Date/Time: November 17, 2017 / 5 p.m.
Site: New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden)
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network
Talent: Jon Laaser & Mike Burnop
TV/Internet: ESPN2/ESPN app
Live Stats: HokieSports.com
Game Notes: Virginia Tech
The Loser's Bracket
Buzzketball laid a dud last night. A bad loss at the hands of St Louis, on a night where the Hokies couldn't get anything going. Poor execution of shots, poor free throw shooting, and poor defense, especially down low led to an early season loss. Now the Hokies have to find a way to come in energized and ready to play against Washington or face a second loss in a row.
The Huskies come back in to Madison Square Garden with a 2-1 record, having suffered their first loss last night at the hands of Providence. They beat Belmont and Eastern Washington in their warm ups for this tournament. While Washington looked way more competitive last night against Providence, neither of their two wins had much authority to them. The Hokies are 1-1 all time with the series, having won the last matchup 88-77 in 1974 and lost 28-20 in 1923.
The Huskies are coached by first year head coach Mike Hopkins. Prior to Washington, Hopkins was at Syracuse for twenty seasons. He is 4-5 as a head coach, with a tough road ahead this season after several key players transferred or rescinded their commitments to Washington in the off season. One key note about Hopkins is that he is well known for using advanced analytics to educate and improve his players.
Defensively, the Huskies employ different variations on the 2-3 Zone with a focus on forcing the offense to move the ball side to side and deter entry passes to the interior. He expects his players to be active, with hands up in the face of offensive players to create missed shot opportunities. One of the top statistics that matters to Hopkins is Field Goal Defense Percentage.
Offensively, Hopkins offense is somewhat an inside outside tandem so far but is very guard centric if he employs what was used at Syracuse. He does however focus his players on the value of rebounds and creating extra chances. Syracuse was routinely a top rebounding program while he was there due to his specific work with their bigs.
What does that mean for the Hokies?
The Hokies will have to find the soft spots in the zone based on what Washington shows. Being able to make interior entry passes cleanly will be critical to the success of this team in this contest.
The Hokies will need to watch for tendencies from the Huskies offensively, because Hopkins instills analytic use of shot success on his players so they are more likely to return to the same spots on the court based on past success.
The Hokies and Huskies are fairly similar size wise especially looking at who receives the majority of the minutes from Hopkins so far. The Hokies need to find a way to get out in transition rather than work the half-court offense because their speed is their biggest advantage in this game.
This is another team that relies heavily upon its starters so if the Hokies can get the Huskies in foul trouble they greatly increase their chances of coming out with a win. Right now, four Washington starters are averaging over 27 minutes a game.
This will be the second team in a row that rarely shoot from the perimeter. They limited their perimeter shooting until late in the game against Providence, as they were in catch up mode for the first time which saw a sharp increase in number of attempts but not much change in shooting percentage.
Freshman Jaylen Nowell, #5, 6'4, 200 lbs is the young leader of this team who is averaging 18.7 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 APG and 2.7 SPG. He is shooting 57% from the field and 79% from the stripe so far and is one of their few reliable perimeter shooters.
Junior David Crisp, #1, 6', 195 lbs, is scoring 13 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1 SPG. He is shooting 29% so far overall but shoots 39% from outside.
Junior Matisse Thybulle, #4, 6'5, 195 lbs is another guard that doesn't shoot that well from the field but is putting up 12.7 PPG, 2 RPG, 2 APG, and 3.7 SPG. He is a bit sloppy with the ball though and cancels out his steals with 3.7 turnovers per contest.
Junior Forward Noah Dickerson, #15, 6'8, 245 lbs is sole big with major contribution so far. He is averaging 27 minutes per game so far, while putting up 18.3 PPG, and 10.7 RPG. He is shooting 60% from the field and 70% from the line. His issue is much like the Tech bigs, in foul trouble. So far he is averaging 4.3 personal fouls per contest.
What to expect from Washington?
Zone defense with lead outs to guards running the sides of the floor to open space. High Energy squad that likely could have a major impact on the result of this game, especially if Tech comes out sluggish.
Guards that love to drive the lane, and with that being a Hokies weakness so far, could prove troublesome in this contest.
Energy, energy, energy....if the team that came out yesterday shows up, then turn this one off. If the talent latent one with speed for days shows up than its an entirely different story.
Guards need to be able to beat their man off the dribble and make clean interior passes to Blackshear and Horne. Keep the offense moving and find a high percentage shot.
Highlight of the St Louis Game
Hill on the perimeter or the return of Justin Bibbs. Both will have major impacts down the line.
Very similar rosters that play very different games. The groupings on the floor though should look the same with a ton of guards and one "big man" down low but how they move about the floor and approach the ball are very different. Which team finds the clean looks at the basket should prevail.
The Hokies will need to stay out of foul trouble as these guards are very active down low with dribble drives and a heavy focus on offensive rebounding. The Hokies have to find a way to stay competitive in rebounds to keep the edge in this contest.
Hokies got that dose of needed reality after the first two fantasy games and now have to find a way to have the same energy more consistently. Buzz had better get them fired up or Washington walks out with a win and Tech leaves with a .500 record so far. The big lights are gone and the arena will likely be pretty empty so how they react to that goes a long way in this one. Hokies win a squeaker 73-69
To all the decision makers, all the workers, & those who sacrificed in various ways to allow this to happen... We are incredibly grateful! pic.twitter.com/xiQoX6iEN3— Buzz Williams (@TeamCoachBuzz) November 16, 2017