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 MVictors.com 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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (10-4, 1-1 ACC) @ North Carolina Tar Heels (11-4, 1-0 ACC)
When: Thursday, January 13 @ 9:00 p.m.
Where: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
The Opponent: Fresh off their 71-59 victory over Florida State Saturday, the Hokies put their six-game winning streak to the test in Chapel Hill against North Carolina. The Tar Heels, ranked eighth in the preseason poll, lost early in the season to Minnesota and Vanderbilt to fall out of the top 25 polls. Carolina is coming off a 62-56 victory over Virginia on Saturday, a game in which they trailed by as many as 11 in the second half.
Unlike the Seminoles on Saturday, UNC is a pretty good offensive team. The Heels rank third in the ACC in scoring with 79.8 points per game and are fifth nationally in rebounding with 42.3 boards per game. Carolina is also sixth in the nation in offensive rebounding with nearly 13.5 per game. On the flip side, Tech leads the ACC in scoring defense, allowing just 59.7 points per game.
UNC has had the same starting lineup in each of its 15 games. Here’s a look at the Tar Heel starting five: