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Shooting poorly, Hokies turn to flex offense

BOSTON -- Virginia Tech has fashioned a defensive identity, which is a good thing. The Hokies have not been shooting well this season.

In ACC games, Virginia Tech is shooting only 40.2 percent, including a league-low 28.4 percent from three-point range. In an effort to get his team's offense going, Coach Seth Greenberg implemented flex offense principles.

Boston College (13-13, 4-8), which hosts Virginia Tech (21-5, 8-4) on Thursday night, runs a flex offense. Earlier this season, the Hokies experimented with a motion offense, but have been going with the flex in recent weeks.

The new offensive wrinkle suits the Hokies well because they do not have a team with many dribble-drive players, except for guard Malcolm Delaney. Using the flex cuts and baseline screens, Virginia Tech is trying to emphasize its strengths.

Greenberg has said Virginia Tech's players are better at making cuts than they are as a breakdown guys who will blow past defenders. The flex is designed to highlight those abilities, and it also helps the Hokies' relatively undersize forwards play further from the basket. With inside flex cuts, those forwards often get open for jumpers at the elbow.

"I've been getting a lot of shots off that, too," forward J.T. Thompson said on Friday. "That helps me a lot, just being able to cut off the flex screen and just getting me open."

Anything that can help the Hokies' offense is necessary. They have not had much success finding a rhythm this season, especially in ACC play.

Part of the problem has been that Delaney, the Hokies’ leading scorer and a sharp shooter, has not been a crisp shooter as a result of ankle injuries. And the Hokies' poor shooting has impacted other facets of the game. Specifically, it has put an added burden on their rebounding, because they need to get those easy second-chance buckets, which showed up as a glaring weakness in a loss at Duke on Sunday.

By Mark Viera  |  February 24, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
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