It’s sort of hard to believe that the Longwood blowout wouldn’t move much, but the Hokies have stuck for a 2nd week in today’s AP Top 25 Men’s hoops poll. Tomorrow, Miami takes to the court in the Cassell and the Hokies start down the main portion of their 2021 schedule. Yes, I know. It’s still 2020, but Miami is a main rival in the ACC, and this is the ACC home stretch of the schedule. There are no more non-conference games on the grid.
The next 2 months and a week are going to be a serious challenge for these new Hokies. Check out the HokieSports Schedule link to figure out how much headache medication will be needed to deal with this stretch. There are no real breaks coming up.
One thing is for sure, #23 ranked Virginia isn’t as good, this year, as it was last season. The Hokies make the trip to Hooville and the John Paul Jones Arena for that match up. We’ll talk about it before Saturday, that’s for sure.
Two Things to Note: One Good and One Not So Good (Okay, sort of bad, really)
The one big positive thing that I’d like to mention that strikes me as very different from the last five seasons or so; REBOUNDING. The Hokies have not been a one up and done shooting team this season. There is some ‘tall’ on the front line, and that means there is also some boards on the bottom line. Tech is grabbing defensive and offensive rebounds this season. Currently the team has grabbed 300 total for an average of 37.5 a game. Keve Aluma, Tyrece Radford, and Justyn Mutts are grabbing the bulk of the boards. That is a big differential from many a moon, and certainly a change from put up a shot and run back down the court effort from last season. Tech’s also managed a 60 rebound positive differential against its opponents to date. That sort of number can make a huge difference as games get tighter and the competition gets more difficult to beat without improving chances at the basket, or clearing out missed shots from the opponents.
If rebounding has been better, ball handling and control has been frustrating. It almost seems like the team is playing with tiny hands or a powdered ball. Tech’s turnover count is not on the good side of the chart. Tech is averaging 12 lost turnovers per game, and that number needs to get down. Fortunately the point totals off of the flip-flops have been fairly low, but eventually that number will begin to sting as the competition gets better at converting them.
Tech is scoring, and team leader Keve Aluma is already in triple digits at 118. Nahiem Alleyne, and Tyrece Radford have 93 and 84 points respectively, but Jalen Cone is back on the court and after only 5 games has put up 50 points.
As the ACC final long stretch begins, Tech is poised to make a quality run at national attention. It’s also the beginning of a yo-yo of road and home games. That’s really amazing considering the complete rebuild that Mike Young has had to complete, along with a refocus of the way the Hokies play inside. Good things are happening on the court for Men’s Basketball.