To get a better understanding of the Mount's next opponent Virginia Tech, I exchanged emails with Niemo from TechHoops.com.
Niemo is the Senior Writer and Head Arm-Curler for TechHoops.com , the #1 web site for Virginia Tech Hokie basketball (if you don't know what an arm-curl is, just go to TechHoops.com and check out the Game Film -> Photo Gallery link). He was honored as the super fan of Virginia Tech at the final basketball game of his senior year. Niemo is also an avid football fan, and has attended 95 straight Hokie home games, dating back to the first game of his freshman year. He currently lives in NOVA.
Here is our exchange.....
First of all I just want to say hello to all you mount maniacs! I spent a week on your campus as part of the Morgan Wooten Basketball Camp and it is beautiful country up there in ole Emmitsburg. Enough fluff, let's get to the questions...
Tech got a win in the opener - but it probably wasn't as impressive as they would have liked. How did that game go?
Seth Greenberg teams are known for their suffocating defense but this year Tech has really worked on having a more aggressive, up-tempo offense. Things clicked in the first half but were awful in the second half on the offensive end. The team just needs to get used to the new style of play, while also remembering their defensive roots. But this is a very talented ball club. The Hokies got better all through last season and lost just one key player. They are going to be a contender in the ACC this season so things will turn around. It is a matter of getting the kinks out now.
Does that result help or hurt the Mount's upset chances. Meaning will that serve as a wakeup that this preseason games need to be focused upon, or were there some real areas of concern that the Mount might be able to focus upon?
Traditionally, if you were going to upset a Seth Greenberg VT team, you could do it early. His teams have tended to struggle out of the gates. But as I said above, this team has a good bit of chemistry and a lot of talent. The area the mount might be able to exploit is Virginia Tech's defense on the perimeter. Tech doesn't have great defensive guards. So a guy like Jeremy Goode might be able to exploit that and have a good game. Inside Tech is much more stout on defense.
What type of atmosphere can we anticipate in the Cassel on Monday night?
Mellow. Virginia Tech is still a football school. That said, interest in the basketball program continues to grow, but the only rowdy home games are big out of conference games or ACC games. The game will be "sold out" but I would expect only about half to two-thirds of the ~10,000 seats will have fannies in them.
Take us through the Virginia Tech starting lineup and what we can expect from them?
The Jeff Allen Show makes another appearance on Monday. He is VT's best player. He is an undersized big man (listed at 6'7" but probably not that tall), but he can do it all. Jeff is athletic with amazing hands. He even led VT in steals last season. Allen will dominate the mount inside, unless the Hokie guards forget about him and don't feed him the ball, which is what happened in the second half of VT's first game.
A.D. Vassallo, a senior, played for the Puerto Rican National Team this summer. He was 2nd-team All-ACC last year and has a tremendous offensive game. He is deadly on threes, he has a good mid-range game, and he can take it to the tin. A.D. will get his points every time out.
Malcolm Delaney is the Hokie point guard. Malcolm is more of a shooting guard, but the Hokies lack depth at the point so he mostly plays there. He was one of the best guards in the ACC down the stretch last season and figures to get better this year. Malcolm is the heart-and-soul, the leader of this club.
The other starters, Dorenzo Hudson and Cheick Diakite, are more role players. Cheick is a shot-blocking force. Tech's bench did not play well in their opener and must get better.
Are there any newcomers that made an impact Friday and are expected to continue to do so this year?
As I mentioned, Tech only lost contributor from last season, and only added one player they think will contribute this year. That is Victor Davila, who is a thick, low post player. But he only saw a few minutes in the first game and likely won't be much of a factor in this game.
The Mount does not have a big team (6-7 biggest) do the Hokies have the ability to take advantage of that?
See above. Jeff Allen is the real deal. He will be the best low post player the mount sees all year and that includes DaJuan Summers of georgetown who the mount play in a month. Well, maybe Greg Monroe (super-freshman for georgetown) might be better eventually, but not now.
Your prediction for how you think this contest goes?
Pain! Seriously, the mount is playing Virginia Tech Monday and that means bad... news... for the mount! Tech's horrendous second half the other night will certainly spice up the VT practices this weekend. Greenberg is not the kind of guy who accepts failure. That said, the mount has talent back and NCAA experience, something the Hokies are thirsty for this year. The key for the mount is to stay within striking distance early. The Hokies often build up big leads early in these games and it is game over. The mount also has to hope Jeff Allen commits dumb fouls and has to sit a good bit. And Jeremy Goode needs to really be on. But I see Tech winning this game fairly comfortably.