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   Welcome to TSLMail #218 - Friday, March 17, 2006    
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   Tech Sports News

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Looking Back on Tech's 2005-06 Basketball Schedule
by Chris Coleman,

Now that Virginia Tech's basketball season is over, we can take a look back and see exactly what kind of competition they faced this season. The Hokies faced some of the best talent in the nation at times this year, and at other times they faced teams that didn't belong on the same court with VT.

The Hokies played five different teams that made the NCAA tournament. Four of them, Duke, UNC, BC and NC State, came from the ACC. In the ACC-Big 10 challenge, the Hokies faced Ohio State, who earned a #2 seed in the Big Dance. Tech had an opportunity to beat each of these teams.

In their game with Ohio State, Tech was blown out in the first half, and then rallied and cut the lead to three points late in the game. The Hokies eventually lost by 13, but they put quite a scare into the Buckeyes in the process. The next weekend Tech traveled to Durham to take on #1 Duke, and Sean Dockery dispatched the Hokies by hitting a 40-footer to end the game.

For the rest of the season, the Hokies lost to UNC by three, Duke by 13, BC by one, NC State by six and BC by two. Virginia Tech nearly had some major upsets against some outstanding teams this year. Tech missed last second shots against BC in both meetings, and Duke hit a last second miracle against the Hokies. Close, but so far away.

The Hokies also played a number of teams that are NIT bound. The Hokies traveled to Las Vegas to take on Stanford in a neutral site game in December, and came away with a 59-52 victory over the Cardinal. Stanford got off to a tough start, but rallied to earn an NIT bid. They beat UVA 65-49 on Tuesday night in the NIT. The only other out-of-conference NIT team Tech faced was ODU, who beat the Hokies 58-55 back on December 30.

Once ACC play began, Virginia Tech faced a postseason caliber team nearly every time they set foot on the court. Georgia Tech was the only other ACC team besides the Hokies who did not make the Big Dance or NIT, so that means 15 of Tech's 16 ACC games were against a postseason team.

Tech did not manage to beat any of the ACC teams that made the NCAA tournament, but they did knock off Florida State, Wake Forest and Clemson, and those teams made the NIT. The Hokies' February 25th victory over the Seminoles helped keep FSU out of the NCAA tournament.

Take a look at the following table to see how many quality teams the Hokies had to play in ACC play.

2005-06 Virginia Tech Opponents
(complete schedule; some teams listed twice)
Team Record RPI* Postseason
Radford 14-13 193 none
Bowling Green 7-21 256 none
Western Carolina 10-17 265 none
Mount St. Mary's 13-17 230 none
Marshall 12-16 233 none
Morgan State 4-26 329 none
Ohio State 25-5 5 NCAA
Duke 30-3 1 NCAA
NC A&T 6-23 324 none
St. John's 12-15 137 none
Stanford 15-13 86 NIT
William & Mary 8-20 266 none
Old Dominion 21-9 69 NIT
James Madison 5-23 299 none
Florida State 19-9 64 NIT
North Carolina 22-7 12 NCAA
UVA 15-14 79 NIT
Maryland 18-12 49 NIT
Duke 30-3 1 NCAA
Wake Forest 17-16 85 NIT
Georgia Tech 11-17 160 none
Boston College 25-7 22 NCAA
Clemson 18-12 78 NIT
UVA 15-14 79 NIT
NC State 21-9 51 NCAA
Miami 16-15 77 NIT
Florida State 19-9 64 NIT
Clemson 18-12 78 NIT
Boston College 25-7 22 NCAA
Virginia 15-14 79 NIT
*RPI ratings are from the NCAA web site.

That's some tough competition, and the Hokies nearly pulled out most of those games, but couldn't quite get it done. If a couple of those heartbreaking losses had gone the other way, Virginia Tech would still be playing basketball right now.

But you can't mention how tough the ACC was without mentioning how ridiculously easy Tech's out-of-conference schedule was. The Hokies played just three teams out-of-conference with an RPI above 100. Eight of Tech's OOC opponents had an RPI of 227 or worse. Radford was one of the better non-conference opponents with a 14-13 overall record and an RPI of 194. For the most part the Hokies did better than previous seasons against their non-conference opponents, with the exception of the loss to Bowling Green. That loss would have given Tech a .500 record rather than a losing record.

Expect Tech's non-conference strength of schedule to improve next season. Seth Greenberg mentioned on the Hokie Hotline this past Monday night that Tech is going to eliminate almost all of the teams ranked below 200 in the RPI from next season's schedule. The Hokies will play George Washington, participate in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, and play perhaps one more national high-profile game. They will replace teams such as Morgan State and North Carolina A&T with middle-of-the-pack teams. Tech should be able to defeat all those teams, and they will not take as much of an SOS hit as they would by playing bottom feeders.

A tougher schedule, and winning, will boost Tech's RPI and give the Hokies a better shot at postseason play next year. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week
Culpeper Star Taking Things in Stride
March 17, 2006
Terence Fells-Danzer displayed his grit and determination in playing through a nagging ankle injury for most of his junior season last year. While he wasn't disappointed in his performance by any stretch, the 6-2, 230-pound Culpeper (VA) standout is certainly looking forward to a healthy senior season.

Class of 2007 Video: Kempsville WR Mordecai "Jay" Smith
March 16, 2006
With written scholarship offers from Maryland, N.C. State, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech, 6-2, 195-pound Kempsville (Virginia Beach, VA) wide receiver Mordecai "Jay" Smith is one of the hottest recruits in the state. Expect many more official offers to come in for Smith, who is a smooth, fast, big and tough wide receiver with very good hands and a 40-inch vertical leap.

2006 Spring Football Preview: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
March 16, 2006
Virginia Tech's deepest and most talented group of players is their outstanding corps of wide receivers. In fact, this is the only position on offense that doesn't have question marks surrounding it. The Hokies bring back all of their contributors at wideout. Whoever wins the starting quarterback job is going to have some playmakers to get the ball to. At tight end, the story is just the opposite, with a group of inexperienced players vying for playing time.

Basketball Photo Gallery: Best of the 2005-06 Basketball Season
March 16, 2006
We've picked 72 of the best photos from VT's 2005-06 basketball season and compiled them into one collection. It was a tough season for the Hokies, and their on and off court troubles were well-documented. We have photos from a total of seven games that will help you relive some of the most exciting, and heartbreaking, moments of the season.

ACC Ticket Situation Shows Athletic Department Has a Lot to Learn
March 15, 2006
Late last Friday, I posted a rant about Virginia Tech's poor fan showing at the ACC tournament in Greensboro, noting that VT had failed to sell out their full allotment of tournament tickets. While I'm disappointed that Hokie fans didn't show a better appetite for tourney tickets and didn't show up in large numbers in Greensboro, the discussion that ensued revealed that the Virginia Tech athletic department, in the person of the Hokie Club, learned a harsh lesson about supply and demand or lack thereof with regards to basketball tickets. In their efforts to sell the tickets, the Hokie Club made numerous mistakes along the way.

2007 Class Video: Stone Bridge OL/DL Andrew Nuss
March 15, 2006
Stone Bridge (Ashburn, VA) standout Andrew Nuss had a very solid junior season, earning first-team all-Liberty district honors at the defensive lineman position for his performance. The 6-5, 280-pound Nuss is actually being recruited more on the next level as an offensive tackle, which he played as well. Nuss, who is very athletic and has great size, has Division 1A scholarship offers from Duke, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

2007 Class Video: Matoaca WR/DB Kris Burd
March 15, 2006
6-1, 180-pound Kris Burd earned Richmond Times-Dispatch first-team all-metro honors for his junior season performance. The Matoaca (Chesterfield, VA) standout caught 44 passes for 840 yards and five touchdowns in helping the Warriors to a state semifinal appearance.

2006 Spring Football Preview: The Defensive Line
March 15, 2006
The Virginia Tech defensive line was a major strength for the Hokies in 2005, but heading into spring football 2006, it is a major question mark. There is talent up front for the Hokies, but there is also some inexperience and depth problems. If Tech can field another good line this fall, their defense can be one of the best in the nation yet again. But if certain players don't pan out, the front four could be at its weakest point in the last several years.

Austin One of the Country's Top Prospects
March 15, 2006
Yesterday, Marvin Austin received 10 text messages from college coaches hoping to land his signature come February's signing day. It's a typical day for Austin, who is considered one of the top overall prospects in the country for the 2007 class, but the 6-3, 300-pound Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) star is taking it all in stride.

2006 Spring Football Preview: The Linebackers
March 14, 2006
This spring will be very important for Bud Foster and his inside linebackers, as well as Jim Cavanaugh and the whip linebackers. There is talent at each position, but depth is a problem on the inside, while experience is the question mark on the outside. But if this unit can stay healthy, they can be a major strength for the Virginia Tech defense in 2006.

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 3/13/06
March 14, 2006
Monday night's show was the last Hokie Hotline until August, and Seth Greenberg was the guest. He and Bill Roth discussed the offseason, looked back on this past season, and discussed the upcoming NCAA Tournament. They also talked about what the team needs to improve on heading into next season.

OL Highlight Spring Valley '07 Class
March 14, 2006
Led by primary recruiter and new quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain, Virginia Tech is targeting at least two offensive line prospects out of Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina. Head coach Jimmy Noonan boasts at least three Division 1A caliber players, all of whom earned first-team all-area honors on last season's Region V-AAAA championship squad.

Tech Women Seeded 7th in NCAA Tournament
March 13, 2006
The Virginia Tech women's basketball team made the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last nine years, when they received word Monday night that they have been named a #7 seed and will take on #10 seed Missouri in Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center Sunday night, March 19th

2006 Spring Football Preview: The Defensive Backs
March 13, 2006
Other than the loss of All-American cornerback Jimmy Williams and free safety Justin Hamilton, the Virginia Tech secondary will return virtually intact in 2006. The Hokies regularly place defensive backs in the NFL, and there will be a lot of future NFL talent on display in Tech's secondary this fall. Despite the loss of Williams and Hamilton, this group could end up being even better than 2005.

Super Soph a Top Target
March 13, 2006
Only a sophomore, varsity basketball star Ed Davis has already drawn Division 1A coaches to Hanover High School (Richmond, VA) to watch him play in person. There is certainly a buzz around this central Virginia star who, after a stellar sophomore season, will likely only continue to get better as he heads into his junior year.

ACC Tournament Notes
March 11, 2006
Notes, quotes, and anecdotes from the ACC Tournament, concerning Virginia Tech's pathetic basketball fan support, info on stellar Hokie Club donations, and thoughts on a myriad of other topics.

2007 Recruiting Needs: Defense
March 10, 2006
In the second installment of our "Recruiting Needs" articles, we take a look at the defense, where the Hokies are pretty well stocked at defensive end and cornerback. But linebacker and safety/rover are becoming positions of need. We take a look at the defense and predict how many the Hokies will take at each position in the 2007 recruiting class.

On the Road: Matoaca
March 10, 2006
Traveling around the state, I visited Matoaca High School in Chesterfield. I met with Warriors' star wide receiver/safety Kris Burd as well as all-state running back Patrick Mills, two class of 2007 players who helped Matoaca capture the Division 5, Group AAA Central Region Championship last season.
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