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   Welcome to TSLMail #254 - Friday, November 24, 2006    
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   Tech Sports News

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Loss to WMU a Hit to Hokies' NCAA Chances

by Chris Coleman,

There is a very long list of teams from small conferences that have beaten Virginia Tech in basketball in the recent past, especially under former head coach Ricky Stokes. Under Seth Greenberg, the Hokies have managed to avoid losses to small schools for the most part, but as Thanksgiving night proved, they haven’t quite made it over the hump.

Western Michigan beat the Hokies 71-68 in Orlando. During the 2004-05 season, the Hokies finished fourth in the ACC but failed to make the NCAA tournament, partly because of a bad record in out-of-conference play. Losses to VMI (72-68) and Western Michigan (74-68) contributed to Tech going to the NIT rather than the NCAA tournament. Thursday night’s loss could potentially have the same effect.

Losses to Small Conference Teams
Year Opponent Score


East Tennessee State









William & Mary









Old Dominion



Murray State






Western Michigan



St. Bonaventure






William & Mary



East Carolina



Western Michigan



East Carolina






Western Michigan



Bowling Green


That’s a long list. Most of them were in Ricky Stokes’ tenure, but after last night, there have been five such losses under Seth Greenberg’s watch. Some of them were excusable, others were not. Let’s take a look back at each loss in Greenberg’ tenure.

The Hokies played East Carolina during the 2003-04 season, and fell 74-67. That loss was excusable. The Pirates entered the game 6-1 overall, with five starters returning from a team that beat the Hokies 76-60 the previous season. The Hokies were starting three freshmen you might have heard of…Jamon Gordon, Zabian Dowdell and Coleman Collins.

The loss to VMI in 2004-05 was inexcusable. The Hokies were 4-0, and VMI, as usual, did not field a very good team. But Tech didn’t show up to play and got beat. They were basically without the services of Coleman Collins, who was injured and scored just two points in 16 minutes. Still, the Hokies had the talent to get it done, and they didn’t.

In December, a Western Michigan team that would go on to play in the NIT came to Cassell and walked out a 74-68 winner. Coleman Collins did not play because of an injury, and there was no frontcourt presence for the Hokies. Jamon Gordon had eight rebounds and Zabian Dowdell pulled down seven, but Tech’s frontcourt was overwhelmed.

Tech’s loss to Bowling Green in the second game of the 2005-06 season was bad luck, but at the same time, they shouldn’t have allowed Bowling Green to be in the game at the end. The Hokies trailed most of the game, then finally rallied to take the lead 71-70. Bowling Green missed the game-winning shot at the end, but the Hokies’ A.D. Vassallo accidentally tipped it in for the Falcons, giving them a 72-71 victory in Blacksburg.

Tech’s loss on Thanksgiving night to Western Michigan was eerily similar to the loss to the Broncos back in 2004. Tech’s backcourt did all of the work, while the frontcourt failed to show up. This time Coleman Collins played virtually the entire game, but could only muster five points and five rebounds.

It’s just one loss, and the Hokies can definitely recover from it, but can’t afford to take anymore losses like this for the remainder of the season.

The Hokies have a very tough out-of-conference schedule ahead of them. They must face Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, George Washington in Washington, D.C., Set0n Hall in Madison Square Garden, as well as Old Dominion, who beat Georgetown earlier in the season.

With that type of schedule, not to mention ACC play, the Hokies needed to win all of their games against teams they should beat. Unfortunately, they dropped one Thanksgiving night. At this point they can only hope that it doesn’t cost them a postseason bid.

On Friday, the Hokies got back on track with a 77-56 win over Montana in the loser’s bracket of the Old Spice Tournament, and with the victory, the Hokies earn a chance to make up for the loss on Thanksgiving. Tech takes on Southern Illinois, a highly-regarded outfit that returns their top eight players from last year. The Salukis are one of just 15 teams who have played in the last five NCAA tournaments, and after finishing fourth in the nation in scoring defense last year (57 points per game), SIU has upped the ante this year, giving up just 45 points per game.

Southern Illinois is hovering around the outside of the top 25 and is a stiff test for the Hokies. A win over the Salukis on Sunday (1 pm, ESPNU) would got a long way towards erasing the loss to Western Michigan Thursday. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Hokies Rout Montana 77-56

November 24, 2006
The Virginia Tech men's basketball team got back on track Friday night in the Old Spice Classic, downing Montana 77-56. The Grizzlies, an NCAA tournament team last season from the Big Sky Conference that returned all five starters this season, never presented a challenge to the more athletic Hokies. Virginia Tech improves to 3-1 overall and will face Southern Illinois on Sunday.

Bourbonstreet's Championship Series (b-streetC.S.): Week 13
November 24, 2006
#1 Ohio State knocked off #2 Michigan last weekend, and that leaves a number of one-loss teams battling it out for the second spot in the National Championship Game.
more's Game Preview, Part 3
November 24, 2006
In some ways, it is the most basic adage of defensive football. Stop the run. Coaches say it all the time, analysts harp on it throughout broadcasts, and players repeat it ad nauseam. If you want to win, you have to stop the run. Against Virginia Tech, that old proverb is taken to new heights, though.
more's Game Preview, Part 2
November 24, 2006
For the second time in as many weeks the Cavaliers will face one of the nation's top three defenses. Last week, it was Miami's third best defensive team and this week Virginia will face the country's second best overall unit in Bud Foster's Hokies. Tech is 20th against the run (97.2), first in passing (133.8) defense, and leads the NCAA in scoring defense (10.2). In other words, it may be another grind it out kind of day for the Hoos' offense.
more's Game Preview, Part 1
November 24, 2006
Today TechSideline will be running three articles from that preview tomorrow's Virginia-Virginia Tech game. These articles offer a unique perspective from the UVA side on what it will take for the Hoos to upset the Hokies.

Weekend Visitor: LB Commit Quillie Odom
November 24, 2006
Quillie Odom played most of his junior season with a broken thumb, but was still able to rack up over 70 tackles en route to earning all-district and all-region honors for his performance. The 2006 season was an injury-free one for the Osbourn Park (Manassas, VA) senior who, despite not knowing his exact statistics, felt his game progressed from the previous year.

Hokies Upset by Western Michigan in Orlando
November 23, 2006
These types of losses weren’t supposed to happen this year to a Virginia Tech basketball team that is loaded with seniors and experience. But it did. The Hokies fell to Western Michigan 71-68 in their first game of the Old Spice Classic on Thanksgiving night. Tech drops to 2-1 on the season, while the Broncos improve to 2-2. The Hokies are 0-5 all-time against Western Michigan.

Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia (and Others)
November 23, 2006
The Commonwealth Cup is on the line as the Virginia Cavaliers visit Blacksburg this Saturday at noon. The Hokies have held the Cup for over two years, and Tech is a heavy favorite to win this weekend, but strange things have happened in this series. Anytime two big rivals get together you can throw the records out the door and I am sure that the Wahoos will come ready to play. The UVA game is always a highlight of the season and Lane Stadium should be electric as friends and neighbors cheer for their respective teams.

Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia
November 22, 2006
State pride is on the line as the rebuilding Virginia Cavaliers visit Blacksburg to face the resurgent Virginia Tech Hokies. UVA is coming off their best game of the season in defeating Miami 17-7, while the Hokies have a five-game winning streak after last week's impressive defeat of the #14 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 27-6. Virginia needs this win to become bowl eligible and salvage a season that had a disappointing start. Virginia Tech needs this win to have 10 wins and gain a premier bowl slot, preferably to face an SEC team in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

Old Spice Classic Preview
November 22, 2006
Virginia Tech is playing in the Old Spice Classic, a basketball tournament in Orlando, over Thanksgiving weekend. The Hokies will face some tough competition during the tournament, and we should begin to get an idea of exactly how good they can be this season.

Searcy Set to Begin Official Visits
November 22, 2006
Da’Norris Searcy, a defensive back prospect out of Towers High School (Decatur, GA), committed to the University of North Carolina in July of this year. The talented recruit, rated a four-star prospect by, decided to open up his recruitment a bit following the news that John Bunting would not return as UNC's head coach in 2007. Virginia Tech is one of the schools under consideration.

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia
November 21, 2006
All that stands between Virginia Tech and their third consecutive 10-win season is in-state rival Virginia. All that stands between Virginia and a bowl bid is Virginia Tech. Both teams have a lot to play for this Saturday, not to mention pride. The Hokies will get the Cavaliers' best shot, but with UVA's history of poor play on the road, will their best be enough?

Wake Forest Game Analysis: Glennon, Defense Deliver
November 21, 2006
A week after routing Florida State 30-0 in Tallahassee, the upstart Wake Forest Demon Deacons returned to Winston Salem expecting to continue their winning ways against a Virginia Tech team that was coming off a ho-hum effort against Kent State. Instead, the Hokies hit the Deacons with a big play offense, a fast and suffocating defense, and a swarm of thousands of fans clad in Orange and Maroon. The result was an efficient, physically-dominating 27-6 victory for the Hokies. Since joining the conference three seasons ago, the Hokies are now an impressive 11-1 in conference road games.

Monday Thoughts (on a Tuesday): The Wake Forest Game
November 21, 2006
This one was supposed to be harder for the Hokies. This is the year that Wake Forest was supposed to be big enough, strong enough and mature enough to stand up to the neighborhood bully, after all this time. And it's true that Wake Forest looked more buff, the product of a few years in Grobe's Gym. But in the end, the Demon Deacons reverted to their old ways, like the successful businessman who goes back to his high school reunion and finds his knees still quake when he tries to talk to the Prom Queen.

Countdown to Signing Day: The Contact Period is here
November 21, 2006
Here is the latest edition of Countdown to Signing Day, an overall look into Virginia Tech's 2007 football recruiting class. Take a look at the remaining targets, key dates and updates on current commitments. The next big event, besides several kids making offical visits to Virginia Tech this weekend, is the beginning of the Contact period. It begins next week, marking the beginning of the stretch run for the 2007 class.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 11/20/06
November 21, 2006
Following the big win at Wake Forest, Monday's guests were assistant football coach Jim Cavanaugh (you won't believe this, but the topic of the Internet came up!), athletic director Jim Weaver, head football coach Frank Beamer, and, for a few minutes, assistant men's basketball coach Ryan Odom.

Bourbonstreet's ACC Capsule: Week 13
November 20, 2006
Wake Forest will now travel to play Maryland for the Atlantic bid to the ACC Championship Game in Jacksonville on December 2nd at 1pm. However, the team playing the best Atlantic Division football this year (Boston College) could be seated 3rd or 4th at the ACC bowling dinner-table. Clemson could be on their way to a nice looking nine win season, while Florida State is locked into a next-to-last, but still bowl eligible Atlantic Division finish. Looks like there will now be a second State in Boise.

Weekend Visitor: 4-Star DE Tony Tucker
November 20, 2006
Four-star prospect Tony Tucker will begin his official visits this upcoming weekend, with Virginia Tech being the program on the receiving end of his first trip. This will be the first ever visit to Blacksburg for Tucker, a standout defensive end talent out of St. John’s in Washington, D.C.

Ore Doubtful for UVa; Hokies Move up in Polls
November 20, 2006
Virginia Tech star running back Branden Ore is listed as doubtful for the Hokies' season finale against the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday. Ore suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter of Tech's victory over Wake Forest.
Also: MDA Lockup Event a Big Success.

Hokies Put Wake in Their Place, 27-6
November 19, 2006
Winston-Salem, NC -- Sean Glennon threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns, and the #19 Hokies got a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Xavier Adibi, downing #14 Wake Forest 27-6. The Hokies gave up 257 yards to the Demon Deacons but kept their opponent out of the end zone for the second straight game. Tech tailback Branden Ore went down with an ankle injury early in the game, and backups Kenny Lewis and George Bell combined for over 100 yards in Ore's absence.

Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest (and Others)
November 17, 2006
Virginia Tech travels to Winston-Salem to face the surprising Demon Deacons, who are looking to win the Atlantic Division and a possible ACC championship. Wake Forest has proven to be a tough matchup for every opponent this year, and the Hokies will surely be challenged by the misdirection and deception of the Deacon offense. Defensively Wake Forest is a very good team with an exceptional group of linebackers and safeties. The Hokies will have a big test against the ACC's most surprising team this year.
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