The Men's Team
No brooms this cycle, as the team battled hard for the Game 4 win over Notre Dame in this tetralogy. It was a miserable 1-3 against the aforementioned Fighting Irish, Duke, NC State, and Virginia. Where is Pitt and UNC you might ask? Well those games were postponed to later in the season. We've reached the halfway point in the season, so in addition to the usual stats, we're gonna have some visualizations
Aluma has taken over, leading the team with 20.5 ppg over this window, followed by Mutts (13 ppg), Murphy (11 ppg), Alleyne (9.25 ppg), and Cattoor (7.5). The rest of the team, as a whole, averaged 3.5 ppg over this 4 game window.
Now let's take a look at trends.
What do we see here? For starters, the progression of each quartet of games goes blue, red, yellow, green.
Aluma has improved, drastically, in scoring over the last two quartets. Mutts appears to have righted the ship, and Murphy seems to have leveled off. However, Cattoor has disappeared, as has Maddox and Pedulla. Alleyne is in a tough stretch, but improving. As a team, the Hokies only averaged 64.75 over this frame, 6 points off their season average at the last edition.
Aluma arrives, for the first time, at the top of the Boarderboard (trademark pending). His tally of 7.25 per game is closely trailed by Mutts (6.25), Cattoor (4), Alleyne (2.75), and Murphy (1.75). The remainder of the team combined for 3.5.
How do our trendlines look?
Only Aluma and Mutts haven't slacked off over the last eight games, but the whole team is inconsistent in that department.
I used the word sloppy when describing this team in the last edition. In this edition, I am happy to say that only 2 players have ATOs worse than 1:1, and those are N'Guessan and Ojiako. Murphy is on a roll, with 13:7; bringing his total for the last quarter of the season to 27:12. Cattoor has also done a fantastic job, putting up an 8:3 margin. The rest of the significant contributors, however, are hovering at either just above 1:1 or right on it.
The grind is on and minutes are going to 8 players. Cattoor leads all with 37 mpg, this frame, followed by Aluma (36.25), Murphy (33.5), Alleyne and Mutts (32 each). Basically all of the starters are playing significantly more minutes than earlier in the season, with the exception of Alleyne, who is slightly under his season average. The bench was led by Maddox (10.25), N'Guessan (7.5), Pedulla (6.75), and Ojiako (3.25). Being that Ojiako is averaging less than 2 minutes per half, I cannot continue to refer to him as a regular player, at this juncture.
It's time for big boy basketball. This may just be the toughest four game stretch in VT Men's BBall history.
First, a road trip to Durham in Coach K's swan song. Get ready for somehow even more calls to go Duke's way. They're tall. They score well. The only advantage the Hokies have is that the Blue Devils don't have a ton of guard depth, as they have only two who average more than 6 minutes per team game.
Next, the Hokies will stay in tobacco row, heading up to Chapel Hill for the first ever matchup the Hokies have had with UNC since joining the ACC where Roy Williams isn't on the bench. This iteration of the Tar Heels is 2-3 against high-major opponents, has some but not a ton of height, and does not have a scoring threat off the bench, as their top bench scorer isn't getting 5 ppg.
The Hokies then come home to say "Eat Shit Pitt". The Panthers are 5-7 on the season, but don't get comfortable as they did UVA and Minnesota down to the final shot. We should have a slight height advantage overall. As a team, the Panthers are not known for scoring. Their 9 man depth lacks talented guard play, as they only have 1 guard coming off the bench, who only has 30 points on the season.
Opening this tetralogy will be North Carolina State. This is a game the Hokies should have won earlier this year. The Wolfpack are treading water in the ACC and are 9-9 overall. This is a must win for the Hokies to have any hopes for a postseason.
Next, the Hokies ship up to Boston for a match with the Eagles. Much like NC State, this is a mirror game for the Hokies, so get the Pepto ready. It is also a must win.
Third up is UNC. I doubt this will be pretty. UNC is scoring well, they're rebounding well, and the game is in Chapel Hill. While the sarcastic elder millennial that I am looks at all those factors and says 'Hokies win,' the voice of reason would say we're gonna lose by 20.
Rounding out the window is a return trip to the Cassell for Miami, who somehow leads the ACC. For the Hokies to have a chance, they have to defend tight on the perimeter and attack the rim when they can. Miami has a lot of height, but they only get 31 boards per game, with most of those coming from their guards.
I'm puzzled. This team is simultaneously not as good as we expected, but also able to play everybody tight. Quick, who can name the team we had our largest margin of defeat against? It was the 19 point headscratcher to Wake. Against #9 Memphis, we lost by 8; #25 Xavier by 1; Dayton by 5, #2 Duke by 11, NC State by 5, and UVA by 2. That's 32 points against 3 ranked teams (none at home) and another 2 on the road in 6 games. My gut says the win against the Irish will get this team going. I think we go 3-1, to improve to 12-8 overall and 4-5 in the ACC. If trends hold, especially the 70+ ppg followed by 60+ ppg cycles, the Hokies may average more than 70 ppg over this cycle.
The Women's Team
I predicted 3-1, with a split against Duke. That was only half right. The Hokies swept Duke and got a very lopsided loss against UNC. As of this writing, the Hokies are now 12-4, 4-1 in the ACC, good for a share of 3rd in the conference.
As a team, scoring has continued to fall (down to 63.5 ppg) as conference play heated up. Kitley leads all Hokies with 18.25 ppg, followed by Amoore (12.75), Traylor (10), Shepard (9.75), and C. King (6). The rest of the roster averaged 6.75 ppg.
Looking at the trend lines, Amoore is surprising in that she has consistently improved each window. Kitley is disturbingly consistent, with her variance per 4 game window being 2 ppg. The biggest concern I see is the declining production from the bench.
Team rebounding has improved from a season low 30 rpg to 34.75. This is fueled by the...checks twice...checks a third time...15 rebounds per game by Kitley all in conference. She is now well over a double double per game. Also helping out on the boards are Baines (5.25), C. King/Lytle (3.25 each), Sheppard (2.5), Traylor (2.25), and Amoore (1.75). No other Hokie recorded a rebound.
Trends show Kitley greatly improving in conference play, while every other Hokie has either remained consistent or dropped off.
The team may be rebounding better, but the scoring drop coincides with another bad trend. Only 2 Hokies have ATO margins of better than 1. Amoore leads with a 12:7 margin, while Lytle has a 4:3 margin. Geiman does have a better margin, but it's 1:0. Sheppard's is 8:8 and C. King's is 4:4. As a team it's 41:50. I'm stunned we went 3-1 while -9 in the ATO department.
Coach Brooks' squad is now showing very close to a 9 player rotation, after just 7 last tetralogy. Kitley leads the way in minutes at 37.25, followed by Amoore (34.25), C. King (31.25), Traylor (31), Sheppard (29.75), Lytle (14.25), Baines (9.5), Gregg (9). Geiman is close to earning contributor status, but falls just short at 3.75 mpg (my criteria is at least 1 minute per team quarter)
Then the Hokies will welcome the Hoos, who if you remember, cancelled their season last year. They're not much better this year because of it, with their only wins coming against Cal State Fullerton, William and Mary, and GW. They also had to postpone an earlier game against the Hokies this season.
Next come the Panthers of Pitt. The Hokies should win easily.
NC State is probably going to win the ACC. I would not be surprised if they won the National Championship. This is going to either be ugly or make us feel a lot better about our Hokies than we may already.
I'm almost willing to post odds on whether or not UVA still has a basketball program by the fourth game of this tetralogy.
3-1. I'd love for us to beat NC State, but I don't see it happening. If we had walkons, I'd expect to see them against UVA both times. Pitt should be a win.