Buzzketball Central: Maryland Eastern Shore (3-7) at Virginia Tech Hokies (8-1) 3pm DEC 10 ACCN+ (WatchESPN)

GAME INFORMATION
Date/Time: Dec. 10, 2017 / 3 p.m.
Opponent: University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Site: Blacksburg, Virginia (Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum)
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network
Talent: Jon Laaser & Mike Burnop
Internet: ACC Network Extra
Talent: Byron Kerr & Mack McCarthy
Live Stats: HokieSports.com
Game Notes: Virginia Tech

Time to raise the scoring average

Buzzketball continues its home stand after dispatching the Highlanders earlier in the week. Let's hope that the Hokies are ready for these next four games before conference play starts. They need to come into this game with a clear mindset of how important these next four games are. Three of the next four are home games, outside of Kentucky all against opponents they will be favored to beat probably by hitting triple digit scoring, and now they need to find the mental fortitude to do just that. No let downs, no hiccups.

Next up is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks, who come in 3-7 on the year with an average margin of loss of 21 points even with three wins. Their wins this season were against Valley Forge, Jackson State and a surprising victory over American. This will be the eighth meeting between Tech and UMES. The Hokies are 7-0 all time, going back to 1982.


The Hawks are coached by Bobby Collins, who took over the program in 2014. Collins is 222-224 overall as a head coach and 42-57 at UMES. In his first season, he led the Hawks to an 18-15 record which got UMES into the CIT. The last two seasons and the beginning of this season has been quite tough though. This year is the second time in three years that Collins has had to replace four starters in the offseason, losing about 75% of his scoring production from last year.

Scheduling UMES allows Tech to be able to bring Ace Custis back to Cassell Coliseum. Ace is in his fourth year as an assistant on Bobby Collins staff. Custis is best known for leading the Hokies to victory in the 1995 NIT over Marquette. He was also just the third Hokie in program history to have 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. His #20 jersey is retired.

Defensively, the Hawks essentially will throw the kitchen sink at Tech. Expect to see combinations of zone, half court man to man, full court slow press and full court pressure depending on where the game stands. They used a full court press against American earlier this year to help get an unexpected win. They know they don't have the top talent on the floor against almost every opponent so they use their speed and defensive capabilities to at least try to limit bigger, more talented opponents.

Offensively, the Hawks are very similar to Tech. They want to get out and run, essentially trying to get baskets before their opponent is set up in a half-court defense, which then puts UMES at a definitive disadvantage. They lack height and size on this roster, except for a freshman that is playing minor minutes so far. One surprising result so far this season is that the Hawks top two scorers are their inside guys so expect Blackshear and Horne to have work to do down low. They do have a handful of players that are able to hit shots from the perimeter, so expect to see an abundance of outside shooting, considering UMES has averaged over 23 attempts from the perimeter so far this season. That said, they are shooting a dreadful 28% as a team.

What does that mean for the Hokies?

The Hokies have to play their game and not fall into a lull against a very inferior opponent. Buzz hopefully will have reminded these guys how important coming out strong is. This is a game where they hold an overall size advantage but not so much that it needs to be a focus. Move the ball, get the open shots, hit the open shots, get back and play defense.

The Hokies will likely force the Hawks into playing the entirety of their roster simply by forcing the issue on fouls. The Hawks have five players that average more than 2.5 fouls per contest so far, forcing UMES to reach into their talent deprived bench early and often.

Taking into account the foul trouble that UMES has, it is going to be tough on them to score enough to keep up with Tech as they rely on their five starters for over 85% of their scoring. As it is, UMES is only managing 59.7 PPG so far this season. The lowest output for Tech remains at 79 against Iowa.

Buzz will also probably get his entire roster involved tonight if this contest goes the way it should. Get the big lead, play Ammermann, Fullard, Horne, Jackson, and Bede at least a good solid five minutes apiece. Probably not all together but you get the idea. It would be good to see Bede get another ten minute stretch like he did against Houston Baptist.

Tech should have no problem finding open perimeter shooting, considering the Hawks come into this game ranked 339th in 3PA%, allowing 41.1% shooting from the perimeter. Tech is currently third in the nation at 45.6% shooting.

Defensively the Hokies have to be prepared for a Hawks team that just doesn't stop moving. If the UMES bench can do one thing, its move around the half court on a continuous basis. They essentially try to move and pass so much that their opponents start to lag late in the game which gives them better open shots.

Hawks Backcourt


Ahmad Frost, #11, 6', 190Lbs, Sophomore that returned from a bad knee injury is third on the team in scoring. He is averaging 10.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.4 SPG. He shoots 51% from inside the arc but only 29% from the perimeter. He is hitting 75% from the line.


Logan McIntosh, #3, 6'3, 180 lbs Senior who led the Hawks in almost every offensive category last season plays the point for the Hawks. So far this season he is averaging 9.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.4 SPG. He is a terrible perimeter shooter so far this season, hitting just 24% of his shots but inside he is only shooting 40% from the field. Expect to see him drive to the basket most times he is shooting with the hopes of making it to the line if that basket doesn't fall. He hits 73% from the line.


Freshman Colen Gaynor, #4, 6'5, 185 lbs is strictly a wing guard in this offense. Gaynor is putting up 6 PPG and 4.3 RPG. Rivera is their top perimeter shooter, currently hitting at 33%. This is an indication of how tough a season this has been for the Hawks.


Hawks Frontcourt


Tyler Jones, #15, 6'7, 200 lbs. Sophomore Forward is second on this team in scoring 11.3 PPG, and 5.5 RPG, while shooting 36% from the field. He is struggling this season, as last year he shot over 60% inside. He also is dealing with it at the line where he is hitting 64%.


Freshman Forward Miryne Thomas,#1, 6'8, 190 lbs is leading the Hawks in scoring. Thomas is putting up 12 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1 APG while shooting 46% from the field. Thomas has had foul troubles, averaging 2.8 per contest, so getting him to the bench early in the first half could be a goal for Buzz.

The Hawks fall back on Freshman Center Leandre Thomas, #5, 6'10, 245 Lbs once the other two bigs get into foul trouble. He then proceeds to get into foul trouble of his own, averaging 3.8 fouls per game so far. Thomas adds 3.9 PPG and 3.6 RPG so far this season.

What to expect from UMES?

The Hawks play predominantly an aggressive half court man to man. So far UMES is averaging about 5 steals per game but forcing opponents into just 10 turnovers per game so this is a major flaw in their up tempo defensive strategy. Limiting their opponents shot total allows the Hawks to try to stay in the game.

In a half court set, the Hawks are very limited offensively. They have three players who average double figure scoring and not much behind them in terms of depth. Limit any of those three due to foul trouble and UMES will indeed have a nightmare scoring.

Rebounding wise, the Hawks numbers are fairly terrible, with about 30 per game, this is where their complete lack of size on the roster comes heavily into play. Opponents average over 40 rebounds per game against the Hawks. UMES has one bench player at 6'10 and one two starters above 6'7, and it only goes down from there.

This is a case of an opponent that is extremely outmatched in terms of size, speed, and talent. If UMES is in this game after the ten minute mark, it has much more to do with how poorly Tech is playing than anything UMES might be bringing to Cassell.

The Hokies

The Hokies need to methodically pull away from this opponent as the game goes along. They need to take any hope that the Hawks have of being in this game. That should allow them to be able to use the latter part of the second half as a great experience builder for those Hokies that rarely get minutes. If they don't hit the century mark in scoring its only because Buzz put his bench in that much earlier in the game. This is a thirty point game or more at the end.

Ball control, ball control, ball control. Focus on this, and play the game the way Buzz wants them to and this game should turn into a laugher. Come out flat, giving the ball away and this scrappy opponent will be right there to remind you that it's any given Sunday afternoon. Tech can't afford any Sunday afternoon. We just have to hope Tech doesn't play to their opponents.

Advantages at every turn, Tech needs to ensure that they utilize them to take the air out of this game. No first chance, let alone a second chance for this opponent. Hit your shots, both inside and out, have a field day underneath with a huge height advantage, and rack up those assists.

Highlight of the Radford Game

Highlight of the game goes to Blackshear and Robinson. KJ had the touch inside enough to put up 20 points and Robinson came up one assist short of a double-double. The passing from Robinson was like watching a surgeon work. He made crisp lines through multiple opponents right on the hands of teammates again and again.

In Closing

This game will seem like kids coming out of a cannon in the early going as both teams love to run. If Tech gets a big lead though, expect to see UMES try to slow the pace exponentially.

If things go as they should, Buzz should be able to use his entire bench for much of this game. Hopefully Jackson and Bede get some serious work as I expect they will be more important as we get into conference play. The same can be said for Horne as we all know Blackshear has a tendency to take bad fouls in some games.

The Hokies should have a good game shooting open shots from the perimeter but I actually hope that Buzz works on the inside scoring against these last few overmatched OOC opponents.

Hokies 113 – Hawks 64

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Comments

Let's Go!

We hitting 💯 today, fam

Hokies! Yup gotta get the scoring average up

VB born, class of '14

As always, thanks for the great preview. I'm excited for another game in Cassell. Hopefully we crack a hundred and Ammerman plays the whole second half.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Another HS varsity team & fodder for our bench players today. Love that tweet/quote from Coach Buzz.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Got my computer queued up. Let's make it rain today!

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

This one should never be in question. This team is terrible defensively, we should absolutely run them out of Cassel. Only have to score 131 points to get us back to 100 ppg. Let's do this boys!

Two made jump shots from Clarke?? Please please please be a new trend

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

If we're strokin like this on Saturday....

VB born, class of '14

54-22 at half boys. Absolutely on fire from 3... If we shoot like this next week at UK there's a very slim chance we're not walking out with a W. Really hoping this hot shooting transfers to next week.

Man we can upset a lot of teams this year when we shoot like this.

Using /s is for cowards.

That might have been the silliest play of the year

between the two person rebound and Clarke driving and about to lose control fouled and manages to flip it in. Ridiculous

Seriously. He was layed out, a foot off the ground, facing down, and he threw it around his body for the and one.

Using /s is for cowards.

80-30 with 7ish minutes left. This feels like a women's roundball game.

Using /s is for cowards.

Clarke's And-1 should be a SportsCenter Top-10. That was insane.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Great play, but why attack the basket so hard when you are leading 80-30? Looks like he almost hurt himself.

If Buzz puts you on the floor you're gonna be expected to make plays like that

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

He's going to have to attack the basket that hard in ACC play; why not do it against UMES when you're up by 50? I love the effort even during a blowout. As far as the potential for injury, you could make that case every time a starter is on the court in the 2nd half during a game like this, but you need the game speed - especially Clarke who's still getting his body back up to speed.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

If he changed his approach he would be more likely to get injured because it would be outside his normal process. It would require change of gait, etc. A comparison would be if you were winning by 50 in football and you were a defender and you didn't approach a tackle the way you normally would, the hesitation could lead to you being out of position, which could cause you to take the brunt of contact with the opponent, or leave you extending arms or legs to try to adjust putting you at risk again. I would much rather a guy go hard there than question himself, because it doesn't take many times doing that before that happens more and more often.

second team going to keep them from 100 once again.

True but I guess if that's our biggest gripe then we're doing alright.

Using /s is for cowards.

Nice game but still would have liked better execution in the last eight minutes

Getting the freshman playing together will pay bigger dividends in the future. Would like to see them click sooner rather than later, but hard to think getting 10 more a game is more important than developing their ability to bring it in the future.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I didnt expect to see a different group of players at that point but even that group had the same clean open looks but were shortarming their shots, missing layups, and allowing several easy baskets because they were out of position

Which is precisely why they needed to be out there, especially when we're murdering "The Shore" by fitty,

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Man... how good would this offense be with Outlaw healthy?

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

pls don't remind me

on the bright side, he'll replace Bibbs nicely next season.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

IIRC Outlaw is out of eligibility and will have to apply for a hardship waiver to play for VT again. Even if he can play, he's pretty much just a spot up shooter and doesn't offer the same skillset on offense or defense that Bibbs does.

Bibbs is definitely the better all around player but Outlaw is one of the best spot of shooters I've ever seen, regardless of level. He will get the hardship waiver granted and it actually works out to have him play next year instead to replace Bibbs and Wilson. Hopefully in the off year he can work on defense and being better off the dribble.

This year would have been his fifth and final year of eligibility, but since it is his second season lost due to medical reasons, he can apply for a medical hardship waiver and receive a sixth year of eligibility to play next year.

Season 1: UNC Greensboro
Season 2: Lee College (JUCO)
Season 3: redshirt for heart condition
Season 4: VT 2016-2017
Season 5: out due to ACL

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

highlights are already on youtube. props to the VT Athletics channel crew, about an hour after the game ended

To be fair, they probably got the first half done during the second half.

Good.🙂

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Looks like we'll be playing a Top 4 or 5 team on Saturday. 4 teams ahead of Kentucky lost this week and two of them (Kansas and Florida) lost twice.

Looks like we'll be playing beating a Top 4 or 5 team on Saturday. 4 teams ahead of Kentucky lost this week and two of them (Kansas and Florida) lost twice.

FTFY

EDIT: But seriously, I think we walk out of Rupp with a W. I'll eat my words later if I have to.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I'm afraid of jinxing anything, but I agree. It's surprising how close Kentucky's games have been this year. Their only loss is against their only good competition. It was a close loss to Kansas, but their SOS is >200 and they've only beaten a couple teams by more than 10. I'm glad we have a full week of practice to get our minds right because this game has huge implications for us.

Edit: Don't look now, but ESPN's Matchup Predictor is giving us a slight edge at 51.5% http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/game?gameId=400986141

Nice research, I hope we're right!

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Going to be a modified week of practices though due to final exams. Buzz spoke a little to that in his post game interview. Hopefully it isn't too much of a disruption.

Psh, that's lame af

Like how he said in his interview that the main goal was to do well on finals. He said they may have to practice early, may have to practice late, or even not at all. For the sake of more practice and beating Kentucky, I hope it doesn't come to option #3, but it's nice to see he's looking out for their school first. Geez, I already sound like a dad.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Whelp never mind... Kentucky stayed at #8 in the AP. Passing Kansas, Florida, and aTm, while Arizona State, Miami, and UNC jumped them. However, they are #5 in the Coaches Poll.

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/rankings

Hokies are back in the "Other Receiving Votes" in the AP. Tied with Minnesota at 31st.
28th most votes in the Coaches.