By the (Advanced) Numbers: Control the 'Noles

The Hokies are 4.5-point underdogs at Florida State, and free throws and forced threes could dictate the outcome.

[Mark Umansky]

Virginia Tech has its work cut out against Florida State. The No. 15 Hokies (22-6) travel to the No. 14 Seminoles (23-6), a trip that hasn't been successful for Tech in its last 11 tries, and the ACC Tournament double bye is on the line. By the (Advanced) Numbers takes a look at what to expect when the two face off in Tallahassee.

Overall Matchup

The Massey Composite computer rankings collect rankings on every team across many computer rankings systems available.

These teams are certainly close. Virginia Tech has a slight edge in average ranking, but that is countered by the venue, at Florida State, and continued doubts about the Hokies' ability to keep performing without Justin Robinson.

Overall statistics are provided by the KenPom rating system and provide a breakdown for total team efficiency as well as offensive- and defensive-specific numbers.

Both teams are fairly balanced between offensive and defensive ability.

Offense

Offensive personality ratings are defined as follows:

  • Pace: The number of possessions the team has averaged per 40 minutes of clock time.
  • Total Rebound %: The percentage of possible rebounds — offensive and defensive — that the team gained.
  • Assist %: The percentage of made shots that were assisted.

On offense, the Hokies and Seminoles have very different styles. Virginia Tech plays at a slow pace, relying on passing to help ensure smart shots are taken with one of the highest Assist Percentages in the nation. Florida State, on the other hand, is more apt to breakaways and displays a faster pace with fewer assisted shots.

Shooting offense is compared using these statistics:

  • eFG %: Effective field goal percentage is a regular field goal percentage statistic but adjusted for the number of points the shot is worth.
  • 3 Pt %: Rather than the percentage of 3-pt shots made, this statistic is the percentage of shots taken that are 3-pt shots.
  • FTA per FGA: A reflection of a tendency to get fouled while shooting, this is the number of free throw attempts gained per field goal attempt taken.

The Seminoles have a fairly low Effective Field Goal Percentage for a ranked team, but use effective offensive rebounding to compensate.

Defense

The defensive personality statistics are defined as:

  • Steal %: The percentage of opponent possessions that end with a steal.
  • Block %: The percentage of opponent possessions that end with a block.
  • Opponent Offensive Rebound %: The percentage of possible offensive rebounds gained by the opponent (so 100% - defensive rebound %).

From a defensive personality standpoint, only blocks separate the two ACC squads. Florida State blocks a high percentage of shots while Virginia Tech is somewhat average. 7-4 center Christ Koumadje averages 1.62 blocks per game (T-88th nationally) for the 'Noles and 4.03 per 40 minutes.

The shooting defense metrics are the same as the shooting offense metrics, but based on opponents' performance.

The two biggest 'something's got to give' statistics are shown here. While the Florida State offense gets a fairly high number of free throw attempts per field goal, the Hokies defense gives up very few. Similarly the Seminoles offense takes a relatively low percentage of shots as threes, while Virginia Tech is among the leaders nationally in forcing opponents to take threes.

Prediction

Florida State is good enough that they should score some points, but how? It feels like the Hokies defense is really good at forcing teams into a style of play that the Seminoles aren't adept at. The bigger question mark is really how many the Hokies will score, still without their leader, against a really good defense. I feel like the team has some swagger right now and patches together another decent offensive performance, and suddenly an ACC tournament double bye is clinched.

Virginia Tech 70, Florida State 65

Comments

Florida State's obvious advantage is its size. But with Blackshear playing out of his mind right now, I think that advantage is less than it has been in seasons past. That might be the deciding factor tonight -- if Blackshear can stay out of foul trouble and terrorize the Seminoles' big men.

I agree with you, Blackshear is the key and he has to stay out of foul trouble.

it blows my mind that our star center has to go up against a guy half a foot taller. My fear is that they get some home cooking from the refs and Blackshear is in foul trouble.

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)..

Blackshear plays 40 minutes if not in foul trouble. I don't think the 7-4 monster plays but 20 minutes or so per game.

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

Let's hope the giant only plays 10 minutes tonight.

Well, Kabengele is 6'10" 250 and plays the other 20 mins. He can block shots too

Right now its 16 minutes. Kabengele gets 20 and Cofer gets 25. Cofer is the one that could pose the biggest problem because who do the Hokies matchup on him? Outlaw will have a tough time with Cofer.

Dammit I wish this wasn't so spot on. Between offensive fouls when the defender isn't set and the refs swallowing their whistles when NAW is driving, they all but guaranteed the outcome here.

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)..

KBJ needs to continue to attack and draw fouls on there inside players, and not get into foul trouble. (I guess I'm startingthe obvious). I'd love to see Med play with confidence (...and accuracy) and agression. It will be a joy to go and continue to prove our ranking.

GO HOKIES

I'm out of bacon.

LETS GO!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

HOKIES!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

I am dying right now lmao

JiA with the rare but always appreciated "reese"

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

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So are the Noles.

The key, to me, will be how KBJ has been playing farther away from the basket. If the bigs for F$U are drawn out from the lane, there could be openings for backdoor cuts. Big guys tend to get in foul trouble when they have to collapse too far to defend quicker ball handlers. We've been having some success with this lately. And if the bigs sag down low, let's hope our perimeter shooting is on tonight.

I keep thinking that one of these days multiple players will get hot and knock down 60% from the three point line. The ability is there, and it would be nice to have that happen tonight.

over/under on number of times Bede gets rejected by their 7-4 center? I'm taking the over at 2.5

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)..

You think Bede will take 3 shots!?

Change this to NAW and I will take the over. As others have said, I would be surprised if Bede took three shots near the paint, under for Bede.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Has it been talked about how Duke versus Wake is the primetime game on ESPN while our top 15 ACC matchup is relegated to ESPNU. ESPN is such a joke. I'm surprised they didn't just move us to ESPN+ and put the Zion Bench Cam on ESPNU.

15 Straight

The broadcast schedule was set before the season. It's the same reason why @UVA was on Raycom.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Touché. But that's dumb.

15 Straight

If they did that, I'd be able to watch the game. I don't get ESPNU.

And that actually bodes well for us - I didn't watch the Duke game and that turned out well.

Have you tried watching the Spanish language broadcast? We have one every game that I've watched with the Spanish language broadcast. We didn't win at all when I watched the English language broadcast

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

I think this comes down to keeping KJ out of foul trouble and hitting threes. That's the only way to beat a bigger team. Keep them on the perimeter when they're on D and exchange 2s for 3s.