Archive | 2007-08 Season

ACC Tournament | Vassallo and Delaney Honored

Both A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney made the 2008 ACC All-Tournament Second Team.  This is a great honor for both, especially for the freshman, Delaney.  Malcolm was the only freshman on the first or second team.

Vassallo averaged 16 points in the two Hokie games while Delaney averaged 15.  Delaney shot 67% for the tournament from the field and 75% on threes.  Malcolm also had an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than 2:1 with 9 assists and just 4 turnovers.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Home0 Comments

Recapping VT’s ACC Tournament Performance

As I sit here watching the ESPN Classic Game of the Week (the VT/unc game), I figured I would take a look back at how the Hokies did in Charlotte.

MVP: This is a no-brainer. It is Malcolm Delaney. He scored 15 in both games and hit 10/15 (67%) from the floor and 6/8 (75%) on threes. He also had 9 assists to just 4 turnovers. Anything over 2 in that ratio is incredible. I predicted before the season he would be VT’s best recruit in this class. I was wrong, at least for this year, but he showed he can be a star in this league. Delaney scored 35 combined points in the two games against unc this year.

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Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Home1 Comment

Will Tech’s Bubble Burst?

Time will tell, but Coach Greenberg believes that anyone who “does not think that Virginia Tech is not one of the Top 65 teams is certifiably insane”. I agree with him, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean that the Hokies will get in. Here is a look at Tech’s resume: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, along with some other factors that could impact their selection status.

The Good

  • 4th place finish in the ACC, with a winning conference record at 9-7. Only twice in the history of the ACC has a team with a winning record not made the Big Dance: uva in 2000, and fsu in 2006. Both those squads were 9-7, but lost their opening round game in the ACC Tournament. 21 of 23 teams that have gone 9-7 or 8-6 have made the tournament. Therefore, there is a 91% chance that the Hokies will make the dance based on this stat alone.
  • A win in the ACC Tournament against miami, who was ranked in the top 30 of the RPI.
  • maryland’s bubble burst on Thursday. Tech is the only bubble team from the ACC. There is no other competition.
  • Tech is 5-2 in their last 7 games, with their only 2 losses coming at the buzzer against the two teams playing for the ACC Championship. The Hokies are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time and could be a tough test for any opponent in the first round of the Big Dance.
  • Even though a loss is a loss, the Hokies’ performance against #1 unc in the ACC semis was viewed very positively by the so-called experts. Dickie V changed his tone after the game. He was calling Tech out of the tourney before the game, and in after it.
  • The ACC is the highest RPI-rated conference.
  • I doubt this really matters, but I bet Coach Greenberg will be on every sports talk radio and TV show imaginable on Selection Sunday, lobbying for the Hokies. As we all know, he is a media darling and not afraid to speak his mind. Either way, the Hokies will get a lot of good press.

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Posted in 2007-08 Season, Home, NCAA Tournament7 Comments

Recap | #1 unc 68, #4 VT 66 | ACC Tournament Semis

The Hokies played their hearts out but came up short as ACC POY Tyler Hansbrough hit a 12-foot baseline jumper with 0:00:8 left to break a tie and give unc the win. I honestly have never seen the Hokies fight harder in any game. I won’t say Tech played perfectly, but they did an amazing job and nearly avenged a 39-point loss exactly four weeks ago at unc.

Tech led almost the entire game, jumping out to eight point leads in the first and second halves. In fact, the heels’ biggest lead was three points at 5-2 early in the game. VT went up 59-52 with 6:18 to go on an incredible inbounds pass/alley-oop dunk by Deron Washington, but the Hokies struggled to score down the stretch. Deron fouled out with 1:29 to go.

Neither team shot very well, with both teams shooting 40%. Jeff Allen had 9 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 3/9 from the floor. Even A.D. Vassallo was 6/19 from the field, including 1/8 on threes. That’s one of the reasons I say Tech didn’t play a perfect game.

Hansbrough led unc with 26 points, but had just 10 in the second half. The Hokies did a much better job of frustrating him in the second stanza. Wayne Ellington also hurt the Hokies with 15 points, including three clutch three-pointers.

The Hokies, who were outrebounded by 30 in the first meeting, held their own in the first half, but got dominated on the glass in the second half. For the game, the heels outrebounded Tech 39-30. And had A.D. been able to grab Lawson’s miss with 3 seconds left, the game would have gone to overtime. Instead, the ball bounced right off Vassallo’s hands under the hoop to Hansbrough, who hit the 12-foot jumper over Hank Thorns.

Malcolm Delaney had another terrific game. After scoring 15 points on 4/5 three point shooting against miami yesterday, he had 15 again today on 2/3 long range shooting and 5/6 from the floor overall. He took great strides forward in this tournament. He could be the next Zabian Dowdell.

On defense, the Hokies got beat off the dribble too much. The heels were able to take it at the hoop way too much, and got most of their points this way.

This is a devastating loss for the Hokies, but may have been enough to propel them into the NCAA Tournament. They finished in the Top Four in the ACC regular season and in the ACC Tournament. They also proved they can play the #1 team in the country all the way to the buzzer. Now, we just have to sit back and wait for a day and see if the NCAA Tournament Committee agrees. Either way, the Hokies made us all proud today, showcasing how resilient this team is and what they are capable of.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Recaps, Home3 Comments

Preview | ACC Tourney Semis | #4 VT vs. #1 unc

Spread: unc -11


1/30/2005 – duke 100, VT 65

2/17/2005 – VT 67, duke 65

2/16/2008 – unc 92, VT 53

3/15/2008 – VT ??, unc ??

Nuff said.  Let’s roll.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Previews, Home5 Comments

Recap | #4 Hokies 63 #5 miami 49 | ACC Tournament Quarterfinal

Box Score | Game Film

The 4th seeded Hokies used a 21-4 run during the second half to beat the 5th seeded miami hurricanes 63-49 in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinal. Today’s game was one of the best team efforts I’ve seen out of Virginia Tech this year on both sides of the court. The Hokies won today thanks to an aggressive defensive effort, domination on the boards, and exceptional shot selection, which led to 7 three-pointers.

From the onset, the Hokies were tenacious on D. miami shot only 31.6% from the field. Jack McClinton was just 4 of 17 from the field. Tech’s defense set the tone. If it weren’t for some foul trouble in the first half (Deron Washington picked up 2 fouls in the first 6 minutes) and the beginning of the second half (Jeff Allen picked up his 2nd and 3rd fouls within 10 seconds, early in the half), the Hokies might have broken away from the canes even earlier in the game.

On the offensive end, the Hokies shot 42.6% from the field including 7 of 15 from 3 point land and A.D. Vassallo only made 1 of those threes! Malcolm Delaney, my player of the game, stepped up BIG TIME today with 15 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists. Delaney was 4 of 5 from behind the arc. He nailed a couple daggers during the 21-4 run that virtually sealed the deal for Tech. Hank Thorns and Deron Washington made the other three pointers. Washington finished with 14 points and 12 boards. A.D. had 15 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists. Jeff Allen, who didn’t score his first basket until 11 seconds left in the first half, sparked the Hokies in the first few minutes of the second half, but then had to sit after his 3rd foul at the 16:36 mark. miami used that to their advantage and took a 40-38 lead with 11:11 to go. Coach Greenberg put Allen back in, and the Hokies took off on their 21-4 run to win the game. Allen finished with another double-double, 10 points and 10 boards.

Finally, the rebounding margin was Tech 47 miami 22. That’s insane. Gary Cope-acabana had a great line in our in game after a monster rebound by J.T. Thompson in the second half: “That was a tremendous individual effort by J.T. to stick with that offensive rebound – it’ll only count as one rebound, but it was more like three.” The Hokies crashed the boards, and that has to continue tomorrow in order for Tech to have a snowballs chance in hell to win.

The Hokies are now 2-3 all-time in ACC Tournament play with victories against miami today and wake forest (’07 quarters) and losses against n.c. state (’07 semis), uva (’06 1st round), and ga tech (’05 quarters).

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Recaps, Home1 Comment

In Game Commentary | ACC tournament Quarterfinal | v. #5 miami

The Team at is conducting an in game commentary during today’s quarterfinal game against the canes.

Game Preview | Last Meeting

Stop by during the game and leave us a comment or join in the conversation!

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Home, In Game Commentary42 Comments

Preview | ACC Tournament Quarterfinal | #5 miami vs. #4 VT | Fri., ~2:30 PM will be doing in game commentary for VT’s quarterfinal game against miami.


With miami’s 63-50 win over the nc state wolfpack, the Hokies get the chance they wanted: a seventh shot at beating a RPI Top 50 team. miami, 28th is last Sunday’s RPI, comes into this game as the second hottest team in the ACC having won seven of their last nine. They also didn’t have to work very hard in beating an awful nc state team, so they shouldn’t be too exhausted on Friday.

The state/miami game set the game of basketball back about 20 years as the two teams started out 1/18 on threes, including 0/11 from state, and finished just 3/23. That’s good in a sense in that miami struggled from outside. Tech struggles to guard the perimeter, so cold shooting will help VT. nc state only scored 2 points in the first 7:40. But this is the kind of game miami wants. They play classic Big East basketball: lots of bruising punishment inflicted.


  • All Time Series: miami 8-5
  • Since VT joined the ACC: VT 4-2
  • Last Meeting: miami 74, VT 71 – 2/9/08
  • Overall ACC Tournament Records: VT 1-3, miami 3-3
  • ACC Quarterfinal Records: VT 1-1, miami 0-2







2007-08 Record (ACC/Overall)





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Scoring Defense (ACC/Overall)





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Leading Rebounder





Assists Leader





Blocks Leader





Steals Leader






The biggest question on Friday will be how do the Baby Hokies react to the bright lights of the ACC Tournament stage?  miami will be loose, having a game in the books, while there is a danger that Tech will come out with some nerves, in awe of the stage.  You’ll know early depending on how things go up to the first media timeout.

In the meeting in February at the Cassell, Deron Washington’s three to tie the game at the buzzer was off the mark and VT lost 74-71. After an initial VT 10-2 lead, the canes controlled the game. miami never trailed in the second half and built their lead up to 10, then withstood a furious Hokie rally. A.D. Vassallo had 24 points and Jeff Allen added 16. But the story was rebounding and free throws, as the canes almost doubled VT in both categories. When VT wins on free throw attempts, turnover margin, and rebounding margin, they are unbeaten.

The canes are led by First Team All-ACC member Jack McClinton. Jack is the first person in ACC history to lead the conference in three-point percentage and free throw percentage two years in a row. He hits 90% from the line and 44% from threes. However, he did not score in the first 30 minutes against nc state and finished with 8 points.

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Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Previews, Home3 Comments

ACC Tournament | The Experience

“…bigger than the World Series, world cup, and World War II combined!” -From the movie ‘Dodgeball’…

The announcer in Dodgeball wasn’t talking about the ACC Tournament, but he might as well have been. To someone from unc, duke, wake, maryland, or nc state, the ACC Tournament is the biggest event of the year. It is clearly the biggest deal on the ACC calendar. Heck, it even draws about as much as the ACC Football Championship Game.

At this point in your Hokie life, you’ve probably been to Jacksonville one too many times (once is too many), the Peach Bowl, the Orange Bowl (the game and/or the stadium). Now you owe it to yourself to check out the Super Bowl of basketball tournaments.

The experience is unmatched. I went to the ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C. three years ago and was blown away by it. Sure, on the first day of action, there are a few empty seats, but it is amazing how full the arena is even though 33% of the teams aren’t even playing until the next day. Each of the 12 schools has an area, going from the upper level down to the lower level. It is pretty easy to figure out who is where. Proximity to mid-court rotates each year.

Even as teams lose, it surprised me how few people from that school sell their remaining tickets (I didn’t). They still come out each day. Now, there are exceptions. florida state’s section was pretty sparse after they lost, as was clemson’s. But most of the people that are going to it are “big deals”. Think of it this way; most of the arenas that house the tournament only seat 20,000. That means each school gets a maximum of 1,500 tickets. Not very many. So it is an honor to get to buy through your school (I figured out a scam to get my tickets through maryland, I’m not that big of a deal at VT).

The most exciting parts of game action are when duke or unc is in trouble.  If the opponent makes a run against the heels or the devils, 11/12ths of the arena become fans of the opponent.  It really is awesome.  The rest of the time it is somewhat odd in that you have 20,000 people but only about 4,000 are passionately following the action.

One of the more humorous things is the buzzards. After a team loses, people from the winning/remaining schools will start to hover outside their sections, trying to buy up extras they don’t want for future days. And sure enough, the colors change a bit the next day in those sections. But as I said, this is the exception.

Another neat thing is the relationships you build. You are basically hanging out with the people in your surrounding area for 27 hours over four days. You become tight with them and find yourself rooting for similar teams when VT isn’t playing. All of a sudden you all become fans of .

The other amazing thing is how passionate the ACC fans are about this tournament. I felt pretty smug knowing VT had won the football championship three years ago. But ACC fans really don’t care about the football title. It is a secondary sport to many of them. This is the real deal, the show. It is what the ACC is all about. You have to check it out for yourself.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Home1 Comment


Another ACC Basketball regular season is in the books & the 55th annual ACC Tournament gets underway tomorrow from the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. That means that it’s time once again for the Balla’s annual post-season awards. Drum roll please……


Tyler Hansbrough unc
sean singletary uva
Tyrese Rice bc
Jack McClinton miami
James Gist maryland

Second Teamers: A.D. Vassallo, VA Tech, Wayne Ellington, unc, Greivis Vasquez, maryland, K.C. Rivers, clemson, Kyle Singler, duke.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tyler Hansbrough, north carolina – It’s damn near impossible to make any kind of argument for anyone else in the conference, “Psycho T” is the leading scorer & rebounder in the ACC as well as the unquestioned leader of the nation’s #1 team.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech – I’ve gone back & forth between Seth & miami’s Frank Haith for the last week. Both have done incredible work this year with team’s that virtually nothing was expected from. I know the argument for Haith is that the canes played two more games against the league’s top 3 of unc, duke, & clemson, but Greenberg gets the nod simply for managing a 9-7 record in the nation’s toughest conference while relying on SIX freshmen for significant contributions. Haith had more proven talent on his roster going into the season. A tip of the cap to wake’s Dino Gaudio for a job well done taking over for the late Skip Prosser.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Kyle Singler, duke – Statistically state’s J.J. Hickson was better, but in my opinion Singler was a major reason why the devils are back in the top 10 this year while the pack finished last in the standings. Among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, Singler was the most consistent frosh over the entire season, so he edges out the Hokies Jeff Allen, and the wake tandem of James Johnson and Jeff Teague.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: James Gist, maryland – the terps shot blocking and rebounding presence gets the nod this year as the ACC’s top defender.

Wondering how this year’s tourney is going to play out? Want a quick way to make some extra dough? (take these picks, reverse them, then call your bookie) In a nutshell…

Round 1: wake over fsu, miami over nc state, ga tech over uva, bc over maryland.

Quarters: unc over wake, VT over miami, duke over ga tech, clemson over bc

Semis: unc over VT, clemson over duke

Finals: unc over clemson

Posted in 2007-08 Season, Featured Columns, Home, The Balla Report2 Comments

Seth Greenberg Named ACC Coach of the Year

For the second time in four seasons in the ACC, Virginia Tech Head Coach Seth Greenberg was named Coach of the Year.  He also took home the award in 2004-05, Tech’s first season in the ACC.

The Hokies, picked 10th in the ACC preseason poll, finished fourth and will play Friday at ~2:20 PM in the ACC Tournament.  Seth led the Hokies to a 9-7 mark in ACC play, and 18-12 overall.

ACC Official Press Release

Posted in 2007-08 Season, Home2 Comments

VT’s ACC Regular Season Report Card

In the second half of ACC action, the Hokies came within four seconds of matching their 5-3 first half record and likely clinching a NCAA Tournament bid.  Four seconds.  Still, you have to be thrilled with a 4-4 second half, especially considering Tech started 0-3. 

The following grades are for the full ACC regular season.  I also show the grade I gave at the halfway mark.


Team Grades:

  • Overall (A+) I was going to give VT just an ‘A’.  Then I thought, “9-7 and a first round bye.  If that isn’t an ‘A+’ in a rebuilding year, what is?” (Midseason Grade: A+)
  • Greenberg (A+) ACC Coach of the Year.  This year, to me, is even more impressive than what he did three years ago when he won the award.  Seth was able to instill his defensive attitude in a very young team and have them respond.   (Midseason Grade: A+)
  • Offense (C-) Tech climbed up the ACC ranks to 10th in Offensive Points Per Game.  Yippee.  But seriously, though, the Hokies did a much better job of using their strengths as the season went on.  VT ran more, using their great athletes.  And A.D. Vassallo and Jeff Allen took charge.  Also, Deron’s shot selection improved.  But the Hokies must find another consistent outside threat for next season to pair with Vassallo.  Hudson?  Delaney?  (Midseason Grade: D+)
  • Defense (A) VT finished #1 in Defensive Points Per Game in ACC games (and overall).  I didn’t give them an ‘A+’ because Tech still struggles to guard good three-point shooters.  Plus, the guards and Allen commit too many reaching fouls. (Midseason Grade: A)
  • Rebounding (A+) The Hokies finished #2 in the ACC in Rebounding Margin and won this category in 13 of their 16 ACC games.  The only three they lost were the nc state, miami, and unc consecutive losses.  (New Category)

Player Grades:

  • A.D. Vassallo (A) Second Team All-ACC.  That’s an ‘A’ in my book.  Needs to improve his defense and commit fewer turnovers to be an ‘A+’.  But can you imagine how good he is going to be on offense next season?  Look out, Top 10 Scoring List.  (Midseason Grade: A-)
  • Jeff Allen (A) Freshman All-ACC First Team and Honorable Mention All-ACC Defensive Team.  Best freshman season I’ve seen for a Hokie since Ace Custis.  Amazing hands.  Amazing post moves.  Amazing on the glass.  Amazing guarding one-on-one.  Set the Tech steals record for a freshman.  Just needs to cut out the dumb early fouls that cost him first half minutes. (Midseason Grade: B)
  • Deron Washington (B) Honorable Mention All-ACC and Honorable Mention All-ACC Defensive Team.  His ‘B’ is based on expectations.  I thought he would step up his offensive game more this year, but just wasn’t able to. Clearly he was Tech’s leader and the guy the Hokies looked to in the clutch.  He had the late shots at uva, at home against uva, and at clemson.  But his shooting was poor, just 40%.  To his credit, he got to the line a ton (VT was first in ACC play in FT Attempts) and had better shot selection down the stretch.  (Midseason Grade: B)
  • Malcolm Delaney (B) Reminds me a lot of Dowdell after his freshman year.  Scrappy, tons of heart, gives you his all, a born leader.  Good inside/outside game.  But Dowdell became a great shooter between his freshman and sophomore years.  Will Malcolm?  And Malcolm is not the defender Dowdell was.  Gets beaten off the dribble too much and commits too many fouls reaching in. (Midseason Grade: B+)
  • J.T. Thompson (B) Reached double figures in 7 of the last 11 games he played in.  He will fill into Deron’s role nicely next year, able to play the 3 or 4.  Great intensity on the floor.  Needs to develop a mid-range game (shoot jumpers!). (Midseason Grade: B+)
  • Cheick Diakite (C+) Playing time really fell off at the end of the season but you always knew what you were getting from him when he was in there – blocks and rebounds and great effort on defense.  Needs to work on post moves. (Midseason Grade: B)
  • Hank Thorns (C) Had a terrific 1.70 assist to turnover ratio.  But he really has no ability to score right now in the half court set.  If he goes at the hole and shoots, it gets blocked.  And he shot just 30% from three-point range.  Works hard on defense, but like Delaney, gets beaten off the dribble too much.  (Midseason Grade: B-) 
  • Lewis Witcher (C-) Made great strides in the latter part of the season.  We know he has the talent, but he’s starting to show the intensity.  Really battling on the glass now and has the ability to score inside.  Just needs to give a consistent effort.  Tech needs more than 2.6 PPG from Allen’s fellow low post player. (Midseason Grade: D+)
  • Dorenzo Hudson (C-) I still think he could be a big time player for the Hokies and that’s why I’m hard on him.  He has shown flashes against wake, maryland, and clemson, but was awful shooting the ball for a stretch.  Shot just 22% on threes and was just 6/11 on free throws.  Needs to be a gym rat this offseason and shoot, shoot, shoot!  I think he can be a real defensive stopper like Jamon Gordon eventually, but he needs to fight through screens.  Oh, and take it easy on the pre-game meal.  (Midseason Grade: D)
  • Terrell Bell (Incomplete) Didn’t see enough action to really grade him.  He will see an increased role next year, as he was pegged to fill Deron’s shoes.  He won’t be able to do that, but he is a lanky guy that shows promise on the defensive end.  Needs to improve his mid-range game (I know I’ve said that for everyone, but it is true). (Midseason Grade: C+)

Thoughts: To be fair, VT really did have an easy ACC schedule this year.  Of the top five ACC teams, the Hokies only played the other four just four times.  And they lost all four.  Against the bottom seven, the Hokies went 9-3. 

Slightly related, but weird, Tech went just 1-5 against the six teams they played just once.  Yet they were 8-2 against the five teams they played twice.

Still, I knew this was an easy schedule up front, and I predicted a 5-11 or 6-10 finish for the burnt orange and Chicago maroon.  You have to give Seth Greenberg and the guys a lot of credit for pulling out nine wins.  I don’t think there has been this much excitement around the program’s future since after the NIT Championship in 1995.  I cannot wait to see how much this team improves next season.  That said, let’s see if Tech can’t make some magic happen in the ACC Tournament and beyond.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, Home6 Comments

ACC Tournament | Hokies First Game Time Set

With the Hokies loss at clemson on Sunday, Tech will be the #4 seed in the ACC Tournament. Their first battle will be against either miami or nc state on Friday at 2 PM at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. In reality, the game probably won’t start until somewhere between 2:20 and 2:40. There is a game at noon and then a 20 minute break before the next game, Tech’s game, tips off.

I hate to ever say a uva win is a good thing, but their victory over maryland is a positive for the Hokies. With maryland’s loss to the hoos Sunday, they drop to the #6 seed and miami gets the #5 seed thanks to their win over maryland two weeks ago. This is good for Tech in terms of improving their NCAA Tournament resume since miami is ranked higher in the RPI (miami is ~27 while md is ~65) and VT has already beaten maryland twice so a third victory wouldn’t mean much. A win over miami will give the Hokies their first Top 50 RPI win and strengthen their hopes of making the Big Dance, though they may also have to knock off unc in the semi-finals.

Or, nc state may beat miami and you throw all this out the window. Wouldn’t that be super? The Hokies would have to play a 4-12 nc state team that has beaten VT six straight times, and even if Tech wins, it wouldn’t be a quality win. Let’s root for miami. c-a-n-e-s canes.

ACC Tournament Seedings:

  1. unc (1st round bye)
  2. duke (1st round bye)
  3. clemson (1st round bye)
  4. VT (1st round bye)
  5. miami
  6. maryland
  7. georgia tech
  8. wake forest
  9. florida state
  10. uva
  11. boston college
  12. nc state

ACC Tourney Schedule:

  1. Th – Noon - #9 fsu vs. #8 wake
  2. Th – 2 PM – #12 ncsu vs. #5 miami
  3. Th – 7 PM – #10 uva vs. #7 ga tech
  4. Th – 9 PM – #11 bc vs. #6 md
  5. Fr – Noon – #1 unc vs. Game 1 winner
  6. Fr – 2 PM – #4 VT vs. Game 2 winner
  7. Fr – 7 PM – #2 duke vs. Game 3 winner
  8. Fr – 9 PM – #3 clemson vs. Game 4 winner
  9. Sat – 1:30 PM – Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner
  10. Sat – 3:30 PM – Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner
  11. Sun – 1 PM – Championship Game

Posted in 2007-08 Season, ACC Tournament, Home9 Comments

Recap | clemson (10-6, 22-8) 70, VT (9-7, 18-12) 69

Box Score

For the second year in a row, the Hokies suffered a heartbreaking loss to clemson in the final ACC regular season game. Last year, it cost Tech an ACC regular season title. This year, it may have taken an invite to the Big Dance away from the Hokies. The Hokies will be the #4 seed in the ACC Tournament while clemson is #3. Both have byes.

Last year it was K.C. Rivers runner in the final 20 seconds that put clemson up by one, the winning margin. This year, Deron Washington tapped in an A.D. Vassallo miss with 9 seconds left to put the Hokies up 69-68. clemson was out of timeouts and had to rush the ball up the court. Tech did not have a chance to setup their half court defense and Vassallo committed his fifth foul reaching in to try and stop freshman Demontez Stitt with 3.8 seconds to go. Stitt calmly walked to the line and drained both free throws to put the tigers ahead. Deron tried a desperation three from 35 feet at the buzzer, but it did not find the mark.

The Hokies led by five with 2:54 to go, but then the wheels came off for about two minutes. VT let Stitt score an easy layup, then promptly turned the ball over on successive possessions leading to four more tiger points and a 66-65 lead. But Rivers was T’d up for taunting after the bucket. The Hokies shot four free throws on the next possession, but made just one. In fact, the Hokies were just 2/6 from the line in the final three minutes in addition to the critical turnovers. Those two things are why VT lost.

A.D. Vassallo had a terrific game for VT. He led all scorers with 23 and was clutch when Tech needed a bucket. He helped keep Tech in the game in the final 8 minutes of the first half. Jeff Allen and Deron were out with 2 fouls and clemson built up a 10 point lead thanks to four three-pointers from freshman Terrence Oglesby. Two of them were from well beyond NBA range. Dorenzo Hudson played well and had 7 points, all in the first half with Allen and Deron out.

In the second half, VT led by as many as 6, including an 11-0 run that took the Hokies from 7 down to up 58-54. However, the officiating seemed poor down the stretch, not calling fouls on two Allen dunk attempts yet calling the same thing against Tech on the other end.

Jeff Allen had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Deron came close with 15 and 8. The Hokies dominated the glass by a 46-31 margin.

VT also did a good job on defense, holding the tigers to just 43% from the field and 33% from three-point land. Actually, if you take out Oglesby’s 5/7 mark from long range, the tigers were just 2/14 on threes and Tech cleaned up most of the rebounds. The tigers were also a pathetic 11/21 from the line, but hit four big ones down the stretch while the Hokies were missing. Again, that’s the difference in this one, along with turnovers. Tech had 20 giveaways for the game to just 12 for the tigers.

This was not a game Hank Thorns will want to remember. He was just plain awful and really struggled with the tiger pressure D. The tigers pressed all game off every make, running a suffocating full court trap at VT. Thorns had 7 turnovers, easily his worst performance of the season.

Despite the loss, you have to proud of the effort the Hokies gave. They played well in this one and could have easily won in a hostile environment. Tech is really gelling at the right time. The only problem is this was a must win to make the NCAAs. Tech is 0-6 against RPI Top 50 teams, the kind of teams that will be in the NCAA Tournament. That doesn’t help your case. The Hokies now must win in the quarterfinals Thursday (likely against miami or maryland… root for it to be miami since Tech hasn’t beaten them yet and they have a much higher RPI) and then possibly need to win in the semifinals on Saturday against unc in all likelihood.

Niemo’s Notes:

  • I disagree with the announcers. I think Seth Greenberg did the right thing by going for a quick shot at the end of the game instead of holding it for the last shot. Seth called a timeout with 15 seconds left, and then Tech quickly went at the basket, leading to the go-ahead bucket. This allowed clemson time to go down and ultimately score. But you are hedging your bets by doing this. If Tech had missed, they would have had time to foul the terrible free throw shooting tigers and have another possession to try and tie or win the game. So I agree with Seth on this one.
  • As for why VT always looks better in the 2nd half, I wonder if it is great halftime adjustments on Seth’s part, or the fact that the guys that were out with 2 fouls most of the first half are back in. I have to assume it is a combination of the two. Seth is a very good in-game coach.
  • Tech loses so many minutes of their star players in the first half due to early foul trouble.
  • Dorenzo Hudson looked like the guy we saw at wake forest. He was aggressive going at the basket, and wasn’t afraid to pull it from outside. Look for him to be a key player next year once he’s had more practice time with the team.
  • Jeff Allen really does have great hands, as the announcers said. Or “suction cups”, as they called it. Gotta recruit hands. Nubs just won’t get it done.
  • Tech finished the 2nd half of ACC play at 4-4. Amazingly, this is worse than they did in the 1st half when they went 5-3. This marks the third time in four ACC seasons they have done worse in the 2nd half. Two years ago they were equally bad in both halves, going 2-6.
  • VT is now 31-33 in ACC regular season action, fourth best in wins over that time behind unc, duke and maryland. bc has a better win percentage though.
  • The Hokies finished 6-2 at home in ACC play and 3-5 on the road. Not bad for such a young team, especially considering how close Tech was to winning at wake and clemson.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, Game Recaps, Home1 Comment

Hokies Clinch First Round Bye in the ACC Tournament!!!

Do you believe in miracles?…  Yes!

The florida state seminoles just knocked off the miami hurricanes in overtime, 75-72.  miami had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation but missed a three-point shot.  With miami’s loss, the Hokies have clinched at least the #4 seed in the ACC Tournament next week and a first round bye.  The Hokies have earned a first round bye in three of their four years in the league.  Pretty good for a “football” school.  Tech won’t play until Friday next week.

With a win tomorrow, the Hokies enter the ACC Tourney as the #3 seed and likely clinch a NCAA Tournament berth regardless of how they do in the ACC Tournament, although a win in the quarterfinals on Friday would help erase any doubt about their place in the Big Dance.

Posted in 2007-08 Season, Home6 Comments

Preview | VT (9-6, 18-11) @ clemson (9-6, 21-8) | The Battle for 3rd | Sun., 1:30 PM

The Setup

In many respects, this game is for the we-aren’t-duke-or-unc championship of the ACC. The winner of this game gets the #3 seed in the ACC. The loser drops to 4th place.

The question is: Do the Hokies have another rabbit in the magic hat they’ve been using all season? This team, picked to finish 10th, is just one win away from 3rd. But this is a very difficult test. The tigers are 6-1 at home in ACC play, with the lone loss happening on a buzzer-beater in overtime by Ellington of unc. Had he missed that three, clemson would be 7-0 at home.

The Hokies that were around last year should have revenge on their mind. With an ACC regular-season title on the line on Senior Day in Blacksburg last March, the tigers upset the Hokies. Now its time for payback.

Also, Tech’s NCAA Tournament berth may be on the line. The Hokies are 0-5 against Top-50 teams in the RPI (unc, duke, gonzaga, butler, miami). clemson was #19 before their loss at georgia tech, so they will likely end up in the Top 30 of the RPI. This could give Tech a big time win, more so than the two wins against maryland. If Tech loses this game, they’ll have to reach the ACC Semis to even get back in the conversation.


  • All Time Series: VT 10-8
  • At clemson: 4-4
  • Since VT joined the ACC: clemson 3-2
  • Tech’s first ACC win came at home against the tigers on 1/15/05.
  • VT won at clemson on 2/8/06 75-74 in OT and lost on a buzzer-beater back in ’05.







2007-08 Record (ACC/Overall)





Points/Game (ACC/Overall)





Scoring Defense





Leading Scorers









Leading Rebounder





Assists Leader





Blocks Leader





Steals Leader






The tigers used to press their opponents from the time they got off the bus. In fact, they probably trapped the other team’s bus on the way to the arena. clemson, much like VT, has recruited great athletes and then tried to turn them into good basketball players. So pressing taps into that athletic advantage the tigers have. The tigers typically use an aggressive full-court trap and take chances to get steals.

This season, the tigers don’t press quite as much, possibly due to the addition of freshman Terrence Oglesby. He has the deepest range in the ACC, having attempted 178 threes (6 per game), many of which are from NBA range. In fact, 75% of his shots are three-pointers. But he is not a great athlete in the mold of the other tigers.

clemson’s show is run by senior Cliff Hammonds. He has seemingly been around forever. Actually, from a VT point of view, he has, since he’s been playing for clemson ever since the Hokies joined the ACC. Cliff averages 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals per game. His weakness, like most of the tigers, is free throws. Cliff shoots just 43% from the line. clemson as a team only hits 63%, worst in the ACC. If the game is close down the stretch, this could bite clemson in the rear.

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Posted in 2007-08 Season, Game Previews, Home6 Comments

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