FRANCHUK: "Imposing will" would be a thrill for Cougars in ACC country

BYU men's basketball
2012-01-24T19:15:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:16Z FRANCHUK: "Imposing will" would be a thrill for Cougars in ACC countryJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
January 24, 2012 7:15 pm  • 

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg has seen BYU before.

North Carolina.

The Cougars remind him a little bit of the fellow ACC-member Tar Heels, considering both teams' penchant to run with the ball at every possible opportunity.

How the Hokies survive that pace, Greenberg says, will come down to making shots, not allowing additional fast breaks through careless play (turnovers) and "figuring out a way to slow their front-court guys down."

That's a reference to Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies, BYU's top interior players who have the ball go through them often when the Cougars are playing effectively. 

"We know they're going to get a lot of touches," Greenberg said. "They're a special team, the way they pass the ball. And it's not quite as good as it's been in recent years, but it's still something to see."

Loyola Marymount laid out an interesting blueprint on how to defeat the Cougars, and it'll be intriguing to follow how many of the upper-echelon teams on the BYU schedule can emulate it. The Lions last Thursday did not double-team Hartsock or Davies very often, instead letting BYU clunk 23-of-25 3-point shots.

"(Greenberg's) style is very effective," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "He's going to make it really hard for us to run on offense. He'll probably jam our outlet passes. He'll do things that make it difficult for us to run up and down and get quick shots."

Greenberg refutes the description that the Hokies are a "grinder" team that wants to slow the pace.

"No doubt, we will run on opportunity," he said. "But we sure don't play as fast as (the Cougars) do."

Va. Tech averages about 12 fewer points a game (80-68) and is coming off a game in which it won, 47-45. Granted, that came at nationally ranked Virginia, a Tony Bennett-coached team that also likes to play at a more deliberate pace than the Cougars (you'll recall several years ago, when Bennett coached at Washington State, BYU and Wazzu splitting a series in Spokane and Salt Lake that had scoreboard operators snoozing.)

What it comes down to at Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night:

"Can we impose our style upon the way they play in their building?" Rose said.

And, can BYU hit some 3-pointers?

The Hokies are stingy at allowing them, the best nationally in fact. Teams have taken 295 shots from behind the arc and made just 75 (25.4 percent). And BYU hasn't done much to show they can change that trend, having missed on 32 of their last 36 tries over two games.

Loyola Marymount, by the way, ranks 18th in the category: 28.8 percent.

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BYU (17-5) at Virginia Tech (12-7)

7 p.m. EST, Blacksburg, Va; Cassell Coliseum (9,847)

Radio: KSL 1160 AM (102.7 FM)

TV: None

Internet: ESPN3.com

Tip-ins: 6-3 guard Erick Green leads Hokies with 16.1 ppg average. BYU will return home after non-conference game to play West Coast Conference leader St. Mary's on Saturday. ...Teams' only meeting came in 1967, a 97-64 BYU win in Provo. ...Virginia Tech is a member of the highly regarded Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with members that include North Carolina and Duke.

 

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Jason Franchuk can be reached at jfranchuk@heraldextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter, @harkthefranchuk

 

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