USA TODAY Sports
From The Rumble Seat sat down virtually with Michael Yourshaw from Virginia Tech's thekeyplay.com to talk basketball. As many of you know, the Jackets will be taking on the Hokies today in McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets are looking to clench their first ACC win of the season today. Check out the Q&A session. I will add the link to my answers as soon as they post them online. Check it out!!
1. Which Virginia Tech player do you believe will thrive the most against Georgia Tech?
Erick Green. Simply because he's Erick Green. The kid has been on fire to start the season leading the nation with 24.6 ppg. He's scored at least 20 in all but one game, and will get his points. Since his freshman year, he's improved the most of any player I've ever seen in a Hokie uniform. He couldn't make a jumper when he came in and now it seems like he rarely misses. Most teams have decided to give him his points, but keep his teammates from getting hot. Our team has been a one man show during our four game losing streak, and that won't win you any games.
2. Which GT player do you expect to give VT the biggest struggle?
Pick any player on Georgia Tech, and he has a chance. Our defense has been atrocious, and it seems every game a player comes out of the woodwork to score a career high. If I had to choose, I would pick Mfon Ufofia simply because he shoots the three pretty well and our three-point defense has been terrible. If he can get hot from deep, it's game over.
3. Virginia Tech have won games against strong teams and have lost against weaker teams. Can you explain this a little more and why you think this has happened?
We started the season shooting lights out and were able to build a lot of confidence because of this. Once we got to our bigger non-conference games (Iowa and Oklahoma State), we believed we could beat them, and make every single shot. We scored 95 points against Iowa and 81 against Oklahoma State, with at least 4 of the 5 starters finishing in double figures both nights.
The biggest differences between now and that winning streak are confidence and aggressiveness. We used to drive to the basket and play with no fear and now we seem hesitant to shoot. We've stopped pushing the pace because of depth issues and Erick Green has lost his supporting cast. During the seven game win streak, Robert Brown averaged 13.4 ppg. In the past eight games he's averaged 7.85. Jarell averaged 17.14 ppg during the win streak, and 12.37 the past 8 games. That is over 10 less ppg for the team. Erick Green can't do it all, but our other players aren't confident enough to make shots. If Virginia Tech wants to beat teams, Green is going to need some help.
4. Virginia Tech is in a similar situation to Georgia Tech with a relatively new coach. What are the fan's expectations for VT this season and what are some important steps to take in order for VT to be successful in the next few seasons?
Most of the fans predicted we'd go about .500 on the year, while winning around 7 ACC games. We had a lot of attrition due to switching coaches and only had 8 scholarship players for the year. After going 7-0 to start the season, expectations grew and there was a lot of excitement around the program. Unfortunately, this four game skid has made a lot of the fans give up on the season already, forgetting we still have a chance to get to our original goals.
Probably the most important thing to make us successful is build depth. Our team likes to run and play a very aggressive style of defense, but injuries and a limited bench have kept us from doing that. We have four guys coming in next year, which should help with the issues we've been having. Once we have depth, we'll be able to trap, force turnovers, and get in transition; our bread and butter style of offense.
5. Official Prediction?
I don't know if Virginia Tech will have enough of a supporting cast to get it done. Because of this, and the fact that we're on the road, I'm going to pick GT to win 77-73. If Robert Brown and Jarell Eddie can shoot well it could be a different story though. Each team is looking for their first conference win and it should be a great match up to watch.
Look out for the gamethread later today. The Jackets tip-off at 2:30 in McCamish.