Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hokies Upset Unbeaten Deacs

Virginia Tech held on to beat No. 1 Wake Forest, 78-71, Wednesday at Joel Coliseum. It was the Hokies' second win over a No. 1 team in the last three years. Tech beat then-No. 1 North Carolina on Jan. 13, 2007, in Blacksburg. Tonight's win was obviously a huge one for the Hokies, who get their first NCAA resume padding win of the season. Tech's win also means there are no more unbeaten teams in D1 hoops.

Why this win was more impressive than the one over UNC:

- It was on the road. The Hokies went into a hostile environment to knock off the top team this time around. While I thought the Hokies lost their composure at times in the second half, they played solid defense at the end and weathered the storm.

- This Hokie team isn't that good. The 2007 team was experienced and deep. This team is young and finally learned how to win a big game. After so many close calls the final two seasons, it was a relief to finally win one of those.

Why this win was less impressive than the one over UNC:

- The Hokies didn't play well. Tech missed several free throws while trying to ice the game and seemed like they were trying to give this one away. Each Hokie took turns making a dumb decision on the offensive end in the second half that gave away points and gave momentum to the Deacs.

- Wake didn't play well either. The Deacs were out of their element in the first half as the Hokies made the game ugly (just the way we like it). Wake needed an amazing hot streak in the second half to wind up shooting just over 43 percent. Wake also committed twice as many turnovers (16) as it had assists (8).

A season-changing win?

The win tonight makes me feel this team has finally learned how to win. The Hokies have given away so many big games the last two seasons I almost forgot what it was like to get a big win in basketball.

Had the Hokies come from ahead to lose tonight, I would have considered this a lost season. We would have had to forget the NCAA and hope for the NIT. However, with a quality win like the one tonight and the quality of play in the ACC this year, the Hokies will have a strong NCAA resume if they can get to nine conference wins like they did last year.

Tonight's win not only feels good, but makes me feel good about the rest of the season.

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