HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: #16 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (11-2, 5-1) AT SYRACUSE (8-4, 2-3) 12PM RSN
Date/Time: Jan 23 2021 12 PM
Site: Carrier Dome
Regional Sports Networks, Tom Werme (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst)
Virginia Tech Sports Network. Jon Laaser (play-by-play) and Mike Burnop (analyst)
Time for Mimosas
The Hokies are coming off a sloppy but ACC win, so any win is how you play the game. They beat Wake Forest 64-60 and now take on the Syracuse Orangemen. The Hokies are 5-10 against Syracuse going into their 16th meeting. The Hokies are now 11-2 and ranked #16 in the AP Poll.
Boeheim checks in with his This Long
The Orangemen are coached by Jim Boeheim. He is in his 44th season at Syracuse. He is 972*–403 as a head coach. *for 101 wins vacated by NCAA investigation. Boeheim has guided the Orange to ten Big East regular season championships, five Big East Tournament championships, and 34 NCAA Tournament appearances, including five Final Four appearances and three appearances in the national title game. The ACC though has been a different story for Boeheim, outside of finishing 2nd in 2014, the best Syracuse has managed was 6th place last season.
The Orangemen are 8-4 and sit at 2-3 in ACC play. Their losses are to Pittsburgh twice, UNC and Rutgers. Their eight wins are over Bryant, Rider, Niagara, Boston College, Northeastern, Buffalo, Miami and Georgetown. Their average margin of victory is by 19 but that is significantly skewed by a 26-point win over Miami, a 38-point win over BC, a 30-point win over Niagara and a 35-point win over Rider. Their margin of loss is 9.75. They have had 5 games decided by two baskets or less, going 3-2 in those contests. Coach Boeheim's Orangemen had two games against Wake Forest and Notre Dame postponed in late December due to a pause in activity.
Coach Boeheim only had to replace one starter in Elijah Hughes, who was drafted. Boeheim had three players leave by transfer, Jalen Carey transferred to Rhode Island, Brycen Goodine to Providence and Howard Washington to South Alabama.
Alan Griffin was the most prominent of Syracuse's new additions. He was granted a waiver became immediately eligible after transferring from Illinois in the spring. Syracuse also added four freshmen this year. Kadary Richmond, a 6-foot-5 guard, was a top 100 recruit. He and 6-foot-10 big man Frank Anselem were thought to have the best chance to carve out immediate roles. Woody Newton was ranked just outside the top 100 in the class of 2020. Chaz Owens also joined the team as a 6-foot-5 wing. Newton and Richmond are contributing, Anselem is dealing with challenges related to Covid and has not played in over a month. Owens has no active role.
Defensively, the Orangemen employ the 2-3 Zone, which focuses on taking away an opponents shot while not giving up easy driving lanes. There is also a huge focus on preventing the high post pass and disrupting return passes from the high post to the top of the key, leading to turnovers. The most critical position in this defense is the center, who has to be able to know when to sag low in the lane to prevent penetration on the baseline as well as when to press up to prevent interior passing.
Also look for Boeheim to employ a significant amount of full to three quarter court defense off made baskets. The Hokies have struggled with pressure which may encourage Syracuse to increase its use as the game progresses.
Offensively, Syracuse usually runs the motion offense, but in the last two seasons have had a greater focus on creating fast break points and moving quickly to get a shot. Their average possession time is one of the shortest in the NCAA. Boeheim relies on creating extra possessions and increasing the overall speed of play to wear down opponents.
The most important part is the amount of movement in the offense. You don't see one guy with the ball while the other 4 guys just stand around and watch. When someone passes the ball, they immediately move to a different spot on the court, and another player moves to replace them.
One common play that Boeheim teams run extensively in the half-court is called the 23 Orange. In this set play, the 4 and 5 start on the blocks with the 3 in the corner. The other two players begin at the top on the perimeter forming the "23" set. As a post flashes high, the ball handler passes to that post and moves to the opposite wing. The post can then pass to the second guard on the perimeter and follow for a ball screen. If the second guard passes out, the post flashes high and looks to make the high low pass to the opposite big. If it's not there, the post dives low as primary brings the ball up, forming the "23 again". This is a common set in Boeheim's motion offense.
Alan Griffin (#0, JR, G, 6-5, 190 lbs)
Ossining, NY Archbishop Stepinac HS
15.8 Pts, 6.9 Reb, 2.5 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 1.2 Blk, 3 TOv
Shooting 45% from the floor, 35% from the perimeter, 86% from the line
Buddy Boeheim (#35, JR, G, 6-6, 195 lbs)
Fayetteville, NY Brewster Academy
16.0 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 3.3 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 1.2 TOv
Shooting 40% from the floor, 29% from the perimeter, 88% from the line
Joseph Girard (#11, SO, G, 6-1, 195 lbs)
Glens Falls, NY Glens Falls (NY)
11.3 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 4.2 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 2.5 TOv
Shooting 35% from the floor, 36% from the perimeter, 87% from the line
Quincy Guerrier (#1, SO, F, 6-7, 220 lbs)
Montreal, Canada Thetford Academy
16.7 Pts, 9.6 Reb, 1.0 Ast, 1.3 Blk
Shooting 58% from the floor, 34% from the perimeter, 75% from the line
Marek Dolezaj (#21, SR, F, 6-10, 201 lbs)
Bratislava, Slovakia MBK Karlovka Bratislava
10.7 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 3.6 Ast, 1.3 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TOv
Shooting 56% from the floor, does not shoot from the perimeter, 83% from the line
Kadary Richmond (#3, FR, F, 6-5, 180 lbs)
Brooklyn, NY Brewster Academy 89th Ranked Recruit (2020)
6.3 Pts, 3.4 Reb, 3.6 Ast, 2.2 Stl, 1.4 TOv
Shooting 41% from the floor, 14% from the perimeter, 70% from the line
Woody Newton (#4, FR, F, 6-8, 200 lbs)
District Heights, MD Mt. Zion Prep
4.4 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Shooting 50% from the floor, 40% from the perimeter, 63% from the line
Robert Braswell (#20, SO, F, 6-7, 206 lbs)
Jacksonville, FL Blythewood (SC)
2.7 Pts, 1.7 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Shooting 26% from the floor, 21% from the perimeter, 4 for 4 from the line
Played about ten mpg in ten games
What to expect from Syracuse?
|Starters||J. Girard III||A. Griffin||B. Boeheim||Q. Guerier||M. Dolezaj|
|Rotation||K. Richmond||R. Braswell||J. Edwards|
|Lim PT||S. Feldman||N. Giancola||C. Owens||W. Newton||F. Anselem|
|Lim PT||C. LaValle||B. Sidibe||J. Bol Ajak|
All five starters for the Orangemen come in averaging 10.7 or more points per game. Syracuse goes two deep on the bench for significant minutes or contributions. This is a developing roster that is well balanced offensively. Four of their five starters have led the team in scoring at least twice, with Griffin the leader five times.
Opponents are averaging 72 points per game in ACC play. Opponents in ACC play are shooting 39% from the floor against the Orangemen, second best in the ACC. Syracuse does better on the perimeter, only allowing 24% from the perimeter which is best in the ACC.
The Orangemen are committing 12 turnovers per game possessions or about 19% of their possessions. Griffin and Girard account for half the turnovers. Syracuse though forces 15.4 turnovers per game and average nearly 11 points per contest off turnovers.
The Orangemen commit 16.2 fouls per game. Opponents have shot 19.6 free throw attempts per game so far in ACC play. This accounts for 20% of opponent scoring. Guerrier and Dolezaj are the most at risk of foul trouble, each averaging at least 2.7 fouls per contest. This could be a big factor as the two forwards behind these guys are lightly used Freshman but have been thrust into ACC play, averaging nearly thirty minutes per contest.
As a team the Orangemen are shooting 32% from the perimeter on 26.4 attempts per game (about 42% of total shots) but a slightly better 35.4% in ACC play. Newton is the only one shooting 40% from the perimeter. Three other starters shoot better than 34% though.
Syracuse surprisingly struggles rebounding. Their defense is designed to alter shots but this season opponents are averaging 12 offensive rebounds per game. Guerrier and Griffin account for 15 rebounds a game but as a team they average a seven total rebounds deficit in ACC play.
Blocking shots though is a strength. They are the top team in the ACC, averaging 5.6 blocks per game in ACC play again led by Guerrier and Griffin.
The Orangemen average 18 assists on 29 made baskets per game in ACC play, roughly 62% of all shots are assisted. There are four players averaging at least 3.5 assists per contest.
The Hokies struggled against Wake Forest offensively but held the Demon Deacons to 36.7% shooting and 30.4% from the perimeter, the third straight game their defense has held opponents under 40%. They especially must close out on the perimeter, limiting the open looks so Syracuse doesn't reach its ACC best 10.2 made threes per game.
They will need to do just as well against Syracuse. Wake was good defensively, Syracuse is much better. The Hokies likely will find the going tough offensively again in this game. The Hokies will need to be focused on their individual assignments with how balanced the scoring is especially in home games.
Tech's perimeter shooting was its second worst of the season against Wake. This is an opponent that only allows teams to shoot 24% so the Hokies definitely need to be able to beat the zone and score in the paint.
Coach Young needs a big game from either Aluma or Mutts in this contest. Breaking the zone at the top of the key is critical in being successful and finding open shooters against this defense, Crisp passing is another aspect that is critically important here all the way up the court, including beating the press. The Hokies have struggled significantly passing the ball their last four games.
This is where you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO HIT YOUR FREE THROWS. Syracuse sends people to the line rather than give up the easy basket inside. You must be able to convert those trips to points at the line if you hope to leave the Carrier Dome with a win. The good news is that the Hokies average the most made and attempted free throws in ACC play. (15.6/21.4, 73%)
Highlight of the Wake Forest Game
He sure was on one last night 👌@DavidNGuessan1 turned in a career-high 13 points, including three and-1s, to guide us over Wake Forest#StoneByStone | #Hokies 🦃 pic.twitter.com/wqHMQLRhME— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 19, 2021
Winning ugly, great game David N'Guessan
The points of emphasis in this one are get Syracuse into their bench, talent falls off dramatically outside the starting five. Strong on offensive rebounding, especially with how stingy Syracuse is on opponent shooting.
Double digit second chance points. Find points inside the perimeter, either by score or by foul. Slow the game and prevent transition baskets. Don't get lost in the emptiness of the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse rarely let one player dominate so the Hokies have to find balanced scoring across the roster. The good news is that this is an area that the Hokies excel. Expect eight players with five or more points.
Hokies don't lead with the bench like they did against Wake. Aluma scores 10 in the first half and the Hokies get their second straight road win 72-65.
Confidence Factor: Three Popcorns