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Where were you when… (unc and other big Virginia Tech basketball wins)

Last week has to be considered one of the five greatest wins in VT basketball history. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a good thing. It was, after all, just a regular season game. No conference title, no NIT title, no NCAA Final Four birth (eat me, G Mason fans). Just kicking #1’s butt for the 2nd time in school history. But it was a huge stepping stone for this program, and undoubtedly will be something we remember for years. Years from now I will probably be saying to other Hokies, “Where were you when unc went down in the ‘burg?” Here’s a look at some other monumental wins from my VT life.

NIT Quarters vs New Mexico State – 1995: This was for a spot in the Garden, MSG. This was for a trip to the NIT semis. This was my freshman year. We started standing outside the Cassell about 5 hours before game time, and 3 hours before we’d be let in. The stands were probably 80% full 90 minutes before tip-off (it was general admission, so you had to be there early). VT jumped out to leads as big as 20 points, before collapsing and letting NMSU tie it with less than a minute to go. That’s when Travis Jackson hit a 3 with 2 seconds left. After NMSU missed their full court shot, I decided it was time to jump on the court. As I was in mid-air, one of the security guards grabbed me and slammed me onto the railing, balls first. All in all, it was still worth it. What a win.

NIT Finals vs Marquette – 1995: Unfortunately I couldn’t be there (I had a test that night that I finished in about 5 minutes and then sprinted home). But watching this in the ‘burg and then the party afterwards was very memorable. The students took over Main Street and traffic was stopped. It was pure debauchery! Almost New Orleans style. FYI: William Gates of ‘Hoop Dreams’ fame was on that team for Marquette… great movie.

Despite us making it to the 2nd round of the NCAA’s in 1996, no game really stands out to me from that year. Especially since we got bounced in the 1st round of the A-10 tourney and I almost got arrested trying to scalp the rest of my tickets.

uva January 2003: uva had beaten us 7 of the last 8 years. They beat us 3 of the 4 years I was at VT. I went to 3 of those 4 games (guess which one I missed???). So this win was huge. Maybe the biggest win of the Ricky Stokes era (that’s not saying much). My favorite moment was late in the 1st half when VT had a 3 on 0 fast break. Rather than just lay it in, we tried a crazy alley-oop that just ended up going out of bounds for a turnover. I knew we were going to win right then… we were toying with them! VT 73, uva 55

VT 2004-2005: So many games were memorable this year. The first acc game (unc waxed us). Our first acc win – clemson. The comeback vs nc state. The win at ga tech. The win over uva at home that produced 3 dunks that made SportsCenter’s Top 10. The win over maryland (see my article on hating them. But one stood out…

Feb. 17, 2005 – Duke: I kept thinking all game, “Just make it to the next TV timeout with the game close.” And we did, and we did, and we did. Remember Jeff King? He had his best, and probably only good game, in this one. He was throwing stuff up and it was going in. In the end, Dowdell hit the game winner and duke missed several chances at the end. Then Weaver went off on a whiney father of J.J. Reddick. My girlfriend at the time broke up with me that night because of how out of hand I got celebrating! This one felt extra sweet since they had killed us a month earlier at duke in the worst officiated game ever.

Jan. 13, 2007 – unc: We all know about this. Great, great moment and maybe the best I’ve ever seen VT play offensively.

Other notables I wasn’t around for:
1973 NIT Championship: I actually watched this in the VT Library (just ask). Even 25 years later, my hair stood up as Bobby Stevens hit the game winner after missing the first attempt. Wild ending to a tournament where we basically won every game by 1 or 2 points. The cardiac Hokies.

Jan. 10, 1983 – Win over #1 Memphis State: A lot of Hokies reminisced about this one last week. Now we have another #1 win to match it.

Dec. 9, 1987 – Win over #14 Georgetown in Hampton: This is the game that, as rumor has it, was celebrated by throwing a burning couch into the Pit at Pritchard. Yes, we were doing it before wvu (shocker).

That’s my list, what’s yours?

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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