Campbell (0-0) at (21) Virginia Tech (0-0)
Friday, November 12th, 7:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (10,000) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Campbell 0-0, VaTech 0-0. Away Record: Campbell 0-0, VaTech 0-0. Neutral Record: Campbell 0-0, VaTech 0-0. Conference Record: Campbell 0-0, VaTech 0-0. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The 21st-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies tip off the 2010-11 basketball season with a home clash against the Campbell Fighting Camels.
The Fighting Camels won 19 games last season and are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Robbie Laing is the leader of the program, and he guided the club to a share of the 2009-10 regular-season title in the A-Sun. Laing is now in his eighth year as head coach, and a victory over Virginia Tech would obviously do wonders for the still anonymous program.
Seth Greenberg's Hokies won 25 games a year ago, including 10 in the ACC. That team was expected to return virtually intact with the top 10 scorers back in the fold, but some off-season injuries leave some questions to be answered. Still, this squad is loaded for a serious run in the ACC.
Virginia Tech has won all three of its previous meetings with Campbell, including a 71-60 victory last season.
Last season, coach Laing relied heavily on forward Jonathan Rodriguez, who averaged 17.4 ppg and 8.1 rpg for Campbell. His departure leaves a big void to fill in the frontcourt, and the team figures to rely on the perimeter tandem of Junard Hartley and Lorne Merthie, both tonight and all season. Hartley led the A-Sun in assists last year with 5.9 apg and was even better at the other end of the floor, earning the league's Defensive Player of the Year award. Merthie, meanwhile. averaged 10.6 ppg and was among the top three-point threats in the league, hitting at a 41.1 percent rate. The duo will now be asked to increase their scoring production to make up for the loss of Rodriguez.
For Virginia Tech, it all revolves around Malcolm Delaney in the backcourt. The 6-3 senior is the top returning scorer in the ACC after averaging 20.2 points and 4.5 assists last season. Delaney will be joined by senior guard Dorenzo Hudson, who was a scoring machine last season as well with 15.2 ppg. Depth in the frontcourt is apparent as well with 6-7 senior Jeff Allen (12.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg) representing the best of the bunch. J.T. Thompson was a superb role player a year ago (7.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg), but he recently suffered a knee injury that will keep him out of action this season. Florida transfer Allan Chaney is now eligible, but the 6-9 talent has a heart ailment that will keep him out indefinitely. Despite the loss of those two players, this is a team primed for a big season.
The Fighting Camels are a well-coached team and will put forth maximum effort, but there is an obvious disparity in talent in this matchup. The Hokies will start strong and never look back.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 81, Campbell 66
11/12 10:37:43 ET