The only thing missing was THE GAME BEING ON TV! I don't know how it's even possible that a game with this much clout (the addition of high school All-American Renardo Sidney to the MSU lineup after having to sit out a season and a half for taking improper benefits during his high school recruiting) wasn't picked up by SOMEBODY. So when I was hanging out at a friend's family's river house this past weekend with a bunch of Hokie alumni, we had to settle for watching Cop Out rather than watching our basketball team smoke Mississippi State. Don't get me wrong, Cop Out was fairly hilarious, particularly after several Tom Collinseses's (how do you make that plural?), but what I really wanted was to watch the game.
Since I didn't see the game and didn't listen on the radio, the points I want to make have to be taken with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila and a lime wedge. It seems, and let's knock on wood here, that Seth Greenberg may have found his rotation for the rest of the season. Greenberg needed an energetic player to come off the bench and be a leader on the floor when the rest of the young bench was out there playing. Dorenzo Hudson showed that he can play that role extremely well. Zo came off the bench to play 23 minutes in this game, putting up 17 points. Starting in his place was Erick Green, who had a fanastic game. If you read my last post, you know that I really like how our team plays when Green is in there. He played 38 minutes in this one, putting up 11 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals to go along with ZERO turnovers. Erick is really taking care of the ball when he's in the game, and I love that. From what I can tell there was only about 7 minutes where Green and Malcolm Delaney weren't in the game, which means that Hudson played a lot at the small forward position, giving VT a 3-guard lineup. I like this look and I think we need to see it against a few more quality opponents. However, I don't like it for our first ACC opponent, Florida State. FSU's best player is 6'9" Chris Singleton, who plays small forward and gets more minutes than any other FSU player. I would want Terrell Bell to be the one guarding Singleton for the vast majority of his time on the floor.
It might be a little disrespectful to look past our next three opponents, St Bonaventure, USC-Upstate, and Mount St. Mary's, but in all honesty I'm mostly doing that because I know next to nothing about those teams. Only a small part of me is looking past them because they suck... because, let's face it, none of us would be terribly surprised to see VT play down to any of these teams and come away with a loss. We have too much experience with that to not see it coming. I wish just one of those 3 games could be on TV so we wouldn't have to wait another 3 weeks to see a VT basketball game. I guess I could drive down to VT for the Mount St. Mary's game... anyone want to do that on the 2nd? Phone me. Or if you tricked me into having a few too many Sam Adams Winter Lagers, then nudge me. HA... that's hilarious, nice one P@.
So to wrap up, what I'm looking for from the Hokies:
- Consistency. Let's keep Erick Green in the starting lineup and keep Zo as the first one off the bench and see what happens. I'd also love to see Malcolm Delaney continue what he has been doing on the court. Quietly, he's doing much better this year in just about every aspect of his game (other than turnovers, but that seems to be resolving itself), and he needs to keep it going through January, February, and March.
- Improvement from Cadarian Raines. He seems to be about as healthy as he's going to be with that crazy foot of his, and I think Seth Greenberg needs to get him a good amount of playing time in the next three games to help get him ready for ACC play. Against MSU, Raines had 3 fouls in 3 minutes with zero points, zero rebounds, and zero blocks. Raines was recruited to protect the rim and grab rebounds... he needs to show that he can do that not only in practice, but in games too.
- More time in general for the young guys. The starters need to build up enough of a lead in the next three games against inferior opponents in order for some of the younger players, namely Raines, Jarell Eddie, Manny Atkins, and Tyrone Garland, to get a good amount of playing time. Eddie won't kick his shooting slump in practice... he needs to see it happen in a game. Garland won't see the kind of pressure on the point in practice that he does during a game. Atkins and Raines need game experience to help defend the post when they come in. But it's up to the starters to play with intensity and build the lead for that to happen.
And so on and so forth.