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ACC Openers Not Kind to Hokies
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #414, January 8, 2010
Though Virginia Tech has been one of the better basketball teams in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004, they have never done particularly well in ACC openers. The Hokies have started out 0-1 in ACC play in four of their five seasons. Despite those tough starts, Tech generally rallies to have a decent year.
Virginia Tech is 1-4 in ACC openers, with their lone win coming in Cassell Coliseum against Wake Forest during the 2006-07 season.
The conference always sees fit to make the Hokies begin the year against one of the ACC's big hitters: UNC, Duke or Wake Forest.
The biggest mismatch was that first meeting with UNC. That game just happened to be Tech's first ever ACC game, and the conference was kind enough to give the Hokies a matchup with preseason #1 UNC. The Tar Heels, led by Sean May, Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams and Rashad McCants, flattened Tech 85-51. Zabian Dowdell scored 21 points for the Hokies, but this one was never even a game.
A year later, the Hokies were a much more competitive team in the ACC. They traveled to Durham to take on #1 Duke in the ACC opener of the 2005-06 season, and it was perhaps the most entertaining game of the Seth Greenberg era. It was also the most heartbreaking.
Coleman Collins tipped in a shot with 1.6 seconds left, capping a 12-0 Hokie run and giving his team a 75-74 lead. It appeared the Hokies were going to upset the Blue Devils on the road, but Sean Dockery's prayer from near halfcourt was answered, and Duke won 77-75.
The Hokies were an NCAA tournament team in 2006-07, but they didn't look like it when the season began. They got off to a tough start, losing four games in non-conference play. They did manage to defeat a struggling Wake Forest team 63-60 in Cassell Coliseum in their conference opener, but Tech didn't start kicking it into high gear until the month of January.
The matchup was the same to begin 2007-08, but the cast and setting were different. The Hokies played Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, and they went into the game with a bunch of freshmen, including Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson, Terrell Bell, J.T. Thompson and Hank Thorns. Virginia Tech led late in the game, but Wake Forest point guard Ishmael Smith hit a buzzer beater from the top of the key to give his team a 77-75 win.
Last season, the Hokies began conference play on the road at #5 Duke and suffered a 69-44 loss. They trailed just 39-35 with 17:33 left in the game, but only managed nine points the rest of the game.
In short, Tech has struggled in their ACC openers since joining the conference, going 1-4. In all their other ACC games, the Hokies have posted a 37-38 record (not including the post season). Of course, if the conference would stop matching them up with Duke and Carolina to start the year, that record would probably be better.
Tickets Still Remain for Four Home Games
Want a chance to see the Hokies play in person this year, but don't have season tickets? It doesn't matter. Individual game tickets remain for four games this year: one non-conference game, and three ACC matchups.
There is no television coverage scheduled for three of the games, so your only chance to see the Hokies in those matchups will be to attend in person. Miami is 14-1 on the season, while Wake Forest is 11-2. They are both in strong contention for the NCAA tournament. NC State is 11-4, and North Carolina Central has not managed to win a game this season.
Bowl Victory T-Shirt
Available for preorder. Estimated to arrive early in the week of 1/11. Rush shipping not available on this item until it arrives. Celebrate the Hokies' fine performance in the 2010 Chick-Fil-A bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. Reads, "Hey Rocky Flop- Sorry, but... Just raised a little hell in the ATL! 100% cotton .
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