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The Balla Report 12/16/09

• The Virginia Tech Hokies head into their week long break for final exams with an 8-1 record, following Saturday’s thrilling 66-64 win at penn state. It’s their best start under Seth Greenberg. While the Hokies haven’t exactly beaten any teams currently anywhere near the top 25, thus far they have avoided any heart breaking, gut wrenching half-court buzzer beaters, and have avoided any embarrassing, head scratching losses. Some of their wins have potential to look decent on the resume come March.

While the Hokies lost to the best team they’ve played to this point, at temple, that loss doesn’t seem nearly as bad after the owls knocked off #3 villanova last weekend. Look at it this way, if the Hokies were in the Big Ten (11) (and let’s all count our blessings that we’re not) they would now be 2-0 in conference with two road wins. Not bad, especially considering the ACC lost to Big Ten (11) for the first time in the 11 year history of the ACC-Big Ten (11) challenge.

• Taking a look at this year’s freshmen, it’s becoming obvious that Erick Green is going to play a big role simply because of the lack of depth at the point position. Green did play a nice game against the nittany lions, hitting a three and getting good experience guarding psu star Talor Battle. But to me, the most impressive newcomer to this point has been Ben Boggs. Boggs has shown good court savvy, the likes of which have been missing from some past teams, and has demonstrated the ability to hit the open three and feed the big men in the post.

Think back two weeks ago. Tech was coming off a lackluster performance in the Philly Hoop Classic and heading to face iowa in Iowa City. The Hokies appeared to be dead in the water in the heartland, trailing the 2-4 hawkeyes 12-3 less then 5 minutes into the contest. That’s where Boggs stepped in by hitting two huge three-pointers that seemed to light a fire under this Hokie team and shake off the sluggishness. From there the Hokies used their superior inside game to separate themselves from the hawkeyes, but Boggs’ contribution was huge. As the Hokies continue to try to find a shooter to fill the void left by A.D. Vassallo’s graduation, future performances like this by Boggs will be key as Tech closes out its non-conference schedule and begins ACC play.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, The Balla Report2 Comments

TWW: The Column | Weekend Warrior Goes 18-0 in Bar Arm Wrestling

There have been many great feats in sports: Rob Bironas hitting eight field goals in one game, Kobe Bryant hitting 12 three-pointers in a game, and Bob Horner hitting four home runs in a game.  But last night there was a new entry that will go down in history: The Weekend Warrior went 18-0 arm wrestling people at Hokie House Saturday night.  Now, there is one thing we should note: he was only arm wrestling women.  But oh, what a display of pure strength it was!

One patron called it the “greatest display of arm wrestling domination against women” he had ever seen.  It was very Andy Kaufman-esque.  And with each victory The Weekend Warrior would erupt in a wild victory celebration that made Chad Ochocinco’s antics seem mild.  Two women were poor sports about it, with one slapping The Weekend Warrior and the other throwing a drink on him as he concluded his celebration elation.  But all that’s just the taste of greatness.

Women were coming up to TWW from all over the bar to see if they could be the one to take him down.  They weren’t.  The only thing going down was their arm at rocket-like speeds to the mat.  Some men came up and asked if they could take on TWW.  His reply was, “No!  Women only.” 

TWW was fueled by the Bear Fight (Jager Bomb and Car Bomb drinks back-to-back) he had done earlier in the evening.

Shout out to vt1fan, Bartlett, Tone Loc, Chris, and Eric for being there for the festivities.  And hats off to Mandy, Morgan, Jenn, Jennifer, Barbara, Emily, Jenn #2, Christy, Adrian, Mary, Elizabeth, Maria, Janet, Erin, Amy, Sarah, Lizzy, and Jenny from up the block for being victims.

Posted in The Weekend Warrior2 Comments

The Weekend Warrior Crashes the ACC Tournament

For those of you not fortunate enough to get to make the trek to this year’s ACC Tournament, the Weekend Warrior gives you an all-access pass to the tourney in Atlanta.  And we mean ALL ACCESS. 
ACCTourney09 020

Click ‘Read more’ to see his running journal… 

Continue Reading

Posted in ACC Tournament, Home, The Weekend Warrior1 Comment

The Balla Report 3/11/09

The 2008-09 ACC basketball regular season has come and gone. Don’t forget tickets are still available for the 56th annual ACC Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Hotlanta (assuming you have 20/10 vision and a very nice pair of binoculars). Anyway, it’s time once again for the Balla’s postseason awards. And the winners are………

All ACC First Team (in order)

Ty Lawson unc
Toney Douglas fsu
Jeff Teague wake
Tyler Hansbrough unc
Gerald Henderson duke

Reserves / 2nd Team

Tyrese Rice bc
Jack McClinton miami
Trevor Booker clemson
K.C. Rivers clemson
A.D. Vassallo Virginia Tech

Water boys / 3rd Team

Greivis Vasquez maryland
Jon Scheyer duke
Malcolm Delaney Virginia Tech
Kyle Singler duke
Gani Lawal ga tech

PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Lawson. The unc point guard edges out fsu’s Douglas and last year’s winner, Hansbrough. Even though Douglas scored 75 more points than the next closest player (McClinton), Lawson’s numbers are better across the board. He emerged as the leader of the top ranked heels. Always lightning quick, his ability to drive to the hoop and distribute the ball was the difference in several unc wins. Any time a guard shoots better than 50% from the field, that’s a helluva year.

COACH OF THE YEAR – Al Skinner, boston college. By a nose over fsu’s Leonard Hamilton. Skinner did more with less in my opinion. The lightly regarded eagles beat both unc and duke, and were the only team to win in the Dean Dome this season.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR – Sylvan Landesberg, uva. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise long season for the wahoos. If the name of this award was changed to “Newcomer of the Year” the award would have gone to bc’s Joe Trapani, the vermont transfer.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Douglas. I’m going with Douglas over freshman teammate Solomon Alabi. With all the great guards in the conference this season, it was Douglas who usually had to shut down a high scoring opponent, leading the ACC’s top defensive team along the way. Plus, he didn’t have the benefit of Alabi’s condor-like wing span.

Looking for a job? Facing foreclosure? Need some quick cash? Here’s how this year’s tourney will play out:

Round 1: miami over VT, clemson over ga tech, nc state over maryland, bc over uva

Quarters: unc over miami, fsu over clemson, wake over nc state, duke over bc

Semis: fsu over unc, wake over duke

Finals: wake over fsu

You heard it here first. Hell, what do I have to lose? Before the season I predicted the Hokies would be a sweet sixteen team this year.

Let’s just hope the only tornado that comes near the Georgia Dome this year is an improbable run by Delaney, Vassallo, and company. Remember, in last year’s SEC tournament which started at the Georgia Dome and ended at Alexander Coliseum, the georgia bulldogs pulled off an even bigger shocker to make the NCAA’s.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, ACC Tournament, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report5 Comments

The Balla Report 3/1/09

The duke blue devils used their famous sixth man (seventh and eighth too for that matter) to escape Cassell Coliseum with a 72-65 victory over the Hokies on Saturday. And no, we’re not talking about anyone off the duke bench. This time it was the three man officiating crew of Gary Maxwell, Tony Greene and Bob Donato who decided to buy into this flop fest. Now, anyone who follows ACC basketball knows that duke gets more than their fair share of close calls – pretty much any call that could be perceived to go either way with the exception of maybe when they’re playing carolina. Sometimes however, this gets down right ridiculous.

Let’s make one thing clear, I’m not saying the Hokies lost the game because of the referees. No, the Hokies lost the game because they turned the ball over 19 times (while only forcing duke into 9 turnovers). They lost because they forgot that Gerald Henderson can’t go left but he can go right as well as anyone in the league. And they lost because they simply weren’t able to hit the big shots down the stretch when given the opportunity.

But, man, what an advantage it would be to know that any time a quicker, more athletic player drove past you and to the hole you were likely going to be bailed out by a charge call. Makes playing defense a lot easier. Or, it’d be great to have a guy like Kyle Singler be able to use not one but two hands to push off on his defender (like he did on A.D. with 1:23 to go) then cut wide open for an easy layup. And who could forget Jon Scheyer’s lovely pirouette as he was trapped in the back court with 0:14 seconds to go and the devils clinging to a three point lead – in which he lifted his pivot foot three times by my count. Nice to have that get overlooked.

Quick memo to whoever is planning the white outs and black outs in Cassell: Virginia Tech basketball is two hours of heart pounding excitement on its own. The Atlantic Coast Conference is the most competitive conference year in and year out. We don’t really need any other gimmicks. Not to mention they haven’t worked – loss to clemson in the black out and loss to duke in the white out. Our school colors are Chicago maroon and burnt orange. No black, no white. Orange and maroon effects work well in Lane Stadium for football, why not go with those in the Cassell for hoops as well?

Next up for the Hokies are the unc tar heels Wednesday night. If nothing else, the Hokies should at least be used to the questionable officiating mentioned earlier, because they’re going to see it again against the heels.

It’s Senior night for A.D. Vassallo and Cheick Diakite. Most considered big Cheick as nothing more than a project coming out of Bamako, Mali by way of prep school in Massachusetts. Diakite has become a valuable contributor with his defense and shot blocking abilities, and has shown the ability to hit a jumper out to about 15 feet.

Vassallo has transformed his game from that of simply a stand still shooter as a freshman to that of an all around, complete player. I used to cringe whenever A.D. would try to put the ball on the floor. Now, not only is A.D. a world class shooter, but he’s an adequate ball handler who can drive to the hoop, he’s got an array of nice floaters and jump hooks in the lane, and he’s become one of the team’s better rebounders. I think A.D. definitely has a chance to play in the NBA. Let’s hope A.D. can find the “zone” one last time in the Cassell Wednesday night and get that elusive 8th conference win at the hands of the top 5 heels. Plans for mid March could depend on it.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report1 Comment

The Balla Report 2/22/09

The Heartbreak Kids, otherwise known as the Virginia Tech Hokies men’s hoops team, were back in action on Saturday night, and wouldn’t you know it, yet another gut wrenching, rip your heart out and stomp it defeat. This time 67-65 at the hands of the florida state seminoles. And this one really hurt. The game of basketball is a game of inches and they say everything evens out eventually. That being said, with the Hokies down by two on the final possession, I’ve never in my life had more confidence in one shot going in than when A.D. Vassallo launched that three from the top of the key. Reality struck when the ball hit nothing but the back of the rim as the final horn sounded. Another game, another heartbreaking loss. Though this one seemed a bit more cruel than the others. This was a must win and the Hokies appeared to have put themselves in perfect position to bring home the all important W.

To say that the ball just doesn’t seem to be bouncing our way this season would be the understatement of the year. Kind of like saying the economy is not very good right now. With the roles reversed, give any other player on any other team on Tech’s schedule the open look at the buzzer that A.D. had and you just KNOW that sucker is going in, much to the dismay of Hokies everywhere. Give credit to Greenberg for drawing up the play to get an open look. The execution was flawless, with the one obvious exception.

The amazing thing is that this team continues to battle. The second half against fsu was a very gutsy performance just to get back into the contest. With 25 points, including 5-8 from 3-point land, Malcolm Delaney showed that he is out of his recent shooting slump, which is certainly somewhat of a silver lining in an otherwise devastating defeat.

For the first time in his coaching career, a team coached by Seth Greenberg opened up in a zone. Interesting move, but to say this move backfired would be yet another humongous understatement. As usual, a team that had been a statistically poor shooting team coming in, shot lights out. Before you knew it, the Hokies were down 25-11 and clearly looked like they hadn’t yet recovered from back to back road losses to maryland and uva.

Zones have worked throughout this season when used from time to time during games to stem opponents’ runs. For some reason though, the Hokies didn’t show the fire defensively that they did after they eventually settled back into their man to man. My guess is that this will be the one and only time that you see the Hokies open in a zone under Greenberg.

Outside of back to back wins over duke and unc and stealing a win on the road in rematches versus clemson or fsu, the Hokies are the longest of long shots now for the NCAA Tournament. The good news is that it’s right there in front of them. If they want to get in, they can certainly go out and earn it, however much the odds are stacked against it. Three games in a row against top 10 teams is a golden opportunity for a team searching to show they belong in the field. But how can they possibly muster up the mojo to have a shot at any of these games?

Anything besides a blowout loss at clemson on Wednesday night would be a total shock to me at this point. But on the other hand, if there is one team that is all too experienced at recovering from these types of losses, it’s the Hokies. If there is one thing that’s been shown this season, it’s when the Hokies are at full strength they can compete with any other team. Will things finally start to even out for the Hokies and their much distraught fans? Or will this team continue to be snake bitten? The season’s not over and there is still a chance, however small that chance may be.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Featured Columns, Games, Home, The Balla Report5 Comments

The Balla Report 2/15/09

In the ACC, if you don’t come ready to play when you hit the road, then you can usually expect to head home with a loss. Teams in this league are just too good to just show up and beat, whether they be teams at the bottom of the standings or a middle of the pack team like the maryland terrapins. Look no further than yesterday in College Park. With the exception of reserve Lewis Witcher (8 points), no member of the Hokies showed up at the Comcast Center with anything remotely resembling their “A” game. The terps, on the other hand, were clearly inspired by the presence of the old Lefthander and the rest of the 1984 ACC championship maryland team, who were honored at halftime. The result was an 83-73 loss to the turtles.

The Hokies continue to struggle on the boards and are giving up way too many second and third opportunities. The terrapins came into yesterday’s game last in the league in rebounding margin (getting out-rebounded by an average of 3.9 a game), but kept alive several key possessions yesterday when the Hokies missed blocking out assignments or simply couldn’t secure the rebound. Tech is having a particularly difficult time keeping opposing guards off the offensive boards. 6-4 guard Sean Mosley had 3 offensive rebounds alone for the terps. In other recent games, state’s Courtney Fells, and clemson’s three-guard trio of K.C. Rivers, Demontez Stitt, and David Potter killed the Hokies on the offensive glass, and I don’t have to mention b.c. guard Rakim Sanders.

This trend has got to be corrected fast. There is nothing more frustrating in basketball than playing 35 seconds of good, tough defense only to give the opponent a mulligan because the rebound could not be secured. Granted, sometimes the ball is just going to bounce the wrong way, but if you do a good job of blocking out, getting a body on a body, then the odds of the ball bouncing your way is greatly increased.

The Hokies did manage to battle their way back into yesterday’s game by mixing up their defenses. About five minutes into the second half, Tech switched from their usual man to man to a 2-3 and then a 1-3-1 zone. The Hokies may have to rely on more zones down the stretch because they continue to struggle to get through opponents’ high ball screens. That was evident again yesterday as Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes had way too many wide open looks most of which they converted on.

Memo to Jeff Allen. Please remember that when you play in the ACC, most games are on television and there are cameras everywhere. So, next time you get the urge to flip off the maryland student section (not to say it wasn’t deserved) please keep this in mind.

Big Jeff also needs to distinguish, when he has the ball posted up down low, whether he has a pathway to drive to the basket or if he is just dribbling into traffic inviting either a turnover or offensive foul. Allen is a much greater weapon when he stays under control with his post up moves.

The Hokies get another chance to get back into the win column with a very important matchup with the uva cavaliers Wednesday night in Charlottesville. Tech can ill afford a loss if they want to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. The wahoos are struggling, at 2-8 in conference, but will be coming into this game with great confidence following an overtime win over #12 clemson earlier today. This figures to be another tightly contested game despite the records.

This is a key week for the Hokies, in addition to Wednesday’s rivalry game with the hoos, Tech returns to the Cassell Saturday night with a pivotal game with the fsu seminoles who are currently sitting just out of the top 20 in the all important RPI. Tech needs to stay out of the “bad loss” category against uva and needs to get another “key win” against the noles. The Hokies have some things to work on in practice leading up to these games. Hopefully the Hokies come focused and ready to take care of business.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report0 Comments

How a Hokie rolls in hooville

February 12

Most of you probably know that I reside in hooville. Been here for 7+ years. My wife and I really like it, but I refuse to financially support the uva athletic program by buying any tickets, including games against the Hokies.

As we all know, the Hokies come to my town on the 18th. It’s my birthday, would make a nice gift to go to the game, but I ain’t buying tix. That’s my lead-in to last night.

I went to Wild Wing Cafe last night to watch the Tech-ga tech game. When I walked upstairs, there was uva basketball coach Dave Leitao doing his weekly call-in radio show. There was a sparse crowd watching it or maybe they were watching the Tech game since all three TV sets behind him were showing it. I immediately went back downstairs to watch the game because I sure as hell wasn’t going to have that distraction going on while I watched the Hokies. While downstairs, I heard the host of the show announce that they were giving away two tickets to the Tech-uva basketball game and a $25 gift certificate to Wild Wing in a drawing. Guess who won? The Hokie. Thanks Coach.

Posted in Featured Columns, Home6 Comments


It’s gut check time now ladies and gentlemen. We’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. It’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 couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hokies. Hopefully this time has been used wisely because now it’s go time.

Starting with tomorrow’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 murderers’ 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. It’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 you’re in the big dance.

But, first things first, the key to this finishing stretch will be that overused cliché “to take each game one at a time”. Tech’s recent track record versus the wolfpack should be motivation enough to get the Hokies’ full attention going into tomorrow’s game. It better be, because now, it’s money time.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report1 Comment

The Opposing View | nc state

This week the Opposing View takes us down to Tobacco Road, wolfpack style, as we do a little Q&A with a big time (wolf)packer and fellow blogger. For the second year in a row, Niemo interviews Steven from Section Six.

Interviewee – “I’ve been blogging about the Wolfpack at Section Six since 2004.  I graduated from NC State in 2005 with a degree in History.” -Steven from Section Six

Here’s a link to last year’s interview: 2008 nc state Opposing View

Basketball Questions:

Niemo: Kay Yow recently passed away, meaning two nc state legendary basketball coaches have lost their lives to cancer in the last 20 years. What did Kay mean to the nc state community, and how has her passing affected it?
Steven: It’s been tough, obviously, to lose someone who had such an incredibly positive impact on NC State basketball and women’s basketball in general. She was a pioneer in the sport, a great coach and a great person.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Virginia Tech community, which raised more than $26,000 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund last week. You guys rock.

NOTE: Donations to both the V Fund (Jimmy Valvano) and the Yow Fund can be made through the V Foundation website: Don’t Ever Give Up!
Niemo: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s wolfpack squad?
Steven: Pretty much what they’ve been throughout the Lowe era. At the offensive end, we shoot reasonably well, but we turn the ball over too much. We were offensive rebounding well in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but we’ve slid predictably in conference play. Defensively, we’re among the worst teams in the country at forcing turnovers, and we give up a lot of second chance opportunities.
Niemo: Tell me about your players.
Steven: Brandon Costner has regained much of his form from two years ago, and he does a little bit of everything — he’s a pretty good rebounder and passer, and will block some shots, in addition to scoring. He has a tendency to score 3-4 buckets in a row and then promptly disappear for long stretches though. But some of that is on the coaching staff.

Ben McCauley has also had a bounce back year shooting the basketball, and he is rebounding better than he has at any point in his career. Courtney Fells remains an enigma, scoring effortlessly in some games, while being a complete non-factor in others. He’s prone to poor decisions, be they shots with a hand in his face or lazy passes.

Julius Mays has been a pleasant surprise at the point, playing about as well as could reasonably be expected. But he’s not much of a factor at the offensive end, and neither is Farnold Degand, the other point guard. Both have had turnover problems.

Though not so much of late, Tracy Smith has been an excellent high-energy contributor off the bench. He’s an outstanding offensive rebounder.
Niemo: This might predate most people reading this column, but on the TV show Dallas, I’m pretty sure they had a season without J.R. Ewing (he was supposedly dead), then brought him back and pretended like that previous season was just a dream. For some reason, that’s how I look at this year’s nc state team. It is almost like last year, with J.J. Hickson playing for you guys, didn’t really happen, and now you are back to basically the same team you had two years ago except for Atsur and Grant. Agree?
Steven: In the sense that Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, and Ben McCauley are once again the team’s primary sources of production, that’s true, but there is one big difference: the lack of a competent distributor at the point. Engin Atsur really complemented those guys well — McCauley in particular — and we’re missing that. 

Niemo: The wolfpack are 11-28 in ACC action over the last three seasons under Sidney Lowe. Fill in the blank: Lowe gets fired after this season if…?
Steven: …he commits a federal offense. Or accidentally sets fire to Lee Fowler’s (ncsu’s Director of Athletics) lake house.
Niemo: If you had to rank the coaches in the ACC, where would you put Greenberg and Lowe?
Steven: I’d put Greenberg behind Roy Williams, Coach K, Al Skinner, and Oliver Purnell, at least, so he’s somewhere in the middle. Lowe has to be in the bottom two or three until he shows some signs of progress. I sure hope I’m not still ranking him near the bottom in another couple of years.
Niemo: The Hokies have the fourth most ACC regular season wins (behind duke and unc, of course) since joining the league five years ago, and have picked up a first-round bye in the ACC Tourney three of the four seasons. What do you attribute their success to?
Steven: I had not realized Tech’s had that much basketball success. Impressive. I’m not sure there’s any one thing I can point to, save Seth Greenberg’s solid coaching. Having a couple of great guards — Dowdell and Gordon — to lean on when the team first joined the ACC was huge. And I give Greenberg a lot of credit for maintaining continuity after those guys graduated. I’d be lying if I said I thought Tech would be a consistent winner in the ACC.
Niemo: Despite all the Hokies’ success in the ACC, they are just 1-6 against the wolfpack in league play, and have lost six in a row. Why are you our daddy?
Steven: I don’t know, but, kids, daddy’s going through a tough time, and he really needs your continued support. You’re all he’s got right now. [Niemo: LOL!  Sorry, but it is time for us to give daddy a little payback.]
Niemo: What will it take to turn the nc state basketball program around?
Steven: Finding a capable point guard would be a start. When Herb Sendek left the program, it destroyed the recruiting class he’d put together, and we’re still recovering from that. There’s a reason an extra year was included in Sidney Lowe’s first contract. If nothing else, Lowe and his staff have proven to be effective recruiters, and they’ve got a pair of good classes lined up. 
Niemo: What’s your prediction for this game?
Steven: Malcolm Delaney is going to do whatever he wants — you can go ahead and mark him down for 25. I think the Pack keeps it close, but the Hokies ultimately win by 7-8. We tend to play with our heads up our asses for at least five minutes a game; that’s enough to do us in on the road. By the way, I noticed that AD Vassallo is listed at 6-6, and I could swear he used to be 6-8. You guys may want to check into this, as a shrinking small forward could be problematic in March.

Fun Stuff:
VT has won three football titles in five years in the ACC, and played for another title. nc state has not won an ACC football title since 1979. In fact, since 1980 the only North Carolina team to win one outright was wake in 2006. duke tied for one in 1989 (Spurrier). Why is college football so darn awful in North Carolina?
Steven: A lot of unspectacular quarterbacks. The league’s just been in a down cycle; that’ll change. Butch Davis is going to win big and NC State will get back to being a consistent bowl team. We’ve found the outstanding QB we’ve been missing post-Rivers (Russell Wilson from Richmond, VA), and I expect we’ll be pretty good sooner rather than later. If FSU and Miami can ever figure their [poop] out, the league will be good to go.
Niemo: Do you see state ever contending for ACC football titles consistently, or just in rare years?
Steven: I like to think so, and I do think (Tom O’Brien) TOB’s staff can get us to that point, but ultimately, I don’t care. I’m okay with competing for the occasional title and winning 7-8 games the rest of the time. 

Niemo: Tyrod Taylor vs. Russell Wilson: Contrast and compare.
Steven: Taylor is a little faster and more elusive. Wilson is a vastly superior passer, in terms of both accuracy and decision making, and in my opinion, that makes him a much more balanced dual-threat QB. 

Niemo: What are your thoughts on having a female mascot to compliment your male one? Seems pretty lame to me. Don’t see too many of them around the nation.
Steven: Lucky for you they haven’t decided to have children yet. I like the fact that Mr. Wuf is in a monogamous relationship; I mean, you look around the country and all you see are womanizing douchebags like Bucky Badger or Herbie the Husker, running from one mid-major hussy to the next. And don’t even get me started on Testudo. I swear, if Miss Pawla calls me in tears one more time…
Niemo: The nc state football stadium is right next to the NC State Fairgrounds. What’s the best thing to eat at the fair? Funniest thing/person you’ve seen there? I tried a pickle-on-a-stick and a corndog at the Shenandoah County Fair last Fall. My bowels are still sending me death threats.
Steven: I went to the fair last fall for the first time in like fifteen years, and aside from your typical carny folk and people wearing an astounding number of McCain/Palin buttons per square inch of sweater, I can’t say anyone stood out. The renaissance fair, which also visits the fairgrounds, is really the better place to be if you’re out looking for the eccentrics.

Just about everything at the state fair is deep-fried delicious, meaning there are no poor choices. I recommend trying a fried candybar or a fried cheeseburger. However, your bowels will absolutely send you more death threats, and may go through with them this time.  [Niemo: I wonder if I could get this fried stuff on a stick since that’s my MO.]
Niemo: Are there any schools other than state you actually like/root for? Who do you hate the most and why?
Steven: I have grandparents from Michigan, so I’m partial to the Wolverines, but I don’t actively follow them. When it comes to the ACC, schools fall into two categories: (1) I hate you, or (2) I don’t totally dislike you (but will find a reason if pressed). Boston College (because of the TOB thing), Maryland (because of certain Rivers-era incidents), and Duke (because [fornicate] them) are in category one, while the rest sit in category two but may periodically move into category one at my discretion.

An example of this would be when Chris Paul punched Julius Hodge in the groin, making Wake Forest provisional category one members. Category one incidents are generally followed by a three-to-six month probationary period, and once my grudge begins to fade — sometime around mid-July, barring a breach of probation — their category two status is restored. Obviously, this is serious business.

[Niemo: 2 things: 1) Who doesn’t hate maryland?  2) Steven is a better man than me for only having a 3-6 month probationary period — I didn’t buy Tostitos for 5 years after the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl screwed VT over on the 2001 Fiesta Bowl for a crappy notre lame team that got blown out by oregon state, and I didn’t shop at advance auto parts for 10 years after they flew a “Congrats tiki and ronde” banner over Lane Stadium at OUR SENIOR DAY in 1996.  Only reason I ever shopped there is I had a dead battery after a VT bball game and was late meeting Miss Niemo back in NOVA for her birthday which I had blown off for said bball game.]

Thanks so much, Steven, for taking it easy on us and helping with this article.  Hopefully nc state will think they are playing someone other than VT on Sunday and let us win one!

Posted in The Opposing View1 Comment

The Opposing View | clemson

clemson @ VT Preview

The Opposing View features our own Niemo interviewing guest columnists who are alums, or at worst, Super Fans of Virginia Tech’s upcoming opponent. Enjoy the perspective from the other side, and don’t be afraid to post your rebuttal in the Comments section at the bottom of the article.

This edition of the Opposing View features an interview of Odum, clemson c/o ‘99.  He also wrote a previous Opposing View for us two years ago: First clemson Opposing View

Basketball Questions:

Niemo: Tell me about this year’s clemson team.  What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Odum: This year’s Clemson team looks a lot like last year’s version, even though we did lose three key seniors from last year’s team (starters James Mays and Cliff Hammonds, and Sam Perry).  The most noticeable loss is Mays at the point of the press.  We have put Trevor Booker there this year, as much to keep him out of foul trouble as anything.  He has done a pretty good job playing interior defense in the half-court and leads the team in blocked shots.  Down low with him is Raymond Sykes, a guy who is 6′-9″ but on the thin side, and very much a raw player.  Sykes isn’t a big threat with the ball in his hands, but he’s a good rebounder and gets a lot of put back points. 
At point guard, we’ve got a second year player in Demontez Stitt.  He’s a slasher by nature, and is very good when he takes it to the basket strong, but he’s not that much of an outside threat.  Terrence Oglesby is still a threat to shoot it from anywhere on the court, but he’s actually gotten a lot better at putting the ball on the floor and creating his own shot; and, he’s improved as a passer this year.  The other starter is K.C. Rivers who can be a tremendous scorer at times, but he tends to disappear for large stretches.  Not coincidentally, our offense suffers when he’s not scoring – it’s critical for us for him to have a big game. 
The bench is deep, and you’ll see our second five before the halfway mark of the first half.  Jerrai Grant is another big guy who has played well lately and he’ll get plenty of minutes in relief of Sykes and Booker.  Andre Young has played well at the point, and Tanner Smith and David Potter are both 6-5 wing players who have been giving quality minutes.  Brian Narcisse (6′-9″) will also play some. 
Overall, we’re going to try to use the defense to force you to play out of synch.  VT can be prone to turning the ball over, and we’ll need that to be successful.  We’ll need to start out strong offensively, and we need to establish Booker on the inside.  On the defensive end, we have to limit your open looks from outside and slow your guards down if they break the press.  As usual, our team free throw percentage is marginally lower than the felony conviction rate for your incoming football recruits, so we need to make the most of our opportunities there, too.  [Niemo: Wow!  Their FT% is below 4%?!]

Niemo: The tigers currently sit at 17-2 after starting 16-0.  We’ve seen this song and dance before – clemson comes out hotter than Seth Greenberg’s daughter, only to fall apart more than Lindsay Lohan in a VIP room once the ACC slate starts up.  Will things be different this year?
Odum: Isn’t Greenberg’s daughter like thirteen?  [Niemo: I was thinking of Paige, who’s in college and plenty legal, but I guess this sick-o likes eye-balling the younger one… perv!]  As for what we’ll do this year, who knows?  I’d say that this team appears to be mentally tougher than some in recent memory, in spite of losing those three seniors from last year.  I don’t think losing to Wake and UNC back-to-back is a harbinger of a collapse.   Don’t forget that included in this team’s undefeated start are road wins at Illinois, Miami (by 19) and South Carolina (by 11) and a neutral site win over a decent Temple team, so it’s not like we’ve just feasted on cupcakes.

Niemo: Dwayne Collins of miami owned VT on Sunday. Trevor Booker is no Dwayne Collins… he’s better. Can VT stop him?
Odum: Yes, it almost appears the most effective way to handle Booker is to just let him do what he’s been doing lately. After establishing himself down low in some key games in December, he has chosen to shoot a lot of fadeaway jumpers recently, and he hasn’t been effective at all. He reached double figures against GT because he made seven free throws. He can be very effective if he’ll be assertive and take the ball right at Jeff Allen and try to get him into foul trouble.

Niemo: What about Virginia Tech scares you in this game?
Odum: Now that Deron Washington’s (and his mom) ugly mug is gone, nothing really… Well, my golden retriever trembles a little at any mention of VT. Seriously, your team’s overall athleticism is impressive, but it’s their guard play from the last two games that worries me the most. With our full-court pressure defense, we sometimes have a tendency to leave guys wide open once the ball advances past half-court. If we do that with Vassallo or Delaney, we’ll be in trouble.

Click ‘Read more…’ to see the rest of the interview.
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The Hokies and tigers: An instant classic

When Virginia Tech and clemson are in the same sentence, there must be some reference made to each school’s rabid football fan base. Clearly, the Tech and clemson football programs have the two best fan followings in the conference. But did you know that the Hokies and tigers have had one of the most competitive basketball series since Tech joined the conference in 2004? The two teams have played six times as conference foes and the total point differential is 12 — an average of two points per game. That’s phenomenal.

As we gear up for the big game against clemson on Thursday night, here’s a brief history of past conference showdowns between the Hokies and the tiggers.

January 15, 2005 — Tech 59, clemson 57 @ Blacksburg
I was there. Tech’s first ACC win. The students were not back yet from winter break, so the Cassell was not very full. The tigers had a chance to put the game away as they held the ball with 19 seconds to go in a tie game, but Hokie senior Carlos Dixon took the game in his own hands — just after the tigers made it past the half court line, Dixon broke up the first pass of the clemson possession and took it himself the length of the court to dunk it home with 6.9 seconds remaining. See for yourself:

March 1, 2005 — clemson 66, Tech 64 @ Clemson, SC
This one was painful, one of the most painful losses of the Greenberg era. The tigers scored five points in five seconds to tie the Hokies, and then won the game at the final buzzer. For the second time in a row in the clemson-Tech series, the last shot of the game was a game-winning dunk.

February 8, 2006 — Tech 75, clemson 74 (OT) @ Clemson, SC
The Hokies and the tiggers each had disappointing ACC records going into this game in early February. Tech improved to 3-7, while the tigers dropped to 3-7, after the Hokies’ thrilling win in OT. Zabian Dowdell drilled a three-pointer with 8 seconds left to tie the game at 67, and in OT, Dowdell gave the Hokies the lead for good @ 75-74 with a minute left. In the last minute, The tigers missed four shots while the Hokies missed three free throws, but Tech held on for the one-point victory.

March 1, 2006 — clemson 86, Tech 81 @ Blacksburg
The most lopsided game of the series. This was a painful ending to the already painful ’05-’06 season. clemson was favored to win, but the refs stole the show and stole the game from Tech. Some of the worst officiating I have ever seen. I recall getting many stares from fellow Hokies as I turned beet red yelling at the zebras all night long.

March 4, 2007 — clemson 75, Tech 74 @ Blacksburg
While the 3/1/05 game was the most painful to stomach, the 3/4/07 game was the worst loss of the series for the Hokies. Tech had a chance to tie for the regular season conference championship with a W against the tigers. What’s even worse is that uva ended the season tied for first. It was also the biggest senior day in recent history (Gordon, Dowdell, Collins, Tucker, and Sailes were all seniors) and the Hokies were on their way to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years. But the tigers pissed on the Cassell parade. clemson got out to an early lead and held off the Hokies for a depressing one-point Tech loss. Revisit the recap.

March 9, 2008 — clemson 70, Tech 69 @ Clemson, SC
In 2007-08 as the season wound down, Tech lacked a quality win needed to get one of 65 precious bids to the Big Dance. There were many missed opportunities, and this game was one of them. Once again, Tech and clemson played in the final regular season game of the year — this time it was clemson’s senior day, but the Hokies could not return the favor from the ’06-’07 season, losing another last second nail-biter in Littlejohn Coliseum. Revisit the recap.

I’m willing to bet that history shall repeat itself on Thursday — another Tech-clemson nail-biter for sure.

Posted in Featured Columns, Home2 Comments

The Balla Report 1/25/09

The Hokies scored their most impressive victory of the season to date on Wednesday night with their 78-71 victory at #1 wake forest. One thing we learned very quickly after the results were final was that a victory over a #1 ranked deacon team scored nowhere near the publicity points with the media machine known as ESPN as a victory over unc or duke. In the aftermath we heard it all: wake, who maybe wasn’t that good after all, was playing their fourth game in 11 days, so there was no way they possibly could have been up for this game against the Hokies. Not to mention the poor deacs had to play at bc and clemson in the same week. How could they be expected to hang with the unranked Hokies?

Why is it that everyone was unwilling to come out and just say Tech stepped up and simply played a better game and beat wake, in their own building, the team who was the best team I’d personally seen play this year so far going into this game? How about some credit to the Hokies physical defense , especially the inside game led by Cheick Diakite, who played his best game of the season and helped get the wake interior defenders in foul trouble early and often. Credit is also due to little man Hank Thorns — his ball handling and ability to bring the ball up allowed player of the game Malcolm Delaney to grab a quick breather or two on the court and free up for his all important outside J.

Props also go out to Seth for his use of the 2-3 zone which effectively slowed down wake’s high octane transition game. The zone is a work in progress with Greenberg, who has almost exclusively used man to man D as his signature throughout his coaching tenure. It’s no coincidence that our use of the zone coincides with the hiring of former syracuse guard Adrian Autry — who played under zone proprietor Jim Boeheim at the cuse — to the Tech staff. The Hokies ability to mix up their defenses will certainly be key down the stretch this season.

The Hokies get another shot at a quality, resume’-building victory when they take on the miami hurricanes tonight in Coral Gables. The canes currently sit at 28 in the latest RPI and are led by sharp shooting guard Jack McClinton. This will be another stern test for Malcolm Delaney, who’s coming off impressive performances on both ends of the floor against backcourt studs Tyrese Rice and Jeff Teague. Greenberg has consistently preached since the final horn in Winston-Salem that he doesn’t want the Hokies to follow in the footsteps of the bc eagles, who promptly followed up their victory at then #1 unc with four consecutive losses.

Even though the canes have won seven of their previous eight games, don’t expect the crowd in BankUnited Center to be much of a factor. miami is averaging just over 3,500 fans per home game. We’ll see if the fact that students are back on campus and a Sunday night ACC hoops television game will draw more fannies to the seats.

This is by no means a must win game for the Hokies, but it would certainly look like a nice notch in the belt come the second week of March. Let’s hope the Hokies come to play with the same intensity that they showed up with at wake.

Finally, you’ve got to give it up to the clemson tigers, who on Wednesday night continued the most amazing losing streak in all of sports. The tigers are now a perfect 0-54 in Chapel Hill against the unc tar heels following this year’s 94-70 loss. If the economy doesn’t pick up I think the Balla will be trying to make up all his recent losses to his retirement account by betting the house the next time clemson suits it up in the Dean Dome. There’s got to be no surer bet, right? In fact, maybe the Obama administration should take a good hard look at betting a solid portion of the national debt on this baby. Bailouts galore!

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report4 Comments

The Opposing View | miami

Niemo has once again interviewed his good buddy, Kartik Krishnaiyer, his favorite u of miami fan, for The Opposing View.  Kartik is the publisher of canes rising, providing unique insight into miami football, basketball, and baseball. He has been attending miami football games since 1981 and miami basketball games since 1986. Despite graduating from the university of florida, he bleeds orange and green, and continues to hold season tickets for miami football and basketball. He also hosts the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network which deals with the US National Team, MLS, and NCAA Soccer.

Here are the past articles from Kartik:

You can also check out The Opposing Taunt – Niemo Mocks Sebastian the Ibis

OK, let’s get to the questions:

Niemo: Describe this year’s miami team.
Kartik:  Battle tested: A tough tournament down in the Virgin Islands which the team quite frankly wasn’t prepared for. We came back home and suddenly had to deal with the McClinton incident against Ohio State, and three days later had to withstand a great game from Patrick Patterson to get a great victory at Rupp [miami won at ky-kentucky], but then embarrassing ourselves on national TV against Clemson two weeks later.

Since the Clemson game, the team settled down and is playing at a fairly high level. Wins at St John’s and BC were good signs. But still the team is limited in its inside game. Jimmy Graham has been solid but cannot seem to stay out of foul trouble. Dwayne Collins is good but at times can be tentative. Arkansas transfer Cyrus McGowan was outstanding earlier in the year but seems to be a bit soft: what would you expect from a SEC transfer, and is not making an impact since ACC play began.

The Canes won a NCAA Tournament game last year and that imparted a toughness to get through what has been a year filled with distractions like Jack’s ejection, Hurdle’s injury, and the ongoing Eddie Rios soap opera.

Niemo: How well do you think VT matches up with the canes?Â
Kartik: The Hokies match up well with everyone in the league it seems [he obviously hasn’t seen us play nc state], thanks to AD Vassallo’s unique skill set for a 6’6” guy. Seth Greenberg always has his troops ready for ACC play. The problem with the RPI and Selection Committee is that once again this year they are going to want VT to win 10 games in the ACC, a nearly impossible task. The selection committee can claim they pick the best at-large teams, but they don’t. I still do not accept any explanation for VT’s exclusion last year. In fact I believe Florida State and Maryland had good cases as well. Our league is tougher night in and night out that any other league in America. I just do not understand how Big East teams get credit for playing each other tough, but last year the Hokies took UNC down to the wire in Greensboro, and that was conveniently ignored the next day when the selections were made.

Niemo: What are miami’s keys to win?  VT’s?
Kartik: Miami must establish Dwayne Collins inside early, and not have to chase the game as we did against FSU and Maryland. Miami won both games, but those teams are more mistake prone and less experienced that the Hokies.

For VT, AD Vassallo creates headaches for opponents and Miami doesn’t have a guy that can really match up with him. It is possible we will see Frank Haith start DeQuan Jones, the freshman, or Adrian Thomas simply due to the need to guard Vassallo. Thomas has actually been playing very well since ACC play began after contributing little during the non-conference slate.

The other option for Miami is to play zone from the get go and Haith is not afraid to do that.

Niemo: McClinton and Delaney are both from Baltimore (the Crab Dribblin’ state!) and may be matched up on Sunday.  Think they will have some extra motivation to one-up each other?  Who wins the head-to-head battle?
Kartik: McClinton should win it, but Delaney is quicker and probably will spend as much time guarding Lance Hurdle as Jack. If Delaney gets matched up with James Dews, whose head seems not to be on basketball lately, he’ll explode.

Really this question brings another issue up: the collapse of Maryland from the national elite. I get the sense that for years the ESPN driven Tobacco Road elitism resented the Terps success. Now that Maryland is just another ACC team, they cannot protect their recruiting base and seem to be safely ignored by the national media. That’s good for stealing kids out of Baltimore or DC if you are VT or Miami, but may not be great for the ACC as a whole.Â
Niemo: Seriously, Anthony King is gone?  He should have his doctorate with all the time he played for you guys!  And this is still a very veteran team.  Is that a good thing, or are you ready for some new blood?
Kartik:  Lindy’s Preview issue said 37 years in ACC Basketball for King. It wasn’t quite that long, but it seemed like it was [he actually started out in the Big East with the canes]. Now the ACC has Harvey Hale to celebrate as an ACC lifer.

Back to Miami: this is a veteran team that has been through the ACC wars and is engaged in battle again this season. Next year, Miami welcomes Durand Scott, the top high school player in New York City and three other prized recruits into the program. Frank Haith is recruiting well and the team is benefiting from not having any ties to the failed regime of Perry Clark remaining. Much like VT took off the second the last Ricky Stokes recruits were history.  [LOL — Kartik knows how to play to me — he bashes stokes in every article!]

Niemo: You have a 6’9″ 290 lbs. freshman.  What is the ideal height for someone that fat?  Um, is he in the wrong sport?  Are you trying to sneak in O-Lineman on basketball scholarships?
Kartik: He’s so fat he’s being redshirted. Why? He needs to lose weight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Niemo: The canes aren’t even averaging 4k per game at home, worst in the ACC.  What can we expect for atmosphere on Sunday?
Kartik: It’ll be a good atmosphere. Most of those games were during the winter break from school. Miami Basketball is very student driven, unlike Miami Football which is… well, I’ll skip that, but you know it’s not students who hassle your Hokie fans at the football games.Â
Niemo: If McClinton could girl-slap one Hokie, who would it be?
Kartik: Probably Delaney. Old Baltimore thing. But then again Jack is really a good kid who had a moment of madness. [McClinton basically slapped an ohio state player in the ACC/Big(11)Ten challenge and got tossed from the game… can’t believe Kartik missed the obvious Jeff Allen/referee reference here!]
Niemo: Where do you predict miami finishing in the ACC regular season standings?  VT?  Tourney bound or NIT?
Kartik: 5th or 6th for the Canes and dancing again. VT should be somewhere between 5th and 7th. Florida State will be the other team in the mix for an NCAA bid in the league. Maryland just seems too weak inside and not able to close out games on the road. I think the Terps are staring down the NIT again this year.

FSU has more talent than Miami or VT, but again the Noles have a penchant for collapse at the end of every season when they need one more win to secure an NCAA bid. Should we expect any different this season?Â
Niemo: In 3-5 years, do you see miami’s basketball program getting better or worse?  Where do you see VT’s?
Kartik: This is easy: both programs are emerging. The ACC elites got more than they bargained for inviting these two schools. The real victims I guess are Georgia Tech, NC State and YES, UVA, who now cannot compete year in and year out in the ACC. The Cavs wasted all that money on an arena no one is going to care to play in. The real question is how long until Virginia and NC State completely collapse? I don’t think either program can compete regularly in the current ACC. Think about it this way: Pete Gillen recruited top class after top class to Charlottesville yet UVA has two NCAA appearences in the last ten years? That’s pathetic. Now that they are lacking in talent consistently under Leito I don’t see a way out for them.

Fun Stuff

Niemo: What did you think of that 3rd ACC football title the Hokies locked up this year?  Lessen the joy of your rare win over VT any?
Kartik: Never. These days any win over the Hokies is cause for celebration. I guess you can claim success after scoring 14 points at home against Duke. I’ll give you guys credit for knocking out TJ Yates, otherwise UNC would be celebrating today. Oh wait, they don’t celebrate football wins anyhow.Â
Niemo: Your alma mater just won another football title.  Think about jumping ship back to the gators?  miami sports aren’t exactly on the rise (might need to rename your site).
Kartik: No way. The Gator fans are what drove me from my alma mater in the first place. I actually still support UF in basketball, much as I did when I was in school there. It was lonely being a hoops fan in Gainesville in the mid 1990s. Really lonely. But in football, UF has all the money, the prestige, the power: why would I jump on that bandwagon? It would be like rooting for UNC or Duke in basketball!!!!! (Then again, I did not want to see OU or Bob Stoops win a national title. Did any of you?)
Niemo: Wish you could be back in the Big East?
Kartik: NO! How about you guys? As my co-host on our podcast Nate Skinner said the other night, the Big East is more a collection of teams than a real conference. Seriously does anyone really think of USF as a “Big East school?”
Niemo: Bigger punk: Eddie Rios or Robert Marve?
Kartik: Marve, although you guys have the rare distinction of having lost to him this year, one of only two ACC teams that will ever lose to him. Rios was a real disappointment. Committed to UM as a sophomore in High School but never grew into the point guard role and eventually became one huge distraction.Â
Niemo: Is Wet Willie’s the greatest drink place in the world?  (this is really a rhetorical question)
Kartik: YES!

[For those of you that have never been, Wet Willie’s features drinks that can be only described as “slurpees on steroids” – they are frozen drinks filled heavily with grain alcohol.  They are currently banned by the Weekend Warrior for good reason.]

Posted in Home, The Opposing View0 Comments

The Weekend Warrior Travels Back In Time: To See Metallica

This past week the Weekend Warrior (WW) went to see the ultimate Hokie band – Metallica!  Tell us Enter Sandman doesn’t make your hair stand up any time you hear it, whether it be as the Hokies charge out of the tunnel at Lane, in your car, or before you arm curl somebody.  Well our own WW went to try and see it live…

Click ‘Read more’ to hear the blow-by-blow details of his adventure…

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Posted in Home, The Weekend Warrior3 Comments

The Balla Report 1/12/09

The Hokies took game one of this pivotal three game home stand with their 78-75 victory over the uva cavaliers on Saturday. There is no denying that A.D. Vassallo – 29 points, including the decisive turn around baseline jumper with 18.3 seconds to go – and Malcolm Delaney – 24 points to go with savvy ball handling and leadership – carried the Hokies to the must-win victory in Cassell. But there were some other positive signs that came from this game. One would have to include the play of Terrell Bell. Bell hit a three-pointer from the wing in the first half and played with confidence the entire game. His defense on uva freshman phenom sylvan landesberg in the second half was commendable and he had a huge steal off a uva baseline inbound attempt that led to a break away dunk by Delaney. Bell’s continued development will be key to whether the Hokies can make a run this season in the ACC.

Cheick Diakite and Lewis Witcher also gave the Hokies quality minutes, but they along with Victor Davila continued to miss way too many point blank shots. Every game from here out figures to be tightly contested so converting on these will be a must for the Hokies.

Jeff Allen continues to struggle, going 0 for 7 on field goal attempts againt virginia. He looked especially tentative against cavalier freshman assane sene. However Frank Beamer has to be taking note of Big Jeff, who is in the mold of current NFL star tight ends Tony Gonzales (cal) and Antonio Gates (kent st.) who were both college basketball stars before moving on to their prolific football careers. Will we ever see Allen line up at tight end in the fall for the Hokies? Who knows, but regardless, opposing teams who attempt to full court press the Hokies had better have their heads on a swivel. Just ask cavalier guards sammy zeglinski and calvin baker, both of whom were tko’d by Allen’s solid screens, much to the delight of the Cassell crowd.

Allen did seem to respond to his mid second half benching by Seth Greenberg and played better inside down the stretch, finishing with six rebounds to go along with a steal and blocked shot. Let’s hope the Dunking Donut can quickly regain his form starting Wednesday night against the richmond spiders.

The quote of the week this week came from ESPN broadcaster and former st. john’s and New York Knick star Mark Jackson, who was taking a break from his normal NBA duties to broadcast last Wednesday’s davidson – duke contest. Jackson described blue devil backup guard greg paulus as “A true professional…on the college level.”

Finally, the Mr. Inconsistency award has to go to the boston college eagles, who followed up their shocking win at #1 north carolina with home losses to harvard (the crimson’s first win against a ranked team, that’s right, EVER) and miami. It will be interesting to see which bc team shows up next Saturday in Cassell.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report1 Comment

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