Game 2 Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies vs Rhode Island Rams

On to the next one. And it doesn’t get any easier. The 0-1 Rhody Rams will play their first road game of the 2012-13 campaign tonight against a familiar ACC foe. Let’s take a look at their opponent and try to decipher what the Rams will need to do to pick up win number one:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
Mascot: Hokies
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
2011-12 Record: 16-17 (4-12)

The Hokies weren’t exactly the strongest team in the stacked ACC last year, finishing 9th in the 12-team league. Only Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Boston College fared worse. VT is 1-0 on the young season, disposing of East Tennessee State 80-62 on Saturday. The Rams and Hokies have faced each other in each of the past two seasons. Rhody topped Tech 79-72 in Blacksburg in the 2010 NIT Quarterfinals before VT handled the Rams 78-67 when they met last season at the Ryan Center. The Hokies, much like Norfolk State, return only one starter from last season:

Projected Starting Lineups

Rhode Island
G: Mike Powell, So, #1, 5’11″, 175
G: Xavier Munford, Jr, #5, 6’2″, 180
G: Andre Malone, Sr, #12, 6’6″, 210
F: Nikola Malesevic, Sr, #23, 6’7″, 200
F: Ryan Brooks, Sr, #33, 6’8″, 220

Virginia Tech
G: Erick Green, Sr, #11, 6’3″, 185
G: Robert Brown, So, #1, 6’5″, 190
F: Jarell Eddie, Jr, #31, 6’7″, 218
F: C.J. Barksdale, So, #42, 6’8″, 232
F: Cadarian Raines, Jr, #4, 6’9″, 238

Jarell Eddie is the only returning starter for the Hokies, but all five of the above players saw significant minutes versus the Rams when they faced off last season, so Rhody shouldn’t be in for too many surprises. Eddie put up 15 points last season in Kingston on an efficient 5-6 shooting performance, including 3-3 from behind the arc. He also posted a double-double over the weekend, tallying 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Buccaneers. The player to keep an eye on, however, is point guard Erick Green. He went nuts against the Rams a year ago, scoring a game-high 24 points off the bench in a 10-14 shooting performance. (In case you were wondering, the Hokies shot 55% as a team in that game). If that wasn’t scary enough, he posted yet another game-high performance on Saturday, putting up 21 points to go along with six assists in a staring role. The 1-2 punch of Eddie and Green will leave Rhody with their hands full.

Whereas Rhody’s offense was tested versus Norfolk State on Friday, it seems as if their defense will get the biggest test tonight. Virginia Tech shot 47% from the field and 40% from three versus East Tennessee State, and they had three guys score 16 or more points. The Rams defense looked great in the first game, so if they can put together a similar effort and add in some more scoring besides Nikola Malesevic, they have a real good chance to win tonight. 1-1 sounds a whole lot better than 0-2. Let’s see if they can make it happen. GO RHODY!

Tags: Basketball Rhode Island Rams Virginia Tech Hokies

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