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   Welcome to TSLMail #262 - Friday, January 19, 2007    
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Dowdell Making His Case for First-Team All-ACC

by Chris Coleman,

The Virginia Tech men's basketball team finds itself near the top of the ACC standings. Their 3-1 mark currently ranks them second on the league, and Tech fans are excited about the possibility of the making the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

What has led the Hokies to such a good record, with victories over storied programs such as Duke and UNC? For one, Virginia Tech is shooting the ball much better than a lot of people give them credit for.

The Tech teams takes a lot of abuse at times on the message boards for not being able to shoot. But after four games against ACC teams, the Hokies are shooting 47.7% in ACC play, which is good for fourth in the conference.

As far as three-point shooting goes, the Hokies have been lights out in their four ACC games. Virginia Tech has nailed 18-of-44 three-pointers in ACC contests, good for 40.9%. In their last five games overall, the Hokies are 30-of-61 from downtown, almost 50%. That's very impressive.

To top if off, the Hokies haven't been letting their opponents connect from the outside either. The opposition is just 22-of-70 from the outside for 31.4%, ranking the Hokies third in the ACC in three-point field goal percentage defense.

Meanwhile, Zabian Dowdell is making a strong case that he should be named First Team All-ACC at the end of the season. Dowdell is Virginia Tech's top scorer and could potentially move into the top 10 all-time at Tech by the end of the season. He is averaging 17.3 points per game this season.

In ACC play alone, Dowdell has been even more impressive. He is averaging exactly 20 points per game, which ranks him third in the conference, behind just Al Thornton (FSU, 23.8 ppg) and Gavin Grant (NC State, 20.8 ppg). Dowdell has scored 23 points in each of his last two games against UNC and Florida State.

Dowdell has proven that he is much more than a scorer. He also leads the conference in steals in ACC games, averaging four per game in four ACC games. He is well ahead of second place Ty Lawson (UNC, 2.75 per game) and Keaton Copeland (Miami, 2.75 per game). Surprisingly Jamon Gordon is not in the top 10 for ACC games, but he is 2nd in the conference for all games, averaging 2.5 steals per game.

Dowdell is second in the conference in ACC games in the important category of assist/turnover ratio, with a mark of 2.80. He has turned the ball over just five times in four ACC games, while dishing out 14 assists.

Finally, showing his importance to his team, Dowdell is playing 36.5 minutes per game, which ranks fifth in the conference in ACC games. Only Jared Dudley (BC, 39.6 mpg), Jon Scheyer (Duke, 39 mpg), Gavin Grant (NC State, 37.75 mpg) and Josh McRoberts (Duke, 37.67 mpg) are ahead of Dowdell. This shows that the Hokies have improved their team depth, because it was not uncommon in the past to find two or three Virginia Tech players in the top 10 in minutes played. But this year, only Dowdell is in the top 10 so far.

If a First Team All-ACC team was released tomorrow, here is how it might look.

Possible First Team All-ACC
Position Name Team Pts. Reb. Ast. Stl.
G Sean Singletary Virginia 19.0 4.1 83 20
G Zabian Dowdell Virginia Tech 17.3 3.2 63 44
F Jared Dudley Boston College 19.1 9.1 46 23
F Al Thornton Florida State 17.8 6.3 14 27
C Tyler Hansbrough North Carolina 18.4 8.1 25 22

That list could easily change, but it's a good indicator of where we are one-quarter of the way through the conference schedule.

In case, you're wondering, Virginia Tech's RPI did not drop after losing to Florida State on Wednesday night. The Hokies entered the game at #35 according to, while the Seminoles were #25. FSU moved up to #22 with their win, while the Hokies remained at #35. Tech's strength of schedule jumped up to 39th. FSU has played the ninth toughest schedule in the nation, so they were battle tested heading into Wednesday night's game.

Virginia Tech has four games remaining in the month of January. They are home against Maryland (#32 RPI), at Miami (#161), at Georgia Tech (#28) and home against NC State (#143). 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

Around the ACC: January 18th, 2007

January 18, 2007
We're about one quarter of the way through the ACC conference schedule, and as usual, the conference is wide open. North Carolina appears to be the best team, but it looks like there are as many as eight legitimate NCAA tournament contenders, and that includes Virginia Tech. Let's take a short look at each team in the conference in this week's "Around the ACC," a new weekly feature here at TSL.

Will Roberts Make More Visits?
January 18, 2007
Following last weekend’s official visit to N.C. State, Wolfpack offensive line recruit Desmond Roberts had a decision to make – would he make the rest of his official visits or would he solidify his commitment? He has come to a decision.

Slow Start Dooms Hokies in Tallahassee
January 17, 2007
A slow start dug Virginia Tech in a big hole in the first half, and Al Thornton kept them from coming back in the second half, as Florida State beat #23 Virginia Tech 82-73 in Tallahassee on Wednesday night. The Hokies drop to 13-5 and 3-1 in the ACC, while Florida State improves to 13-5 and 1-3 in conference play.

With Historic Week Behind Them, Hokies are Positioned Well
January 17, 2007
It was just 19 days ago that a Hokie basketball team that appeared to be getting it in gear went to Marshall and suffered an embarrassing 59-58 defeat. Less than three weeks later, VT finds itself in the national rankings, the toast of the ACC after wins over Duke and North Carolina. Basketball has always been a game of runs and momentum, and with the pendulum finally swinging Tech's way again, everyone around the program wonders if they can keep things going.

Bud Foster Wins the Broyles Award
January 17, 2007
After his unit finished #1 in the nation in total defense for the second year in a row, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster was honored with the Frank Broyles Award on Tuesday in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Basketball Game Preview: #23 Virginia Tech at Florida State
January 17, 2007
On paper, things don't get any tougher than #1 UNC. After passing that test this past Saturday, #23 Virginia Tech will go on the road to play a game that could be even tougher than Saturday's. On Wednesday, the Hokies will take on Florida State in Tallahassee, and they'll have a major target on their backs.

Countdown to Signing Day: Future is Bright for Tech
January 17, 2007
Here is the latest edition of Countdown to Signing Day, an overall look into Virginia Tech's 2007 football recruiting class. In the weekly check of where the Hokies are in relation to the rest of the nation, Virginia Tech's class is rated in the top 20 nationally by (#20) and (#16). Take a look at who the Hokies are targeting with the few remaining scholarship spots as well as some insight as to the benefit of landing so many commitments last summer.

2008 Class: VT Offers Landstown Athlete
January 16, 2007
Xavier Boyce, a 6-4, 200-pound quarterback/defensive back prospect, has received offers from two ACC schools in this early going of his recruitment. The Landstown (Virginia Beach, VA) junior is a versatile, athletic player who led Landstown to an 8-2 record in 2006, his first season as the starting quarterback.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/15/07
January 16, 2007
It's pretty good to be Seth Greenberg these days. VT's men's basketball coach had the hour-long Hokie Hotline show all to himself again this week, and once again it was in the aftermath of a big win over a traditional ACC power. Last week, Duke, this week, Carolina.

Hampton has Two on Top
January 15, 2007
Phoebus (Hampton, VA) offensive/defensive lineman Maurice Hampton will begin his official visits this upcoming weekend as he heads to College Park to check out the University of Maryland. He has another official visit scheduled as well and is seemingly down to just two schools.

Hokie Mens' Basketball Cracks Rankings for First Time in Eleven Years
January 15, 2007
Following their 94-88 victory over then-#1 UNC on Saturday, the Hokies find themselves back in the top 25 for the first time since the 1995-96 season. Virginia Tech is ranked #23 in the AP Poll and #25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.
Also: Zabian Dowdell named ACC Player of the Week; Barden, Oglesby, and Sykes Enroll at Virginia Tech.

Okoli Down to Three
January 15, 2007
Salem (Virginia Beach, Virginia) defensive line prospect Chima Okoli, one of the hottest names on the recruiting circuit over the past month, will begin his final run of official visits this upcoming weekend. He goes to Virginia Tech and will follow that trip up with an official visit to Penn State on the weekend of the 26th.

Roberts Discusses Key Official Visit
January 15, 2007
6-5, 265-pound Desmond Roberts, a three-star offensive line recruit out of Northampton (Gaston, N.C.), made an important official visit this past weekend to N.C. State. Roberts committed to N.C. State before the dismissal of Chuck Amato as head coach and has continued to call himself a Wolfpack commit – albeit a soft commit – since Tom O’Brien took over. Is he now a solid commit?

Hokies Make Their Mark in the Record Books
January 13, 2007
A buddy of mine asked me before the game, "Okay, give it to me: What's Tech got to do to win this game?" There's no silver bullet, I answered. The Hokies just had to play lights out, and UNC had to have an off day. Just a few hours later, I've seen one of the best games the Hokies have ever played, and VT has their first win over a number one team in 24 years and three days, dating back to when I was a senior in high school.

Hokies Humble Heels, Beat #1 UNC 94-88
January 13, 2007
For the second consecutive weekend, Virginia Tech knocked off one of the top programs in the country. This time #1 North Carolina, arguably the most talented team in the land, was the victim. The Hokies withstood a big UNC run over the last four minutes of the game to hold on for a 94-88 victory in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies are now 13-4 overall, and 3-0 in the ACC. UNC falls to 15-2, with a 2-1 mark in ACC play.

2008 Class: Bayside QB Holds Four Offers
January 12, 2007
Bayside (Virginia Beach, VA) junior quarterback E.J. Manuel is off to a good start in the offer department, having received written offers from four Division 1A programs. A starter at quarterback since his freshman year (when he started five games), Manuel turned in a productive junior season in 2006. He threw for 1,973 yards - completing 56-percent of his passes - with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions and rushed for another 300 yards rushing with five touchdowns.
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