Saturday, January 3, 2015

Can Tech tame its turnover woes against Virginia?

Virginia Tech has lost 16 straight times to Virginia. If Tech's turnover issues continue Sunday in Blacksburg, the streak likely will extend to 17.

The Hokies (9-5, 0-1 ACC) haven't turned it over in bushels every game - they've actually executed pretty well against the N.C. Centrals and Longwoods (no disrespect) on their schedule. But when the level of competition has risen, well....

Let's say for the sake of argument that Florida, Northwestern and Clemson are the three best teams Virginia Tech has faced this season. Here are some key stats from those three games:

vs. Florida, Dec. 1
Virginia Tech turnovers: 24 (4th-highest of season)
Florida points off turnovers: 28
Final score: Florida 73, Virginia Tech 44

at Northwestern, Dec. 4
Virginia Tech turnovers: 26 (season high)
Northwestern points off turnover: 29
Final score: Northwestern 70, Virginia Tech 45

at Clemson, Jan. 2
Virginia Tech turnovers: 25 (tied for 2nd-highest of season)
Clemson points off turnovers: 24
Final score: Clemson 63, Virginia Tech 54 (OT)

By the way, Virginia has forced 16.8 turnovers per game - middle-of-the-pack among Division I teams - and has induced 20 or more five times.

The Cavaliers (10-3) have surely seen film of the Hokies' turnover struggles and will likely spend a good portion of their ACC opener making Tech prove it can make plays under pressure.

Let's see how Tech responds this time.

Other games Sunday

Charlotte at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.
   The Conference USA opener for the Lady Monarchs (7-4), who fell 80-59 at Charlotte in their league debut a year ago. Game will be a homecoming for Lefty Webster (known as Danielle Webster during her days at Norfolk Christian), who leads the 49ers with 12.5 ppg.

William and Mary at UNC Wilmington, 2 p.m.
   The Colonial Athletic Association opener for both. Last year, the Seahawks ended the Tribe's season with a 67-65 decision in the CAA tournament's opening round. William and Mary (6-5) is coming off back-to-back three-point losses to Maine and Richmond.

Towson at JMU, 2 p.m.
   The CAA opener for both. The Dukes (9-2) have won 15 straight at the Convocation Center, the sixth-longest such streak in Division I.

Saint Louis at George Mason, 2 p.m.
   The Atlantic 10 opener for both. A win and the Patriots (8-5) would match their conference regular-season victory total for all of last season (1-15).

Richmond at Fordham, 3:30 p.m.
   The A-10 opener for both. The Spiders (8-4) enter on a five-game winning streak.

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