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Tale of the Tape: Pitt at Virginia Tech

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Breaking down tonight's game with the Hokies

PG

Justin Robinson 6'1" Freshman 6.8 PPG 2.7 APG 1.8 RPG

vs.

James Robinson 6'3" Senior 10.4 PPG 5.3 APG 3.0 RPG

Justin Robinson started the last time out for the Hokies, and I'm under the assumption he will be the starting point guard tonight.  Robinson is a true freshmen that was a four-star recruit for Buzz Williams.  He was not a big scorer for much of the season, but has scored double figures in four of the past five games for Tech.  Robinson's emergence has helped lead the Hokies to three straight wins coming into tonight. He was held scoreless in the first meeting between the two teams.

James Robinson seemingly hit a wall from January 27th to February 14th. The Panthers were 1-4 in that stretch, and the senior point guard was really struggling shooting the basketball, to the point where the team was suffering.  Since that stretch, the Panthers have gone 3-1, with Robinson averaging 15 points, 6 assists, and 4.5 rebounds. It's no secret that a productive Robinson makes for a better Pitt team, and he has been playing very well the past two weeks.

SG

Jalen Hudson 6'5" Sophomore 8.2 PPG 2.0 RPG

vs.

Chris Jones 6'6" Junior 6.5 PPG 2.3 RPG  1.3 APG

Jalen Hudson has been an inconsistent player for the Hokies this season, much like the Pitt shooting guards. He has shown flashes like a 27 point outburst against Louisville back on January 27, but he is coming off a 3 point showing against Wake Forest on Sunday.  Hudson did give Pitt issues in the first meeting as he went for 13 points for 4-6 shooting, but his minutes come and go with Seth Allen coming off the bench and logging big minutes at the off-guard positon.

Chris Jones started most of last season before trading roles with Sheldon Jeter down the stretch. Jones started this season as a bench player, with Sterling Smith earning the starting nod for most of the season.  Recently Jamie Dixon tinkered with the lineup, and Jones has been the beneficiary of a new starting spot, and he has done well with it.  After scoring 1 point against Virginia, he has averaged 9.8 a game in Pitt's past 6 contests, including a career high against Wake Forest with 23 points. Jones did very well on Sunday against Duke with a solid 9 point and 8 rebound performance.  He's playing better overall, and has given Pitt a much needed scoring boost from the shooting guard spot.

SF

Justin Bibbs 6'5" Sophomore 12.1 PPG  3.3 RPG  1.0 APG

vs.

Jamel Artis 6'7" Junior 15.1 PPG  5.1 RPG 3.0 APG

Justin Bibbs is one of three Hokies to average double figures in scoring.  The sophomore wing is one of the team's better three point threats, as he makes 45% of his shots from behind the arc.  He has made multiple outside shots in 11 of the team's 16 conference games, and he can really boost their scoring prowess with long range shots.  Bibbs scored 22 last time out against Wake Forest on Sunday, and scored 12 against Pitt in the first meeting. He's been logging big minutes of late, and will likely do the same tonight.

Jamel Artis has been the catalyst to Pitt's recent run of success. He creates mismatches whenever he is on the floor, and Jamie Dixon runs a lot of his offense through the junior wing. Artis had a strong showing against Duke with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.  His biggest weakness can be turning the ball over, but he protected it fairly well against Duke.  If he is making shots early and protecting the ball, Artis is a very tough player.  Like many of the Pitt players on this roster, he feeds off of confidence.  If Pitt can get Artis going early tonight, the rest of the offense will flourish.

PF

Zach LeDay 6'7" Junior 15 PPG  7.7 RPG 1.3 APG

vs.

Michael Young 6'9' Junior 15.9 PPG 7 RPG 2.6 APG

Zach LeDay is Virginia Tech's leading scorer and rebounder, and he is the key to their whole team.  He basically came out of nowhere, as a transfer from South Florida.  He sat out last season, and only averaged 3.5 point per game for the Bulls, and now he is the driving force for Buzz Williams' team.  LeDay posted 17 points and 8 boards on Sunday in Tech's win over Wake Forest. LeDay is a player that can hit three-point shots, but that's not really his game and he's been in a slump from there anyway.  He works well inside and has a solid mid-range jump shot. He registers a lot of minutes and has stayed out of foul trouble fairly well this season.

Michael Young is also his team's leading scorer and rebounder. His scoring has gone down a bit the past three games, but he is more than capable of having consistent 20 point games on any given night and I'm not overly concerned with it.  Young registered just 17 minutes in the Duke win, but still posted 10 points and 7 rebounds in the huge win. Young had two monster dunks to extend Pitt's lead to 11 points to start the second half, a lead Pitt never allowed to drop below double-digits again.  Young has that kind of big-play power that gets the team going, but his defense and turnovers have been his weaknesses. Still, Young is a key cog in this team and will log big minutes in the month of March.


C

Johnny Hamilton 7'0" Junior 1.9 PPG 2.3 RPG

vs.

Rafael Maia 6'9" Senior 2.3 PPG 3.8 RPG

Johnny Hamilton started last game, but he really does not have a big role on this team.  In their past three games, Hamilton has played a total of 12 minutes with just 2 points.  He won't be much of a factor, but someone that is an extra big body for Buzz Williams to use.

Rafael Maia sort of plays the same role as Hamilton, as he won't usually log big minutes. The Brown transfer has given Dixon an extra body to use down low, but Pitt has found themselves using a two forward lineup more often than not. Still, in a senior day win over Duke Maia registered 14 big minutes, and even hit a baseline jumper.  He can be productive in small doses.

Seth Allen 6'1" Junior   14.0 PPG   3.1 RPG  2.6 APG
Chris Clarke 6'6" Freshman   9.4 PPG 6.4 RPG  1.4 APG
Kerry Blackshear Jr.  6'10" Freshman    6/2 PPG  4.6 RPG 
Shane Henry 6'8' Senior   2.1 PPG  2.4 RPG
Devin Wilson 6'4" Junior   1.9 PPG  1.7 RPG  2.3 APG  
Satchel Pierce 7'0" Sophomore    1.7 PPG  1.3 RPG

vs.

Sheldon Jeter 6'8" Junior  8 PPG  4.9 RPG
Sterling Smith 6'4" Senior   5.2 PPG 3.3 RPG  1.3 APG
Ryan Luther 6'9" Sophomore 5.1 PPG  3.1 RPG
Cameron Johnson 6'7" Freshman  4.1 PPG 1.5 RPG
Damon Wilson 6'5" Freshman 3.6 PPG  1.1 RPG  1.6 APG
Alonzo Nelson-Ododa 6'9" Senior   1.5 PPG  1.7 RPG

Seth Allen is virtually a starter for this Virginia Tech team, as he is the second leading scorer.  The Maryland transfer is a streaky shooter, and his season-high in scoring came against Pitt back in January. Chris Clarke is a solid wing player off the bench, and can fill the stat sheet.  He hasn't been a huge scoring threat of late, but has been able to give them good rebounding numbers. Kerry Blackshear and Satchel Pierce are two big bodies that help fill out the depth. Pittsburgh native, Devin Wilson was the team's starting point guard the past two seasons, but his role has significantly diminished this season.  Still, he's a capable player that can run the offense when needed.

The forward duo of Sheldon Jeter and Ryan Luther has really become a force in recent games.  Jeter is a strong veteran presence that can come in and step right in for a starter, and the team doesn't miss much of a beat. Jeter can electrify a crowd with a dunk, but his biggest thing is staying out of foul trouble. Ryan Luther's minutes keep increasing, and he can really be a difference maker on this team. Luther has been strong on defense, and has given the team a lift scoring the ball.  He can stretch the floor as a three-point specialist. Sterling Smith and Cameron Johnson are rotating as the team's top bench shooting specialist, but Johnson seems to be the hot hand at the moment.  Wilson can give Robinson a minute here or there, but the team seems to be playing it's best with Robinson on the floor, thus cutting Wilson's playing time.