Checking In From Columbus

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Wow, what a night from Nationwide Arena. I admit it. Late in the second half, I thought Virginia Tech was done. They weren’t scoring, and they weren’t forcing the tempo. It was going to be a long, cold walk back to the hotel. But somewhere in those last seven minutes, the Hokies found a way to win. A total of 32 teams still have a chance to win the National Championship, and the Hokies are one of them. It’s fun to still have something to play for in the middle of March.

Okay, so the Hokies aren’t likely to run the table and go to Atlanta for the Final Four. But on March 17, 2007, the Hokies are still playing, while approximately 90% of the nation’s teams have been eliminated, or are playing in the NIT. That’s pretty good, no matter how you slice it.

I can’t remember the number of times I put my head in my hands and just shook my head during this game. There were many frustrating moments, from the missed dunks by Coleman Collins, to missed point-blank looks by basically everybody. But in the end, all of those plays are going to be forgotten.

Speaking of Collins, he played quite a game, despite the two missed dunks. Did you see the line posted by Illinois center Shaun Pruitt? Pruitt came into the game averaging 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, but he managed just six points and four boards on Friday night against Collins. Not only did Collins school him defensively, but he attacked Pruitt on offense, getting the big man in foul trouble. Pruitt played just 20 minutes in the game.

I’m pleased that I’ll get to wear my Jamon Gordon jersey for at least one more game. And boy, did Gordon come through in the clutch, or what? He had seven steals for the second time in the last three games. He was all over the place in the final minutes, along with Deron Washington.

One thing that gets mentioned about the Tech football program is the so-called “love affair” that the fans have with the team. It looks like that could be extending to Tech’s small basketball traveling sect as well. During the first half of the Southern Illinois-Holy Cross game, Seth Greenberg and his players returned to the arena to a standing ovation from Hokie fans. Greenberg and the players went into the crowd and visited with family members, friends and fans.

Markus Sailes, Jamon Gordon, Deron Washington and Zabian Dowdell all spent a considerable amount of time standing in the section right behind the Holy Cross bench signing autographs and taking pictures with their adoring fans.

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