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Tech With Chance for Big Road Win on Saturday
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #415, January 15, 2010

The ACC basketball schedule is in full swing, and that means it's common to hear Seth Greenberg break out his favorite quotes that he uses year after year. One thing Greenberg notes every year is that it's important in conference play to hold serve at home and steal a few on the road.

Road games are very difficult to win in the ACC. That means it's key to always come out and play your best at home to not let a would-be win slip through your fingers. It's equally important to play with mental toughness on the road and try to come away with 2-3 wins. Road wins count as a bonus in the RPI (1.4 wins), while home losses count extra as well (1.4 losses).

Basically, it's important to have more wins on the road than you have losses at home. That will get you a winning record in the ACC, and if you played well in the non-conference portion of your schedule, likely an NCAA tournament berth as well.

Here's a look at how the Hokies have done in ACC play, home and away, in their first five seasons.

Home/Road Success
Year Road Wins Home Losses Difference ACC Record

2004-05

2 2 0 8-8

2005-06

2 6 -4 4-12

2006-07

4 2 2 10-6

2007-08

3 2 1 9-7

2008-09

3 4 -1 7-9

Totals

14 16 -2 38-42


The 2004-05 season was Virginia Tech's first year in the ACC. They were a young team that played well at home for the most part, but struggled on the road. For the year, the Hokies were 13-3 in Cassell Coliseum, and 3-12 in road and neutral site games.

In ACC play, Tech went 6-2 at home, but just 2-6 on the road. They broke even, finishing with an 8-8 record. They stole road games at Georgia Tech and Miami, but lost to UNC and Wake Forest at home. Unfortunately, because of their bad start in non-conference play, the Hokies didn't have a chance to make the NCAA tournament despite their solid year in conference play.

The 2005-06 season was a heartbreaking year for Tech, as they lost a number of very close games in the final seconds. The Hokies again went 2-6 on the road in the ACC, winning at Clemson and Wake Forest. However, they were only 2-6 in home game as well. They lost five of those six home games by six points or less. It wasn't a year to remember, but they made up for it the next season.

The Hokies advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2006-07. They finished with a 6-2 record at home, losing to NC State and Clemson. However, they were a much better road team that year, going 4-4 in ACC play away from Blacksburg. The Hokies won at Duke, Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Three of those teams were ranked, and two of them were ranked in the Top 5.

With those types of road wins, Tech's RPI was very good, and you couldn't ignore their 10-6 ACC record. They were an easy #5 seed in the NCAA tournament that year.

The Hokies went 9-7 in ACC play in 2007-8, despite taking the court with a bunch of freshmen. Yet again the Hokies went 6-2 at home, dropping games in Cassell to Miami and Duke. They managed to win three road games against UVA, Boston College and Maryland. However, they didn't pick up a Top 50 win until the ACC tournament against Miami, and were thus left out of the NCAA tournament.

Last year Tech went 3-5 on the road, with wins at #1 Wake Forest, Miami and #12 Clemson. Unfortunately they went only 4-4 at home, losing to Clemson, Florida State, Duke and North Carolina, four NCAA tournament teams. It was a rare example of the Hokies not holding serve in Cassell Coliseum.

So far this season, Tech is 1-0 at home and 0-1 on the road. They beat Miami in Cassell, and lost to UNC in Chapel Hill. In other words, things have gone exactly how you'd expect.

Assuming the Hokies beat NC Central on Monday night, eight ACC wins would give them a 21-9 overall record at the end of the regular season. They would stand a good chance of making the NCAA tournament with that mark, especially with 2-3 Top 50 wins. They'll have a chance to pick up a big one on the road tomorrow at #25 Florida State, and that would boost their chances of making the Big Dance quite a bit.


 

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