North Carolina State Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (14-6, 4-3 ACC) @ NC State Wolfpack (12-9, 2-5 ACC)

When: Wednesday, February 2 @ 7:00 p.m.


Where: RBC Center, Raleigh, NC

The Opponent: The Hokies head down to Raleigh Wednesday to face a young NC State squad full of raw talent. The Wolfpack had a great recruiting class this year, but have yet to do anything with it. State has lost five of its last six, with the lone win being a two-point victory over Miami at home.

State fans have been agitated with head coach Sidney Lowe, with some even calling for him to be fired. Losing by 20 at North Carolina Saturday and blowing a 19-point advantage at Clemson last Tuesday obviously didn’t help Lowe’s credibility. The Pack haven’t played in awhile and this is basically a must-win game for them.

Here’s a look at their probable starting lineup:

Hokies Survive Hurricanes 72-68

Garrius Adams missed a potential game-tying three pointer with three seconds remaining and the Hokies escaped a Miami team that would never go away in a 72-68 victory in Cassell Coliseum Sunday. The victory put Tech back up above .500 in ACC play at 4-3, while the Hurricanes lost their fourth straight conference contest (by a combined 11 points) to fall to 1-6.

The Hokies seemed comfortable up nine with just under eight minutes to go, but the Canes utilized a 13-5 run to get back to within 62-61 with less than three minutes remaining. Tech responded with a three-point play from Erick Green to push its lead to four before Durand Scott countered with a jumper of his own. Malcolm Delaney followed with his first points of the second half, a crucial three-pointer that gave Tech a five-point cushion at 68-63.

After an exchange of free throws, Adams hit his third trey in the span of three minutes to get the Canes within two. An ill-advised shot from Delaney with 52 seconds left gave Miami a chance to tie or take the lead, but Adrian Johnson missed two wide open three's before Tech regained possession. Delaney was then fouled with 16.5 seconds remaining, but only made one of the two free throws, leaving the door open for the Canes to tie the game. However, Adams shot clanked off the iron and Terrell Bell secured the rebound to give Tech the victory.

Miami Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (13-6, 3-3 ACC) vs Miami Hurricanes (12-8, 1-5 ACC)

When: Sunday, January 30 @ 5:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Net

Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: The Hurricanes blow into town losers of five of this last six, including their last three. However, that stat is a little misleading as the ‘Canes last three losses (FSU by 2, NC State by 2, UNC by 3) have been decided by a total of seven points. Miami had a 14-points lead against Carolina due to some hot three-point shooting only to see the Heels come back and win on a Harrison Barnes shot in the final seconds.

Despite what their record indicates, the Canes are a pretty good team despite their relative youth. Miami is 57th in the RPI and could easily be higher than that. The Hokies should know not to underestimate these guys, as they did in the ACC Tournament last year when the 12th-seeded Hurricanes knocked 4th-seeded Tech out of the tourney and most likely the NCAA Tournament as well.

Here’s a look at Miami’s projected starting five:

218. The Year of the Tough.

Let 2011 be the year of the tough. Tough enough to knock a man on his ass, courteous enough to help him up and tough enough to do it again.

Keep staring at me and you'll enjoy a bumpy mustache ride right to the dentist's office.

As you can tell I'm still hung up on the Stanford loss. Are you?

Changes in the off-season

I initially wrote this article a few weeks back, but lost it to the HTML sharks.

The hot topic around Hokie Town and its blog-o-sphere has been what changes should/need to be made in light of the thrashing we experienced at the Orange Bowl. Posts have run the gamut from “Fire Frank Beamer” to “Spread Offense FTW” to “Why the hell does Coach Newsome have a job”. What I’d like to do is take a second to address the potential changes we could see in the off-season and determine just how likely they are.

Turnovers Doom Hokies in 72-57 Loss at Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech committed 18 turnovers and shot just 39% in a 72-57 at Georgia Tech Tuesday night. The Jackets blew open a close game with a 15-2 run in the game's final 4:29, forcing five VT turnovers.

Surprisingly, the Hokies (13-6, 3-3) led for most of the game before GT (10-9, 3-3) took the lead for good at 55-52 on a three-pointer by Brian Oliver. Oliver was outstanding for the Jackets, scoring 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Oliver sliced through Tech's zone on nearly every occasion, rarely having his shot contested. However, his performance was overshadowed by point guard Iman Shumpert. The junior registered a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. He also came just three steals short of a quadruple-double!

However, the best part of Shumpert's game was shutting down Malcolm Delaney. Shumpert played swarming defense, limiting Delaney to 3-of-11 shooting and just eight points. Delaney didn't even make it to the free throw line, his specialty, until there was 2:47 left in the game. Erick Green had his first off night in awhile, missing his final 11 shots after connecting on three of his first four. The sophomore guard tallied nine points, failing to reach double digits for the first time since entering the starting lineup on December 12.

Georgia Tech Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (13-5, 3-2 ACC) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-9, 2-3 ACC)

When: Tuesday, January 25 @ 9:00 p.m.

TV: Regional Sports Network

Where: Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Atlanta, GA

The Opponent: The Hokies resume ACC play with their final visit ever to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I say ever because the “Thriller Dome” is being torn down after this year. As for the home team in the AMC, the Jackets are coming off a 62-54 defeat at Virginia on Saturday.

This GT squad has some questionable losses along with some good wins. The Jackets have lost at Kennessaw State by 17, at Northwestern by 20, at Siena by five, and at home against UNC-Charlotte by three in double overtime. However, their last two home games were a 20-point victory over UNC and a 35-point drubbing of Wake Forest. Overall, they are a much better team at home than on the road, going 7-2 in the friendly confines of the AMC.

Here’s a look at GT’s projected starting lineup:

Fatigued Hokies Outlast Lancers 70-52

It didn't look pretty, but the Hokies did what they had to do in a 70-52 win over the visiting Longwood Lancers Saturday. Just 44 hours after an emotional victory on the road against Maryland, Tech (13-5) didn't come out with the type of energy they had in recent games. However, a strong shooting second half surged the Hokies to their ninth win in the last 10 games.

Longwood came out ready to play in the first half jumping out to a 15-10 lead in the games first 10 minutes.. However, the Lancers would miss 10 of their final 11 shots in the half, allowing Tech to go on a 19-4 run to take a 10-point cushion into the locker room. Neither team shot the ball well in the low-scoring half, with Tech going 9-for-30 (30%) and Longwood shooting just 7-of-21 (33%).

The Lancers were able to cut the Tech deficit down to five on a jumper by Aaron Mitchell with 12:38 remaining, but LU couldn't keep pace with the Hokies down the stretch. Tech went on a 29-9 run in the next eight minutes, punctuated by a high-flying Terrell Bell dunk and Erick Green fast-break layup to push the Hokies' lead to a game-high 25. Tech would then coast down the stretch to the 18-point victory.

Longwood Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-5, 6-2 home) vs Longwood Lancers (7-14, 0-10 road)

When: Saturday, January 22 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: Hokies All-Access

Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: The Hokies wrap up their non-conference slate with a visit from the well-traveled Longwood Lancers. One of just six independent teams in Division I, the Lancers have already played 21 games, only nine of which were at home. LU has faced the likes of Kansas, Marquette, Seton Hall, New Mexico, and Colorado and has been outscored by an average of 96-61 in those five games.

Tech leads the series with the Lancers 2-0, with both meetings coming in Blacksburg the last two years. An 85-50 Hokie victory last year was marred by Malcolm Delaney being injured in the game’s first minute. The Hokies won 79-57 back in December of 2008.

Here’s a look at Longwood’s projected lineup:

"Green" Party: Sophomore Guard Leads Tech to 74-57 Victory over Maryland

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Don't lie, nobody saw this coming. Erick Green had a career game, scoring 24 points as the Hokies rolled over the Maryland Terrapins 74-57 Thursday night. The 17-point defeat was the worst for Maryland in the nine years in the Comcast Center and the biggest margin of defeat at home since an 18-point loss to Duke at Cole Field House in 1999.

Green was fantastic in every aspect of the game. The sophomore was an astounding 12-of-16 (75%) from the field and was hitting shots from wherever he wanted to when he wanted to. The coming-out party also included four steals and two assists. Since moving into the starting lineup, Green has hit double figures in every game, averaging 14 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals per game. Not to mention the Hokies are 8-1 in those games.

The Hokies (12-5, 3-2 ACC) opened up the game on a 12-0 run in the first four minutes and never allowed Maryland (11-7, 1-3) to get back within four points. The Terps had gotten within eight in the last minute of the first half, but Manny Atkins drained a three-pointer with one second remaining to give Tech a 40-29 cushion at halftime.

The lead expanded to as many as 17 in the second half before three trey's from the Terps' Cliff Tucker cut the lead down to eight with nine minutes remaining. However, the Hokies responded with a 13-4 run to close the game and seal a dominating 17-point road victory.

The Rafters

Since my freshman year I've run across a wide variety of Hokies, each with a different perception of and outlook on the football program. Unknowingly, I've mentally cataloged each different type of fan I've encountered. Two days ago I read The Clans. The Factions. Defined. on and thought to myself that it could be fun to dump my memory banks and visualize a clear-(er) picture of our fanbase. I took great caution not to demean their brilliant post, but probably did so anyways and for that I apologize. Here we go.

Maryland Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (11-5, 2-2 ACC) @ Maryland Terrapins (11-6, 1-2 ACC)

When: Thursday, January 21 @ 9:00 p.m.


Where: Comcast Center, College Park, MD

The Opponent: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Bubble Battle Part I. In what is sure to be the first of many key ACC contests, the Hokies travel to College Park to take on the bubblicious Maryland Terrapins tonight. Needing a solid road win, Tech (ranked 75th in the RPI as of Wednesday night) would get a resume booster by beating the Terps (No. 90 RPI) in the Comcast Center.

Maryland’s 11-6 record is a tad deceiving as the six losses have come to Pittsburgh, Illinois, Temple, Boston College, Duke, and Villanova. Four of those teams are currently in the top 25 and UMD has not lost by more than nine to any of them. The Terps are a much better team at home (9-1) than they are away from College Park (2-5). However, the lone home loss was to ACC foe Boston College.

Here’s the projected starting lineups for the Terps:

Hokies Wrestling Team Smashes Clarion at Cassell Coliseum

Sunday night, the #4 ranked Hokies wrestling team took on Clarion at Cassell Coliseum. In my preview of the match I said that the match should be fairly competitive. I said this based on the team I watched lose to #25 ranked Iowa State at the Salem Civic Center in November. The Hokies could not have proven me more wrong. With only a few changes in the lineup and one starter out (Tommy Spellman), the #4 ranked Hokies blew Clarion out of the Cassell with a dominating 39-3 win.

Hokies Wax Wake Forest 94-65

In need of a pick-me-up after Thursday’s loss to North Carolina, the Hokies’ wishes were answered in form of the lifeless Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Tech took the lead with 13 minutes to go in the first half and never looked back, demolishing the Deacs 94-65 to improve to 11-5 overall and 2-2 in the ACC.

Not even a 7-0 run for Wake Forest to start the night could hold the Hokies back, who responded with a 17-2 run to seize control. The Hokies would add an 11-0 run later in the half for good measure. After missing its first five shots of the night, Tech connected on 17 of its final 27 shots in the first half en route to a 44-24 halftime advantage.

Things would only get worse for the Deacons in the second half, as Tech stretched its lead to as many as 31 points. Remember, this is an ACC opponent. Not North Carolina Central or UMBC. This is Wake Forest, a team that was No. 1 two years ago. Coincidentally, the Hokies knocked off the Deacs when they were No. 1 that year.

The best way to summarize this game was that Tech’s three walk-on’s, Paul Debnam, Prince Parker, and Andrew Griffin, played a combined eight minutes and scored six points. Yes, Paul Debnam scored four points and a walk-on football player (Parker) made a bucket. That just shouldn’t happen against an ACC team.

Here’s the obligatory Paul Debnam highlight:

Wake Forest Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (10-5, 1-2 ACC) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-10, 0-2 ACC)

When: Saturday, January 15 @ 8:00 p.m.

TV: ACC Network

Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: As is sometimes life in the ACC, the Hokies face a quick turnaround (45 hours) after Thursday’s heartbreaking loss to UNC with a visit from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Deacs have dropped their first two ACC games by a combined 40 points and have lost seven of their last nine. This young Wake squad has lost to Stetson by 10, Winthrop by 10, UNC Wilmington by 12, and Presbyterian by 2. Plus, they barely squeaked by winless UNC Greensboro 69-67. Their best win? Probably Hampton in November.

Wake doesn’t have any problem scoring, as they average nearly 72 ppg. However, when you give up 75 ppg, and have the worst rebounding team in the league, you’re not going to win a lot of games. The Deacs rank dead last in the ACC in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, as well as turnover margin and scoring defense.

Here’s a look at Wake Forest’s starting lineup:

We've Seen This Before: UNC 64, Hokies 61

With 6:23 to go in the first half, Malcolm Delaney canned his fifth three-pointer of the first half and the Hokies were looking good up 31-15 at North Carolina. From there, the offense went dormant and Tech scored just 30 points the rest of the way in a 64-61 heartbreaker to the Tar Heels (12-4, 2-0) Thursday night, ending the Elite Eight's six-game winning streak.

The Hokies (10-5, 1-2) came out on fire, quieting the 21,000+ at the Dean Dome with a 12-0 run after an early UNC basket. Tech would hit 10 of its first 16 shots, opening up the 16-point lead with Delaney's three-pointer. The Hokies were great defensively once again, creating 12 first half Carolina turnovers. But the shots stopped falling, the stingy defense weakened, and UNC went on a 9-0 run at the end of the first half to close the lead to seven and you could see it coming.

After Tech extended the lead to 40-31 with 15:29 remaining, the Heels went on a 12-2 run, punctuated by two ferocious dunks by John Henson to give Carolina the lead at 43-42. The Hokies didn't fold, however, battling foul trouble and injuries. At one point, Erick Green and Manny Atkins were on the bench with cramps and Terrell Bell had 4 fouls, leaving Tech with just five players they could honestly use. Both Atkins and Green ended up coming back in and it was Atkins three-pointer with five minutes remaining that gave Tech a five-point lead at 52-47.