In the Thick of It

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The basketball games remaining in this exhilarating
inaugural ACC season for Virginia Tech are dwindling down to a precious few.
Three games remain for Tech to continue its long-shot bid to reach the NCAA
tournament. The Hokies have a basketball opportunity before them that hasn’t
been seen around these parts in quite a while. At a late February time when
Hokie Nation attention is usually turning towards Spring football prospects, the
Tech basketball team has diverted attention away from Tech’s signature sport.
It would seem that basketball again matters at Virginia Tech.

has placed itself in a position of post-season viability due to one of the more
remarkable weeks in Tech basketball history. Seth Greenberg’s team, looking
tired and perhaps worn out from the rigors of battling more talented ACC teams
nose to nose, reached deep down and discovered a reservoir of determination and
grit that enabled them to pull off a stunning upset of Duke in front of a wildly
enthusiastic Cassell crowd that did indeed evoke remembrances of decades ago.
The Duke win was a huge one that garnered national media attention piled atop
the conference-wide acclaim this plucky bunch of Hokies had already achieved by
playing like something other than the woebegone cellar-dwelling collection of
basketball stiffs so universally forecast prior to the season. These are the
kinds of wins that programs are built upon. Frank Beamer’s football program
had already been to a couple of bowl games but his program really took off early
in 1995 when Tech beat a high-profile Miami team. That victory proved to be the
springboard for something pretty big.

The basketball win over Duke can have the same effect, but
only if the program builds upon it. The early return was promising. Tech had
every reason to suffer a letdown against Miami last Saturday night, a team it
had already beaten in Coral Gables. This was a classic trap game, but Tech
instead demonstrated that despite all of the sour grapes screeching out of
Durham [and Roanoke], the Duke win was no fluke. Tech handled the Canes fairly
easily. While it didn’t garner the attention of the Duke win, the