HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: MINNESOTA (4-2) AT VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (6-1) 7PM ESPN2

HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: MINNESOTA (4-2) AT VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (6-1) 7PM ESPN2

Monday, Nov. 28 | 7 p.m. ET
Cassell Coliseum (Blacksburg, Va.)
vs. Minnesota
Series: Minnesota leads 1-0
Game Notes: Virginia Tech (PDF) | Minnesota (PDF)

TV Broadcast
ESPN2
Play-by-Play: Mike Monaco
Analyst: Jordan Cornette

Local Radio
Virginia Tech Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Zach Mackey
Analyst: Mike Burnop

Current Spread: Hokies -12.5
Over/Under: -108

Mountain Climbing....
The Hokies (37th in AP Poll/33rd in Coaches Poll) escaped Charleston Southern to face a mountainous task in beating the Gophers. The Hokies are 0-1 against Minnesota with a 58-55 loss to the Gophers in the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Gophers are coached by Ben Johnson, an alum that played for the Gophers from 2002-2004. He began his college coaching career at Dayton as an assistant coach in 2005. Minnesota is his only college head coaching job. He took over the Minnesota position in 2021 and has a 17-19 overall record guiding the Gophers. Last season the Gophers were 13-17.

The Gophers are 4-2 to start the season after wins over Western Michigan, St Francis, Central Michigan and California Baptist. Their losses are to DePaul and UNLV. The Gophers come in averaging 63 points per game. The biggest challenge for the Hokies is this team's ability to score inside

The Gophers come into this season with a very young roster with four freshman playing prominent roles. Freshmen account for four of the top six scorers so far for the Gophers. They also have three transfers with one familiar face. Forward Dawson Garcia transferred in from UNC. He is their leading scorer, averaging nearly 16 points per game. At 6'11, 230 Lbs he will be a formidable test for the Hokies interior defense that has struggled inside against much smaller rosters. They also got a key piece back from foot surgery last week in Jamison Battle, who averaged 14 points and six rebounds in two games last week.

Both Offensively and Defensively, Coach Johnson references position-less basketball. He expects his players to have the ability to operate in any area of the court. Defensively this displays as an aggressive man-to-man defense, especially on the perimeter. They are holding opponents to 30% shooting from outside. In both losses though they struggled against faster guards getting into the lane which disrupted their defensive sets.

Offensively, Coach Johnson what is best termed as a Motion Screen Offense which tries to create mismatches of personnel utilizing speed to separate either to create dribble penetration openings or open looks on cuts to the basket. The biggest difference here is that the bigs are not limited to operating inside and play a big role in perimeter movement and shooting. The primary intent of this offense though is to get paint points. They shoot nearly 50% inside and it accounts for half their offense initially. It is actually closer to 70% of their offense when you take into account the 12 ppg from the free throw line.

The Gophers Backcourt
Ta'Lon Cooper 55 JR G 6-4 190 10.0 Pts, 4.8 Reb, 7.3 Ast
Jaden Henley 24 FR G 6-7 200 6.2 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 0.8 Ast
Braeden Carrington 4 FR G 6-4 195 8.8 Pts, 4.5 Reb, 0.8 Ast

The Gophers Frontcourt
Dawson Garcia 3 SO F 6-11 230 15.8 Pts, 6.7 Reb, 1.3 Ast
Jamison Battle 10 JR F 6-7 225 14.0 Pts, 6.0 Reb, 1.0 Ast
Pharrel Payne 21 FR F 6-9 255 8.0 Pts, 6.5 Reb, 0.5 Ast
Joshua Ola-Joseph 1 FR F 6-7 215 5.5 Pts, 1.8 Reb, 0.0 Ast

What to expect from Minnesota?
As a team the Gophers focus on getting the ball inside to score or go to the line. They average nearly 40 points a game in the paint outside of their game against DePaul where they struggled all night in a loss. They score less than 20 points a game from the perimeter.

Forwards Garcia and Battle are the 1-2 interior punch for this roster., accounting for nearly half of Minnesota's points and a third of their rebounds. This game will be defined by whether the Hokies can show resolve in defending down low.

The Gophers struggle with fouls against guards like Pedulla and Cattoor. Reaching fouls have been an issue after getting beat off the dribble. That said they rarely foul shooters, with opponents averaging only ten free throws per game. Battle seems a bit unsure on the defensive end since his return from injury and was whistled for seven fouls in those two games.

The Hokies
The Hokies need to find fast transition buckets in this game. The Gophers are pretty stout defensively in a half court set, holding opponents to 40% shooting overall. In both losses, the Gophers allowed nearly 20 points in transition.

The Hokies go up against the tallest line-up they have seen so far. That said, Minnesota has been out-rebounded in four of the six games. Rebounding and defensive lane positioning has been the Hokies Achilles heel so far so this area will likely determine who wins this game

The Hokies have continued to struggle with perimeter shooting so until that resolves itself the primary focus should be the guards driving the basketball to create open opportunities underneath primarily with the perimeter as a far second. The Hokies are only shooting 36% from the perimeter.

Highlight of the CoC game
W...and Butts for Mutts

In Closing
The Hokies are at a crossroads and while this game doesn't impact ACC play it may go a long way in determining if the Hokies can handle big physical play down low. So far that has not been the case against noticeably smaller rosters.

Minnesota will be looking to make this a slow methodical game where the Hokies are forced to take contested shots while offensively getting the ball inside to score sure baskets. The Hokies must increase the tempo and take advantage of transition opportunities.

As much as I would like to see the Hokies return to form shooting outside while dictating the pace of the game, nothing in the last four games gives me the confidence they will do so. Hokies win if they score 70, it's a toss up between 69-63 points and almost certainly a loss if they fail to reach 63.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Let's Go!

Hokies! Your write-ups are always appreciated LT, good stuff!

Time to take the gopher by the tail and stuff it through the hoop. I hope MY challenges the team to be tough inside as much as your write-up. Hokies by 15+!

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

They score less than 20 points a game from the perimeter.

Which one of their no-name bench guards hits 10 3s tonight?

(add if applicable) /s

Just to note: the women's basketball team have just tied their all-time highest AP poll ranking

Edit: #9

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Well, what is it?

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. ๐ŸŽฃ

I got us winning 74-62

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Bench Basile

Basile. Stop it get some help

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Up 11-9 at the 1st MTO

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

A hustle slo mo play from Basile....

Our crew didn't make it this game so I'm watching it with y'all tonight. Let's go Hokies!

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

How was that out on us?

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Great D by Lynn Kidd there

VB born, class of '14

Kidd. needs. to. Be. getting. Basile's. minutes. Period.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

Mutts come on now

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

MUTTS COME ON NOW

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Too many turnovers....yeesh

VB born, class of '14

Pressing a bit during this dry spell. Defense is solid but need to take a breath and let the offense work and get some looks for our shooters

Our defense is just more stout when Kidd is out there

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

I'm guessing Rice isn't available for this one too

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Plz bench basille he's not providing anything

9 of 13 points off our turnovers

They called a charge๐Ÿ‘€

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Poteat๐Ÿ˜Ž

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Ramp up his offense, ratchet down the blatant off ball fouls and he can contribute. Two quick fouls though puts him on bench

Poteat with some great quality minutes here.

Getting some really good minutes out of Poteat tonight. Especially With Mutts out.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

Great minds think alike!

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

At 3rd MTO Hokies up 20-16

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Camden in street clothes, anybody know what's going on?

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Someone mentioned he was "injured again" in another thread but no deets

"John (Camden) is in a boot, hurt his ankle a little bit. I would say it is a week, 10-day heal. He's got some discoloration in it, swelling went down considerably today. He's going to be back pretty quickly," Young said. "It was Wednesday, stepped on somebody's foot and it flipped over. He'll be back rather quickly."

Happened at practice at tournament.

Ok, thanks. He's not in a boot right now so must be improving.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Love Poteat taking it to the hole but so nervous he's gonna get a travel every time he goes to work he's spinning on both feet ๐Ÿ˜‚

In the bonus with almost 8 min left.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

My favorite player. Sean Pedulla ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

I'm so excited for his senior year when he gets all the "shit he's still there?"'s from other teams. He'll be out Aaron Kraft lol

Edit: and also excited for his this year and next year

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Need more of that from Pedulla. It's a big hole in this Minnesota defense. He didn't let them get set.

Look at how he split the d right there. Jesus christ ๐Ÿ”ฅ

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

He's got 11๐Ÿ‘€

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Our D needs to figure out who's going to cover the screener. Both defenders are staying with the ball handler leaving the big man alone underneath.

Doesn't matter if it's cake or pie as long as it's chocolate.

Oh damn Pedulla, that guy has a family

This is my school
This is home

He had a family, he's been disowned

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

PEDULLA

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

Nice block by Basile....who then airballs a three.

At least he's playing a little better D the last few posessions?

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

Oh absolutely, he's been great overall tonight

Jesus christ Pedulla just killed a man

VB born, class of '14

PEDULLA GOT BIG BALLS!

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

That was a disturbing possession by Pedulla

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Sean Pedulla is special

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Guys....Basile is rebounding and being a presence inside finally.

He's starting to believe. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

โ€œAlso, a microwave has never danced it's ass off to Jackie Wilson.โ€ - AssPocketFullOWhiskey

Pedulla. En fuego.

Hokies up 39-27 at halftime

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

What a second half of the first half, 17-4 run to close it out. BANG ๐ŸŽฏ

VB born, class of '14

Pedulla appears to be continuing the trend of VT always having a good ball handler at the point.

Our ball movement in second half of that first was mid season form.

This is my school
This is home

Block Party ๐Ÿšซ

VB born, class of '14

I hope we continue to get better. We're missing easy ones that should have this game close to being out of hand. Should be up at least 16 right now.

โ€œThese people are losing their minds. This is beautiful.โ€

We are up 16 now

๐Ÿคท

This is my school
This is home

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Pedulla too quick for this defense

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

lol

edit: dang, it looks like Cornette deleted the video. For those that didn't catch it, the camera operator caught a guy drinking from a flask in the stands while completely failing to be sneaky about it.

Dang, bet I can guess who's getting an email from Student Conduct in the morning.

Defense....what is this defense thing?

Slam it down

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Our dudes playing like they know they're the better team. Really good to see especially after what we saw last Friday.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Are they just not gonna call any fouls on them when we drive the rest of the game? Yet call baby contact on our guys

Literally doesn't even look like the same team that barely put one over on Charleston Southern. Like commentary was saying - this does not look like the 7th ranked ACC team after such a complete game tonight.

โ€œAlso, a microwave has never danced it's ass off to Jackie Wilson.โ€ - AssPocketFullOWhiskey

Shoulda given the defending ACC champs a real B1G team. Why aren't we playing at Purdue? (This is me selfishly wanting to make a day trip to watch in person)

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Wtf

Bettors going to be pissed that Hokies just blew the spread in the final 10

Bettors oughta know not to put money on a Hokie game.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Seriously... our 2nd half D hasn't been great most of the season so far. Tonight it was... until about 90 seconds left in the game. The key takeaway is that it was our bench that gave up those points.

Lawl. I understand playing to the whistle but come on.

โ€œAlso, a microwave has never danced it's ass off to Jackie Wilson.โ€ - AssPocketFullOWhiskey

Basile started slow but got better and more physical after Poteat showed him how. I wonder how long he has until Kidd takes his starting role.

Lights out defense for most of the game, you could tell Minne was getting frustrated at almost never finding a shot.

I know Basile's defensive effort frustrates us, but the gap between Basil's offense and Kidd's offense is greater than the gap between Kidd's defense and Basile's defense right now. And Basile is getting better on the defensive end.

He got better as the game went on. There was a reason he sat almost immediately however.

Kidd is getting better very fast.