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February 14, 2017

Open Thread: VT-Pitt, Spoiler?

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:04 pm

7pm, ESPN2.

After the euphoria of  VT’s 2OT victory over Virginia made them a virtual lock for the NCAA, reality set in. First with the loss of their wing guard and leading rebounder Chris Clarke with a torn left ACL. Then there is the fact that they still need to win games in no small part due to a non-con that compared worse than anything even Jamie Dixon did.

That said, the Hokies’ lone victories over top-50 RPI opponents are Duke and Virginia, both at home. Most problematic, as noted earlier this season, Virginia Tech’s non-conference schedule was the ACC’s tamest, and at No. 308 on Monday’s RPI was ahead of only No. 326 Rutgers among Power Five teams.

As Hokies faithful know all too well from the latter stages of Seth Greenberg’s coaching tenure, those are numbers that can cost you a bid.

Tech’s games prior to the ACC tournament are at Pitt on Tuesday and at Louisville on Saturday, followed by Clemson at home, Boston College on the road, and Miami and Wake Forest at home — the Hokies are 12-1 at Cassell Coliseum, stumbling only against NCAA-bound Notre Dame.

It’s never a good sign when you are being compared to Rutgers in… anything.

They do have a road win over Michigan, so there is that. But, yeah. They need to hold serve at home and either beat Pitt and BC or just win one and and a ACC Tournament game to clinch it.

As for any talk of Pitt with a late run making the NCAA Tournament. I can’t even consider it. Not at 3-9 in the ACC. Not with 3 of the final 4 games on the road, including  at Virginia and UNC at home. Along with FSU still to visit. Not impossible, I suppose. Just very improbable.

It has nothing to do with the minutes played and running out of gas. It’s not ideal, but few teams really go that deep. VT had decent depth and now they are down one of their starters who averaged nearly 30 minutes a game.

As well as Pitt has played to go 2-2 in the last two weeks, there is still a lingering question for me as to how long they really can sustain — well… their focus.

But he is passing the credit mainly onto his players, many of whom are spending extra time after practice, Stallings said.

“There seems to have been a different level of urgency with our group the last couple of weeks,” he said. “Because of that urgency, we’ve begun to play better.”

Senior Michael Young, who has scored 51 points in the two victories while planting himself closer to the basket, said an improved mental approach has helped.

“Just being aggressive,” he said. “That’s been our mentality. No matter what happens on the play, offense or defense, we have to keep going as hard as we can, pay attention to details and concentrate.”

Young, who leads the ACC with 20.8 points per game, wants to prove he can score from anywhere, but he’s more productive as an inside force. He converts 37 percent of his 3-point shots, but his accuracy improves to 47.1 when all attempts are included.

“Getting him more touches close to the goal is good for our team, good for our efficiency,” Stallings said. “Maybe trying to take a little bit more control of it has helped the efficiency of it.

“They seem to function better with more structure. I might tell them what to do, and they tend to do it better than if they’re trying to figure out what to do on their own.”

There is no question in my mind that this team knows what it should do. That it knows what it takes to get the wins. The question is whether they want to keep doing those things.

Play defense. Go after rebounds. Not look just to run and hoist shots. I repeat, even when they had more “offensive freedom,” this was at best a team with average tempo nationally. Slowing it down has clearly helped them focus more at both ends.

At the same time, the flaws from the non-con: up-and-down effort, poor defense and overconfidence with a lead. Those are still there.


I’m not suggesting giving credit for not playing the bench, my point was and we all know that the bench is garbage

And yeah, I’ll criticize our seniors for making terrible decisions and not jelling as a “team” for the past three years!

Comment by Keith 02.14.17 @ 10:29 pm

Re Attendence They must have been sitting behind the Zoo…from what the TV showed it looked like a Women’s BB Game Crowd.

Couldn’t make it & We tried to sell our VT tickets online…but there were so many going for $8 it was a lost cause.

At least some one bought our Syracuse, and FLA ST tickets…though the FLA ST only sold at deep discount after the Syracuse win.

Comment by Tommymac 02.14.17 @ 10:29 pm

Barvo… seriously. You’re showing your vulnerability.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.14.17 @ 10:33 pm

Seriously… I was really close to thinking Johnson had a REALLY Good Game.

That was until seeing his last shots to tie the Game go CLANGING off the rim.

REAL Shooters don’t miss with the Game on the Line and less than a minute to go.

Again, not complicated.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.14.17 @ 10:40 pm

Early in the Season I said this Team’s success was going to depend on Artis and Young EACH scoring 20 Points a Game.

Nothing much has changed.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.14.17 @ 10:43 pm

I don’t know the bench is garbage…they never play!

Wilson never got the chance in November and December to prove himself.

Nix only got minutes starting during Conference play after the ship was sinking.

Kithcart is a freshman who should have been redshirted and been coached on how to shoot.

Milligan is the only one I’ll agree is not up to snuff…but that is the norm with Juco’s more often then not.

Re tonite:

VT had 7 guys who could play…and 6 of the seven had 22 or more minutes – with the seventh having 10. (The eight man had 3 minutes)

Pitt had 5 guys with 33 plus minutes, 3 with 37+…Kithcart had 10 off the bench, Nix 4. And we got 2 wholes points from the bench in 18 minutes. Just maybe, if they had got more time and more coaching in game early season they would be more prepped…oh wait – Pitt had to play the 5 starters all game then too as we kept blowing big 2cd half leads…

Buzz Williams coached masterfully. He used his timeouts to rest his players. He recovered from losing his best rebounder in an OT game 48 hours before. His substitution pattern was good. His team was better rested then Pitt at the end of the game. He worked the refs all game long.

Pitt shooters had no legs left in that last 31 seconds. 4 missed 3’s, 3 of them good looks. 23 points in the second half – may be a season low?

It is going to be a long 3 years. Sigh.


Comment by Tommymac 02.14.17 @ 10:45 pm

I’d shut the program down and save the University 10M. Basically did hiring an old vacuum salesman dick sock.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.14.17 @ 10:46 pm

And OH by the way, who was it here that said it was only a matter of time until Kithcart would replace Artis as the Starting Point Guard once the ACC Schedule began?

Kithcart tonight… ZERO Points.

TRANSLATION… think Artis might still have his job.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.14.17 @ 10:55 pm

OMG HCKS is blaming the loss on lack of someone to run the show in the second half (i.e. Point Guard).

It was HIS decision to use Artis there this summer!!!

link to

What a douche.

Comment by Tommymac 02.14.17 @ 11:00 pm

He says he has to call a play every possession…duh called coaching.

Comment by Tommymac 02.14.17 @ 11:01 pm

Throwing players under the bus again. What a double douche.

Comment by Tommymac 02.14.17 @ 11:04 pm

Why shouldn’t he throw this group under the bus. You have 4 senior starters that should be leading this team. If you think it is all the coach you are nuts. The only reason they were 9 and 9 last year is because JR was a leader. Without him their record would have been similar to this year. No leaders, no bench, no pride in wearing the jersey counts for few wins. Who thought this crew would embrace a new coach regardless of who he was. With no bench he cannot sit their asses down to try and change attitudes. Who on the bench has showed they could play. I guess all the experts on this site have watched practices every day. This is a lost year due to the seniors. A team that beat VA and MD should have the pride to refuse to lose a game like tonight’s. They should be thrown under the bus!

Comment by Jp 02.14.17 @ 11:34 pm

Just watched the stallings press conference after seeing a couple tweets about him bashing the team. As much as I didn’t like the hire, I think it’s clear that Stallings looks like a man who feels he has done everything in his power to give the team the best chance to win.

It really seems like the problems that he knows hurts this team have been addressed regularly (I.e energy) in practice or the locker room. It looks like he had pure disbelief on his face about his players refusing to listen to him.

He kept saying he couldnt say what he was really thinking because it basically would get him in trouble from a PR standpoint. My guess is he wants to call out Artis and Young for basically being both the best players on the team, but also the demise of the team mentally, which in turn has them sitting at 3-10 in ACC play.

This team proved it can actually be pretty good when the effort and energy are both there, but it’s almost like the players will settle for being good only when they want to be. That’s a truly disappointing attitude to have in any circumstance.

Comment by Timmeh 02.14.17 @ 11:37 pm

Problem is he had the same MO at Vandy when things went South. Just ask on those boards.

Comment by Tommymac 02.14.17 @ 11:40 pm

What else can Stallings say. He has a bunch of seniors who will no listen to him. I would start 5 subs on Saturday. They would lose by 50 but who should care. I would also refuse a NIT bid if offered. This group does not deserve it.

Comment by Jp 02.14.17 @ 11:51 pm

Jp – the NIT does not take teams with losing records – Pitt is on it’s way to a 14-18 record.

My suggestion would be to hire a search firm (ikr) to find KS another program to run (into the ground) and then go hire Brandon Knight (hitting the reset button).

The KS contract has been speculated as being too big to buyout – hire Tressel as the AD and he will help KS “find” another landing spot to retire.

Comment by Erie Express 02.15.17 @ 4:43 am

I’ll defer on the x’s and o’s to Dan72, gc, and others with demonstrated expertise. Leadership is another matter. Someone once said blaming subordinates for lack of success is the most effective way there is to install a parking brake on imorovement. What it essentially does is to create seperate identities for coaches and players as opposed to a team thus resulting in an “us” vs “them” culture in the locker room. Then, to compound matters he plays charades at the presser by childishly throwing the smoke bomb teaser that he can’t say what he is really thinking?@#/#@

Seriously? Is this the adult in charge of this sinking ship?

I can’t write what I’m really thinking……………

Comment by wally 02.15.17 @ 8:08 am

I had no idea this was a real thing…thanks Upittbaseball for increasing my vocabulary:

link to

Comment by TVax1 02.15.17 @ 12:53 pm

I can’t believe true freshman Justice Kithcart didn’t score in his 10 non-continuous minutes. Especially playing with seniors Young and Artis, who are #1 and #3 respectively in the ACC in scoring. He also only played in the first half when Cam Johnson was raining 3s. The primary role of a point guard is supposedly to create, not score. In that regard Kithcart didn’t do anything last night. However even the newly revered James Robinson only averaged 6.1 ppg and 3.5 assists in his nearly 27 mpg of his freshman season.

So, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Jerry West, Mr. Clutch himself, have never missed big shots? Perhaps, like Cam Johnson, they are not real shooters? Cam Johnson’s 5-8 from 3 are greatly diminished because he missed a game tying shot? It’s only the shots at the end that matter? Perhaps the 6-8 from 3 that he hit against Syracuse in a win are another matter? Ludicrous argument, all points matter regardless of context. Sorry Skip, this isn’t some bullshit, ratings grabbing, circle jerk, argument on Undisputed.

BTW Cam Johnson is currently #9 in the ACC in overall 3P% (43.3). He’s #5 of guys with over 100 attempts. There are currently 35 guys with more than 100 attempts in the ACC and Cam is #9. Seems pretty solid there. Cam’s FG% is 45.4 (5th on team). His FT% is 82.1 (1st on team as Milligan only has 6 attempts). Not too shabby for a RS sophomore who isn’t a real shooter. Perhaps JD will take him at TCU if he isn’t the clutch player that Pitt and KS needs.

Comment by Barvo 02.15.17 @ 3:35 pm


You need one man!

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.15.17 @ 8:59 pm

@Upitt, yeah, if I can get one of YOUR previously posted hot links to do the fitting…LOL!!!

Comment by Tvax1 02.16.17 @ 3:22 pm

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