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Posted at 8:12 AM ET, 12/ 4/2010

Scouting Virginia Tech

By Steve Yanda

Virginia Tech (4-3) enters Sunday's match-up against Virginia (4-3) in a much more vulnerable position that many observers anticipated the Hokies would at the season's outset. That the Hokies have lost two straight games isn't as troublesome as the manner in which they've lost them. Turnovers, foul trouble, frontcourt depth and shooting slumps by Malcolm Delaney and -- more markedly -- Dorenzo Hudson are among the primary concerns for Virginia Tech as it opens ACC play against the Cavaliers.

The Hokies lost to Purdue, 58-55, in overtime Wednesday in a game in which they shot 34.5 percent from the field and 2 for 14 (14.3 percent) from three-point range. Delaney, a 6-foot-3 and 190-pound senior guard, shot 2 for 18 from the field against the Boilermakers.

Judging by the early returns, it seems as though there will be significant pressure on Delaney to shoulder a sizeable scoring load this season. So far he is averaging 19.6 points per game while shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three-point range. Delaney has proven to be Virginia Tech's lone viable three-point shooting threat thus far. He's also handling point guard duties and has recorded 0.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Hudson, Delaney's backcourt mate, has struggled mightily of late. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior guard has shot 5 for 20 from the field and tallied six assists and 13 turnovers in Virginia Tech's past three games combined. On the season, Hudson is shooting 41.8 percent from the field and is averaging 10.3 points per game. Hudson's struggles are stemming at least in part from coming into the season out of shape after a foot injury kept him out of action all summer.

Senior swingman Terrell Bell (6-foot-7, 205 lbs.) rounds out Virginia Tech's backcourt. He is averaging 6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He also leads the team in blocks (10) and is the only main contributor that currently owns an assist-to-turnover ratio higher than 1.0. With 16 assists and nine turnovers, his ratio is 1.8.

Turnovers have been a considerable issue for the Hokies thus far. They are averaging 15.9 giveaways per game, which is less than ideal given, as Coach Seth Greenberg has noted, the team's small margin for error. Against Purdue, Virginia Tech was outscored in points off of turnovers, 22-10. In a 71-59 loss to Nevada-Las Vegas on Nov. 28, the Hokies were outscored in points off of turnovers, 24-10.

Virginia Tech's frontcourt starters include senior forward Jeff Allen (6-foot-7, 230 lbs.) and junior forward Victor Davila (6-foot-8, 245 lbs.). Allen is the team's second leading scorer (11.4 points per game) and its leading rebounder (8.3 per game). He is second to Delaney in scoring, assists (19) and steals (eight). Davila is averaging 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Both forwards have been foul prone through the first seven games, and that's a problem for a squad that possesses little in the way of frontcourt reinforcements. Sophomore forward Cadarian Raines (6-foot-9, 238 lbs.) is just starting to work his way back into the mix after undergoing preseason foot surgery. In limited minutes, he has averaged 0.7 points and 0.7 rebounds in three games.

The Hokies originally had planned on owning an abundance of frontcourt depth this season, but that was before J.T. Thompson tore an ACL and Allan Chaney fainted during an individual workout in April. A heart ailment could keep Chaney out the entire season.

Sophomore guard Erick Green (6-foot-4, 185 lbs.), freshman swingman Jarell Eddie (6-foot-7, 209 lbs.) and sophomore swingman Manny Atkins (6-foot-7, 200 lbs.) are Virginia Tech's top healthy reserves. Green is averaging 5.6 points per game and has tallied seven steals. Eddie is averaging 3.0 points per game and has struggled immensely with his three-point shot (1 for 13). Atkins is averaging 2.0 points per game.

It will be interesting to see how well Virginia handles Virginia Tech's pressure defense. The Hokies smothered the Cavaliers with it last season, and Virginia has had trouble handling pressure defense thus far this season.

By Steve Yanda  | December 4, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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Next: Virginia 57, Virginia Tech 54: Three up, three down

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