Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2008-09 Hoops Schedule Announced

The 2008-09 men's basketball schedule was announced today. The Hokies have bulked up their non-conference schedule after being one of the last teams left out of last year's NCAA Tournament.

Tech opens the season against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 14 in Blacksburg. It's the same Gardner-Webb team that upset Kentucky to start the 2007-08 season.

The Hokies will spend Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico, playing in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. All of the tournament's games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks, mostly ESPNU. Tech's first round opponent is Fairfield and they will play either Missouri or Xavier in the second round. The other side of the bracket includes Memphis, USC, Seton Hall and Chattanooga. The Hokies are definitely on the easier side of the bracket.

Unlike last year, when Tech opened against Elon the day before the football team hosted Florida State, there is no weekend where you can see the hoops team and football team in back-to-back days.

The Hokies' schedule gets more difficult after the Thanksgiving holiday. They face Wisconsin at home on Dec. 1 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. On Dec. 9, they travel to Athens, Ga., to face Georgia, the team that probably burst their bubble last season by winning the SEC tournament.

Tech opens ACC play on Jan. 4 at Duke on Fox Sports Net. The Hokies play three home games during Christmas Break. However, I fully expect the students to be in Cassell Coliseum in full force when they play UVa on Jan. 10. It's a Saturday and it's the rival so the house better be packed.

However, the Hokies also have home games against Richmond (Jan. 14) and BC (Jan. 17) during the break. The BC game is also during a three-day weekend, so I'm not sure how attendance is going to be for that one.

The home stretch of Tech's schedule is brutal. They have a road game against Clemson, home games against Duke and North Carolina and a road trip to Tallahassee to close ACC play against Florida State. Going 2-2 over that stretch would be a success.

ACC Opponents
Play Twice: BC, Clemson, Duke, FSU, UVa
Home Only: GT, UNC, NC State
Road Only: Maryland, Miami, Wake Forest

The Hokies play two up-and-comers (Miami and Wake) once, but it's on the road. They also face the odds-on-favorite to cut down the nets once, but fortunately it's at home. Last year, VT's conference schedule was fairly easy. This year's is slightly more difficult playing Duke twice.

This year's ACC tournament will be held in Atlanta, Ga.

Click here for the full schedule

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