The Hokies closed out the ACC regular season in familiar fashion when paired with the recent home game. Strong attack and hot from deep followed by massive offensive struggles to open a game and going cold from the three. It ended up being an eight point loss after a resurgent second half, giving Virginia Tech a 16-15 record to end the regular season.
1 - Cold Guards
Wabissa Bede has never been a scoring threat, but on Saturday both main ball handlers could not buy a bucket. Bede only took two shots against Notre Dame, making one - ending the contest on two points, but with five assists. Meanwhile his understudy Jalen Cone got 21 minutes and went 0-for-8. The usual hot shooter, missed seven threes in his first scoreless night since January 28th.
The Hokies can’t afford to be predictable. They are at their best when they are able to open up the court, drive to the basket on occasion, have each player be a threat, creating space for open looks at three pointers. Bede will always contribute with assists, but Tech needs both players hitting shots if they want their ACC Tournament trip to last more than a night.
We fall at Notre Dame in regular-season finale— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) March 7, 2020
• @Tyreceradford23 turns in a near double-double
• P.J. Horne (14 PTS) & @CattoorHunter (12 PTS) score in double figures
» https://t.co/UlERqicOXI#StoneByStone | #Hokies pic.twitter.com/U9CLcacWJE
2 - The fade of Landers Nolley
Early in the season Nolley was dominating the ACC Freshman of the Week honors. There was a point where you could make the case he may test his NBA draft potential after the season. Any chance of that seems doubtful now. There is always the chance Nolley could transfer, but he needs another year of college basketball to develop further.
Nolley opened his collegiate career with eight straight games in double-digits. In fact he’s scored in double digits 24 times from the Hokies 31 games so far. Truly impressive for a freshman and Tech is lucky to have a talent like him to build around. However, he’s now scored seven or less in five of the last seven games. It could be a long season setting in for the freshman or teams focusing on him more defensively. Either way let’s hope we get to see him in orange and maroon again next season, he has the talent and size to develop into a pro-level player.
The @accmbb tournament has been set— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) March 8, 2020
We will be the No. 11 seed & will take on North Carolina at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday in Greensboro
For more info
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3 - Inability to stretch possessions
We’ve seen Mike Young favor setting up on defense over more aggressively going for offensive rebounds this season, but it seemed particularly costly on Saturday. The Hokies managed only three offensive boards all game, compared to Notre Dame’s nine. Which makes sense when you see that VT had just six second chance points.
Perhaps it’s down to a height difference on most nights. Perhaps it’s trying to protect a young team on the defensive side. But as Coach Young recruits and builds the program in the coming seasons, Tech needs to create more second chances in order to thrive in the ACC.
The Hokies will be the 11 seed in the ACC Tournament and face North Carolina in the opening round on Tuesday night at 7 pm ET.