Thursday, March 3, 2011

ACC Tournament - end of an era at Virginia Tech?

When the ACC Tournament gets underway today at the Greensboro Coliseum, Virginia Tech may be going to battle for the final time under head coach Beth Dunkenberger. Prior to the season, Hokies athletics director Jim Weaver said he wanted to see "measured improvement" before considering an extension of a  Dunkenberger contract set to expire after this season. Last year the Hokies went 15-15 and 4-10 in the ACC. This year - 11-18, 1-13 ACC, a record that includes a 50-point loss at Duke, a 35-point loss at Virginia and a 21-point defeat at home to today's opponent, No. 5 seed Georgia Tech (21-9, 9-5).

You have to believe the Hokies will lay it all on the line against the Yellow Jackets at 11 a.m. today, playing not just for their coach but also with the fearless, we'll-show-them abandon that can infuse a team that believes everyone expects them to lose. The problem is, even when the Hokies have been at their best, it hasn't been enough against teams the caliber of Georgia Tech. If the improbable happens, Virginia Tech will advance to meet No. 4 Maryland on Friday at 11 a.m. Otherwise, the Hokies will return to Blacksburg and wait for what at this point seems like an inevitable coaching transition.

Also in the ACC Tournament today, No. 8 Virginia (16-14, 5-9) will take on No. 9 Wake Forest (14-16, 5-9) at 3 p.m. The Cavaliers won the regular-season meeting 73-46 and is 61-3 lifetime against Wake. But the Deacs come in on something of a roll as they won their last two games, the most recent a 100-94 overtime decision over N.C. State. Also, most of these Cavaliers have little or no winning postseason experience. It will be interesting to see how they react in a game in which, unlike the Hokies, the expectations are that they should win.

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