, 196, r-So.): 8.1 ppg, leads team with 17 steals
G Malcolm Brogdon (6-5, 215, Sr.): 16.8ppg, six 20-point games
F Isaiah Wilkins (6-7, 230, So.): 4.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg
F Anthony Gill (6-8, 230, r-Sr.): 15.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, South Carolina transfer
The Hoos play excellent team basketball, but they don’t get nearly enough credit for their talent level. London Perrantes, Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill are all very talented players.
UVA is 12-1 on the season, with a 1-0 mark in the ACC after a 77-66 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday. Their only loss came at the hands of George Washington. Besides Notre Dame, their notable wins came over Villanova, Ohio State and California.
First Road Test…Cameron Indoor Stadium
When: Saturday, January 9
TV: ACC Network
Things won’t get any easier this weekend. Virginia Tech will travel to Durham to take on Duke, Saturday at noon (ACC Network). The Blue Devils are ranked #15 in the AP Poll and #12 in the Coaches Poll. Let’s see how they look in the efficiency ratings…
Offensive Efficiency: #6
Defensive Efficiency: #87
Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Offensive Rating: #2
Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Defensive Rating: #54
As a comparison, Tech’s numbers look like this…
Offensive Efficiency: #116
Defensive Efficiency: #47
Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Offensive Rating: #146
Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Defensive Rating: #117
The Blue Devils have been extremely efficient on the offensive side of the ball, though they haven’t gotten off to a great start defensively. Last season Duke was not particularly good for much of the season, but turned it on in March. As a result of that late season improvement on defense, they won the National Championship.
G Derryck Thornton (6-2, 175, Fr.): 9.5 ppg, 41 assists
G Grayson Allen (6-5, 205, So.): 20.6 ppg, 50 assists, 17 steals
G Matt Jones (6-5, 200, Jr.): 14.9 ppg, 45.3% 3-Pt. range
F Brandon Ingram (6-9, 190, Fr.): 16.4 ppg, 17 blocks, 21 steals
C Marshall Plumlee (7-0, 250, r-Sr.): 5.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Duke has been hurt by the loss of Amile Jefferson (11.4 ppg, 10.3 rpg) to a right foot injury. However, there is still plenty of talent in the Blue Devil starting lineup. Grayson Allen is one of the best players in the country, while Brandon Ingram is an exceptionally gifted combo forward. Right now, Ingram is projected to be the #2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, behind only Ben Simmons of LSU. Allen is also projected as a first round selection.
Matt Jones has made the jump from role player to reliable starter, while Marshall Plumlee is proving the inside muscle for a Duke lineup that is mostly undersized. Though Plumlee isn’t particularly skilled, he is physical, tough and aggressive.
Duke is 9-2 on the season, and their two defeats came at the hands of Kentucky and Utah. Their standout wins have come against Indiana, VCU and Georgetown. The Blue Devils are 1-0 in the ACC, with an 84-66 win at Boston College on Saturday. They take on Wake Forest this Wednesday.