Virginia Tech’s Challenge Against VCU’s Havoc Defense


Dec 8, 2013; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Joey Van Zegeren (2) reacts after defeating the Miami Hurricanes 61-60 in overtime at BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech men’s basketball team has overperformed since their surprise loss to USC Upstate with solid wins against West Virginia and Miami FL while only losing two games to Michigan State and a nailbitter to Seton Hall. At the beginning of the season, most Virginia Tech fans and all analysts would have seen the game against VCU at the Richmond Coliseum as a game that likely wouldn’t be that close. However, all that has changed with Virginia Tech’s better-than expected start and VCU’s early-season struggles.

Virginia Tech fans have plenty of reason to be omptomistic entering this massive showdown against VCU but the one thing that all Hokies’ fans know about VCU is their well-known havoc defense. VCU’s Havoc defense is nationally recognized as one of the best defenses in college basketball due to the energy of Shaka Smart’s players and the amount of on-ball pressure they put on their opponents. However, it is possible to play well against VCU’s tough defense if the Hokies do certain things Saturday.

The first thing that the Hokies will have to do if something that may not seem to have any effect but actually has a massive impact on VCU’s Havoc defense, the Hokies need to play quality defense. VCU’s Havoc defense is at its best when the Rams can set up their full-court press after any type of scoring whether it be from the free throw line or any normal bucket. Virginia Tech has given up no more than 63 points in a game during their 4-game winning streak and has shown plenty of improvement on the defensive side of the ball. VCU’s offense can have some big games so the Hokies will have to be on their A game defensively or they could be dealing with the VCU full court press a lot.

The VCU Rams lead college basketball in the most steals per game and the Virginia Tech Hokies will need quality ball and player movement to try to limit the number of turnovers. Virginia Tech has a lot of inexperience in the backcourt with Devin Wilson, Adam Smith, and Ben Emelogu having a combined one year of on court NCAA-level experience before this season. However, Emelogu has emerged as a leader and that type of youthful leadership will be a major benefit. Also, Virginia Tech will not be playing at the Siegel Center and in what will be a noisy, but no as loud, Richmond Coliseum which will have some Virginia Tech fans there to limit the VCU fans.

So, can the Hokies limit the effects of VCU’s Havoc Defense or will the Hokies have a tough time on offense? We will just have to wait and see what happens Saturday.