You’re bound to hear it mentioned that Virginia Tech is 6-0 at home this season in ACC play and to be sure they have played much better at home than on the road. At home their scoring margin is +41 in six games while their road margin is -33 with losses to bottom dwellers Miami, Boston College and North Carolina. It is worth taking a closer look at their home wins however as four of the Hokies home wins against Boston College, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest were by an average of just over three points. That isn’t exactly a Final Four caliber collection of teams either. In the two best home wins (Clemson and Wake Forest) that Virginia Tech has the Hokies shot 93 free throws to their opponents 48. Their margin of victory in those games was 15 points and yet they made 38 more free throws than either the Tigers or Deacons made. Virginia Tech won both those games because Clemson and Wake Forest were foolish enough to keep fouling even when they were ahead in the 2nd half. If you are able to keep from fouling the Hokies they struggle to score in the half court with a roster that consists mostly of role players. Malcolm Delaney may be near the top of the ACC in scoring per game but shoots a horrendous 36% from the floor and 23.7% from outside the arc in conference play. To put it simply Delaney’s ability to draw fouls is the only thing that makes him a legitimate offensive threat. Dorenzo Hudson and Jeff Allen are decent options but often get into trouble trying to do more than they are capable of doing. Both have a history of letting their emotions get the better of them and making dumb mistakes that cost their team. Besides those three J.T. Thompson is probably the best scoring threat off the bench and may give Maryland some problems on the inside as he is very aggressive and has a decent jumper and post moves. In contrast to some of Maryland’s recent opponents Virginia Tech has some vulnerabilities on the interior and I look for Gary Williams to use Jordan Williams to exploit that. Jeff Allen has had a habit of picking up early fouls and if the Terps can get him on the bench it will further limit the Hokies pedestrian offense. There will be some chances for offensive rebounds and interior scoring for the Terps against a modestly talented Hokies front court.
The one area that Seth Greenberg’s team excels in is team defense. The Hokies play some of the best half court defense in the ACC and will make you work for every possession on offense. Their pressure will frustrate opponents into taking bad shots that turn into run out opportunities for Virginia Tech. When opponents dribble penetrate the help defender will always swipe at the ball to get steals and deflections. Their defense really feeds their offense to a large extent. Terrell Bell is Seth Greenberg’s defensive stopper and he will almost surely get assigned the task of trying to shut down Greivis Vasquez. The excellent passing and offensive motion of Maryland versus the half court defense of Virginia Tech will be an interesting matchup. Note that Boston College’s flex offense gave the Hokies real trouble in both games they played against the Eagles. Virginia Tech is the only road venue that the seniors have not won a game in their four years at Maryland.