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Hokies Not Used to Good Starts in Hoops
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #411 December 11, 2009

The Virginia Tech men's basketball team is quietly off to a 7-1 start. Though the Hokies have not beaten anyone ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI, their play has drastically improved since they returned from their two-game event in Philadelphia over Thanksgiving Weekend.

The Hokies did not look like a good basketball team in the first five games of the season. They struggled in wins over Brown, UNC Greensboro and Campbell, and then lost to Temple. A 2-6 Delaware team, which has two three-point wins over Penn and Hampton to its credit, managed to take Virginia Tech into overtime. The Hokies were playing poorly, and that was clearly obvious to anyone watching them play.

Since that Delaware game, the Hokies have been much better. They beat Iowa 70-64 on the road, then followed that up with home wins over Georgia (74-62) and VMI (98-73). None of those will count as a quality win on an NCAA tournament resume. Georgia is the best team of those three, with an RPI of #111. However, the improvement on the court has been noticeable.

Virginia Tech has improved from November to December more than any team in the Seth Greenberg era. In fact, this is easily the best start of any team Greenberg has coached at Virginia Tech.

Bad Starts, Better Finishes
Year Start Final Record


5-3 15-14


5-3 16-14


5-3 14-16


5-3 22-12


5-3 21-14


5-3 19-15


7-1 ?

It's amazing that Virginia Tech started every season 5-3 for the last six years. Each year, the Hokies would lose to a lowly rated team early in the season when they were playing their worst basketball. VMI, Georgia, Western Michigan (twice), Bowling Green ... those are just some of the programs that beat the Hokies early in the season in the Greenberg Era. The Hokies should have won those games, and those losses generally put the fan base in a bad mood to start each season.

This year things are different, because Virginia Tech is playing better right now than most people expected them to. Considering the Hokies were 5-3 after eight games in each of the previous six seasons, what were the chances of them starting 7-1 this year? Not particularly good.

It's still too early to begin projecting conference matchups, but the Hokies have an excellent chance to post a very good non-conference record this year.

Tech's Remaining
Non-Conference Schedule
Opponent RPI

at Penn State


Charleston Southern


Maryland-Baltimore Co.




vs. Seton Hall


NC Central


On paper, Virginia Tech should win five of those six games, with the Seton Hall game being a toss-up. It will be played on a neutral site, in Cancun. If that holds, up, Virginia Tech will go 12-2 in the non-conference portion of their schedule, which would easily be the best mark of the Seth Greenberg era.

This Penn State game is pretty big. The Nittany Lions are the defending NIT Champs, and they are a better team than their RPI suggests. This is a big game, because the Hokies set it up that way by beating the teams they should have beaten. Winning always makes the next game even bigger.

If Tech wins this game, they'll have a chance to set up another big game against Seton Hall on January 2. The Hokies should dispatch Charleston Southern, Maryland-Baltimore County and Longwood with no problem, all at home. If they can knock off Penn State, they'll be 11-1 when they head to Cancun to take on Seton Hall.

The Penn State and Seton Hall games are the swing games of the non-conference schedule. A 2-0 record would be great, though I think a 1-1 split and a 12-2 non-conference record is very acceptable as well. However, the Hokies can't afford to drop both of those games. If they do, they will have lost to every decent non-conference foe that they'll face (Georgia and Iowa will finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences). An 11-3 record looks good on paper, but if none of those 11 wins are quality, it would put a big damper on things.



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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week
Basketball Game Preview: Penn State
December 11, 2009
The 7-1 Hokies have a big basketball game on Saturday night at Penn State. Tech is already off to the best start of the Seth Greenberg era, and a win over the Nittany Lions would put the Hokies at 8-1 with three very winnable home games coming up on the schedule.

Lewis, Host of Other Commits to Visit
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Virginia Tech is expected to host 10 commitments making official visits this weekend. At least one recruit - 6-4, 230-pound tight end/defensive end Jerome Lewis - will be making his first ever trip to Blacksburg. Lewis, a top recruit out of Bishop Kearney High School (Rochester, N.Y.), looks forward to celebrating his 18th birthday in style.

VT One of Five Offers for Bayside CB
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Junior Demetrious Nicholson is now up to five official scholarship offers, including one from Virginia Tech, which offered the Bayside (Virginia Beach, VA) cornerback/wide receiver almost three weeks ago. The 5-9, 165-pound cornerback/wide receiver is open to any school that wants to offer, but he is high on Virginia Tech and one other ACC school at the moment.

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Hokies Blowout VMI, Set Up Big Game at Penn State
December 10, 2009
Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech turned a close halftime score into a rout in a 98-73 victory over VMI in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night. The most impressive part of Tech's victory is that they scored 98 points, with Malcolm Delaney scoring just nine of them. The Hokies are now 7-1 on the season, while VMI dropped to 4-4. Tech now looks forward to a huge Saturday night prime time game at Penn State.

Romero, Taylor Top Phoebus' 2011 Class
December 9, 2009
Phoebus (Hampton, VA) once again features one of the top high school football teams in the state. The undefeated Phantoms, which will take on Stone Bridge in Saturday's Group AAA, Division 5 final, boast a top defense guided by top juniors Daquan Romero and Caleb Taylor.

2009 Review: The Offense
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Perhaps no unit in college football has taken more heat over the past several seasons than Virginia Tech's offense. Bryan Stinespring and the offense needed a good year, and they got one. How good was it? Arguably the best of the Stinespring era. The Hokies got improved production from nearly every position, and the results were obvious on the field.

Grimm Wins Dudley Award
December 9, 2009
Virginia Tech whip linebacker Cody Grimm became the first Hokie since 2006 to win the Dudley Award on Tuesday night, narrowly edging Richmond quarterback Eric Ward. The Dudley Award is given annually to the state's top Division I player.

Basketball Game Preview: VMI
December 8, 2009
Perhaps the most entertaining game in Cassell Coliseum this season will be held tomorrow night. VMI comes to Blacksburg bringing a high octane offensive mindset, along with poor defensive execution. The Keydets will score a lot of points, but they will give up a lot as well.

Recruiting Notes: Gough and Perez-Means Are Ready
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Virginia Tech grey-shirt recruits Kory Gough and Duan Perez-Means have used the extra months before enrolling at Tech to their advantage. Gough, a former Liberty (Bealeton, VA) offensive lineman, has added bulk to his 6-6 frame, while Perez-Means, who starred at Hermitage (Richmond, VA), is healthy after summer shoulder surgery. Both are excited and ready to enroll at Virginia Tech next month.

Tech Talk Live Notes for 12/7/09
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Presented by Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill:
Numerous guests headlined Monday night's Tech Talk Live. Seth Greenberg started the show, with Gary Stokan of the Chick-fil-A Bowl as a special guest. Bud Foster talked about how much his defense has improved, Kevin Sherman discussed is wide receivers, and Billy Hite had some interesting comments about Ryan Williams. In between all of those guests, fullback Kenny Jefferson and cornerback Rashad Carmichael joined Bill Roth for a short segment.

Monday Thoughts: Championship Saturday Helps Put 2009 in Perspective
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Around the ACC: December 7, 2009
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Young's Next Stop: Virginia Tech
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