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   Welcome to TSLMail #215 - Friday, February 24, 2006    
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   Tech Sports News

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Hokie Opponents Shooting Well From Everywhere (Even the FT Line) 
by Chris Coleman,

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.

Shooting Against the Hokies


FG % 3-Pt. %

FT %

vs. ACC

vs. VT

vs. ACC

vs. VT

vs. ACC

vs. VT


49% 46.4% 42.50% 40% 79.30% 81%

Florida State

48.3% 42.90% 39.40% 30.80% 71.60% 80%


47.7% 47.80% 39.10% 46.70% 74.90% 65%


41.1% 44.70% 32.70% 45% 76.50% 78.60%


43.2% 47.50% 37.20% 30% 72.80% 71.40%


49% 49.20% 42.50% 26.30% 79.30% 85%


43.6% 47.30% 38.80% 48% 69% 54.50%

Georgia Tech

45% 42.60% 40.40% 26.30% 67.30% 68.80%

Boston College

45.9% 51.80% 35.70% 36.40% 64.90% 66.70%


40.3% 48.10% 29.20% 40.90% 64.50% 86.70%


41.1% 45.80% 32.70% 33.30% 76.50% 82.60%

NC State

48.7% 45.10% 44% 46.20% 77.70% 85.70%


42.7% 51% 34.60% 29.40% 74.80% 86.70%

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 reasonable guesses.

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.

ACC Tournament Pairings
(if the season ended today, Feb. 24)
Teams Time Next Round
#8 Maryland vs. #9 Clemson Noon Duke
#5 Florida State vs. #12 Wake Forest 2pm Boston College
#7 Miami vs. #10 Virginia Tech 7pm NC State
#6 Virginia vs. #11 Georgia Tech 9pm UNC

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. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week
Hokies Announce Football Coaching Staff Changes
February 24, 2006
Virginia 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.

2007 Class: Anson County's Triple Threat
February 24, 2006
Three 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.

Football Photo Gallery: Best of the 2005 Football Season
February 23, 2006
We've 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.

TSL Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris", for 2/22/06
February 23, 2006
Chris 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)

Poor Start Dooms Hokies in Miami, Tech Loses 70-59
February 23, 2006
The 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.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Miami
February 22, 2006
Virginia 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.

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/20/06
February 21, 2006
Monday 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.

2007 Top Target: LB J'Courtney Williams
February 21, 2006
Because 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.

Virginia Tech's 2006 Top Gun Recruiter
February 20, 2006
We're 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 else?

Around the State
February 20, 2006
This 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.

Hokies Fall 70-64 to #21 NC State
February 18, 2006
Virginia 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.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. #21 NC State
February 17, 2006
Virginia 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 ACC.
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