No. 7 Duke "Preview"

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-9, 1-5 ACC) vs Duke Blue Devilss (18-3, 5-1 ACC)

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

TV: ESPN (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore, Jeannine Edwards)

Where: Cassell Coliseum (9.847), Blacksburg, VA

Thanks to some technical difficulties on my end, my previously-written Duke preview disappeared last night. So, in lieu of a typical preview for this game, I'm using this space as a place for us fans to gather and talk about this team. After this weekend, we'll be halfway through the ACC slate, and Tech could be 3-5 and on the upswing or sadly, as bad as 1-7 and talking about whether the NIT is even a possibility at this point.

This is a defining weekend for our basketball team. And it all starts with the team that we earned our defining moment against last year. Our guys came out and showed just how well they could be if everything went right. Duke provided us with what is possibly the best day in the history of Virginia Tech basketball. Sure, it's a bit different this year with College Gameday not being in town, but this still could be a shining moment against an otherwise bleak backdrop.

National Signing Day, Primer Recap

This is certainly neither Frank Beamer nor Al Golden's first rodeo. Nothing should ever really come as a shock on National Signing Day. Let's be real, we're talking about 17 or 18 year olds making (what might be) their first major life decision. Sometimes, recruits change their minds. Sometimes - as in Jawand Blue's case - they decide to go to Miami instead of Virginia Tech. That's cool, and I wish him the best of luck. 

Then Al Golden decided to open his mouth

OH REALLY? That's cute. Let's talk about when this happened:

Quick Reaction and Analysis of a Wild National Signing Day

National Signing Day certainly turned into a festival atmosphere for Hokie fans, with tons of positives coupled with some negatives to give both the most ardent homer and the most disaffected crumudgeon plenty to talk about.

The Hokies were able to secure two of their top three remaining targets in multi-talented athlete Joel Caleb and bruising defensive end prospect Ken Ekanem. Meanwhile, Koren Kirven disappointed Hokie fans by joining Nick Saban's NFL machine down in Tuscaloosa. Finally, the Hokie blogosphere and twitterverse went crazy as MARGINAL linebacker prospect Ja Wand Blue decommitted and headed down to the Harvard of the South in Coral Gables.

RECRUITING, RECRUITING, RECRUITING, RECRUITING, RECRUITING, ..., RECRUITING

Tomorrow is National Signing Day. Who's excited?

These guys, as I'm sure every other high school senior about to sign a National Letter of Intent, are. There won't be many surprises tomorrow. Beamer Co. has received verbal commitments from 27 players, two of which: J.C. Coleman and Donaldven Manning have enrolled early. Jawand Blue, who committed to Tech back in July, continues to be recruited hard by his home state Hurricanes.

Three-star OLB Jawand Blue of Boca Raton, Fla., will find out Tuesday if he'll get a scholarship offer from Miami, according to Canesport.com. Blue, 6-0, 215, is committed to Virgina Tech but has been courted by coach Al Golden and his staff in recent weeks and hosted Miami's coaches at his high school last week.

As expected, Blue took his official visit to Tech last weekend, but no one can say for sure what a high school kid will do.

Three uncommitted targets remain for the Hokies: Korren Kirven, Joel Caleb, and Ken Ekanem.

Where will Hokie Tracks sign on Wednesday?

Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Tech target Joel Caleb was unanimously voted as the top recruit from the Richmond Metro area.

"He's a great athlete. An elite athlete," one coach said. "He has size, speed — all those things. I think he's clearly the No. 1."

Another coach added, "He has great explosion and acceleration. He can run away from people."

If the receiver picks the Hokies on Wednesday, Tech will sign 4 of the 5 on the T-D's 2012 A-List. Caleb is 90% sure of where he'll end up. The Hokies are relentlessly pursuing defensive tackle Korren Kirven, who made his official visit to Tech this past weekend, but so are Alabama and Tennessee.

He made an official visit to Alabama last weekend. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley visited Brookville on Monday to make a final plea with the player, and Alabama coach Nick Saban was in Lynchburg on Wednesday to put in a final word for the Crimson Tide.

Maryland Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-8, 1-4 ACC) @ Maryland Terrapins (12-7, 2-3 ACC)

When: Saturday, January 28 @ 2:30 p.m.

TV: ACC Network (Tim Brantt and Mike Gminski)

Where: Comcast Center (17,950), College Park, MD

The Opponent: Fresh off another excruciatingly close loss to a big-name non-conference foe, the Hokies jump back into league play with a trip to Maryland. The Terps are under the direction of first-year head coach Mark Turgeon, who came to UMD after four years (and four NCAA Appearances) at Texas A&M.

Maryland was a rather large question mark in that people don’t really know what to expect after the resignation of Gary Williams after last season. And in some cases, they really are still an unknown. This game can be viewed almost as another non-conference game because the Hokies have never faced a Mark Turgeon-run team. This won’t be the same Maryland team as the last 20 years or so.

This year’s edition of the Terps are currently on a three-game losing streak to Florida State, Temple, and Duke and are 2-3 overall in the conference. This team has shown potential (78-71 win over Notre Dame), but has had some questionable losses (89-63 to Iona). The Terps are rather young, with 10 of the 15 players on their roster being freshmen or sophomores.

Here’s a look at their projected starting lineup:

Hokie Prospect Review: Trey Edmunds/Woody Baron

Top of the weekend to you fellow Hokie fans. We are knee deep into recruiting season, and as always, it is time to get excited about the new faces of the Hokie program. Today, I have watched some video on two commitments for the Hokies next season, Trey Edmunds and Woody Baron.

Trey Edmunds

Edmunds is a 6'2 210 linebacker/running back from Dan River High School in Ringgold, Virginia. With a deep running back class already committed, the Hokies are projecting Edmunds to play linebacker, by most accounts at the backer position. Edmunds was a Parade All-American whose production from both sides of the ball was outstanding (similar to Darren Evans, who was a 3 star recruit but was also a Parade All American. Edmunds is ranked as a 4 star by Rivals.

Virginia Tech to open the season against Georgia Tech on Labor Day

The Hive is reporting Georgia Tech will open the season against Virginia Tech.

The Jackets will play their first game on Labor Day at Virginia Tech.

Over the last few weeks we had been hearing rumors that this was a possibility. We've followed-up The Hive's initial report with one our trusted sources who says it is a done deal.

We reached out to the ACC for an official response, and if/when we receive a reply it'll be posted here. Edit: this is the response we received via email from Michael Kelly Associate Commissioner (Broadcasting/Communications/Football), "The 2012 ACC Football Schedule is under development and nothing is confirmed until its official release. Any speculation prior to official release is premature since there are so many factors beyond our control and since dates frequently change."

What does everyone think about the game?

BYU Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-7, 1-4 ACC) vs Brigham Young Cougars (17-5, 6-2 West Coast)

When: Wednesday, January 25 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN3 (Walter Storholt and Stephen Binder)

Where: Cassell Coliseum (9,847), Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: The Hokies finally got the ACC monkey off their back with a beautiful (to some eyes) 47-45 win over the Wahoos in Charlottesville on Sunday. Now, Tech looks to end non-conference play on a positive note with a victory over a BYU squad that is in its first year in the West Coast Conference.

BYU made a name for itself over the past couple years thanks to phenom Jimmer Fredette, but he’s since joined the NBA. This year’s Cougars squad has brought about a bit of rebuilding while also banking on some returning talent. That being said, this team hung tough with nationally-ranked Baylor and St. Mary’s before losing and they’re third in the WCC behind St. Mary’s (19-2, 8-0) and Gonzaga (16-3, 6-1). After this game, BYU has St. Mary’s and Gonzaga at home, so this is obviously a pivotal stretch for them.

Here’s a look at their revamped lineup:

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