ACC Capsules: Hokies playing with energy

December 10, 2012

Two days after losing in the final second at West Virginia when guard Erick Green’s jumper fell off the rim, the Virginia Tech Hokies will be back on the court Monday night hosting the well-traveled Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils for a 7 p.m. tip. 

The Delta Devils are getting an extended stay in the Commonwealth of Virginia after falling at Virginia in Charlottesville over the weekend. At 0-5, MVSU continues an ambitious road schedule, as it has also visited Ole Miss, LSU, Cincinnati and Northwestern.  

One of the interesting challenges for the Hokies in this game is how long it takes them to shrug the loss at West Virginia. 
New coach James Johnson has done a 180 with this program since taking over for Seth Greenberg, who was fired last spring after nine years and just one NCAA Tournament appearance. The firing was controversial in some circles, and the hiring of Johnson was debated even more. After all, prior to Greenberg’s firing, Johnson was an assistant at VPI before taking a similar post at Clemson. But a couple of weeks later, he was back in Blacksburg as the man in charge. 

Greenberg’s style was to micromanage just about every possession and focus on lockdown, man-to-man defense. Johnson has turned it up several notches, so much that behind-the-back passes in the open court don’t result in sprints for the team the following day in practice. 
As it is, the new-look Hokies are playing with pride and passion and were a missed shot by Green on Saturday from joining the national rankings.   

Pick: Virginia Tech, 84-62.

Monmouth (5-5) at Maryland (8-1)
Date: Dec. 12
When: 8 p.m.
Full Court Press: Monmouth is coached by former UNC point guard King Rice, and his team owns a solid win over South Alabama, which won at Florida State, but have also struggled against some quality opponents. The Hawks lost at Notre Dame by 27 and by 52 at Syracuse. The Terrapins will continue building depth and confidence, but could use a tougher opponent after a series of cupcakes. 
Pick: Maryland, 83-55.

Season record: 78-13