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   Welcome to TSLMail #118 - Friday, February 27, 2004    
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   Tech Sports News

Hokie Fans: Thanks for the Support of Advance Auto Parts
by Will Stewart, is pleased to have Advance Auto Parts as a sponsor. Advance Auto Parts is the TSLMail sponsor, as you can see from their logo at the top of this mailing. The partnership between Advance Auto Parts (TSL's first-ever sponsor) and the web site has been a great one, and we thank you for supporting Advance Auto Parts and giving them great feedback.

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RPI Ratings: ACC vs. the Big East -- the Women
by Will Stewart,

After last week's look at our comparison of RPI ratings for the Big East and the ACC, a reader requested that we look at the same data for the women. Our wish is your command.

The results are at least as interesting as they were with the men. On the men's side, there was no denying that ACC expansion was watering down the basketball league, but on the women's side, the opposite is true: expansion will strengthen the women's side.

This time around, I used (instead of, mainly because the information is current through last night's games.

Overall, ranks the ACC as the 3rd best conference and the Big East as the 5th best conference, but when you start to drill down into the numbers, there is no doubt -- none -- that the Big East is the superior conference at the top. But much like the men's side, the BE's RPI rating gets dragged down by a handful of horribly-rated teams at the bottom.

Women's Big East and ACC RPI Ratings
Through 2/26/04
(ratings from

RPI Rating

ACC School

BE School









Notre Dame


























NC State



















Seton Hall


Wake Forest




St. John's










Again, I don't think there's any question that the BE is stronger at the top. The BE has seven teams in the top 30 of the RPI, whereas the ACC only has three in the top 50.

(And remember, those BE teams have to play RPI lightweights St. John's, Syracuse, Pitt, and Providence, which drags down their RPI ratings.)

Let's play the same game we played with the men's side last week, and scrape off the five worst teams in the BE, and treat the teams as two nine-team leagues. The Big East's average RPI is 32.2, much better than the ACC's 52.2.

If you take all 14 BE teams, their average RPI drops to 81.4.  Yikes. So the BE as a whole lags behind the ACC by 29.2.

Now, let's move BC (17), Miami (28), and VT (29) over to the ACC. Several things happen:

  • The new ACC has 5 teams in the RPI top 30, up from 2. The new BE has 4 teams in the RPI top 30, down from 7.
  • The new 12-team ACC has an average RPI of 45.3, down from 52.2.
  • The 11 remaining teams in the BE have an average RPI of 96.9, up from 81.4, widening the gap between the two leagues as a whole from 29.2 to 51.6.

So while expansion is bad for the men's side of things from the ACC's standpoint, it strengthens the women's side significantly, giving them more teams in the 10-to-50 range and increasing quality in the middle of the league.

For Virginia Tech, the competition within the league, and the prospect of winning the league, won't change much from what it is in the Big East. Duke is to the ACC as Connecticut is to the Big East, though the Blue Devils aren't as formidable as the Huskies from year to year and can't boast the national championships that Connecticut has won recently (four in the last nine years).

So the Hokies will still have that mountain to climb at the top of the conference, that one great team that is difficult to beat, though Duke is a notch below UConn (who isn't?).

Beyond Duke, there's a handful of tough opponents that VT can beat on any given night, but which can also beat VT: BC, UNC, and Miami, if you go on this year's RPI ratings.

But below that, there are a number of solid teams against which VT should generally be successful: Maryland (VT beat them this year), GT (the Hokies beat them in last year's NCAAs), Virginia (the home team typically wins that one), and Clemson, NC State, and FSU.

What the Hokies won't get is the nearly-guaranteed wins offered by St. John's, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Providence, against which the Hokies are 15-2 since joining the Big East. (For the record, VT is only 6-5 against Miami and BC, so they're taking two of their tougher BE opponents into the ACC with them).

Hokie Celebration and Canned Food Drive Saturday

VT news release

See also: Fan advisory for Saturday's basketball games

All Virginia Tech alumni and fans are cordially invited to the 19th annual HOKIE CELEBRATION on Saturday, Feb. 28th in the Bowman Stadium Club at Cassell Coliseum. The Blacksburg Hokie Club serves as the hosts of the event, which is held in conjunction with Virginia Tech's home basketball games.

The men's basketball team will face BIG EAST rival West Virginia at noon and the women's basketball team will face BIG EAST rival Pittsburgh at 2:30 p.m.

Festivities will get underway at 10 a.m. and continue until approximately 6 p.m. following the women's basketball game. There will also be a canned food drive by the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and all donations will be distributed to local food banks. You may bring your canned food donations to any of the game entrances in Cassell Coliseum.

All proceeds from the Hokie Celebration benefit athletic scholarships and facilities. Last year's event netted more than $14,000 in scholarship funds.

Special guests at the HOKIE CELEBRATION will include Tech administrative and athletic officials. There will be representatives from the men's basketball team and women's basketball team following their games.

The game with West Virginia has sold out, however, there are game tickets available for the Tech women's game vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Virginia Tech Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-VA-TECH-4.

Admission to the HOKIE CELEBRATION is $5 per adult and $1 per child 6 and under. There will be delicious food and a cash bar available. For more information, contact Terry Bolt, Virginia Tech Athletic Fund at 540-231-6618. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Wide Right: Randoms
by Jeff Cockey, 2/27/04, 10:30 am
Over the past few weeks, temperatures ranged from 0 to 40 degrees. Snow has fallen at least twice, and ice and freezing rain have wreaked havoc on the greater Boston area. But I wouldnít know about any of that mess because I recently packed my bags and set my sights on warmer climates. I am beginning a journey that will take me all across our great nation, finally depositing me in the land of, as Kid Rock would say, "scripts and silicone."
in TSL Pass

Grinding Towards the Garden
by Jeff Ouellet, 2/26/04, 4:25 pm
The state of the Virginia Tech basketball program at the beginning of the Seth Greenberg era was such that in the preseasonthe teamís articulated goal was to finish twelfth in a fourteen team conference. Even more remarkable, given the existing "win big and win now" culture among college sports fans, particularly alumni, an overwhelming number of Hokie basketball fans embraced Coach Greenbergís modest goal and looked towards the season with emotions ranging from optimism to trepidation.
in TSL Pass

Rookie Diary #2: Busy Weekend at the Combine for Adibi
by, 2/26/04, 10:15 am
We continue our rookie diary series with Nathaniel Adibi, as Adibi describes a long and tiring weekend at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Miss Chance to Surprise BC, Fall 56-48
by Will Stewart,, 2/25/04, 10:00 pm
Chestnut Hill, MA -- Leading for a good portion of this contest, the Hokies went cold for over nine minutes late in the game, falling prey to a 17-0 Boston College run and losing by eight, 56-48. Bryant Matthews shot 9-12 from the field and scored 21 points, but his efforts weren't enough.
in Men's Hoops

Turn Out the "Vick" and Put the "Beamer" Back in Beamerball
by TJ Beitelman, 2/25/04, 1:55 pm
When Bryan Randall put back the game-winner against St. John's last week, effectively sending Tech to Madison Square Garden for the first time since their NIT championship in the mid 1990s, it should've served as a wake-up call to everyone who is involved with Virginia Tech athletics. At the very least, the football gurus in the Merryman Center needed to take note.
in Voice of the Fan

Better Seats for the Better Fans
by Jim Alderson, 2/24/04, 10:15 pm
Iím sure I have seen worse basketball than last weekend's St. Johnís - Virginia Tech game, but at the moment I canít remember it. St. Johnís came into Cassell in the midst of a season where they have mounted a solid threat to Techís traditional lock on the bottom of the Big East standings.
in TSL Columnists

A Gym Rat's Notebook #7: On or Off Broadway?
by Elijah Kyle, 2/24/04, 3:40 pm
As the Virginia Tech basketball team heads into the final two weeks of the season, and final four conference games, reversing the performances of the past three games will help determine whether the bright lights of Broadway will be a reality, or yet a distant and unattainable blur that has sped past for another season.
in TSL Pass

Hokie Hotline Notes for February 23, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger, 2/24/04, 10:55 am
Roth began the interview portion of the show with Coach Seth Greenberg, by recapping the Hokies' performance against St. John's last Saturday evening at the Cassell. Greenberg described the overall performance as "ugly". He was happy they found a way to win, but he felt like the team was playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
in Hokie Hotline Notes

Recruiting Profile: George Bell
by Will Stewart,, 2/23/04, 10:00 pm
Enter tailback George Bell. Hailing from Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Bell brings a four-star rating and lofty expectations with him to Virginia Tech. A participant in the prestigious Army All-American Game, he is the heir apparent to the star status of Michael Vick and Kevin Jones. If Bell's VT career works out as planned, one day the name "George" or "Bell" will resonate like "Michael" and "KJ."
in TSL Pass

Randall's Putback Downs St. John's, 54-53
by Will Stewart,, 2/22/04, 12:45 am
Blacksburg, VA -- Bryan Randall's stick back of his own missed free throw with 22 seconds left gave the Hokies a much-needed and tougher than expected Big East win over last-place St. John's, 54-53. With the win and a loss by the Miami Hurricanes to Providence, the Hokies (11-12, 4-8 Big East) move into 11th place in the Big East, bringing them one step closer to their team goal of making the Big East Tournament.
in Men's Hoops

Hokie Women Smash Providence, 77-56
by Will Stewart,, 2/22/04, 12:45 am
Providence, RI -- Virginia Tech got 19 points from Ieva Kublina and buried the last place team in the Big East, downing Providence 77-56 for VT's second straight Big East road win. Carrie Mason and Erin Gibson added ten points each as the Hokies shot almost fifty percent (33-67) and turned the ball over just nine times.
in Women's Hoops

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