Nov 22, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Joey Van Zegeren (2) shot a last second shot over Appalachian State Mountaineers forward Jacob Lawson (34) at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
The first three games have proven that Buzz Williams and the Virginia Tech Hokies are looking to go with a smaller lineup this season with one big man and four players in the backcourt. The Hokies can use Justin Bibbs as sort of a forward or bring in someone like Shane Henry but Virginia Tech runs the offense with a focal point in the post and four on the outside.
The Hokies have two regular big men to take that role but Satchel Pierce has proven to be a fairly raw player. Ideally, Virginia Tech needs Joey Van Zegeren to be out there for 30 minutes a game. When that has happened, Van Zegeren has dominated but that has not been the case much in the first three games.
Van Zegeren played 34 minutes against Liberty and had 17 points and 10 rebounds which was his first career double-double. However, Van Zegeren played 19 minutes against Maryland-Eastern Shore and 18 minutes against Appalachian State. In those two games, Van Zegeren had a total of 12 points and 6 rebounds.
There is one key factor that has caused the difference in minutes. Against Liberty, Van Zegeren had only 2 fouls while having 4 fouls against Maryland-Eastern Shore and fouling out against Appalachian State.
Foul trouble has been an issue for Van Zegeren in some cases in the past but it is something that he is going to have to fix. Satchel Pierce is a fairly raw big man that still has a lot of developing to do so the Hokies will need Van Zegeren taking most of the minutes in the post every game.
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The Hokies need a dominant force in the post to get rebounds and without Van Zegeren on the floor, the Hokies seem to lack that. Against Appalachian State, the Hokies were outrebounded 42 to 27 with the Hokies having 8 offensive rebounds compared to the Mountaineers’ 19. Virginia Tech will need Van Zegeren out there to dominate the boards to avoid giving teams to many second chances.
The Hokies will need Van Zegeren a lot against a fairly good Northern Iowa team that is led by one of the best big men in the country that no one knows about in Seth Tuttle. Tuttle is averaging 17 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game in his first four games this season. Tuttle is also shooting 73.1% from the free throw line and will try to get Van Zegeren in foul trouble when they face off in Cancun.
If Joey Van Zegeren can stay out of foul trouble, the Hokies could be very dangerous but whether Van Zegeren is able to do that remains to be seen.