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   Welcome to TSLMail #160 - Friday, January 28, 2005    
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Assessing VT's Tourney Chances
by Stefan Adams,

Last night, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team accomplished several important things in its win over Virginia. One of these things is that the team took another step in reaching the requirement for eligibility in postseason play.

The win over the Cavaliers now leaves the Hokies at 11-6 overall and 4-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. To be selected to a post-season tournament (NCAA or NIT), you must have at least a .500 record. Tech is now three wins away from ensuring that it will at least be 14-13 before entering the ACC Tournament in March.

It should be noted that having a .500 record does not guarantee a bid to a post-season tournament by any means. The Hokies went 15-14 last season, and as many of you remember, were left out of the NIT. They ended up watching Rutgers, whom they defeated twice, make it to the finals of the tournament, only to lose to Michigan 62-55.

However, this season could be different if they indeed reach the .500 mark come season’s end. While doubters will look to the loss against VMI (now 328 out of 330 in the RPI) in early December, this is an entirely different Hokie basketball team. Assuming Tech finishes 14-13 overall before the ACC Tournament, that would give them a 7-9 record in the country’s toughest basketball conference. Seven ACC wins is something very hard to overlook, therefore if Tech can win three more conference games, it is making a good case for itself.

Here is what lies ahead.

VT Men's Basketball
Remaining Schedule
Record: 11-6 (4-2)



January 30

At Duke

February 2

At Miami

February 5

Wake Forest

February 8

At Maryland

February 12

At Virginia

February 17


February 19


February 26

At N.C. State

March 1

At Clemson

March 5


March 10

ACC Tournament

The Hokies have to travel for six of their last 10 games, which will be no easy task. Throw in the fact they have to play Duke twice and Wake Forest once, and you have one pretty tough final stretch. While it is true that any game is winnable, I am going to assume Tech will lose the Duke and Wake games, leaving the Hokies needing three wins in the other seven games.

With two games remaining against both Miami and Maryland, it is going to be extremely important that the Hokies at least split against both schools. If Tech can win two of those four games, then it only needs to hit the road and beat one of these three: Virginia, Clemson and North Carolina State (all teams they have beaten already).

If the Hokies manage to split with either Miami or Maryland, and beat the other one both times, then they can drop all three of the Virginia/Clemson/NC State road games and still be 14-13 heading into the ACC Tournament.

This is going to be a tough test that will require some luck and character. Tech has been playing gritty basketball and it has given them a lot of success on the hardwood thus far. If they can maintain this, they can create their own destiny to the postseason, something they have not done since 1996.

ACC Players Declaring ... and Not Declaring ... Early for the NFL Draft

Considering the deadline has come and gone for players to declare themselves eligible for the NFL Draft, here is a look at those who decided to forego any remaining eligibility, and some of those who surprised many by deciding to compete on the collegiate level again next season.

Players leaving early for the NFL:

  • Darryl Blackstock, LB, Virginia (junior)
  • Heath Miller, TE, Virginia (junior)
  • Frank Gore, RB, Miami (junior)
  • Roscoe Parrish, WR, Miami (junior)
  • T.A. McLendon, RB, North Carolina St. (junior)
  • Shawne Merriman, DE, Maryland (junior)
  • Justin Miller, CB, Clemson (junior)

Players returning for another year of school despite draft buzz, and what eligibility level they'll have in 2005:

  • Ahmad Brooks, LB, Virginia (junior)
  • Jimmy Williams, DB, Virginia Tech (senior)
  • Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College (senior)
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia (senior)
  • Leon Washington, RB, Florida State (senior) Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here.

-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

In the Spotlight's Glare, Hokies Refuse to Wilt
by Will Stewart,, 1/28/05, 1:40 am
With 10:45 left in this game, everything was going according to plan. Coming out of half time, the Hokies had outscored Virginia 25-12 to stretch a narrow 3-point half time margin to a 62-46 cushion. The Hoos were rattled, the Hokies were rolling, and it was time for the Cavaliers to go quietly into that good night. With Cassell Coliseum rocking, the Cavaliers were expected to follow the same script they had followed two years earlier in Blacksburg, when they faded down the stretch and gave up in a 73-55 Virginia Tech win.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Jump Out Front, Hold On for 79-73 Win
by Chris James,, 1/28/05, 12:50 am
Blacksburg, VA - The Virginia Tech Hokies placed all five starters in double figures and withstood a late UVa rally to hold on and beat the Cavaliers 79-73 in Cassell Coliseum on Thursday night. Sophomore center Coleman Collins scored 20 points for Tech, with senior forward Carlos Dixon chipping in with 16. Devin Smith scored 24 points for UVa.
in Men's Basketball

TSL Audio: Interview With John Galinsky,, 1/27/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/27/05, 3:15 pm
John Galinsky of the independent UVa sports web site joins Will Stewart to preview tonight's matchup between the Hokies and the Cavaliers. John gives us the lowdown on Virginia's struggles this year, tells us about UVa's injury status and matchups, and breaks down the keys to the game with Will. (Time: 18:49, Size: 4.3 MB).
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Audio

Recruiting Mini-War Room
by Will Stewart,, 1/27/05, 1:20 pm
Since our last mini-war room update, the Hokies snagged two players off their recruiting list, one of them expected (OL Eric Davis on Jan. 22nd) and one of them a pleasant surprise to most (TE Jonathan Hannah on Jan. 24th). Several other prospects have dropped the Hokies from their list, and with signing day just six days away, VT's list is getting small. Next up to announce is Greg Boone tomorrow. We'll bring you up to speed on all that and more in this installment of the mini-war room.
in TSL Pass

Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia
by Chris James,, 1/27/05, 10:00 am
* Includes roster card in PDF format *
The red-hot Virginia Tech Hokies look to extend their winning ways when they host in-state rival Virginia on Thursday night in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies are riding a 4 game winning streak, including 3 victories in ACC action by a total of 4 points. The winning streak puts Tech at 3-2 in the ACC, good for 4th place in the conference standings. The Hokies are 10-6 overall.
in Men's Basketball

Inside the Numbers:'s 2004 Defensive Player of the Year
by Will Stewart,, 1/26/05, 3:10 pm hands out its Defensive Player of the Year Award for the 2004 football team, and Darryl Tapp, with all those sacks, tackles for loss, QB hurries, and even an interception, is a shoo-in, right? Not so fast: this year's award-winner for Bud Foster's troops surprised us, and it will surprise you, too. Plus, the numbers show why the hype around Xavier Adibi might be for real, and we compare this year's winner to past winners.
in TSL Pass

Virginia Tech: It's Not Just for Football Anymore
by Jim Alderson, 1/26/05, 9:50 am
The ACC over the decades has built quite the basketball reputation. This has been done with game after televised game and year after year of exciting, down-to-the wire finishes in front of enthusiastic crowds. Last-second shots, sterling defensive stands, coaches matching strategic and tactical wits with their opposite numbers - these have long been the hallmark of ACC basketball. Judging by the results of the last fortnight or so, it would seem Tech is fitting right in. Three straight league wins, including one at one of the conference’s most notorious pits, has served notice to the ACC.
in TSL Pass

TSL Audio: Interview With Jonathan Hannah, 1/25/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/25/05, 9:45 am
Big Jonathan Hannah, one of the top players in the state of North Carolina, surprised a lot of people with his verbal commitment to Virginia Tech Monday. TSL's Chris Horne caught up with Hannah Monday night, and in this exclusive audio interview, the charismatic tight end relays some interesting information about why he chose the Hokies, his plans for playing football (and basketball!) at Virginia Tech, and more. Don't miss this fascinating interview with one of Virginia Tech's key recruits for the 2005 recruiting class. (Time: 9:48, Size: 2.3 MB).
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Audio

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/24/05
by Phil Noftsinger, 1/25/05, 12:00 am
Bill Roth congratulated an ailing Seth Greenberg on his team's upset of Georgia Tech on the road, mentioning that he wasn’t sure if Tech had ever had as big an upset on the road. Coach responded jokingly "Yeah…How’d we do that?"
in Hotline Notes

TSL Audio: Interview With Eric Davis, 1/24/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/24/05, 1:15 pm
VT verbal commitment Eric Davis from West Springfield High School in Springfield, VA talks with Chris Horne about committing to Virginia Tech -- what made him select the Hokies, how his visit went, and what he thinks about Virginia Tech, its players, and coaches. (Time: 9:42, Size: 2.2 MB)
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Audio

Red-Hot Hokies Stun Jackets, 70-69
by Stefan Adams,, 1/22/05, 10:30 pm
Atlanta, GA - And the wins keep coming. The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team walked into Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday and upset No. 12 Georgia Tech 70-69, earning VT's third straight ACC win and fourth straight win overall. Carlos Dixon hit the game-winning shot with 36.8 seconds left, driving down the right side of the lane and scoring off the glass to put the Hokies ahead by one.
in Men's Basketball

A Gym Rat's Notebook: Basking in the Glow
by Elijah Kyle, 1/21/05, 4:30 pm
After back-to-back ACC victories in the past week at home (and who among you thought you would really be saying that in mid-January?), Virginia Tech fans can be excused if they find themselves in that mode where realism and hope play a tantalizing game of tug-of-war. On the one hand, there is the excitement of seeing the Cassell come alive, at least partially, while seeing a Virginia Tech basketball team residing at .500 for the season in conference play. It’s watching a team start to play with more and more confidence in their first year in a conference that most desperately wanted to be in for quite some time.
in TSL Pass Postseason Top 30 In-state Recruits
by Chris Horne, 1/21/05, 1:40 pm
Following the 2004 season, I continue to believe that the 2005 class is a quality one with a lot of depth. The top 10 or so players are ranked as some of the best on the East coast – and some are the best in the country. This class has a lot of depth and this can be seen in the amount of prospects goings to Division I-A programs.
in Football Recruiting

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