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Five Observations from Rhode Island-Virginia Tech Game

The Virginia Tech Hokies Men's Basketball team is off to a solid start at 2-0 after beating Rhode Island 69-50 Monday Night at Cassell Coliseum. Find out why Tech is off to such a good start from my observations below.

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69-50, Hokies advantage as the clock read 00:00 at the end of the game, and they record two wins already in the Johnson's era.

It was probably the most exciting Hokies' basketball I have watched since Seth Greenberg coached the Hokies to a stunning upset of Duke in Blacksburg.

Here are five things I have observed from tonight's game against Rhode Island:

  1. The players have bought into James Johnson's system. They run, run, and run some more. They are finding open players on the wing for a trey. They are finding open player underneath the basket. This was largely missing from Seth Greenberg's era. This is not to say that Johnson's the better coach, it is simply clear that the players are very loose, relaxed, and just having fun.
  2. The Hokies took advantage of their height. They attacked Rhode Island on the inside all night long. At the moment, I can't find the statistics for point in the paint, but that is going to be vital when the Hokies start their ACC play in January.
  3. Erick Green is not the only go-to scorer, but he can score in bunches. However, I think that Brown is going to be a key contributor, and it's very important to the Hokies' success that he stays healthy.
  4. Johnson is not afraid of using walk-on players. Sometime walk-on players surprise the heck out fans and sport commentators, but I think that Johnson has done a solid job of coaching up the walk-ons.
  5. Controlling the boards is one key area that I used to criticize Greenberg's teams for. I believe that Johnson has enough bodies to send them crashing to the board, and I also believe that as long as players are being alert to the ball, they can out-rebound their opponent, even if they are at a height disadvantage. One thing I would point out that on some Rhode Island's rebounds, some of the Hokies' defenders forgot to pick up their man, and box him out to collect the rebound. This is something that is always worked on in practice.

Overall, I like what I am seeing from Johnson's squad. They are playing "fast and furious," they are playing loose, they are hustling up and down the court, and most importantly, they are having fun. When the team is having fun, then everybody is having fun (fans included), and that is what is so important.