VT 60, UNC 72

Welp, that was an extremely frustrating loss. Another hot start and big lead that slowly dwindled away. You can't say the team didn't give effort, though. At no point in the game was I like, "They're not even trying." That's impressive for a noon tipoff on the road. Hopefully it wasn't just because we were playing up to Carolina, and we give that effort for the rest of the year.

Quick thoughts: Everyone is talking about how good our defense was. Honestly, I thought it was pretty similar to previous games, guys were a little more active but UNC flat out missed shots. They had plenty of wide open looks but couldn't get them to fall. I thought this was pretty interesting:

14th Ranked 'Canes Come to Cassell

After last weekend's loss at Clemson, Virginia Tech fell to 2-4 in ACC play. Unfortunately, the schedule isn't getting any easier. The Hokies take on #14 Miami at 9 tonight. If you hadn't already heard, the Hurricanes are pretty darn good. It's their first time being in the top-15 since 2002, and a talented veteran roster has helped them get there.

The Hurricanes have an experienced team with six seniors on the roster, including four starters. That savvy, and the team chemistry that has formed over the years, is a big reason for UM's success. But there is more to it than that, said North Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose team lost at home 68-59 to the Canes earlier this month. UM's talent, he said, is underrated.

"Having veteran players is a tremendous asset, and some people say that's the only reason UM is winning, but the truth is, they're pretty doggone good," Williams said Monday on a teleconference. "You've got [Shane] Larkin and [Durand] Scott in the backcourt, [Kenny] Kadji presents such matchup problems. You go down the line, and they've got all the parts. [Julian] Gamble makes fewer mistakes, and I'm just looking at it from a distance, than almost any of those quote role players. He dunks the ball every chance he gets, plays great defense. ... Bottom line, he's pretty doggone good."

The Week That Was: Antone Exum

Everyone has those moments when they see something on Twitter, but it's so terrible that they hang in a highly tense balance between not believing it and not wanting to believe it.

One of the best examples of this individual sway of emotions was a story told to me by my friend Kevin. On the night former Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard James Harden was traded, Kevin—a die-hard OKC fan—was at a bar in downtown Blacksburg. After he saw it on Twitter he immediately bought a stronger drink simply out of disbelief. Then after seeing the story break on the bottom crawl of ESPN, he set that (barely touched) drink down and immediately walked home to sit in silence.

He just couldn't handle being around people.

That is exactly how I felt when I saw the news that Antone Exum tore his ACL. I just sat on a couch and stared at my computer screen, hoping it was some sort of hoax or poorly sourced report. It just couldn't be. The guy that had adopted the previously vacant "vocal team leader" role just blew out his knee playing pick up hoops? It simply sucked too much to be true.

Is there any player not named Te'o that has gone through a larger roller coaster than Exum? Over the first four weeks of the season no one was more scrutinized and criticized than him. Critiques of his play ranged from mild displeasure to absolute vitriol, all coming to a head after an absolutely BRUTAL game against Cincinnati (2 face masks, 2 pass interferences).

Three-Point Analysis

Here's something I don't do too often around here: basketball statistics. After the Clemson game I followed up on a hunch that I've had since the middle of the season, teams shot much better than their season average against us from downtown.

3FGVT% - 3FGS% is the money column. It's the difference between a team's three-point percentage against Virginia Tech and its season average. A positive number indicates a team shot better from behind the arc against Tech than they did over the course of the season (through 1/27).

Antone Exum tore his Right ACL and Lateral Meniscus

This evening Virginia Tech confirmed a rumor that had been circulating over the weekend.

Virginia Tech did not state how he injured his knee, or when it happened, but the rumor was it happened playing a game of basketball yesterday at McComas.

This is just devastating news for a kid who worked "his nuts off" last fall. In my opinion he was the team's most improved player, and he finished the season in the discussion as its top defender. Exum announced on January 9th that he would return for his senior season with goals of, "working towards ACC and National titles!".

Hokies Host 'Hoos in Hoops

UVa comes into tonight's matchup at 12-5 overall, and 2-2 in the ACC. That sounds pretty good, right? Well, they've beaten some alright teams, but lost to some bad teams as well. Their strength of schedule ranks 255th (RPI) in the nation, while Tech's 11-6 record ranks 129th. That's a pretty big difference if you ask me. Although the Pomeroy rankings have Virginia 37th and Virginia Tech 152nd.

The Cavaliers have a lot of confidence going into tonight's game after holding the Seminoles to 36 points. Not only did they play well defensively, but they shot 48.9% from the field and converted 7 of their 13 3-pointers.

The Week That Was: The Les Miles Zone

After weeks and weeks of speculation, the new offensive staff was finalized and officially announced. On Friday, Scot Loeffler, Jeff Grimes and Aaron Moorehead will ride into Blacksburg like white knights on stallions.

Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet week. I mean, Shane Beamer did troll some people on Twitter, leading me to embark in a twenty-minute mental exercise as to what would happen if Bud Foster had an account. Could you imagine? Some UVA bro tries to troll Foster’s defense on Twitter, which is then followed by Foster’s threats of "total, soul crushing annihilation" while motivating Jack Tyler and Antone Exum to send a season-long message.

Speaking of Exum...

That was at 3 A.M. Monday morning. You know where normal people were at 3 A.M. Monday morning? Sleeping...or sleeping off a night at Big Al's. This man is insane, in such a good way.

That may have been all the news in Blacksburg, but lucky for us the sports world got weird (and awesome) over the past week.

Loeffler, Grimes, and the Future of the Running Game

The staple of Virginia Tech's offense in the Frank Beamer era for over two decades was a bruising running game. While we screamed about Logan Thomas's inaccuracy, the lack of blocking, and playmaking by wide receivers, the complete inability of Virginia Tech to establish a running game was the biggest impediment to winning football games. Virginia Tech had moderate success running off tackle power from the I formation, occasionally got the read option going from the spread, and once in blue moon they got 3 yards on a toss sweep. But, more often than not, the Hokie offensive line went east west, and the running backs went nowhere. The end results were a confused Frank Beamer and 3rd-and-12s.

If the Hokies want to return to dominance in 2013, the first task for new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes will be to establish a cohesive concept for running the football that Virginia Tech lacked last season, and then instill the attitude and fundamentals necessary to dominate using such a philosophy.

The Philosophy

VT 66, WF 65

Summary: With three minutes remaining, the game was tied at 58. How would the Hokies finish? Would we close like last year's team and suffer another close loss? Would we start a new trend of close wins? These thoughts rushed through my head as Wake Forest took two free throws.

With two minutes remaining, Travis McKie drained a three. Cassell went silent as the Demon Deacons called a timeout. How would we respond? Did we have the confidence to come back? That was quickly answered when Jarell Eddie shot from deep without even thinking. Swish. The Hokies were there to play.

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