Monday, February 23, 2009

NIT-picking Hokie Basketball

Considering the depths this program was at prior to Seth Greenberg's arrival in Blacksburg, it seems kind of trite to complain about the Hokies going to the NIT for the second consecutive season this year. But since complaining is kind of my shtick, I'm going to do it anyway.

Tech lost at the buzzer (again) Saturday to FSU, 67-65. It was a typical Virginia Tech game. The Big Three One and Overrated Two were the only three players in double figures, the Hokies failed to answer the bell, then fought back to make it close.

This year's Hokie team has been able to play to the level of its competition more so than any team I can remember. How can the same team that beat the No. 1 team in the country on its home court be taken to the final minute by Georgia Tech and later get curb-stomped by UVa, the two worst teams in the league? How can this team constantly get beat on last-second baskets?

Simply, I don't think this team is as tough as they'd like you to believe. Yeah, they play tough defense and will work hard on the boards, but as far as mental toughness, I just don't see it. Exhibit A would be Jeff Allen's gesture toward the Maryland student section last week.

This Hokie team should be an NCAA team. They have the talent. When you have two guys who are as talented as Allen and AD Vassallo are supposed to be and you combine them with a guy who will probably go down as the best point guard to come through Virginia Tech in Malcolm Delaney, you should be able to win enough games to make The Tournament.

But this team has failed to close the deal. It's lost five of its last seven games and is about to face the top four teams in the league standings, three of which have already beaten them this season.

It's over. Because this team has failed time and again to get quality wins other than the one over Wake, it is doomed to the NIT. An 8-8 ACC record is not going to get this team into the Tournament. If it can win three of the next four games, giving them three quality wins and a 9-7 record, it's possible. But there is no way that's going to happen. But I'm sure all four games will be close. The Hokies are good at doing that.

Praying for Ryan Miller

Speaking of games that both define a team and ruin a season, my Sabres won't be making the playoffs this year. Not having a rooting interest in the playoffs sucks, but at least they get me through June in the battle against college football's offseason.

Goff shots, nothing but goff shots

Brendon de Jonge continued his solid start to the PGA Tour season with a Top 10 finish over the weekend. With de Jonge and Johnson Wagner already succeeding on Tour and Jurrian van der Vaart starting his post-VT career, we may start to see more Hokies at the top of leaderboards in the near future.

VT hockey team wins conferece

The club-level Virginia Tech hockey team won its conference tournament over the weekend. The Hokies beat Duke 5-2 to capture the ACCHL Tournament. The Hokies have won five of their last six games. Tech may or may not be competing in its regional tournament for the right to make nationals. We don't know and I find the final Southeast regional rankings to be a little odd.


- Annette thinks Macho Harris is going to be one of the toughest players to replace in the ACC next season.

- Scalp 'Em has the opponent's view of the FSU win over VT.

- BCO was too busy gambling (OK, it was for charity) to watch Tech's loss.


Sean Hogan said...

What are your thoughts on the actual hit Gomez put on Miller? I think that if the NFL is going to put QB's in skirts, the NHL should do so with goalies.

Terrible break for the Sabres...but you can always root for the Caps in the playoffs!

furrer4heisman said...

Honestly, I had no problem with Gomez's hit. It looked like an accident.

I have a problem that none of our players stood up for Miller. You can't touch the goalie and go unpunished. We've been a finesse team for a while now. It's the reason we had the best team in the league and went out in the conference finals.

The columnist in the Buffalo News hit it on the head. Back when Hasek was goalie and we had Rob Ray, no one would even consider trying to make the kind of play Gomez did on Miller.

Now, we're stuck with the worst back-up goalie in the league between the pipes every night.

furrer4heisman said...

And as much as I enjoy watching Ovie and the Caps, Chicago will be the team I root for in the playoffs. I have a huge man-crush on Patrick Kane.

Hokie Guru said...

BCO and I will be at the game on Saturday against dook; we will win.

I will likely be designated driver for the event at Bulls and Bones.

Sounds like you and I had the exact same thoughts on Hokie basketball.

Hokie Guru said...

Chicago's captain went to my undergraduate alma mater... Fighting Sioux of North Dakot have a great hockey team and program.