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  TSLMail #367- February 6, 2009    
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 Tech Sports News

Time for the Hokies to Make a Move
by Chris Coleman,

Every team in the ACC has played between seven and nine games. There is still a mad scramble of bubble teams that are sitting in the middle of the conference standings. A couple of those teams will likely elevate themselves above the others and head to the Big Dance, while the others will be knocked down to the NIT.

At this point, it looks like UNC, Duke, Clemson and Wake Forest are the definite NCAA tournament teams from the ACC. Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami and Maryland will fight it out for another 1-3 spots in the NCAA tournament. As Seth Greenberg always says, it all comes down to who you play, where you play and when you play. Fortunately for the Hokies, their schedule over the next five games is much easier than that of the other teams fighting for a spot.

ACC Bubble Teams
Next 5 Games
Team Opp. Ave. RPI

Boston College






Florida State


Virginia Tech


While the other bubble teams are playing a Top 50 team on average for each of their next five games, the Hokies will be playing some of the ACC's bottom feeders. The Hokies will have a chance to break free of the pack. They'll have to, because their last four games of the regular season are against Clemson, Duke, UNC and Florida State.

Boston College (18-6, 6-3, RPI #49)

Boston College is the surprise team of the conference so far. The Eagles have won at UNC and also hold Top 50 wins over UAB and Virginia Tech. They are in good shape right now, but their schedule over the next five games is brutal.

The Eagles have road games against Wake Forest and Miami, and home contests against Clemson, Duke and Florida State. That's five Top 50 teams in the next five games. It will be a tremendous challenge, but it will also be a tremendous opportunity. If the Eagles can manage to win two of those games, they'll be in pretty good shape.

Miami (15-7, 4-5, #45 RPI)

Miami was 3-2 in ACC play before dropping three games in a row. The 'Canes were reeling, and the next three games on their schedule were against Wake, Duke and UNC. They came back strong and smacked Wake earlier this week, but they've still got some work to do. Unfortunately for Miami, the upcoming stretch is very difficult.

They have road games against Duke, Florida State and Virginia, while they host North Carolina and Boston College. Miami needs five more wins to start feeling good about their NCAA tournament chances, but are there five wins left on their schedule?

Maryland (14-8, 3-5, #79 RPI)

Maryland probably shouldn't even be on this list, and at this time next week they might not be in the discussion. However, we'll talk about them anyway. The Terps are capable of beating good teams. After all, they blew out Michigan State earlier this year.

However, they dug themselves in a hole when ACC play started, and they've got a tough schedule coming up. Maryland hosts Virginia Tech, UNC and Duke, while they travel to Georgia Tech and Clemson. That's tough, but it's also a good opportunity to get themselves back in the picture.

Florida State (17-5, 4-3, #29 RPI)

Florida State is in good shape, with a good overall record, a winning ACC record and a high RPI. Four more wins would probably get the 'Noles in the Big Dance. However, FSU's next five games are very tough.

They have three road games at Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, while they host Miami and Virginia.

Virginia Tech (14-7, 4-3, #40 RPI)

Virginia Tech has a good ACC record and a solid RPI, but they lack overall wins. It would likely take at least a 9-7 record in ACC play to get them in the Big Dance, whereas a team like FSU might be able to get in with an 8-8 mark. Good thing the Hokies have by far the easiest schedule coming up of all these bubble teams.

The Hokies host NC State, Georgia Tech and Florida State, while they travel to Maryland and Virginia. Maryland, NC State, Georgia Tech and Virginia are the bottom four teams in the ACC in the RPI, and Tech gets to play all four of them in the next five games. There is a tremendous opportunity to pull ahead of these other bubble teams and put themselves in good position for the stretch run.

In fact, Tech better win as many games as possible over the next five games, because their final four games are very tough. The Hokies have road games at Clemson and FSU, and they host Duke and Carolina. Tech could easily go 0-4 in that stretch.

The goal should be to go 4-1 over the next five games, and then try to pick up 1-2 wins over the last four games. That would put Tech at either 9-7 or 10-6 heading into the ACC tournament. 10-6 would almost definitely be good enough for the NCAA tournament, and 9-7 might be as well.

At this point, I'd say the ACC is likely to get six teams into the NCAA tournament. That means the five teams above will be fighting it out for two spots. I think it's fair to say that Maryland's chances are pretty bad right now, and Miami's is below average as well. If that holds up, that means Boston College, Florida State and Virginia Tech will be fighting it out for two spots.

The Hokies can put themselves in a good position if they can go 4-1, or 5-0, over the next five games. Anything less and they'll probably be on the outside looking in when they head into those four difficult games to close the season. 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
Surely This Can't Go On Forever
February 6, 2009
Uh-oh, here we go again. It's time for Virginia Tech to face the NC State Wolfpack in basketball. Hide the women and children, and avert your eyes, because history says it's going to get ugly. "My, what big teeth you have, NC State!" "The better to eat you with, Virginia Tech!" Surely this -- NC State beating Virginia Tech -- can't go on forever.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. NC State
February 6, 2009
Virginia Tech returns to Cassell Coliseum on Sunday needing a win to get their season back on track. Unfortunately the opponent is NC State, who has won six straight games against the Hokies. The last time Tech beat the Wolfpack was on January 19, 2005 when Jamon Gordon blocked a Julius Hodge jumper to give the Hokies a 72-71 win. Since then, it's been all NC State in this series.

Signing Day with Rhodes and Exum
February 6, 2009
TSL headed to Varina and Deep Run High Schools on Wednesday, National Signing Day, and caught up with defensive tackle DeAntre Rhodes and athlete Antone Exum. The 6-2, 270-pound Rhodes and the 6-0, 190-pound Exum are two of Tech's top recruits in the 2009 class and they are excited to officially be Hokies.

2009 Recruiting Needs: Defense
February 6, 2009
The Hokies signed another big defensive class. Like last year's class, it features players who can be slotted at multiple positions. Recruiting versatile players is one of the reason's Bud Foster's defense is successful year after year.

2009 Recruiting Needs: Offense
February 5, 2009
Virginia Tech had several specific needs in this year's recruiting class that they needed to address, particularly at quarterback. So, how did they do? Chris Horne and Chris Coleman will cover the offensive recruits today, and give their grades for each position based on needs and quality of recruits.

2009 Class: The Players
February 5, 2009
Last year at this time, Virginia Tech wasn't anticipating a big 2009 class. The original projection in terms of signees was thought to be anywhere from 11-15, but the staff ended up signing 21 kids yesterday. This does include D.J. Coles, who signed with Tech last February, as well as three possible grey-shirt candidates.

Hokies Sign 20 Players to Letters of Intent
February 4, 2009
Wednesday was National Signing Day, and Virginia Tech accepted letters of intent from 20 football prospects. The Hokies also got a Signing Day pledge and LOI from one of the top cornerbacks in the nation to add to another impressive recruiting haul.

Tech Scores Signing Day Surprise!
February 4, 2009
Heading into last weekend's official visit to Virginia Tech, Atlantic Community (Delray Beach, FL) star cornerback Jayron Hosley was all but committed to the University of South Florida. Today's 10 a.m. press conference yielded a surprise, however, as the 5-10, 172-pound cornerback announced that he was signing with the Hokies.

Hokies Interested in Texas QB
February 3, 2009
Less than a day remains before National Signing Day, but a new target has surfaced for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Quarterback Bryce Petty, a 6-3, 215-pound signal caller out of Midlothian (TX), is drawing heavy interest from Virginia Tech and he plans to take a visit to Blacksburg soon.

Interview With Dan Bonner
February 3, 2009
If you watch Virginia Tech and ACC basketball on television, you know Dan Bonner. Considered one of the top color analysts in the business, Bonner was kind enough to take time out of his day to discuss Virginia Tech and ACC basketball with Bonner gave us his thoughts on the Virginia Tech program, Seth Greenberg, Tech's future basketball prospects, and ACC hoops in general.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/2/09
February 3, 2009
The Hokie men's basketball has a light week this week, with the only game being Sunday afternoon's matchup at home with NC State. Seth Greenberg previewed that game on the Hotline Monday night and talked about his recent dust-up with A.D. Vassallo, and his decision to sit Vassallo down for the start of the BC game.

Around the ACC: February 2nd, 2009
February 2, 2009
After another week of ACC basketball, there are no more undefeated teams in conference play. There are also just four teams left with less than three ACC losses. As usual, the middle-of-the pack is filled with teams that are on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Parker Boasts ACC Offers
February 2, 2009
Junior Mychal Parker is pleased with his year at Miller School (Charlottesville, VA), both academically and athletically. The 6-5, 190-pound prospect, one of the top two-guard/small forward prospects in the 2010 class, certainly does not regret the decision to transfer to Miller prior to the 2008/2009 year.
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