Men’s Basketball 76 Virginia Tech 87


Virginia Tech is off to hot start with a sparkling 4-0 record and its brand new head coach, James Johnson who replaced the fired Seth Greenberg. No matter how hard he tried, Greenberg could not get his teams to the NCAA tournament often enough. Johnson is somewhat of an unknown to the common basketball fan. He spent the past five seasons at VT as an assistant and was hired to be Clemson’s coach in April before the Hokies lured him back. Johnson spent three years of his career in the Southern conference, one year as an assistant at College of Charleston and two years at Elon.

The Hokies have been impressive on both ends of the court this season. In their four wins over East Tennessee State, Rhode Island, VMI & UNCG, the Hokies have averaged 85 points per game, good enough for second in the ACC. Although Tech has given up close to 70 points on the defensive end, their statistics are impressive. Tech’s opponents are shooting under 40% from the floor, and 21% from three point range.

The Hokies are led by senior guard Erick Green who is lighting it up in his final season. Green is averaging nearly 24 points per game while also dishing out 5.5 assists a game, both numbers which lead the team. Green has contributed eight made three pointers this season, for a team that has already made 42 trifectas on the season.

Appalachian’s defense has been atrocious this season, but it seems they might have found a partial solution against East Carolina. The real question is if Appalachian can put together an entire game of offensive and defensive production. The Mountaineers are playing only seven players in their normal rotation, with only seven players seeing action in every game this season. Nathan Healy has been solid after a rough game against High Point. Healy is shooting 60% from the field, and 46% from three point land. Jay Canty leads the Mountaineers in several categories, including points per game, rebounds and free throws made and attempted. Canty could warm up from three point range, as he has only hit one of his twelve attempts.

The Mountaineers are massive 20.5 point underdogs on the road. We were way off with our guess of what the line would be. We were expecting a double digit line, but nothing as high as twenty points. Virginia Tech has covered in both of their games that were lined this season, as have the Mountaineers. Something will have to give. Appalachian could hang tight in a game that is likely to be lightly attended by fans on Black Friday. As we have mentioned in the past, Appalachian has been good against major conference opponents on the road in the double digit spreads the last two years, covering three of four such games. Virginia Tech is bound to have a rough shooting game sometime in their future, and it could be today. I’ll take the Mountaineers to cover this big spread, as I should have done earlier this week.

UPDATE: In the time it took me to write this article, the line dropped from 20.5 to 19.


Appalachian kept the margin close with Virginia Tech for most of the game before fouls caught up with them in the second half. Virginia Tech led for almost the entire second half, outside of Appalachian tying the score at 50 with 14:57 remaining. It was the game’s ninth and final tie of the game. From that point, Tech went on a 23-10 run over the course of the next ten minutes of game action and never looked back.

The game was decided completely on the free throw line. Virginia Tech was awarded thirty-nine free throw attempts on the afternoon and hit thirty of them, a 77% clip for the day. Appalachian countered with only 21 attempts, knocking down only twelve. The Mountaineers have been solid for a good part of this short season at the free throw line, but when they shoot a lower percentage, they do it in the worst way. Tevin Baskin and Michael Obacha were both 1/4 from the line. Even Nathan Healy missed a rare free throw. The bigger story outside of the poor shooting were the opportunities at the foul line. Even though the Mountaineers were only whistled for seven more fouls than Virginia Tech, the Hokies were able to shoot 18 more free throws. The officials even tried to nail Nathan Healy with two flagrant fouls. The first offense, the officials went to the video monitor to review if the flagrant was warranted, but it was not. On the second offense, Healy chased down a wide open layup and blocked the shot, but came down on the opponents arm on the follow through, which caused the shooter to land awkwardly, but on his feet. That foul was called a flagrant in live action, and the officials went to review the play again, and confirmed call. It was obvious at that point in the game, that the officials did not want Appalachian to win. It was one of the worst calls I have seen in college basketball, especially considering the officials could have changed the call by reviewing the play.

When all was said and done, the Mountaineers held on to cover the spread, and we made the right call. It was fourth cover in five games against opponents from the ACC/Big Ten/C-USA that the Mountaineers covered as double digit road dogs. We have evened up our record at 1-1 on the season and will look to go over .500 on the season next week as the Mountaineers return home against Duquesne. The Dukes have covered twice as underdogs this season while they have been favored twice and won, but did not cover.

Basketball: Fearless Predictions

College basketball kicks off its season this weekend, and the Mountaineers will begin its season against Montreat. In a game that should be an easy win for the Mountaineers, it will be interesting to finally see what kind of rotation and starting lineups we shall see from the Mountaineers. Most of the starting lineup is set, but the first players off the bench are what we are most looking forward to seeing. The starting lineup should include, in no order, Nathan Healy, Jamal Trice, Jay Canty, Tab Hamilton, and Chris Burgess. If Trice is not ready to play, Brian Okam would be the most likely candidate to fill his spot, as the Mountaineers would go with a bigger lineup. Burgess will man the point until Mike Neal regains his eligibility.

On the day of each Mountaineer game, Vegas odds will be posted in games that warrant interest for the men’s games. The Montreats of the world do not garner such interest. We will choose a line, sometimes in favor of the Mountaineers, and sometimes not, depending on how we feel about the game, and keep track of our record throughout the season. There is no actual money being wagered, this is just a fun thing to do during the season.

Looking at Men’s schedule, we have decided to place a total on the number of wins we expect for this season. We feel there are about 6 games on this schedule that we can consider coin flips, and any record that results in a record over .500 would be considered a success for a team that is so young. So, we fearlessly predict 14.5 wins for Jason Capel’s squad. We realistically believe, in a worst-case scenario, this team will win 11-12 games, while in a best case scenario, this team is looking at 17-18 wins, including conference tournament play. However, the number we are going to with is 14.5 for an over/under number for this team.

On the Women’s side, the team has 28 regular season games scheduled, and it will probably be much easier to gauge how well this team will do compared to the men. There are three games that most would point at, would be guaranteed losses early in the season, against Virginia Tech, Xavier & West Virginia. I believe this team could possibly upset one of these schools, and it would not surprise me. In conference play, this team is staring at a record somewhere in the 16-4 to 18-2 range. Samford, Chattanooga and Davidson are the competition in this conference and most likely these teams will decide the conference race. We are going to with a pretty high number, as out of conference teams could test the Mountaineers, but we have confidence in this team. We would expect a record falling somewhere in the 21-7 to 23-5 range in the regular season, but would not be surprised if their record ended up better than that. Tonight’s game against Lees-McRae should be an ugly win.