Virginia Tech 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Virginia Tech Hokies -Atlantic Coast Conference (18-14, 7-9)
Seed: #2 - Auburn Region
Big Wins: 1/17 Boston College (79-71), 1/21 at Wake Forest (78-71), 2/25 at Clemson (80-77)
Bad Losses: 11/23 vs Seton Hall (73-77), 12/9 at Georgia (66-67), 2/18 at Virginia (61-75)
Coach: Seth Greenberg
Probable Virginia Tech Starters:
Malcolm Delaney, Sophomore, Guard, 18.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 4.0 rpg
Dorenzo Hudson, Sophomore, Guard, 4.2 ppg, 1.1 apg
A.D. Vassallo, Senior, Guard, 18.8 ppg, 2.5 apg, 6.1 rpg
Jeff Allen, Sophomore, Forward, 13.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Cheick Diakite, Senior, Center, 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Key Virginia Tech Roleplayers:
Terrell Bell, Sophomore, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 1.0 apg
Victor Davilla, Freshman, Forward, 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
J.T. Thompson, Sophomore, Forward, 5.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Hank Thorns, Sophomore, Guard, 2.7 ppg, 2.5 apg
Why The Hokies Can Surprise:
The majority of Virginia Tech’s scoring will come from the backcourt, but production in the frontcourt has turned this year’s Virginia Tech squad into a dangerous team. Sophomore forward Jeff Allen is a big part of the equation. Not only does he score inside and out, but Allen is a dominating rebounder and a quality shot blocker. His presence under the basket has turned the Hokies into a solid defensive team that can compete with anybody on the glass.
It is not all about Allen though. Cheick Diakite adds another shot blocking threat under the basket. While he is nowhere near as productive as Allen in the scoring or rebounding department, Diakite will do the dirty work in the paint. J.T. Thompson and Victor Davilla are not bad options to come in off the bench. Both are underclassmen so their consistency is an issue, but they will play some quality basketball on occasion and provide the starters some much needed rest.
Why The Hokies Can Disappoint:
Malcolm Delaney does an amazing job scoring, but he is also the point guard and must keep this young team under control. Last year, as a freshman, he committed 2.2 turnovers per game. This year that number is up to 2.8. Fellow guard A.D. Vassallo’s numbers are not much better. Virginia Tech can live with some turnovers, but it would be nice if the other guards stepped up and played a bigger role. Delaney and Vassallo will handle a bulk of the load, but players like Terrell Bell, Dorenzo Hudson and Hank Thorns need to at least be a threat to occasionally do some scoring. Allen, Delaney and Vassallo combined to average 50.5 points…nobody else on the team averages over six points per game.
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Who To Watch:
As important as it is for roleplayers to step up in March, it will be even more important for Allen, Delaney and Vassallo to hit their shots. Delaney will use his speed and quickness to get to the basket. The fact that he is knocking down the long ball with consistency makes him extremely difficult to guard. He will get to the free-throw line all the time and he makes them count once he is there. Vassallo is more of a shooter and tends to get the important looks when VT needs a big bucket. He is also one of just two upperclassmen that sees significant playing time and it will be necessary for him to help Delaney take control of the team during the high pressure situations in March.
Virginia Tech By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.6 (108th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.6 (212, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (191, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.4 (77, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (184, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (170, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.6 (81, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (73, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (161, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.8 (163, 6)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Duquesne
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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