7/8ths of the way through the inaugural season of CMYBall and the dreaded freshman wall seems to be in full effect, with the Hokies going 1-3 in the recent four game stretch and 1 of the last 9. The Hokies were close to going 3 and 1 over this current stretch, but it just wasn't in the cards. So how are things looking right now?
|Landers Nolley II||r-Fresh||G/F||16.61|
|Tyrece Radford||Fresh||Guard||10.32||Naheim Alleyne||Fresh||Guard||9.11|
As has been all season, the top four scorers are all freshmen, and 5 out of the top 6 are freshmen. the 6th freshman, Ojiako has started producing a little more, averaging almost 3 points per game. With Johnson having only scored 4 points, only 0.2% of Hokie scoring is guaranteed to be leaving after the end of the season. If the Hokies aren't returning the most scoring by percentage of any team in the NCAA, I'll be shocked.
Radford still leads the team in reboundign with 175 (6.3 rpg) with Nolley on his heels at 170 (6.1). Horne and Bede also have over 100 rebounds, at 117 and 106 respectively. Ojiako is coming into his own with 74 rebounds, but that number is off of fewer than 300 minutes. Over equivalent minutes, Ojiako would be averaging 7 rebounds per game. If he was producing at the same rate with Nolley's minutes, he'd be averaging 8.2 a game. Dude might just be a stud.
Bede's numbers have certainly gone down but at 158 assists (5.6 per game), he still sits 31st in the nation, 10th among major conferences, and 4th in the ACC. He does lead major conference point guards in ATO margin at 3.29 and is second nationally, behind Belmont's Grayson Murphy's 4.04 (minimum 150 assists).
This whole nine man rotation thing is nice. Nobody is getting too much run (debatable, I know) and legs are staying as fresh as possible, given the sheer number of young players on the team. Nolley (30.86) and Bede (30.07) still lead the team in minutes. Horne (28.18), Alleyne (26.75), Radford (26.04), and Cattoor (20.26) are the only other players averaging 10 minutes per half. Cone (17.54), Wilkins (14.25), and Ojiako (10.67) round out the significant minute contributors. As with points, the Hokies should be returning the most minutes of any team in the NCAA, guaranteed to be losing 0.77% of minutes played. If the Hokies have 2 more overtime periods over the rest of the season, they would have played an entire extra game in overtime. Considering how close we were against UVA to going into extra time, that was certainly something on my mind as I was watching.
Next (Final?) Four
The regular season will be coming to a close with a trip to #11 Louisville who is averaging 5 more points per game and allowing 2 points per game less. They also average 4 more rebounds per game than the Hokies, as they also play two players taller than 6-10. It's going to be a game I don't see the Hokies winning.
Next the Hokies welcome Clemson for Senior night. The Hokies did beat the Tigers to start the season. The two teams are very similar, but this should be a game the Hokies win. The Tigers have some height, but the height isn't extremely productive nor do they play much. Ojiako alone has equivalent production to all 3 of Clemson's big bigs.
Virginia Tech closes out the regular season with a road trip to South Bend. Notre Dame is middle of the pack in the ACC this year and their production revolves around 6-9 F John Mooney, who leads the team in scoring with 16.6 per game and in rebounding with 12.7 per game. Keeping him off the glass will be the key to a Tech victory. They also only play 7 regularly, which might give us an edge later in the game.
Next on the agenda is whomever the Hokies play to open the ACC Tournament. It's not outside the realm of possibility for the Hokies to earn a bye as they are currently tied for 11th, 2 games back of 8th (the Hokies have tiebreakers over NC State and Clemson), with such variance, I have no idea who the Hokies will be playing in Greensboro.
Quite frankly, I think the Hokies will beat Clemson and possibly beat Notre Dame, but I don't see beating Louisville as a possibility. That will put the Hokies 17-14 (8-12), likely with the bye.