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   Welcome to TSLMail #269 - Friday, March 9, 2007    
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   Tech Sports News

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Hokies on the Bubble? No Way

by Chris Coleman,

From scanning the basketball message board since Tech's 75-74 loss to Clemson, it appears there are some fans out there who think the Hokies could still be left out of the NCAA tournament if they don't win their first ACC tournament game tonight against Wake Forest. If you're a member of that group, spend the next few minutes reading this week's TSLMail to put your mind at ease.

Virginia Tech is 20-10 overall and 10-6 in the ACC. They finished #3 in the most prestigious conference in America. They will be in the NCAA tournament. I'd guarantee it. Still don't believe me? Keep reading.

It's possible to finish below .500 in the ACC and still get an invitation to the NCAA tournament. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 26 teams have finished either 6-8 or 7-9 in the ACC. Of those 26 teams, 12 have been invited to the NCAA tournament.

However, we must be completely fair and mention that 11 of the past 14 teams that finished 7-9 in the ACC were left out of the Big Dance. It appears that the Selection Committee's opinion on 7-9 ACC teams has dropped over the past few years. Fortunately, the Hokies aren't 7-9, so we don't have to worry about that.

Let's move on to teams who finished exactly .500 in conference play. The ACC has had 18 teams finish 7-7 or 8-8 in the ACC since 1985. 14 of those 18 teams have advanced to the NCAA tournament.

One of those teams was the 2004-05 Virginia Tech Hokies. Although Tech finished 8-8 in the ACC, they only had 15 overall wins, and no 15-win team has ever received an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament

If you finish with a winning record in the ACC, it's almost impossible to get left out of the NCAA tournament. For teams that finished 8-6 or 9-7 (two games above .500) since 1985, all but two have received an invitation to the Big Dance. Only Virginia in 2000 did not get a bid. The Hoos went 9-7 in the ACC that year and got left out. Florida State also got left out last season with a 9-7 mark.

Overall, 21 of 23 teams who have finished two games above .500 in ACC have gotten an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. With the Hokies at 10-6, it makes you feel like they're a lock, doesn't it?

What definitely makes Virginia Tech a lock to be picked by the NCAA Selection Committee is the fact that no ACC team that has finished four games or more over .500 in conference play has been left out of the NCAA tournament. Since 1985, 63 teams have finished 9-5 or 10-6 or better, and every one of them got an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Hokies are in. No doubt about it. Here's a look at the past 10-6 teams from the ACC.

Past 10-6 ACC Teams
Team Year ACC Seed NCAA Seed NCAA Result

NC State

2006 4 10

Second Round


2001 3 3

Final Four


1999 3 3

First Round


1998 3 4

Sweet 16


1996 3 6

Second Round


1993 3 3

Second Round

Wake Forest

1993 4 5

Sweet 16

All of those teams are similar to the Hokies. All seeded either third or fourth in the ACC tournament, and the Hokies are third this year. Also, each team except for the 1999 North Carolina Tar Heels won at least one game in the NCAA tournament. Maryland made it all the way to the Final Four in 2001, and two others made the Sweet 16.

The 2000-01 Maryland Terrapins made the Final Four, and their regular season compares closely to Virginia Tech's 2006-07 regular season. The Terps were 20-9 overall to end the regular season, 10-6 in the ACC. That's almost identical to Tech's 20-10 overall, 10-6 ACC record. Maryland beat Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament that year, then lost to Duke in the semifinals.

After the ACC Tournament, Maryland was 21-10 with an RPI of 22 and an SOS of 21. The Hokies' RPI is 27, with an SOS of 14. (Those numbers are from Ken Pomeroy's RPI system). With one win in the ACC tournament, then a loss in the second round, the Hokies will finish 21-11, with RPI and SOS numbers similar to those of Maryland in 2001.

That year, the Terps got a #3 seed and made the Final Four. They knocked off George Mason, Georgia State, Georgetown and Stanford before falling to Duke in the National Semifinals.

No one is projecting the Hokies as a #3 seed this year. Joe Lunardi currently has Tech as a #5 seed. As the 2001 Maryland Terrapins showed, the #3 team out of the ACC stands a decent chance of making some noise in the NCAA tournament. 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

McCoy Discusses Commitment to VT

March 9, 2007
Last Thursday, Amherst (VA) star Derrick McCoy verbally committed to Virginia Tech. It was a decision the 6-3, 210-pound WR/ATH prospect had been considering for quite some time, but, in the end it turned out to be an easy choice.

FUMA's Dowtin up to 7 Offers
March 9, 2007
In only his first year in the Fork Union Military Academy prep program, junior Marcus Dowtin had an instant impact on the gridiron on both sides of the ball. At running back, the 6-2, 205-pound prospect rushed for 1,132 yards (averaging about 8 yards per carry) and scored 15 touchdowns. A linebacker on defense, he tallied 92 tackles.

Hokies to Face Wake Forest Friday Night
March 9, 2007
11th-seeded Wake Forest beat #6 seed Georgia Tech 114-112 in double overtime early Friday morning, in a game that dragged on until nearly 1 a.m. and set a record for total points in an ACC tournament game. With the thrilling win, the Demon Deacons capped off a day that saw all four lower-seeded teams win. Seeds 5-8 all went down in defeat, while seeds 9-12 advanced to the quarterfinals. Wake Forest will play third-seeded Virginia Tech in the late game Friday night, tipping off some time after 9 o'clock.

CC and Bstreet's ACC Tourney Picks
March 8, 2007
Our top two basketball minds, Chris Coleman and the esteemed Bourbonstreet (Eustace Frederick III), lay out their picks for the 2007 ACC Tournament, from the opening round games all the way to the championship. Bstreet takes an in-depth analytical approach, while CC goes with his instincts in this informative look at what two guys think is going to happen.

Maury's Painter One of Nation's Top Recruits
March 8, 2007
6-6, 315-pound offensive/defensive lineman Vinston Painter has become one of the most highly recruited juniors in the country. With close to 40 scholarship offers in the fold, the Maury (Norfolk, VA) star seems to be doing a good job of taking all of the attention he's receiving in stride.

Fuller Fulfills Dream
March 7, 2007
Having his dream come true materialized pretty fast for Richlands (VA) wide receiver/athlete prospect Austin Fuller. Less than a day after being notified by Virginia Tech's Billy Hite that the Hokies were offering a scholarship, Fuller, a lifelong Virginia Tech fan, verbally committed to his favorite school.

Around the ACC: 2007 ACC Tournament Preview
March 7, 2007
It's tournament time! The crusty, old-line ACC media may hate the first day of competition in the expanded ACC, but not us, we love all four days of the ACC's intense shootout. Who's hot, who's not, and what are the storylines heading into Thursday's action in Tampa? We break down each team, from the #1 seed to the #12 seed (because all ACC teams deserve equal love, even Miami), and tell you what to look for in this week's one-day-early "Around the ACC."

Talented Athlete Chooses Tech
March 7, 2007
Virginia Tech received some good news on Wednesday morning when Richlands (VA) star Austin Fuller informed Frank Beamer and Billy Hite that he was Blacksburg bound. Fuller is Tech's third commitment of the 2008 recruiting class, and he could possibly play on either side of the ball.

TSL Begins Allstate Sponsorship Campaign
March 7, 2007 is pleased to announce the second "pilot" sponsor campaign we told you about recently. Up next is Allstate, who wants you to know about their accident forgiveness policy. We need your assistance, so read on to find out how you can help and possibly even save money on your car insurance, too.

Richlands' Fuller Earns Offer from VT
March 7, 2007
Last season was the first for Austin Fuller as a starting wide receiver for Richlands High School's varsity football program, and he certainly didn't disappoint. The 6-2 1/2, 195-pound Fuller finished the year with 57 receptions and set a school record for yards in a single season with 1,092. He had 15 touchdown receptions.

Dowdell, Gordon Earn All-ACC Honors
March 6, 2007
Zabian Dowdell became Virginia Tech's first men's basketball player to be named first team All-ACC on Monday, joining UNC's Tyler Hansbrough, Virginia's Sean Singletary, Florida State's Al Thornton and Boston College's Jared Dudley in collecting the honor. On Tuesday, Tech's Jamon Gordon was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Hokies Hope to Break Cycle of Conference Tournament Futility
March 6, 2007
Virginia Tech will take part in their third ACC tournament beginning on Friday night, when they take on the winner of Thursday's Georgia Tech-Wake Forest game. The Hokies are hoping it goes better than their first two ACC tournaments. It certainly can't go any worse. The Hokies have been bounced in their first game the past two seasons, and their conference tournament performance has been poor for over 20 years.

Hargrave Experience Helps Talented Hudson
March 6, 2007
County Player of the Year as a junior at Forest Hills High School (Marshville, N.C.), 6-4, 185-pound guard Dorenzo Hudson felt it was time for a change. The Virginia Tech recruit decided to transfer to Hargrave Military Academy to finish out his prep career and the change has been for the better, as the talented guard feels like an improved player in several ways.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 3/5/07
March 6, 2007
Presented by Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech: On Monday night's show, head basketball coach Seth Greenberg spent time reviewing the loss to Clemson and talking about the play of freshmen Lewis Witcher and Nigel Munson, as well as his feelings about Coleman Collins and his other seniors. Greenberg also talked about the team's mindset heading into the ACC tournament.

A Long Road to VT for Talented Allen
March 5, 2007
Jeff Allen committed to Virginia Tech on June 27th, 2005. At the time, he had played his previous season at DeMatha Catholic but would transfer to another prestigious prep institution - Oak Hill Academy - for 2005/2006. He is now at Hargrave Military Academy and all he needs to do is to graduate in order to qualify for Virginia Tech. Presumably, the talented forward will finally be in Blacksburg later this year.

TSL Launches Lowe's Sponsor Campaign
March 5, 2007
Recently, we told you about some upcoming "pilot" sponsor campaigns that will help us sign long-term sponsorship deals that will shape the future of our web site, its success, and our ability to improve the site for you. You'll recall that we need your help to make these pilot campaigns succeed. Get your game face on, because it's time. "Enter Sandman" is playing. Lock and load.

Hokies Seeded Third in ACC Tournament
March 4, 2007
There's no time for the Hokie coaches, players, or fans to mourn their lost chance at an ACC regular-season title. Pairings have been announced for the 2007 ACC men's basketball tournament, and the games start in just four days. The Hokies ended up as the #3 seed in the ACC and will play the winner of a first-round game between #6 seed Georgia Tech and #11 seed Wake Forest. Regardless of the opponent, Tech will play Friday night at 9:00 p.m.

Tigers Upset Hokies in Blacksburg
March 4, 2007
Virginia Tech lost their chance to tie for the ACC regular season championship and earn the #1 seed in the ACC tournament when they were defeated by Clemson 75-74 in Blacksburg on Sunday afternoon. The Hokies drop to 20-10 overall and 10-6 in ACC play, and are still assured a first round bye in the ACC tournament. Clemson improves to 21-9 and 7-9 in conference play.

With Virginia Loss, Hokies Back in ACC Regular-Season Title Hunt
March 3, 2007
After Thursday night's loss to Virginia, the Hokies were all but out of the ACC regular-season title picture. But the Cavaliers lost to Wake Forest Saturday, putting Virginia Tech back in the hunt. Going into Sunday's action, Virginia Tech, UNC, and Boston College are all in position to catch the Cavaliers in the ACC standings, creating a plethora of tiebreaker possibilities. Who's going to win? We tell you what to look for.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson
March 2, 2007
Sunday afternoon will mark the final home game in the careers of five Virginia Tech seniors, and this will be a big one for them. The Hokies still have a chance to claim the #1 seed in the ACC tournament. Things are still so wide open at the top that Tech could finish anywhere from tied for first to fourth place. However, the only thing they can control is what they do on Sunday against the Clemson Tigers.

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