Previewing 'Canes Vs Hokies Hoops with Gobbler Country

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

New GC manager Charles Workman gave us the scoops on the game, his All ACC selections, and more.

Back on December 8th, in the first ACC contest for both squads, Jarell Eddie was unstoppable down the stretch and VT pulled out the 61-60 thriller.

Nearly 3 months later and the Hokies have yet to win another conference game, and Miami has lost a handful more heart breakers.

Can the 'Canes even the season series this weekend?

That and more below with Charles Workman of Gobbler Country:

SOTU: Let's start with something positive. Give me your all time starting 5 for the Hokies?

GC: Let's see.....we got Bruce Smith, Michael Vick, Kevin Jones, Corey Moore, Brandon Flowers.....oh, did you mean basketball?

My team would probably dominate a summer-league, but stand little chance against a team with a fully-formed front line.

The team: Bimbo Coles ('88 Olympian), Dell Curry (NBA 6th man of the year), Ace Custis (maybe most important player in last 20 years), Malcolm Delaney, and Zamon Gordell or Jabian Dowdon (combo of Dowdell/Gordon...can't have one without the other). Though it kills me to leave Damon Watlington off. On a team like this he might shoot 55% from three.

Honorable Mention to some old timers like Allan Bristow and Chris Smith who I never got to see and who didn't play in a fully integrated era.


SOTU: Ok, since we can't avoid this forever, briefly tell us what has gone wrong this year for Va Tech Hoops? Is the team as bad as its' 1-10 ACC record?

GC: We are AS bad as the record and perhaps worse. In a nutshell, attrition from transfers in the coaching transition, academic non-qualifiers, and injuries have has us playing catch-up personnel-wise all season. The inexperience at the PG combined with the inability of the coach to innovate in the face of repeated failures has caused us to be a high-turnover, low-efficiency outfit. The early shooting has cooled off, and we now possess the body language of a team that expects to lose. Don't let last Saturday's effort against PItt, in which VT stretched the Panthers to two overtimes, fool you. Pittsburgh is not themselves, and the loss of their sixth man to a season-ending injury has hurt their depth immeasurably. Pitt played down to VT's level, and so long as the opponent takes care not to do that, the Hokies should lose.


SOTU: Give me your ALL ACC team and your Freshman of the Year?

GC: I will just pick the best five players, it will be small forward heavy.

1st team: Lamar Patterson (Pitt), CJ Fair (Syracuse), TJ Warren (NC St), Malcolm Brogdon (UVA), Jabari Parker (Duke)

2nd team: KJ McDaniels (if his team were better, 1st team), Rodney Hood (Duke), Dez Wells (MD), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), Codi Miller McIntyre (Wake Forest)

My Honorable Mention: Joe Harris (UVA), Marcus Paige (UNC), Rion Brown (Miami)

I don't see how anyone can be Freshman of the Year besides Tyler Ennis of Syracuse. Particularly after Wednesday night. But don't let one shot overshadow the tremendous poise he demonstrates, or take away from his superb assist-to-turnover ratio.


SOTU: Any pleasant surprises amidst the rough season? Which freshman/newcomers have emerged as bright spots, potential key cogs for the future?

GC: Sure, I can see the value in most every player we have. Devin Wilson, Ben Emelogu and Trevor Thompson all got valuable minutes and will be relied on heavily in the coming years. Our sophomore Center is already putting together some very nice stretches of minutes, but like everyone else is struggling to maintain consistency. We have three nice young players coming in the next class also, including former Duke Blue Devil and NBA player Antonio Lang's son T.J.


SOTU: How do you see this game playing out? Which players or match-ups with on Miami concern you?

GC: I see us scoring around 50 points. The Hokies have given a blueprint to anyone who can watch tape of them. There is no solution right now for solid halfcourt defense and patient offense, both of which Coach Larranagga stresses. I actually live 10 minutes from GMU where he used to coach, and am familiar with his deliberate style. He has the temerity to ride out bad stretches and not make panicky substitutions, and he can insist that Miami shorten the game by moving the ball around til 10 seconds remain.

In the lull during a business conversation, the loser of the deal will break the silence and speak first. It's an age-old tactic, it is supposed to determine one party's desperation to get the deal done. The more desperate team in this case is the Hokies, and they will most assuredly be the one who loses at the game of chicken that is to ensue. If Miami decides to crash the offensive boards and not cycle back in transition defense, then the Hokies might be able to get out and get some threes in transition. But Coach L is too smart to let that happen repeatedly. And if Miami decides to throw the zone at us, I can predict with a high level of certainty that the Hokies will endure a 7 minute scoring drought (sponsored by Kroger Food Stores).

I like Miami in this one 58-51.


SOTU: Can football season get here fast enough for you guys?

GC: It's never not football season, bruh! I'm actually eager for baseball this season. New coach, more access, more games on TV. Now I'm running a website, so that adds a bit of a wrinkle. Football is every day, but after signing day I could use a little variety.

Good luck on Saturday. Though I must admit I am rooting for a three way tie at the bottom of the league between the three Big East defectors. After 10 years, demonstrating progress in basketball!!


Thanks again to Charles for working with us. It should be a fun game on Saturday evening, even if it doesn't shake up the standings in the ACC.






The Game
Miami travels to Blacksburg, Va., for a rematch with Virginia Tech on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. The Canes lost the first game against the Hokies, 61-60 in overtime on Dec. 8., the ACC opener for both teams.

The Series
Miami is 13-11 in the all-time series against Virginia Tech, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. The Canes are 7-4 against the Hokies at home, 1-2 on neutral courts and 5-5 on the road. UM is 7-10 vs. VT in ACC play and since the arrival of Coach L in 2010-11, Miami is 3-1 against Virginia Tech.

The Broadcasts
Catch the game on RSN with Wes Durham and Cory Alexander making the call.

Watch the game on these affiliates: FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Florida, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, New England Sports Network Plus, FOX Sports Arizona Plus, FOX Sports Indiana Plus, FOX Sports North Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Wisconsin, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, FOX Sports Detroit Plus, ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, ROOT Sports Rocky Mtn., ROOT Sports Northwest, MSG Plus, FOX Sports Ohio, ESPN3 (Subject to Blackout).
Also check out the game on 560 WQAM Radio with Joe Zagacki.




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