Monday, December 22, 2008

Playing to the Level of the Competition

Look at the picture that graced the front page of after Tech won the Aeropostale Holiday Festival Sunday. That doesn't look like a happy group that just won a tournament in the World's Most Famous Arena, does it?

It's probably because the Hokies looked horrible against an already atrocious St. John's team that was missing its two best players. The Hokies committed 15 turnovers (it seemed like 30 watching the game) and uglied their way to an 81-67 win over the Johnnies. It never seemed like the Hokies were going to lose to St. John's, but they certainly never seemed in control, either.

So far, this team has looked far better in its losses than in its wins. The Hokies look good when they face quality teams and horrible when facing lesser opponents. The game against St. John's was Tech's last chance for a non-conference win over a BCS school. They got it, but the lowly Red Storm are hardly a team to put at the top of your Tournament resume.

After being one of the last teams out of last year's Tournament, the Hokies bolstered their non-conference schedule. And while the schedule itself was harder, the Hokies were unable to get a win that they can point to at the end of the season and say, "this is why we deserve to be in." Yes, those losses were close (by a total of eight points) but they needed at least one marquee win to be considered a Tournament team.

Tech learned last year that a fourth-place ACC finish and nine conference wins does not a Tournament team make. It will likely be the same this year. This team won't get a bye in conference tournament and will only hope to be an NIT team at the end of the year.

This is still a young team and it looks like Malcolm Delaney will be a star. But I wonder if this team will experience addition by subtraction when AD Vassallo exhausts his eligibility at the the end of the season.


Anonymous said...

I am glad that JT Thompson is back as his athletic ability is similar to Doran Washington. I think he would have made a difference in the close games.

I was glad to see Seth Greenberg be more active on the sidelines instead of sitting there with his hand in his face. I wish he would have taken the bull by the horns more in those close games and worked the officials and did more coaching with a sense of urgency. The Hokies also had better movement on their offense sets. Some of the earlier games I watched they were stagnant standing around on offense. What it boils down to though is outside shooting. Tech has alot of athletic guys, but the outside shooting has not been good. Hopefully the return of Thompson and Greenberg doing more coaching and less watching and seething will improve Tech's game come conference play.

John said...

Beat Duke on January 4th. That's what our team needs to do. It would be a great way to make a splash to open up ACC play. We play france early in ACC play, but they look to be rebuilding and may not be a quality win. If we go 9-7 in ACC play, but if in those 9 we throw in a Duke, UNC, or Wake, it's a lot stronger than the 9-7 of last year.