Breaking Down The VT Loss

In the past week, Virginia recorded wins against UNC and N.C. State with a loss to Virginia Tech. With a snowy weekend on the horizon for the East Coast, this looks like a great time to take a look at those games. Unfortunately for Hoo fans, first up on the analysis block is the overtime loss to the Hokies.

Revisiting Scouting Report

In the scouting report I listed three keys for UVa to pull out the victory:

  • Ball Control. A large part of UVa’s success offensively this season has been its ability to hold on to the ball. A large part of Virginia Tech’s success on defense has been its ability to take it away. This will be the most important statistic to watch as Virginia Tech is second in the ACC in turnover margin at +3.83 while UVa is fifth at +2.71. Virginia Tech is second in the league in forced turnovers while UVa is first in the ACC in fewest turnovers. In order for the UVa offense to work, there needs to be significant ball security but in order for the VT offense to get going, the Hokies need turnovers on the defensive end.
  • Match Virginia Tech’s Effort for 40 minutes. In the Wake Forest game, a more athletic and more physical team came out and roughed UVa up and over the course of the game Virginia just couldn’t match the waves of strong athletes coming at them. The Hokies are similar in that they are a team with a premium on athleticism and power from guard to center. UVa should get a strong early boost from the crowd, and riding the ebb and flow of home court advantage will help the Hoos. Virginia Tech doesn’t out-scheme many opponents, and doesn’t usually beat them with skill either, but the effort and energy is almost always at a premium with Seth Greenberg coached teams. When Virginia Tech gets beaten badly (last year at JPJ for example) it is because the opposing team comes out knowing that they need to battle and match that effort and win 50/50 balls and make the extra effort. If the Hoos can match the Hokies’ energy at both ends, then they’ll be taking away an advantage that the Hokies count on game to game.
  • Jeff Allen . There’s a good chance that Jeff Allen ‘s line on the stat sheet will be a great indicator of the final result of this game. Allen has been a non-factor for the Hokies in long stretches this season at the offensive end and for a team in need of offense, Allen isn’t stepping up to the plate. Allen has shown that he can be a scoring force when that light cuts on for him, and he has a very unique skill set that makes him a very tough player to cover. Without his offense, Virginia Tech can’t expect to win many more ACC games. So far this season, Dorenzo Hudson has stepped in to fill the contribution Virginia Tech expected to get from Allen, but Hudson is still too inconsistent for that to be a viable long-term solution. Allen has also taken himself out of games by getting into foul trouble; this is an even greater concern for the Hokies as his rebounding and defense are even more difficult to replace than his offensive production.

And looking back at those keys …