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Hokies Entering Critical Stretch
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #467, January 14, 2011

Through the first half of the season, Virginia Tech is 10-5 overall, with a 1-2 record in the ACC. They are still a contender for the NCAA Tournament, but they are going to have to hold serve and home, and steal some wins on the road. A great opportunity for a quality road win slipped through their grasp on Thursday night.

Tech will have more opportunities for road wins over the next several weeks. Four of their next six ACC games are on the road.

Upcoming Schedule
Date Opp.
Jan. 15 Wake Forest
Jan. 20 at Maryland
Jan. 22 Longwood
Jan. 25 at Georgia Tech
Jan. 30 Miami
Feb. 2 at NC State
Feb. 5 at Boston College

A home win over Longwood is a virtual guarantee. With one bad home ACC loss already to UVA, Tech probably can't afford to be defeated in Cassell Coliseum from here on out by anyone other than Duke. Wake Forest is the worst team in the ACC, and the Hokies are going to drop in the RPI after playing the Demon Deacons even if they blow them out. However, the most important thing about this game is that the Hokies do not lose it. A home loss to a team ranked #253 in the RPI would send Tech plummeting.

The other home game in that stretch is Miami, who is currently in the top 50 of the RPI at #37. However, the Canes are also 0-2 in the ACC right now, and a loss to BC this weekend would put them at 0-3. Their size on the inside make them a tough matchup for the Hokies, but nevertheless it is one that Tech needs to win.

The other four ACC games in that stretch are on the road. Looking at each game individually, trips to Georgia Tech and NC State represent Virginia Tech's best chances at road wins between now and February 5.

Georgia Tech is 7-8 overall and 0-2 in the ACC, ranking #177 in the RPI. The Hokies have a solid history of winning games in Atlanta as well, so that trip on January 25 is one of Tech's best chances of the season for picking up a road victory in conference play.

NC State is 11-5 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. However, their RPI is only #107, and their best win came against George Mason. The Wolfpack are relying on several freshmen, and they are still coached by Sidney Lowe.

Tech's other road games are against Maryland and Boston College. The Terps are 1-2 in the ACC, but played Duke tough. Jordan Williams will be tough for the Hokies to handle on the inside, and Gary Williams is one of the best coaches in the game.

It's tough to get a read on Boston College. They are a perfect 3-0 in the ACC, and in first place in the conference standings. However, they are also 0-2 against the Ivy League this year, with losses to Harvard and Yale.

Currently sitting at 1-2 in the ACC, it's important for Virginia Tech to start a winning streak and get above .500 in conference play. Winning both of their ACC home games and splitting the four road games from now until February 5 would put them at 5-4 in league games. They would then play four of their final seven games at home, and would be in a position to have a strong finish.



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