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   Welcome to TSLMail #265 - Friday, February 9, 2007    
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Turnover Margin is Key for Hokies in ACC Play

by Chris Coleman,

With guards Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon, the Hokies have prided themselves on winning the turnover margin battle since they joined the ACC. Extra possessions via turnover margin helped Virginia Tech win a lot of close games their first season in the ACC. In the last few weeks however, it seems like the Hokies have taken a step back in turnover margin.

Tech has a negative turnover margin in four games this year. They all came in ACC play, but the Hokies managed to win two of the games.

Negative Turnover Margin, 2006-07
Opponent Margin Result
Florida State -1 82-73 L
Miami -4 92-85 W
Georgia Tech -5 73-65 W
Boston College -2 80-59 L

As usual, Virginia Tech lost the turnover margin to Florida State. The surprising thing about these numbers is that the Hokies managed to defeat Miami and Georgia Tech on the road, despite being -9 in turnovers in both games combined. The big reason for that is that the Hokies shot a season-high 58.1% at Miami, and then turned around and topped that by shooting 59.5% against Georgia Tech.

In four of their last six games, Virginia Tech has had a negative turnover margin, and they were even against Maryland, meaning Tech won the turnover margin battle just one game of their past six. That came against NC State, and the Hokies played so poorly in other areas that it didn't matter. The last time Tech had a positive turnover margin and won the game was against UNC, nearly a month ago. That's hard to believe.

Let's compare that to Tech's first two seasons in the ACC, starting with the 2004-05 season.

Negative Turnover Margin, 2004-05
Opponent Margin Result
Morgan State -4 67-54 W
Duke -2 100-65 L
Maryland -5 86-71 L
Virginia -1 65-60 L
Duke -6 67-65 W
NC State -8 74-54 L
Clemson -1 66-64 L

Virginia Tech had a negative turnover margin in six ACC games in their first season in their new conference. As you would expect, they lost five of those games. The Clemson game was truly a heartbreaker, as a steal by Clemson as Tech was going for the winning shot was turned into a breakaway, game-winning dunk on the other end. Tech was -1 in turnover margin that day, and that one turnover decided the game.

However, the most surprising fact is that the Hokies defeated Duke in Cassell Coliseum despite turning the ball over 14 times, while forcing just eight Blue Devil turnovers. The Hokies beat the Blue Devils straight up that night, with no help from turnovers. This year, Tech beat Duke in Durham by two in overtime, but the Hokies were a whopping +15 in turnover margin, and that stat alone gave them the victory.

2005-06 was Virginia Tech's best season from a turnover margin standpoint. Ironically, it was their worst ACC season when it came to winning games.

Negative Turnover Margins, 2005-06
Opponent Margin Result
Old Dominion -5 58-55 L
Florida State -4 74-68 L
Clemson -1 86-81 L

The Hokies lost the turnover margin in just three games last season. They were all close losses, and if the Hokies could have just pulled even in turnovers, they probably would have been in the NIT last year. But overall, Virginia Tech dominated turnover margin in 2005-06, and it kept them in a bunch of games that they ultimately went on to lose in the final minute.

The Hokies have been in a slump recently, dropping two games in a row and looking bad in the process. Seth Greenberg has spoken of getting back to the basics and regaining their identity. For Virginia Tech, that identity is turnover margin. If they get back to the basics and win the turnover margin against UVA, they have a great chance to come away as winners.

Virginia Tech-UVA Hoops Rivalry

Speaking of UVA, this has always been a lopsided rivalry. When the Hokies and Hoos get together on the hardwood, the Hoos almost always come away with the victory. Many of the games are very close, but nonetheless it's the Hokies who walk away with the loss.

Virginia Tech is 46-77 all-time against UVA in basketball. The Hokies have beaten Virginia just seven times since the 1983-84 season, when they knocked off UVA 56-54 in Richmond. Tech has lost to UVA 11 times since the 1996-97 season, and eight of those games have been decided by single digits, with two going to overtime. Virginia Tech is 0-5 all-time against Virginia in overtime games.

The Hokies have lost four games in a row to the Hoos. Tech won 79-73 in their first ACC meeting in 2004-05. UVA responded with a 65-60 victory in Charlottesville that year. The Cavs managed to beat the Hokies three times last season, including a win in the ACC tournament. All three games went down to the wire, including the overtime game in Charlottesville. Ultimately UVA won all three meetings by five or fewer points.

The Hokies will be looking to get back in the win column on Saturday against the Hoos. The game will be played in Cassell Coliseum, where Virginia Tech is 10-2 all-time against UVA. 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

In Focus: Virginia Tech Lands Highly Rated Class

February 8, 2007
ESPN #29...This is where Virginia Tech's 2007 recruiting class is rated nationally. A very good haul for head coach Frank Beamer and staff, who reclaimed the state of Virginia and filled some key need areas on National Signing Day.

Around the ACC: February 8th, 2007
February 8, 2007
After Wednesday night's action (Clemson over FSU and UNC beating Duke), the Hokies are in fourth place in the ACC, two games ahead of their closest pursuers in the all-important loss column. The Virginia Cavaliers, winners of seven in a row and heading to Blacksburg Saturday, sit atop the league standings with Boston College. The rest of February promises to rock and roll in the conference. See what's up this week in "Around the ACC."

TSL Audio: "Best Seat in the House," With Jim Cavanaugh
February 8, 2007
On Wednesday night, Virginia Tech assistant coach Jim Cavanaugh appeared on "The Best Seat in the House," hosted by Jed Williams on WINA 1070 AM in Charlottesville. Cavanaugh discussed Signing Day with Jed, who provided TSL with an audio capture of the interview, so log on and listen to Coach Cav's thoughts on this year's class. Always an entertaining interview, Cavanaugh doesn't disappoint (MP3 format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 4.2 MB, 18:10).

Hokies Sign 23 to Letters of Intent
February 7, 2007
Virginia Tech signed 23 high school standouts to a Letter of Intent on Wednesday. These players join two other members of the 2007 recruiting class, Brandon Barden and Josh Oglesby, who enrolled at Virginia Tech in January. Last year just six in-state players signed with Tech. This year was a different story, as the Hokies got signatures from 13 players from Virginia.

It's National Signing Day
February 7, 2007
Today is national football recruiting signing day, which is a very high traffic day on Take a look inside for instructions on where to look for information today, and how you can help TSL handle the load on what is typically one of our busiest days of the year.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/5/07
February 6, 2007
The Hokies have a week off to prepare for Saturday's game with Virginia, and on Monday's Hokie Hotline, Seth Greenberg talked about the team's recent struggles, what they're doing to get back on track, and the short-term and long-term outlook. Greenberg also discussed Virginia's strengths and what the Hokies must do to win the in-state showdown.

EA Sports National POY Set to Sign with VT
February 6, 2007
Tomorrow, at 7:40 CST, Warren Central (Indianapolis, IN) will hold its signing day ceremony for its college-bound football players. One player of particular interest for Virginia Tech is 6-1, 212-pound running back Darren Evans, who will sign with the Hokies close to six months after making a verbal commitment to Coach Beamer and company.

Hokies on a Bad Run
February 5, 2007
I did something unusual during Saturday's basketball game against Boston College: I turned the TV off. When BC's Jared Dudley hit a layup to put the Eagles up 28-14 with 8:18 to go in the first half, I figured I knew how this story ended, and I hit the Power button and went to do something else. I didn't turn it back on until there were six minutes left to go and things had been decided a long time ago.

Hokies Struggle Again, Get Blown Out in Beantown
February 3, 2007
Games in Boston haven't been very kind to Virginia Tech this year. The football team suffered their worst moment of the season there in October, and on Saturday it was the men's basketball team that got crushed by Boston College. The Eagles controlled the game from the very beginning, beating the Hokies 80-59 to claim sole possession of second place in the ACC.

Basketball Game Preview: #16 Virginia Tech at Boston College
February 2, 2007
#16 Virginia Tech will look to right the ship when they travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College on Saturday. This is the biggest matchup of the weekend in the ACC. The Hokies and Eagles are tied for second place in the ACC with a 6-2 record. Whichever team pulls out a victory on Saturday will take a giant leap towards the NCAA tournament.
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