Oct 16, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head basketball coach James Johnson speaks to the media during the ACC basketball media day at The Ritz-Carlton. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013-2014 College Basketball Season kicked off for the Hokies today and it is already looking like it will be a very long season for the Hokies. Most people thought Virginia Tech could get an easy victory at home to start the season against the USC Upstate Spartans of the Atlantic Sun Conference. However, the Hokies have been surprisingly upset at home by the Spartans 64-63 in the first game of Virginia Tech’s 2013-2014 College Basketball Season. This is already looking like it could be a long season for the Hokies and Virginia Tech has only played one game. So, here are 3 things that Virginia Tech fans can take away from today’s game.
1. Jarell Eddie is essential to Virginia Tech’s success.
Jarell Eddie was the top returning scorer from last year’s team and it is no surprise that Eddie is going to be the featured scorer. The Hokies took 59 shots and 21 of those were from Eddie which works out to be 35.6% of all Virginia Tech shots. That is okay if Eddie is making a high percentage of those shots but Eddie struggled only having 18 points on those 21 shots. Eddie was 4 of 5 from the free throw line but Eddie struggled with everything else. Eddie took 9 three-pointers and only made 2 while Eddie was 6 of 21 from the field overall. The Hokies are going to need Eddie to be more productive or move their focus to other players.
2. The Hokies need to improve their free throw shooting
The Hokies only lost by one point to USC Upstate and that can largely be blamed on the struggles from the free throw line. Jarell Eddie and Cadarian Raines only missed 2 of their 9 combined free throw attempts but the rest of the Hokies only made 2 of the other 9 free throws. Virginia Tech averaged 50% from the free throw line and that will have to improve for the Hokies to not lose games they could have won. Sophomore Joey Van Zegeren missed all 3 of his free throws while freshman starting guard Devin Wilson was 2 of 4 from the line. These are two players who are a big part of the future for the Hokies and will need to become better free throw shooters. Virginia Tech has to improve at the free throw line or the Hokies could be in for an even worse season than expected.
3. James Johnson is on the hot seat
James Johnson was hired after a weird situation that saw Seth Greenberg fired because Johnson left to be the assistant head coach at Clemson. Now, Johnson enters his second year in Blacksburg as the head coach and while it is only his second season, Johnson doesn’t have much support. Johnson had a decent roster headlined by ACC Player of the Year Erick Green last year but the Hokies still only won 13 games. Now, the Hokies have a weaker roster but one that is definitely good enough for Virginia Tech to beat teams like USC Upstate. If the Hokies continue to struggle, Johnson will not survive and one man that Virginia Tech should look at if Johnson is fired, Murray State head coach Steve Prohm. Prohm has had tons of success at Murray State despite the fact that they are in a lower mid-major conference and also the Hokies had success when they hired a head coach from Murray State. That man was Frank Beamer and we all know how well that has worked out for the Hokies.