Info Center
TSL Roster Card
(PDF format)
Cassell Coliseum
Seating Chart
2007-08 VT Roster
UAB Links

Official Site Sports
Rivals Site

Scout Site
USA Today Links
Game Notes (PDF)
Radio Stations
Live Stats

Virginia Tech (20-13, 9-7 ACC) vs. UAB (23-10, 12-4 C-USA)

Monday, March 24, 2008, 9:00


Roster Card: Click here

Presented by:
Collegiate Inn of Blacksburg.

Hassle-free ownership is here! You can own a Luxury Hotel-Condominium in Blacksburg. Imagine a fully loaded VIP experience when you're in-house and fully taken care of while you're away. The Collegiate Inn of Blacksburg's rooms and amenities include custom made cherry wood furniture, professionally designed interiors, 42" LCD TV, granite countertops, and more. Prices start at $119,900. (Ownership may include the opportunity to place your suite in a professional rental management program.)

Game Preview:  The Hokies will be looking to pick up their 21st win of the season and earn another home game when they take on the UAB Blazers tonight at 9pm in Cassell Coliseum. A win would send Tech to the quarterfinals of the NIT, and if they win that game, they'll be heading to Madison Square Garden. However, UAB is a very good team who will have something to say about that.

UAB is 23-10 on the year and finished second in Conference USA with a 12-4 record. They are very similar to the Hokies in some ways. They have a good record and an excellent mark in conference play, but they lacked quality victories that the NCAA Selection Committee looks for. Their best win of the season came at Kentucky back in December, but they've only beaten three teams in the Top 100 all season.

Like Tech, UAB played a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament twice. They lost to Memphis by one point back on February 16, then got hammered by 38 by the Tigers in their final game of the regular season.

The Blazers defeated a good VCU team on the road to earn the right to travel to Cassell Coliseum tonight. That's no small feat, because VCU is good, especially at home.

UAB Starting Lineup
Position Name Height Weight Year PPG RPG Assists
G Aaron Johnson 5-7 175 Fr. 5.2 1.7 137
G Robert Vaden '6-5 207 Jr. 21.4 3.5 84
G Channing Toney '6-5 207 Jr. 10.8 3.3 22
F Lawrence Kinnard '6-8 210 Jr. 11.2 6.8 40
F Reggie Huffman '6-7 216 Jr. 7.6 6.2 11

The Blazers have been hurt by injuries and academics this year. Starting guard Paul Delaney has missed all but four games because of a knee injury, and starting forward Walter Sharpe was forced to sit after 12 games because of academics. UAB might be an NCAA tournament team had they not lost those two players.

Nevertheless, they still form a very formidable lineup. Robert Vaden is the top player on the team, and one of the top players in the country. He is averaging 21.4 points per game. He is an outstanding three-point shooter, connecting on 41.1% of his shots from the outside. He shoots a lot, having attempted 343 three-pointers this year. 141 of his 217 made field goals have come from the outside.

Like all shooters, Vaden is capable of blowing up, or having a bad game. He has scored as many as 41 points in a game this year, and as few as six. Tech must do their best to deny him the basketball in good shooting situations. Deron Washington will likely draw this assignment. He is athletic enough to keep up with Vaden, and certainly tall enough and athletic enough to challenge the shot.

Lawrence Kinnard is another three-point shooter for the Blazers. He is 49-of-135 from the outside this year, good for 36.3%. He's a good all-around player, leading the team in rebounding and blocked shots.

UAB got a boost after the first semester ended when Channing Toney joined the team. He starts at guard, and he's averaging 10.8 points per game. He is shooting 38.2% from three-point range. As you can see, this is a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer.

UAB has a 5-7 freshman guard named Aaron Johnson who leads the team in assists with 137. His numbers are similar to Tech freshman point guard Hank Thorns. He distributes the ball well, but isn't a huge scoring threat because of his height. Like Thorns, he played his best basketball down the stretch, and can be a fun player to watch.

VT vs. UAB
Category VT UAB Advantage
FG% 43.90% 45.80% UAB
FG%Defense 40.60% 41.30% VT
3-Pt.% 33.40% 38% UAB
3-Pt.% Defense 34.40% 33.30% UAB
FT% 68.70% 71.50% UAB
Rebounding Margin +4.9 +2.6 VT
Turnover Margin +0.1 -0.2 VT
Assist/TO Ratio 0.9 1.0 UAB
Scoring Offense 70 74.3 UAB
Scoring Defense 64.7 67.1 VT

This looks like a good matchup. Neither team is an offensive juggernaut, but both teams do play very good defense. Both teams won games this year by keeping them in the 60's. Both teams will try to win tonight by stopping their opponents' top scorer: A.D. Vassallo for the Hokies, and Vaden for UAB.

One stat that doesn't appear on the table above is UAB's road record. The Blazers are 8-5 on the road this season, a very good mark. They won't be intimidated by Cassell Coliseum. They will play confident, and they know they can win the game if they play well.

The Blazers have plenty of postseason experience, on the court and on the bench. They are coached by Mike Davis, the former head coach at Indiana who took the Hoosiers to the National Championship Game in 2002. His teams at Indiana posted a 7-4 record in the NCAA tournament, and a 21-10 record in the month of March. Davis knows how to get it done down the stretch.

UAB's basketball program has only existed for 30 years, but in those 30 years, the Blazers have made 22 postseason appearances.

Overall, UAB has talented players, they are well-coached, and they have a lot of experience in the postseason. The Hokies will have a challenge on their hands on Monday night.

If Virginia Tech defeats UAB, they will take on the winner of the Ole' Miss-Nebraska game, which is also played tonight at 9pm. That game would take place on Wednesday, March 26 on ESPN2. The time has not been announced.