Jan 6, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Justin Bibbs (10) goes up for a shot past Florida State Seminoles forward Kiel Turpin (11) during the first half of the game at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Hokie fans it has been said many times this season, the Virginia Tech Basketball program has made watching games a heart stopping experience. The Hokies have had a large amount of close games lately, ranging from last second shots that didn’t fall to overtime thrillers. Fans have to be wondering when some of these shots are going to fall, and when they are going to win more of these close games than they lose. Today’s game presents an opportunity for the Hokies to put together a great game and get their second conference win.
Today, Virginia Tech welcomes to Blacksburg a Florida State team that has lost 5 out of its last 8. However, one of those three wins was against a ranked Miami team. The Seminoles are 12-11 overall and 4-6 in the conference. The Noles like the Hokies are looking for some consistency on the hardwood. At the very least the Noles are looking for a repeat performance from a game earlier in the season against the Hokies.
In early January, the Noles beat the Hokies 86-75 on the back of great shooting percentage. The Noles shot 50 percent or above both from the field and from behind the arc. The Hokies cannot let this happen if they hope to split the season series with Florida State. Honestly the shooting percentage looks to be the reason for the Noles wining comfortably in January, but it is the size of the Noles that influenced the game.
The Hokies size has killed them all season, and in this game against one of the biggest team in the conference it will be a point of emphasis once again. Last game fouls eventually doomed the Hokies. The big guys for the Hokies couldn’t stay out of foul trouble and because of this at the end of the game the Hokies were forced to play 5 guards against a big front line. This cannot happen again. Florida States size will overwhelm the 5 guards. Satchel Pierce and Shane Henry will be depended on to play good smart defense and rebound the basketball at a high rate.
Justin Bibbs seems to be back to form after his concussion. Last game Bibbs led the team in scoring, and seemed to look to take over the game. Bibbs along with Ahmed Hill, and Adam Smith will need to do the lion share of the scoring. All three could present a problem for the Seminoles. All three players are great in the open court, getting to the rim, and Adam Smith is the Hokies biggest threat from behind the arc. The wild card for the Hokies is a player that didn’t even play last game.
Christian Beyer has shown he is the type of person that doesn’t want the accolades, but is truly a team player. Beyer has done all the little things for the Hokies. Even being undersized Beyer has battled with the big boys in the ACC and has held his own. Last game Buzz Williams didn’t go to Beyer, I think that was a mistake. Beyer may not be an offensive juggernaut, but he rebounds, plays defense, and gets those all-important 50-50 balls. In my opinion Williams will need to play Beyer today for the Hokies to have a better chance at winning the game.
Florida State as I said before, will depend on size to carry them to a victory. However, the Noles have a great player in Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Mayes led the way for the Noles last time against the Hokies, and is the leading scorer for the Noles this season. Buzz Williams will have to figure out a way for the Hokies to deal with the size of the Noles and keep Rathan-Mayes in check.
This game is an important game for the Hokies in the way it could start a stretch of winnable games for the boys in Blacksburg. This season has been a struggle but the team has never quit on Williams, and has played extremely tough. This Hokie team is a better team than when these teams met in January. I believe this is a winnable game for the Hokies. I believe Justin Bibbs and Adam Smith will led the Hokies to a win 79-74. As always LET’S GO HOKIES!!!