Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4, 3-2 home) vs Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (3-11, 1-9 away)
When: Sunday, January 2 @ 2:00 p.m.
Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA
The Opponent: The Hokies ring in the new year with their last non-conference game before ACC play when the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers visit the Cassell. The Mount comes out of the Northeast Conference and is currently mired in a seven game losing streak that extends back to December 2. Hokie fans will remember the last time these two teams met, an ugly 62-57 Tech victory back in 2008, a year in which the Mount made the NCAA Tournament by winning the NEC.
Much like the Hokies previous opponent, USC Upstate, the Mountaineers aren’t exactly offensively gifted. The squad averages just 60.4 points per game, which is 317th out of 345 teams in Division I.
Here’s a look at the probable starting lineup the Hokies will go against Sunday:
The Mountaineers are led by a backcourt duo of Lamar Trice and Julian Norfleet that loves to shoot the long ball. Combined, Trice and Norfleet have attempted 174 of the Mount’s 203 three point attempts this year. Trice is shooting 29.6% while Norfleet is 31.1% from beyond the arc this year. No other player with significant playing time is shooting above 15%.
David Golladay is the other starting guard in the Mount’s three guard lineup, but averages just 24.8 minutes. Mount St. Mary’s has seven players that average over 20 minutes per game and an additional two players that average more than 10 minutes per game.
Mount St. Mary’s is rather small on the interior, with their tallest forwards being just 6-8. Danny Thompson (6-7, 230 lbs) is the leading rebounder off the bench with just 5.2 boards per game. As a result, the Mount is outrebounded by nearly 5 boards per contest. Expect Tech to crash the glass and take advtange of the undersized Mountaineers.
The big key in Tech’s Thursday win over USC Upstate was the 1-3-1 zone forcing turnovers. The Mount commits nearly 14 turnovers per game so I wouldn’t be surprised to see coach Greenberg go to the 1-3-1 trap early and often.
This is not the same Mount St. Mary’s team that Tech struggled with early in 2008. The Mount have been on eight road trips in the last month and are coming off an overtime loss at Vermont on Wednesday, so they could be rather fatigued on Sunday. Tech should handle the Mountaineers, as long as they don’t look forward to the January 8 matchup with Florida State. Live audio and video of Sunday’s contest can be found via Hokies All-Access on hokiesports.com.