Itâ€™s gut check time now ladies and gentlemen. Weâ€™ve talked all season about it being way too early to make any conclusions on this 2008-09 season. Well, now that bright red light on the camera (not to be confused with the bright red jacket on Sidney Lowe) is on for good. Itâ€™s February now, which is to college basketball what September is to the baseball pennant races. Time to separate the contenders from the pretenders. At 4-3 in the ACC, and coming off back to back tough losses to clemson and boston college, the week off couldnâ€™t have come at a better time for the Hokies. Hopefully this time has been used wisely because now itâ€™s go time.
Starting with tomorrowâ€™s game against old nemesis n.c. state, the Hokies play four straight games they are likely to be favorites (home against improving georgia tech, then at reeling uva and at inconsistent maryland). It is an absolute MUST that the Hokies sweep through this four game set. With home showdowns with duke and carolina sandwiched in between road trips to clemson and fsu to conclude the season, the ACC schedule makers have set the Hokies up with a murderersâ€™ row type finish. The pivotal game in the season could come down to the February 21 game in Cassell againt fsu. So as you can see, it would certainly behoove the Hokies to be sitting at 8-3 in conference going into the final five-game stretch. Itâ€™s not just about distinguishing yourself as to whether or not you are an NCAA Tournament team, but putting yourself in position to make some noise once youâ€™re in the big dance.
But, first things first, the key to this finishing stretch will be that overused clichÃ© â€œto take each game one at a timeâ€. Techâ€™s recent track record versus the wolfpack should be motivation enough to get the Hokiesâ€™ full attention going into tomorrowâ€™s game. It better be, because now, itâ€™s money time.