Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Virginia Tech having a rough go of it lately

January 30, 2014 Columns No Comments

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – James Johnson summed it all up fairly quickly and concisely to begin the press conference.

“It was a very disappointing night at both ends of the floor for us,” the Virginia Tech head coach said.

A quick look at the scoreboard would be all you need to know, as Boston College blew out the Hokies 76-52. This is just the latest setback, however, and it’s not a good time for the team right now.

The loss was the seventh straight for Virginia Tech, dropping them to 1-7 in the ACC. They are all alone in last place, but there’s more than just the bottom line. Virginia Tech has been blown out a few other times this season, but this was the second game in a row with a margin of at least 20 points. That comes after they were close in the previous four games, including a three-point loss to these same Eagles in Cassell Coliseum for BC’s only other ACC victory.

With the young team they have, it’s easy to wonder how this is affecting the players. Johnson said he felt they had a good couple of days of practice leading up to the game, but the losses may be taking their toll.

“We’ve got to come out and play the way we practice,” said Johnson. “I think we’re playing real tight right now, because we want to win so badly.”

Virginia Tech has just two seniors and five freshmen on the roster. They also have two other first-year players in UNC Wilmington transfer Adam Smith and sophomore Joey van Zegeren, so in all that’s seven players who didn’t play a game last season. Add in injuries to Smith, who has battled a left calf issue for much of the season, and junior forward C.J. Barksdale, who sat out Wednesday’s game due to a strained groin, and the already-small margin for error gets even smaller.

In fact, continuity has been among this team’s biggest issues. Only three Hokies have played in all 20 games thus far, so a number of their rotation players have missed games. In addition, just one player – freshman guard Devin Wilson – has started all 20, while 11 different players have started at least one game.

The Hokies have actually counted on Wilson for a lot, as he leads the team in minutes. He’s also had to emerge as one of their best players during ACC play in part out of necessity, as ACC teams have done a much better job of keying on Jarell Eddie than the Hokies’ non-conference opponents did and the senior’s numbers are down sharply in conference play. On Wednesday night, the opposite happened, as Eddie broke out for 23 points on 8-13 shooting, including 19 in the first half on 7-10 shooting, while Wilson struggled with just five points on 1-5 shooting in 38 minutes.

Johnson was encouraged by Eddie’s performance, although he also felt Eddie wore down a bit in the second half. Neither team will send a copy of the video for the second half to the Hall of Fame, least of all the Hokies as they shot just 5-23 from the field and scored 19 points. The Hokies had a chance to cut into the lead after it ballooned to 21 points early on, but never gathered much momentum.

While Virginia Tech isn’t playing the defense they were in non-conference play, they haven’t been quite too bad in ACC play. They have been out-rebounded, but that’s a combination of the play at both ends of the floor. The offense is what has been ugly, as the Hokies are shooting under 38 percent from the field in conference games.

Things don’t get any easier for Virginia Tech. They are in the midst of a stretch with four of five on the road, and the lone home game in that stretch is against Maryland on Saturday before they go to Florida State and Pittsburgh next week. But right now, the opponent doesn’t matter very much. The first thing the Hokies must do is what Johnson talked about and gain confidence from some success. Right now this team is not in a good place and has to start somewhere.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.