Archive | NCAA Tournament

Recap | #5 Hokies 54 #12 illinois 52

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Was that game more surprising than any other win this season, including the carolina win at the dean dome? You could make a great case for it.

The Hokies won a Big Ten slugfest and stole one from the illini tonight, 54-52. At the 8:18 mark of the second half, illinois was poised to execute the biggest upset of the first round (from a seeding perspective). They led the Hokies 47-34 after Brian Randle converted the second free throw of a 1 and 1. But, the Hokies stepped up the defensive pressure by going to a full court press. From that point on, Virginia Tech outscored the illini 20-5. Add to that, the Hokies scored the final 12 points of the game. The illini’s last point was at the 4:29 mark. We scored 37% of our points in the final 8 minutes of the game. Yes, Deron had the hot hand in the end, but we still missed easy buckets and free throws down the stretch. The difference was that the Hokies had a lot more scoring opportunities due to the defensive pressure. It forced turnovers and changed the pace of the game.

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Posted in 2006-07 Season, Game Recaps, Games, Home, NCAA Tournament5 Comments

In Game Commentary | v. #12 illinois


HOKIES 54 illini 52

Second Half
0:17.6 VT 54 ill 52 | Make your friggin free throws, please!?!?!

0:37.7 VT 53 ill 52 | I can barrelly tyyype …

1:28 ill 52 VT 50 | Ok .. going into cardiac arrest now. I don’t know if I can finish the commentary.

2:15 ill 52 VT 50 | YES! YES! YES! I BELIEVE!

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Posted in 2006-07 Season, Games, Home, In Game Commentary, NCAA Tournament0 Comments

Gameday Thoughts

  • Dick Vitale picked illinois to beat us thanks to their devastating D.
  • We’ll see how VT reacts to being in the Big Dance. That was their goal all season – to make the NCAA Tournament. Now that they’ve done that, will they have the fire and intensity it takes? I think Tech will since they are a veteran team and won’t just rest on making the tourney. The Hokie guards are very competitive any time they step on the floor and need to set the tone for everyone else.
  • Nerves: illinois is a very veteran team and everyone that they play has at least been in uniform for a NCAA Tournament game. Most of their players have played in several tourney games. Tech, on the other hand, does not have a single player that has ever played in a tourney game. We’ll see if VT comes out shaky and tight. Hopefully, that won’t lead to an early deficit since Tech has struggled to come from behind this year. I don’t see VT being overly nervous though since they have four upperclassmen starting that have played in ACC Tournaments and even a Big East Tournament (other than Deron). [Heck, I’m nervous and it is 8 hours to game time… I can’t concentrate on anything at work]
  • nc state: The illini are similar to nc state, but with a much better defense and a slightly worse offense. We will see if Tech has learned from their three battles with the wolfpack. Tech must force the illinois big men to shoot farther from the hoop than nc state had to, and defend the three well. If illinois is able to score with ease and shoot a high percentage, I don’t see Tech winning this game. Fouling their big men over giving up easy buckets isn’t a bad idea since the illini don’t shoot free throws well.
  • On offense, the fast break is the key to the Hokies. If they can get buckets in transition, I like our chances. However, getting buckets in the half court set will be tough and illinois rebounds very well on the defensive glass. I really hope Dowdell can hit two or more three-pointers in this game, and hopefully Vassallo has his hot shooting continue.
  • Defend the illinois three, limit offensive rebounds, and get out on the break, and I see a Hokie win.
  • Pulse of the Fans: I think a lot of VT fans are skeptical about how the Hokies will do tonight. Kind of odd for a 5 seed against a 12, but I guess that is what the nc state losses have done to us. What was it they said in Animal House? I recommend drinking heavily?

Posted in Featured Columns, Home, NCAA Tournament2 Comments

Preview | #12 illinois (23-11) vs #5 VT (21-11) | Friday, 3/16 | 7:10 PM | Columbus, OH

The Hokies return to the big dance for the first time since 1996 on Friday night. They will be the favored team when they take on national power illinois in a First Round match-up. It seems odd to think that Virginia Tech is 7 seeds higher than illinois, but that will be the case when the two teams take the floor on Friday in Columbus, OH. illinois played for the National Title just two years ago, losing to unc by a 75-70 score.

Virginia Tech played in Columbus, OH last season when they played ohio state in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. BUT, that game was played on ohio state’s home court, Value City Arena, while this game is being played at Nationwide Arena where the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL play. illinois did not play in Columbus this year against ohio state.

The Hokies are 0-2 all time against the illini with both games at neutral sites in exotic locales. The first meeting was in the Puerto Rico Shootout Championship Game in 1994. illinois beat VT 85-75. Remember, that was the Tech team that won the NIT. The two teams met again two seasons later in 1996, this time in Hawaii. The illini waxed the Hokies that time 92-68.

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Posted in Featured Columns, Game Previews, Games, Home, NCAA Tournament2 Comments

Brick of the Game | Same Name Game

Redshirt Freshman Red skin-tight bathing suit
Teammate busted for DUI Busting out of D cups
Works the post Works with David Hasselhoff
Team eliminated in 2nd round of the Big Dance in 2003 Appeared in Baywatch reunion Hawiian Wedding in 2003
Champaign, Illinois Champaign after appearing
nude in Playboy

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Virginia Tech NCAA Tournament History

2007 was the Hokies 8th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Tech is 6-8 overall in the tournament.

Broken down by round:
Round of 64/48/40 (4-2)
Round of 32 (1-5)
Sweet 16 (1-0)
Elite Eight (0-1)
Final Four (0-0)
National Championship (0-0)

Notice a trend here?

Virginia Tech’s highest seeding came in 2007 at #5.

Here is a look back at each appearance.

2007 (1-1) – #5 Seed – West Region, Lost in Round of 32
The Hokies played their first and second round games in Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide Areana against two teams from the state of Illinois.

In the first round, Tech came back from 13 down with 8 minutes to play to beat the illini of illinois 54-52. Deron Washington hit the game winning shot from 10 feet. For more detail, check out the game recap.

In the second round, Virginia Tech played southern illinois for the second time in the 2006-07 season. Just like the first meeting, the Hokies went down to the salukis. This time by a score of 63-48. The salukis would go on to lose in the Sweet 16 to the #1 seed kansas jayhawks. For more detail, check out the game recap.

1996 (1-1) – #9 Seed – Midwest Region, Lost in Round of 32
The Hokies got hosed with the 9 seed after being ranked for almost the entire year, but they proved the critics wrong by beating 8 seed wisconsin-green bay in the first round, 61-48, in Dallas. The second round loss to eventual champion kentucky was by the score of 84-60.

Troy Manns set the team record for most assists in a NCAA Tournament game with 8 against kentucky.

Manns helped the 1996 Hokies set a team record for the most assists in a NCAA Tournament game with 16.

1986 (0-1) – #7 Seed – Southeast Region, Lost in Round of 64
Tech took on 10 seed villanova in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and lost 71-62. villanova would lose to georgia tech in the next round.

1985 (0-1) – #9 Seed – East Region, Lost in Round of 64
The Hokies lost to 8 seed temple 60-57 in Hartford, Connecticut. temple would lose to georgetown in the next round.

The field was 64 teams in 1985.

1980 (1-1) – #7 Seed – Mideast Region, Lost in Round of 32
After trailing by 18 points at halftime of their first round game against the 10th seeded hilltoppers of western kentucky, the Hokies rallied to win 89-85 in OT. Even more impressive is that the Hokies won this game on western’s home court in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The 89 points is the most points a Virginia Tech team has scored in the NCAA Tournament. Two days later, Tech lost to Isiah Thomas and 2 seed indiana, 69-58. indiana lost in the Sweet 16 to purdue. The next year, the hoosiers would go on to win the national title.

The field was 48 teams in 1980. Seeds 1 through 4 all received first round byes.

1979 (1-1) – #8 seed – Midwest Region, Lost in Round of 32
After a first round win over 9 seed jacksonville, 70-53, in Lawrence, Kansas, the Hokies took on Larry Bird and 1 seed indiana state two days later, only to lose 86-69. Tech kept the score close until two minutes left in the first half. indiana state ran off an 11-0 run and maintained that lead throughout the second half. At times Tech crept back to a nine or ten point deficit, but they could never get any closer after that 11-0 run. Bird and the sycamores made it to the Championship Game against Magic and the spartans that year.

The field was 40 teams in 1979, as seeds 1 though 6 all received first round byes.

1976 (0-1) – Lost in Round of 32
The Hokies squared off against 10th ranked western michigan in South Bend, Indiana. Tech held a 10 point lead until western michigan switched to a zone defense. The Virginia Tech offense could not contend with it, and also decided not to stall (no shot clock back then). The broncos stormed back to win the game in OT, 77-67. western michigan lost in the Sweet 16 vs. marquette.

By the way, there was no seeding before the 1979 tournament, and the field was 32 teams.

1967 (2-1) – Lost in Elite Eight
Just before the “Summer of Love”, the Hokies advanced farther than no other team has gone before (or after). Granted, the field was smaller (32 teams), but Virginia Tech collected two wins to get to the Elite Eight, which is more than any other Virginia Tech basketball team in history.

The Hokies defeated toledo in Lexington, Kentucky 82-76, and then indiana in Evanston, Illinois, 79-70. And then in the Elite Eight, Virginia Tech lost a heartbreaker to dayton in OT, 71-66. The flyers lost to ucla in the national championship game.

Three Virginia Tech NCAA records were posted in the ’67 Tournament:

Glen Combs holds the team record for the most points in a NCAA Tournament game with 29 against indiana.

Ken Talley set the team record for most rebounds in a NCAA Tournament game with 19 against toledo.

The 1967 team also holds the team record for most rebounds in a NCAA Tournament game with 55 against indiana. ran a great story on the ’67 team for its 40th anniversary.

Posted in Games, More, NCAA Tournament, Stats0 Comments

The Balla Report 3/14/07

Think a run to the Final Four is a long shot for the Hokies? Maybe not as long as you might think. Let’s take a closer look. The Hokies enter the Big Dance with a record of 21-11 and are seeded fifth in the West Regional. Since 2000, four teams with double digit losses have advanced to the Final Four – those being unc (18-13) and wisconsin (18-13) both in 2000, maryland (21-10) in 2001 and indiana (20-11) in 2002.

How have #5 seeds fared recently you might ask? The aforementioned ’02 hoosier team advanced to the final game, before losing to maryland, as a fifth seed. In 2000 the florida gators also made the national finals as a 5 seed. Two season’s ago michigan state made a Final Four run as a 5, and in 1996, the last year the Hokies were in the tournament, fifth seeded mississippi st. made the Final Four where they lost to eventual champ kentucky (just like Tech) in the national semi-finals.

So as you can see, it could happen. The key is to take it one game at a time. In the words of Jimmy Valvano, “survive and advance”.


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Posted in Home, NCAA Tournament, The Balla Report1 Comment

Bowled Over by the Big Dance

Bowl games suck. I love to attend them because there is nothing better than a party with 20,000 Hokies, but the actual sporting event is completely meaningless. To be clear, I think it is a great accomplishment for a team to reach a bowl game, especially a New Years Day or BCS bowl game. But from a fan perspective, win or lose, who really cares? If you are not playing for the national championship, it just doesn’t have the same excitement as the Big Dance.

I’ve been to 12 bowl games and 2 NCAA basketball tournaments in my lifetime:
1) First Round in 1997 when 13 seed chattanooga, coached by VT alum Mack McCarthy (who is now an assistant for Ricky Stokes at ecu), upset 4 seed georgia (coached by Tubby Smith), and
2) 2006 Regionals in Washington D.C. where mason won it all

If I take my O&M glasses off, those two sporting events blow the doors off all the bowl games I’ve been to, minus the BCS Championship in 1999. I don’t consider myself a spoiled Hokie football fan. I attended Tech during Coach Beamer’s worst 4 years – no bowl games, and my senior year we were 2-8-1. Like I said, it is a great accomplishment to go to a bowl game, and if you go to the right one, you can party like Michael Irvin (not that I condone that), but the game itself is a letdown compared to a critical match-up during the regular season. Not the case with the NCAA Tournament. Here’s why.

1. You are Born Again
Saturday evening was the pits for Tech basketball. Every fan was frustrated, tired, and worn out by the roller coaster ride put on by this basketball team. But then 6pm rolled around on Selection Sunday and our outlook changed (for at least five days). It’s a new life for Tech basketball … we are playing for the national championship, and it feels damn good. I don’t ever get this feeling on BCS Selection Sunday. Do you? Instead, you are always pondering those what if scenarios instead of looking forward to that tilt with louisville in the Gator Bowl. The NCAA Tournament helps you heal those wounds from the regular season and enables you to look forward. Who gives a flip that we lost to marshall now?

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Posted in Featured Columns, Home, NCAA Tournament1 Comment

Anything Can Happen


“The poster child for this “anything can happen” tournament? Try Virginia Tech, the 5-seed in the West, which swept two games against North Carolina and won at Duke, but also lost three times to North Carolina State and suffered losses to MAC straggler Western Michigan (neutral site) and at Marshall, which just fired its coach.”

Read the entire article …

Posted in 2006-07 Season, Games, NCAA Tournament0 Comments

Breaking Down the Bubble | Lessons from 2007

The ACC got 7 teams in this season, which is the first time ever for the storied conference, however georgia tech was the only bubble team to make it. clemson and f$u were shut out. The jackets clearly played their way in over the last couple weeks of the season with key wins over unc and boston college. Even with their loss to wake in the first round of the ACC tournament, their selection was not that surprising. clemson being left out was really not astonishing either. fsu’s snub seemed to create the most controversy.

Let’s take a look at some of the key factors in determining the bids across the years since the ACC expanded to 11 teams.

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Posted in Featured Columns, Home, NCAA Tournament0 Comments NCAA Pool – Sign up now!

Sign up for the NCAA pool has now begun.

You can get to it here. If there is a problem, the ID is 572707 and the password is cassell.

The pool is for bragging rights, and we might put the winner’s name up on the site. It depends who you root for.

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VT’s Record Against NCAA Tourney Teams

The Hokies were a very impressive 8-4 against teams in the NCAA Tournament this season. This is much better than the 4-9 record illinois had against teams in the field (and explains very well the two teams’ seedings). For a look at how illinois did against tournament teams, Click and Scroll Down.

The lone negative, is that the Hokies were 1-2 against out-of-conference teams and 0-2 at neutral sites against NCAA Tourney teams. However, those two losses were early in the season before Tech got their offensive flow going. One of those losses was to potential second round opponent southern illinois. Here’s the results:

VT vs. NCAA Tourney Opponents


11/26 – #4 southern illinois (neutral site)

L 64-69

12/03 – #11 gwu (neutral site)

L 62-63

12/06 – #12 odu

W 72-55

1/06 – at #6 duke

W 69-67 (OT)

1/13 – #1 unc

W 94-88

1/21 – #4 maryland

W 67-64 (OT)

1/28 – at #10 georgia tech

W 73-65

2/3 – at #7 boston college

L 59-80

2/10 – #4 uva

W 84-57

2/13 – at #1 unc

W 81-80 (OT)

2/21 – #7 boston college

W 79-62

3/1 – at #4 uva

L 56-69

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Need NCAA Tournament Tickets?

Check out our sponsor,, for NCAA Tournament Tickets.

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Hokies #5 seed, Will play illinois in Columbus, Ohio

Virginia Tech will face the illini of illinois on Friday, March 16 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

This is the Hokies first trip to the dance since the 1996 season, when Tech made it into the second round.

Much more to come about the tournament and this first round match-up on

Posted in Around the World (Wide Web), Featured Columns, Home, More, NCAA Tournament0 Comments

VT Seed Predictions

Surfing the internet,’s Gary Parrish (NCAA Tourney expert) had Virginia Tech as a #5 seed, while’s bracketologist (who I won’t name because he stiffed on doing an article for us) had the Hokies as a #6 seed in the West. This seems about right to me. A #5 seed is the best VT can hope for, while a #6 is the most likely, and a #7 seed is probably worst case scenario (maybe #8, but I doubt it).

Possible opponents could be stanford, purdue, vcu, gonzaga, drexel, indiana, winthrop, syracuse, new mexico state, michigan state, missouri state, davidson (Dell Curry’s son), kansas state (Bob Huggins’s tough love), or texas tech (Bob Knight).

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