HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: TEMPLE (0-0) VS VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (1-0) 8PM ESPNEWS
Is that a Turkey or an Owl? Add that roasted Bulls to the menu Sunday as well.....
Date/Time: Nov 28 2020 8 PM
Site: Mohegan Sun Casino, Connecticut
Neutral Battle: Who brings Home the W?
#Hokies,We are excited to announce that we will he joined by @HokiesMBB Head Coach Mike Young tomorrow! Please send in your submissions for the #LettersFromTheLinchpail and get your popcorn ready! pic.twitter.com/qRVSouJPJz— Sons of Saturday Podcast #Hokies (@SonsofSatVT) June 17, 2020
Couch Mike Young goes on the road to take on Temple in a neutral site game as part of the Air Force Reserve Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament. Try saying that three times fast. Virginia Tech has an ignominious 1-10 record against Temple. This is the first game of the season for the Owls. The Hokies took down Radford 77-62 in their opening contest.
The Owls are coached by Aaron McKie, who is in his second season as head coach. He was a star at Temple from 1991-1995, before being drafted in the first round by Portland Trailblazers. He spent 14 years in the NBA before becoming an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. He became an assistant coach at Temple in 2015 and was promoted last year to head whistle when Philly legend Fran Dunphy was promoted to Athletic Director. The Owls were a disappointing 14-17 in his initial campaign and would not have made the post season if they had not been cancelled.
Coach McKie has more turnover on his roster then Coach Young this season, having nine players depart. Most notably, Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis left for the NBA draft. Only four players return that played at least 100 minutes. The nine players departing represented 46.3 of their 68.3 points per game. Their leading returning scorer averaged 7.5 points per game last year.
McKie was counting on incoming freshman Jahlil White to play a major role but he underwent surgery for a torn meniscus earlier this month, which will sideline him for two to three months. Sophomore Tai Strickland, a transfer from Wisconsin, is also out with an injury. McKie had to plan to be without Khalif Battle, a transfer from Butler, but his NCAA waiver was approved on the 24th. Another transfer, Sage Tolbert, has not yet had his NCAA waiver approved so may not be available. Brendan Barry is another transfer that likely will not be available until later this month, as he has to complete his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth before becoming eligible. He ranked 10th in the NCAA in 3 point shooting last season. He chose to transfer due to the Ivy League cancelling all winter sports this season. News also broke that Temple added a graduate senior Colin Daly on the 25th from West Chester University, where he shot 44% from behind the arc. Not sure if he will be a part of the game plan this weekend or is just filling out the roster for practices.
Defensively, the Owls play mostly screen-and-roll defense, one of the most common defensive coverages for ball screens. Simply put, the defender guarding the ball and the defender guarding the screener will switch who they are guarding when the screen is executed. This typically allows the defense to prevent any straight line drives to the rim because the defender guarding the screener can pick up the ball-handler as soon as the screen is executed. This coverage is used when you have versatile defenders that can guard multiple positions on the floor. The Owls also like to blitz the pick and roll where both the defender guarding the screener and the defender guarding the ball-handler execute a double-team of the ball-handler immediately off of the screen. The weakness here is when the ball handler identifies the trap and finds the open shooter.
Offensively, Coach McKie puts an emphasis on up-tempo possessions, expecting crisp ball movement and clean passing but may slow things down to keep his limited roster fresh. Much of the offense will go through J.P. Moorman, a 6'7 Senior wing, who likely will control the ball up the court until some of the freshman develop.
Coach McKie spoke in length last week regarding how difficult it has been to operate during Covid, especially with so many new pieces. He touched on not being able to have any prep this summer due to Philadelphia's strict Covid requirements, having to shut down entirely four times this fall and only been able to practice six times in the last three weeks. The pace he wants to keep, he spoke about probably needing nine or ten players but might be forced into games where he only has seven or eight at most. Due, to waivers, injuries and transfer eligibility, McKie likely only has nine scholarship players at the start of this game. Predicting who will be on the court for Temple will be difficult but this is what I anticipate.
Jeremiah Williams – #25, 6'5, 185 lbs, Freshman averaged 16.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, and was named second team all-city honors in Chicago. Williams was a three star recruit with twelve D1 offers, including Wichita State and St Bonaventure. The Philadelphia press seem to expect Williams will be the primary ball handler for Temple this season but likely has to grow into the role.
Damian Dunn – #1, 6'5, 195 lbs, Guard, Redshirt Freshman – Played in one game last season scoring 1 point and pulling down 4 rebounds, sandwiched between two foot injuries. Talk is he will likely start the season as a starter because of his familiarity with the system but fade onto the bench as the roster fills out and gets healthier.
Quincy Ademokoya- #23, 6'6, 185 lbs - Guard, Freshman, averaged 13 points a game as a Senior, leading his teams to the state playoffs two years in a row. Chose Temple over offers from DePaul and St Louis. Three star prospect expected to start this season for the Owls.
Khalif Battle – #0, 6'5, 175 lbs, Guard, Sophomore, Transfer from Butler appeared in 24 games, averaging 3.0 points and 11 minutes per game. He shot 33 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range last season. He was a four star recruit when he committed to Butler.
J.P. Moorman II – #4, 6'7, 210 lbs- Forward, Senior, Averaged 5.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 1.6 apg in 26.8 minutes per game. Lone double double of season, 14 points, 10 rebounds, in win over ECU. Missed a few games with a hip injury
Jake Forrester – #10, 6'8, 220 lbs, Forward, Junior, Transferred from Indiana before the 2019 season Averaged 7.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg over 17.3 mpg. and led team with 53.3 field goal percentage. Tallied double figures in 10 games with career-high 17 points against Saint Joseph's on a perfect 8-of-8 from the field outing.
De'Vondre Perry – #22, 6'7, 220 lbs, Forward, Senior averaged 6.2 ppg and 2.7 rpg in 17.6 mpg playing in 25 games. Missed six games with toe injury. Shot over 40% from 3 and over 48% from the field.
Arashma Parks – #14, 6'9, 230 lbs, Forward, Sophomore played in 22 games, averaged 2.5 ppg and 2.4 rpg in about 9 minutes per game.
Nick Jourdain- #11, 6'8, 210 Lbs- Forward, Freshman, averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds and three steals per game at Covenant Convent Prep last season. Chose Temple over LaSalle and Iona as a three star recruit.
Out injured - Jahlil White - #2, 6'7, 180 lbs - Forward, Freshman, averaged 16.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game during his senior year at Wildwood Catholic, earning Third Team All-State honors.
What to expect from Temple?
As a team the Owls shot a woeful 32% from outside on almost 21 attempts per game, which was about a third of their shots overall. Their attempts will likely decrease this season but I expect with Brendan Barry, the percentage will go up. Fortunately for the Hokies he will not be eligible to play this weekend. Expect to see Williams, Ademokoya and Perry to account for most of their attempts in this game.
As we saw against Radford, the Hokies struggled to keep the Highlanders off the line, allowing 21 attempts on 18 personal fouls. Most of the fouls came on the inside after dribble penetration into the lane. Temple averaged 12 made free throws per game or about 17.5% of their total scoring last year and driving inside is typically a major component of their offense.
The Owls will rely heavily on J.P. Moorman to run the offense, so keeping his paint touches down will be a critical component of this game. Expect to see Mutts and Aluma rotating defensively on Moorman.
The Owls will struggle early on as we saw with the Hokies against Radford, so they will likely try to slow the tempo to keep themselves in the game until they can establish a rhythm.
Temple will likely play most of the game with Moorman, Perry and Forrester down inside so rebounding and second chance offensive possessions will impact whether the Owls keep this game close.
The Hokies should focus on taking advantage of Temple in the early going and build an early lead by speeding up the pace of the game and wearing down the Owls bigs. Expect Mike Young to utilize the Diarra, Bede, Hudson, Alleyne and Aluma lineup early and often. Do not expect Aluma to have as much production in this contest, as the Owls will be a tougher matchup down low then Radford presented.
The Hokies, even with the ability to match Temple in height, likely opt for speed and ball control. The question is, do they have ball control. The Radford game was pretty ugly in terms of turnovers, with 10 outright and four additional offensive fouls. That's a turnover on almost a quarter of their possessions. The good news is they forced 15 turnovers and had three offensive fouls drawn.
Rebounding is another area they struggled in against a fairly small Radford team and Temple will definitely be more focused down low than the Highlanders. Imagine what the 33-30 disparity would have looked like if Bamisile hadn't gotten four rebounds in one possession. Too bad he missed 5 shots in the process.
The Hokies defensively need to prevent interior passing and also disrupt dribble penetration from the Temple guards. This was true against Radford but more so in this contest. They need to be aware of quite a few back door follow up drives by Temple shooters as well as their bigs trailing guards down the lane for backside dunks or layups. The combination to worry about here will be Moorman and Williams.
Will we see a second half burst from Diarra in this contest? The Graduate transfer showed flashes of brilliance in the first half but faded into the background in the second half. Not sure if this was because of how Alleyne and Cattoor got hot or if it just was Coach Young trying to figure out what worked with the game under control.
The Hokies once again appear dependent on perimeter shooting even with the sizeable change in height on the roster, shooting 26 attempts on 60 total shots. Fortunately against Radford they were able to make 11 of those attempts for 33 of their 77 points (42% shooting for 42% of their points)
Highlight of the Radford Game
Keve Aluma going off for 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists in his Hokies debut
This game will likely ride on who is more polished as a team and maintains possession the most. Temple is in such a roster flux that they have obvious holes. The Hokies need to get the Owls in disarray early and keep them there.
If the Hokies can resist the fouls, with the minor reaches and don't allow the Owls to get 10 or more points from the free throw line they should be able to control play and win this game. Conversely, if the Hokies get any of the Owls in early foul trouble, their bench is very limited right now which could prove the biggest difference in this contest.
Aluma, Alleyne and Diarra finish in double digits. Radford continues to contribute 8-10 points a contest. Bede and Cattoor will likely be the turning points in this game based on what they provide.
Hokies still struggle early but Temple struggles more, Hokies win 73-65.
Bede is the man....Captain Charisma