One of the great events in all of sports, the ACC tournament, begins Thursday afternoon in Greensboro. This year’s event marks the 57th annual ACC tournament, and while Duke is the odds-on favorite to win, Maryland, Florida State and Virginia Tech all have different ideas. It should be a lot of fun, as usual.
HOKIES: Virginia Tech’s win in Atlanta on Saturday against Georgia Tech proved again how resilient and tough Seth Greenberg’s team can be. Playing without its No. 2 scorer, Dorenzo Hudson, the Hokies still out-gunned the highly skilled Yellow Jackets on their home court. Georgians Manny Atkins and Terrell Bell were just sensational, and of course, Malcolm Delaney was at his best. Now, with 23 wins and a two-game winning streak, the Hokies have some momentum going into this week’s tournament.
DELANEY: Congratulations are certainly in order for Delaney who was named a unanimous first-team All-ACC selection earlier today. Malcolm led the ACC in scoring this season (20.9 ppg) and seems to have regained his shooting touch. All the coaches in the ACC admire Delaney’s toughness and skill, but they also talk about his court IQ and his ability to understand the game, his sense on how to create opportunities for his teammates, and how to get to the free-throw line. Delaney is a terrific shooter and tough-as-nails Baltimore kid, but he’s also one of the most intelligent and basketball-savvy players the Hokies have had in recent years and we’ve seen that throughout this season.
HUDSON: Hudson was third-team All-ACC, which is a terrific accomplishment for ‘Zo. Since the start of the new year, beginning with the Seton Hall game in Cancun, Hudson has been one of Virginia Tech’s most consistent players and explosive scorers. A terrific leader and incredible teammate, he’s a key man for this year’s team. The bone bruise under the little toe on his right foot is an issue, however. The Hokies need Hudson wearing his Nike's, not a boot, this week. This kid has a high pain threshold, and if he can play, you can bet he will.
NCAA’s: The Hokies can certainly help their seeding in the NCAA Tournament with a strong showing in Greensboro. With a 23-7 record, including a 10-6 mark in the ACC, Tech is in great shape heading into this event, but a win or two would really enhance the Hokies’ seed if they’d like to get into the top half of the NCAA draw. Also, you never know what can happen in other conference tournaments, so a good showing starting Friday in Greensboro is critical. When all is said and done, look for the ACC to have seven teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
RADIO: ISP will have coverage of all 11 games of the ACC tournament, starting on Thursday afternoon with the Boston College-Virginia game. The games can be heard on Virginia Tech ISP Sports Network radio stations throughout the region, XM Satellite and Hokies All-Access, as well as our network of stations throughout the country. Again, this year, ISP will combine broadcast crews from different ACC schools for our coverage. You’ll hear some interesting combinations starting on Thursday afternoon from Greensboro.
MATCHUPS: The Hokies will face the winner of Thursday’s Wake Forest-Miami game on Friday afternoon. The Demon Deacons ended a four-game slide with a win at home over Clemson and clearly have one of the top players in the conference in Al-Farouq Amino. Lightning-quick guard Ishmael Smith can get to baseline to baseline as fast as anyone Tech has seen this season and Wake has a lot of size up front. Delaney had 31 points in the Hokies’ 87-83 win over Wake back on February 16th. In that game, Virginia Tech trailed by 11 points in the second half before rallying to win. Zo’s dunk in that game, over Smith, is a lasting memory of this 2009-10 season.
MIAMI: If the Hokies face the ‘Canes on Friday, it would be the third meeting of the year between the two squads. The Hokies won in Blacksburg 81-66 in January. The ‘Canes built a big halftime lead and won in Coral Gables 82-75. The Hokies defeated Miami in the 2008 and 2009 ACC tournaments. The Hokies also beat Wake Forest in the 2007 ACC tournament in Tampa.
BASEBALL: Tech baseball coach Pete Hughes stopped by the office recently for a bit. Hughes does a terrific “Marv Albert Imitation,” by the way, and he also has a baseball team on an eight-game winning streak after a four-game sweep of Long Island University this past weekend in Blacksburg. The Hokies' pitching was particularly impressive this weekend. Tech pitchers combined for 26.2 consecutive scoreless innings at one point during this past weekend’s series. ACC play begins this weekend when Maryland visits English Field.
TECH TALK LIVE!: We’ve added an additional Tech Talk LIVE! radio program to the schedule. Pencil in next Monday night, March 15 at 7 p.m. at Bull & Bones. Coach Greenberg will be there in person to talk about the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. Of course, we hope to see you all tonight at Bull & Bones from 7-8 for tonight’s weekly radio show.
For updates on Virginia Tech Athletics, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@hokiesports).