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The Hokie men's recent surge, including their thrilling victory over Rutgers Wednesday night, set me to thinking about the things the team has accomplished in their last year in the Big East.
First, there are the biggies:
(Just for fun, I checked to see where VT would be ranked in the BE standings under the old two-division format. The Hokies would currently be tied for fourth with Villanova in the seven-team East Division, ahead of St. John's and Miami. Tech would have a very good chance at finishing alone in fourth, because the Hokies play Georgetown this weekend, whereas Villanova has to play powerful Pittsburgh.)
But there are many other positive things to take from this 13-13 season. Bryant Matthews is Tech's first 20+ point-per-game scorer since Bimbo Coles scored 25.3 per game in 1989-90, in the Metro Conference. Matthews will finish the season as the leading scorer in the Big East, and though I didn't have time to research it, I believe that's the first time a Hokie has led a conference in scoring since Coles did it 14 years ago.
Tech's home record of 11-4 -- yes, I said 11-4 -- is their best since 1995-96, when they went 10-1, and the total of 11 home wins is the highest since 1994-95, when they went 14-1.
Speaking of being at home, the Hokies totaled 95,136 in paid attendance, the highest since -- hold on to your hat -- 1989-90, when VT had 100,153 in 14 games. (Notice I use the term "paid attendance," because actual attendance hasn't been anywhere near that high.)
The per-game paid attendance average of 6,342 is VT's highest since the NCAA Tournament year of 1995-96 (8,358) and is higher than every season but that one dating back to, you guessed it, 1989-90 (7,154).
This season's average attendance by VT ranks 11th in the 14-team league, a slight improvement over last year, when VT's average of 4,211 was next to last, ahead of only Miami's paltry 3,600 fans per game. (The Canes have sunk even lower this season, averaging just 2,545 fans per game in their first season in their brand-new $48 million dollar Convocation Center.)
While their strong finish, in which the Hokies have won three out of their last four heading into Saturday's game against Georgetown, is good, it's not unprecedented in Tech's time in the Big East. Two seasons ago (2001-02), the Hokies won four out of their last seven games, which isn't exactly burning it up, but it was better than 2000-01 (losers of their last 9) and 2002-03 (losers of 7 of their last 8).
The current five-game home winning streak is Tech's best since two seasons ago, when they opened the season 5-0 at home. But this season's streak is more impressive, because it came exclusively against Big East competition, whereas two years ago, it was achieved against Mt. St. Mary's, Rhode Island, ECU, Northeastern, and VMI.
The Hokies have a very good shot at continuing their current roll Saturday in the MCI Center against Georgetown. The Hoyas have the same overall record as the Hokies, 13-13, but they're only 4-11 in the Big East, including the dubious distinction of being the only team to lose to St. John's this year (65-58, on Feb. 18th).
More importantly, Georgetown has gone just 3-13 since starting out 10-0 against an early season schedule that included wins over Grambling, Coastal Carolina, Delaware State, Norfolk State, Davidson, Elon, Howard, and the Citadel. Georgetown also beat Penn State in that 10-0 start, but PSU is just 9-17 and #155 in the RPI. Their only respectable win in that streak was the last one, a 63-57 win over Rutgers that the NCAA-bubble Scarlet Knights would really, really, really like to have back.
The Hokies handled the Hoyas fairly easily on February 11th in Blacksburg, 80-65. There should be a decent-sized contingent of Hokie fans in the MCI Center Saturday, at least enough to be heard. Georgetown has averaged 8,240 fans in the MCI Center, but that includes one crowd of over 20,000.
If Tech wins, they would finish the regular season with a winning record overall (14-13), and 7-9 in the Big East. The Hokies, currently #10 in the league, have a shot at finishing as high as ninth.
Not bad, for a team that starts three freshmen and a sophomore and
was picked to finish last in the league at the start of the season, in a vote that wasn't
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Rookie Diary #3: The Aftermath of the Combine
Collins Punches Tech's Ticket to the Garden, 71-70
The Marcus Vick Conundrum
Hokie Women Finish Out Season With Romp
Have Convicktion in Beamerball
A Gym Rat's Notebook #8: Home, Sweet Home
Matthews Buries West Virginia, 53-49
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