TSLMail #215 - Friday, February 24, 2006
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Hokie Opponents Shooting Well From Everywhere (Even the FT Line)
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com
If youíve been thinking
that opposing teams have been shooting the ball better against the Hokies
recently, youíre right. Techís defense has noticeably gone downhill
recently, with nearly every team they play shooting better against VT than they
average in other ACC games. The Tech defense has given up a high percentage of
shots lately, and the result is the Hokiesí less than stellar win-loss record.
In the past five games,
only one team has shot a worse percentage against the Hokies than they average
in ACC play. That was NC State, who made up for it by shooting better than usual
from three-point range and the free throw line. Over Techís last 11 games, the
Hokies have held just two teams to below their ACC shooting percentage.
Against the Hokies
The maroon shaded cells indicate an instance where the Hokies held the
opposition to a lower percentage than their average against ACC teams. The
orange shaded cells represent a game where an opponent shoots better than usual
against the Hokies. So as you can see, Tech is having some major problems on the
defensive side of the ball.
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On the other hand, letís
take a look at free throws. The Hokies have no control at all over how the
opposition does from the line, and unfortunately for Tech, opponents are nailing
their charity shots at a high rate. Ten of the 13 teams the Hokies have played
shot a higher percentage against VT than against the other ACC schools,
including the last six teams on the schedule. The last four teams have shot at
least 82.6% from the free throw line against Tech.
The most unbelievable
performance from the free throw line came from the Clemson Tigers. Clemson is
the worst free throw shooting team in the ACC (yes, even worse than the Hokies).
Yet against Tech, the Tigers knocked down 13-of-15 shots from the charity
stripe, good for 86.7%.
Throughout their first two
years in the ACC, Virginia Tech has used turnover margin to offset poor field
goal percentage defense, and it has worked for the most part. Tech has won ACC
games, or been involved in very close games, where they were outshot and
outrebounded, because they force a lot of turnovers. Itís good that the Hokies
have something to hang their hat on, but their team defense needs to improve in
time for next season. The turnovers might not always be there. They werenít
against Miami on Wednesday night, and VT suffered their second-worse ACC loss of
the season as a result.
Probable ACC Tourney Opponents
But this season isnít
over, and unlike the days of playing in the Big East, the Hokies know in
February that they will definitely be playing in the conference tournament. Who
they will play in the first round is still up in the air, but we can take some
If the season ended today,
Virginia Tech would play Miami in the first round of the ACC tournament. The top
four seeds in the ACC get a first round bye, and those teams would be Duke, UNC,
NC State and Boston College if the season ended today. The bottom eight teams in
the league play each other in the first round, with the #5 playing the #12, #6
vs. #11, #7 vs. #10 and #8 vs. #9.
(if the season ended today, Feb. 24)
#8 Maryland vs. #9
#5 Florida State
vs. #12 Wake Forest
#7 Miami vs. #10
#6 Virginia vs.
#11 Georgia Tech
So if the Hokies want to make it to the ACC Championship Game, they would have
to get past Miami, NC State and probably North Carolina. Thatís no easy task,
but then again, what bracket in the ACC is easy? As Seth Greenberg likes to say,
there are no easy outs, no rocking chair games, in this conference.
Just take the
Maryland-Clemson series for example. Maryland is regarded as one of the ACCís
most prestigious programs. They have won a National Championship and an ACC
Tournament under Gary Williams. Clemson has floundered near the bottom of the
ACC for years, and even under Oliver Purnell have shown no signs of moving up.
But Clemson has beaten Maryland four times in a row, including three times last
season (regular season and ACC Tournament) and an 89-77 drubbing this season. Go
figure. And guess who Maryland would draw in the first round this year, if the
season ended today? You guessed it. Their Achilles Heel, Clemson.
The good news for the
Hokies is that in the ACC Tournament, just like in the regular season, they are
more than capable of beating any team they draw. You canít name one team in
the tournament that Tech absolutely canít beat. But of course just about every
other team can make the same claim. With that type of parity from top to bottom,
the 2006 ACC Tournament should be a great experience, as it usually is.
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Updates From the Past Week
Announce Football Coaching Staff Changes
February 24, 2006
Tech announced on Friday that tight ends and offensive tackles coach Danny
Pearman has been reassigned to other duties in the athletic department,
and that Mike OíCain, Curt Newsome and Kevin Sherman have been hired to
fill the three voids on the coaching staff. This is the most significant
staff changeover the Hokies have experienced since after the 1992 season.
Class: Anson County's Triple Threat
February 24, 2006
Division 1A prospects Ė ATH Michael Bowman, LB Barquell Rivers and OL
Trinton Sturdivant - will lead Anson County (Wadesboro, N.C.) into the
2006 varsity football season. All three players currently hold Division 1A
scholarship offers, including one who has close to 20.
Photo Gallery: Best of the 2005 Football Season
February 23, 2006
picked 65 of the best photos from VT's 2005 football season and compiled
them into one collection. We took some outstanding photos this year, all
the way from the hostile environs of Morgantown to the friendly confines
of Lane Stadium to ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville. Our purpose in
compiling this gallery wasn't to relive the glory of every touchdown play
or every defensive stop. Rather, it was to select some of our more
compelling and unique photos from the season and gather them in one place.
Check out some of the more memorable images of the 2005 season.
Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris", for 2/22/06
February 23, 2006
Horne and Mike Harris covered both football and basketball recruiting this
week. In hoops, they discussed recent 2007 commitment Augustus Gilchrist,
as well as 2006 signee Nigel Munson. Football recruiting-wise, they talked
about central Virginia players, including Varina DB Davon Morgan and
Manchester OL Khalil Latif. (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media
Player and MP3 players, 3.1 MB, 20:15)
Start Dooms Hokies in Miami, Tech Loses 70-59
February 23, 2006
Virginia Tech menís basketball team got off to yet another slow start on
Wednesday night and could not recover, falling 70-59 to Miami on the road.
The Hokies trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, cut the lead to two
in the second half, but could not finish. The loss drops Tech to 13-13
overall and 3-10 in ACC play. Miami improves to 15-12 and 7-7 in the ACC.
Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Miami
February 22, 2006
Tech will travel south to take on former Big East rival Miami in a
critical conference game on Wednesday night. The Hokies (13-12, 3-9) still
have a chance for an NIT berth and will be trying to rebound from a tough
loss to NC State. Miami (14-12, 6-7) appeared to have a good chance to
make the NCAA Tournament this year but has now dropped four consecutive
ACC games. Both teams will be desperate for a win on Wednesday night.
Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/20/06
February 21, 2006
night's show featured Tech head basketball coach Seth Greenberg, who
talked about the loss to NC State and the upcoming game against Miami. He
also talked about attending the memorial service of Coleman Collins'
father, and gave his thoughts on the struggles of Zabian Dowdell.
Top Target: LB J'Courtney Williams
February 21, 2006
of an injury, JíCourtney Williams had only modest numbers in the 2005
season. A shortened-season aside, the 6-3, 218-pound Christchurch
(Christchurch, VA) star is extremely athletic and talented and has earned
five official Division 1A scholarship offers and is drawing interest from
schools across the country.
Tech's 2006 Top Gun Recruiter
February 20, 2006
back with our annual "Top Gun Recruiter" article, to find out
which of VT's assistant football coaches brought in the highest-rated
recruits, and more of 'em. This is the sixth year that we have data for
the Top Gun competition, and in the first five seasons, Jim Cavanaugh was
the undisputed Top Gun, winning three out of five seasons and coming in
first in total points and points per player over the five-year span. Will
Cav successfully defend his crown this year, or will it go to someone
February 20, 2006
edition of ďAround the StateĒ includes updates on two very good 2007
class running back prospects in Patrick Henryís D.J. Thomas and
Pulaskiís Kevin Crouse, an offer list update on JíCourtney Williams as
well as the latest on Benedictine tight end Kevin Estes, Stone Bridge
offensive lineman Andrew Nuss and more.
Fall 70-64 to #21 NC State
February 18, 2006
Tech battled #21 NC State down to the wire on Saturday afternoon but
ultimately fell short yet again, dropping a 70-64 decision in Cassell
Coliseum. The Hokies dominated virtually every statistic except shooting,
and their lack of production in that area doomed them to yet another close
loss. Tech dropped to 13-12 overall and 3-9 in ACC play. NC State improved
to 21-5 and 10-3 in ACC play.
Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. #21 NC State
February 17, 2006
Tech will return to Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon when they face
#21 NC State in an important ACC game that will be televised by ABC at 1
pm. The Hokies (13-11, 3-8) are coming off two overtime games, a 75-74
victory at Clemson and an 81-77 loss to Virginia. NC State (20-5, 9-3) has
won five of their past six games and currently sits in second place in the