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Friday, December 23, 2011

Statistically, Hokies One of the ACC's Better Teams

Press Release Image Anaconda Sports
Statistically, Hokies One of the ACC's Better Teams
by Chris Coleman,, December 23, 2011

Virginia Tech is done with 13 of their 15 non-conference basketball games, and they have a 10-3 record. They are one of just four ACC teams with 10 wins right now, and the combined record of the three teams the Hokies lost to is 33-2.

The Hokies are playing solid basketball in plenty of ways, and are probably a little better overall than most people expected them to be. A quick run through the ACC stats page, as well as the RPI and SOS numbers on, show where Tech stacks up to the rest of the league. Keep in mind that the ranking average takes into account how each team ranks in the league in 10 statistical categories, such as scoring offense, field goal percentage, assists to turnover ratio, etc.

The ACC by Rank
Team Rankings Avg. SOS RPI
UNC 3.5 68 20
UVA 3.6 171 39
VT 4.4 80 54
Duke 6 28 1
NC State 6.1 37 65
FSU 6.7 31 45
Miami 6.9 38 49
GT 7 157 143
Wake 7.1 125 91
Clemson 7.1 268 228
BC 9.3 192 257
Maryland 10.3 91 96

Virginia Tech is third in the ACC in average ranking against the sixth toughest schedule any ACC team has played. Tech is first in the ACC in three point percentage defense, second in free throw shooting, while their lowest ranks are rebounding margin (7th) and turnover margin (7th).

Do the Hokies need to continue to get better? Of course. They need to get better on the boards, they need to stop the ball from getting into the paint so much, and they'll have to keep shooting the ball well. However, they'll have plenty of opportunities for wins, because right now the numbers indicate that Virginia Tech is one of the top six teams in the ACC, as usual, and perhaps even better than that.
I think the Hokies have three big things going for them right now:
1) Depth. The Hokies use a nine-man playing rotation, and everyone they put on the court is a solid contributor. There are no empty uniforms.
2) Shooting. This Virginia Tech team, through 13 games, has flashed the ability to knock down the open jumper.

3) Passing. Overall, this is probably the best passing team at Virginia Tech in the Seth Greenberg era. And it's not just backup point guard Marquis Rankin. Jarell Eddie, Robert Brown, Cadarian Raines, C.J. Barksdale, Dorian Finney-Smith and Erick Green have really stood out to me in that area as well. That's just about everybody on the team.
In short, this is a good looking basketball team. The 2011 recruiting class, which was arguably the best in school history, actually looks slightly better than expected so far (knock on wood). They can shoot, they can pass, and they are playing well together.
As they get into conference play, they'll have to beat some top 50 teams. We've already been over that. However, they are just as likely be harmed in their conference schedule as they are to be helped by it. If you scroll back up and look at the table, you'll notice that two ACC teams (Clemson and Boston College) are ranked outside college basketball red line: #200 in the RPI. Clemson is #228, while BC is #257. If you rank outside the top 200 at this point in the season, then you are a bad, bad basketball team.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, they have to face Clemson and Boston College a grand total of four times this season. That's four times Tech's strength of schedule will get drug down by a lowly ranked team. If Tech manages to be upset by either team, then it will be even worse. Fortunately the Hokies only play Georgia Tech (#143) once.
Come March, it looks like we might find ourselves in a familiar situation.

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