Following a nice Week 10 (10-4
ATS), I crapped the bed in Week 11 (6-7-1). There are still a handful of
teams that I honestly don't have a solid read on...kinda disconcerting
this late in a season.
me, Philadelphia must be faded until further notice. Simply fading
Sanchez is usually a good bet; when you factor in a crumbling defensive
unit and a locker room that is reportedly coming apart at the seams, how
can you justify picking the Eagles? Four days isn't enough time to
address their growing list of problems. I can see Megatron eclipsing 200
yards vs. Byron Maxwell/Nolan Carroll.
of the Week. I love this spot for the Cowboys; an absolute must-win
situation vs. a team that has created some cushion in the NFC and blew
their wad against Washington. Don't underestimate the absence of Peanut
Tillman in this one. Without Tillman, Benwikere moves to the perimeter,
meaning the godawful Colin Jones draws slot duties. Cole Beasley should
Bennett is out, so if Alshon Jeffery can't go, Jay Cutler's starting
receivers will be Marquess Wilson, Josh Bellamy and Zach Miller. That's
practice squad-quality. Given Jay Cutler's history vs. GB and the
absence of secondary QB Antrel Rolle, there seems little hope for the
Bears. Still, I can't shake the feeling that they will keep it close if
Matt Forte is active. This might be Chicago's Super Bowl, and with high
winds/frozen rain in the forecast, both teams could be restricted to
ball-control offense...an ideal scenario for John Fox and the
Forte/Langford duo. If both Forte and Jeffery can go and the pregame
forecast is as expected, I may jump on the Bears.
Virginia Tech Hokies fans have to be asking themselves, "What will it take for us to get into the NCAA Tournament?" For the third time in the past four years, the Hokies finished with a winning record in the ACC but had their bubble burst on Selection Sunday. This season, Virginia Tech will be lucky to even be in the consideration for an invite to the Big Dance.
The injury bug bit the Hokies last season which played a part in their finishing just short of a tournament berth. J.T. Thompson and Allan Chaney were supposed to be key contributors but missed the entire year. Dorenzo Hudson and Cadarian Raines suffered season-ending injuries during non-conference play further depleting the team's depth.
All of those players are back this season except for Chaney, whose career came to an end due to a heart condition. Thompson, Hudson, and Raines will have to come back at full strength to help offset the loss of three senior starters.
Thompson was the team's sixth man two years ago but will likely step into the starting frontcourt alongside Victor Davila, who started all 34 games last season. Both players are serviceable, but the Hokies will certainly miss Jeff Allen inside. Raines will compete with freshmen C.J. Barksdale and Joey van Zegeren for minutes off the bench. Barksdale could become a key contributor right away due to his versatility and ability to knock down jump shots.
Highly-touted freshman Dorian Finney-Smith is expected to be a huge factor in his first season with the Hokies. He will be backed up by sophomore Jerrell Eddie, who showed flashes as a freshman but was rather inconsistent.
The experienced backcourt of Hudson and Erick Green will be asked to carry the bulk of the scoring load. Hudson was a third-team All-ACC selection two years ago but relies more on his slashing ability than three-point shot. Green brings great size to the point and is a terrific defender. He will take over the full-time ball-handling duties that he shared with Malcolm Delaney last season. Green is not known as a shooter either, which means the Hokies will be in search of an outside shooting threat.
Freshman Robert Brown will try to help fill that void at the two. Tyrone Garland played sparingly last season and will battle newcomer Marquis Rankin for playing time as the backup point guard.
This could be a vital season for Seth Greenberg. If Virginia Tech once again falls short of the NCAA Tournament, he could be looking for a new employer come March. With the lack of a true inside presence and no real three-point shooters on the roster, the NIT seems like the likely postseason destination.
Player to Watch: Dorrian Finney-Smith, SF
The lengthy freshman is definitely the x-factor for the Hokies this season. He has a smooth game and is capable of playing inside or outside. If he can quickly acclimate himself to the college game, the trio of Green, Hudson, and Finney-Smith gives Virginia Tech a lot of talent on the wing.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. George Mason (Pre-Season NIT)
11/23 vs. likely Syracuse (Pre-Season NIT)
11/25 vs. Stanford/Colorado State/Oklahoma State (Pre-Season NIT)