Beating UVA Always Feels Good

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Forget about Virginia Tech’s record and postseason chances for a moment. The Hokies beat a favored UVA team on the road last night. That always feels good, particularly after last season, when two UVA victories over the Hokies probably kept Tech out of the NCAA Tournament.

It was ugly. You would have turned that game off last night if it were two other teams playing. To put it in historical perspective, last night was the first time the Hokies scored under 50 points in a win since they defeated George Washington 45-43 in Cassell Coliseum on February 4, 1997. The Hokies and GW played some games that were brutally tough to watch back in the old A-10 days (not to mention matchups with Temple and Fordham … thank goodness those days are gone).

If we look at the numbers though, last night’s game is hardly surprising. The Hokies and Hoos rank last and next-to-last in the ACC (conference games only) in scoring offense, and they rank first and second in scoring defense. They are first and third in field goal percentage defense. These two teams play very good defense, and are limited offensively. A low-scoring game was expected, though I think most would have expected it to be in the 50’s rather than the 40’s.

Still, despite Tech’s record, and despite the fact that it was so low scoring, last night’s win was easy to enjoy. Beating UVA in football is one thing. It’s supposed to happen, and it’s fun, but … nothing makes UVA fans madder than losing to Virginia Tech in basketball. In their eyes, it’s not supposed to happen, yet the teams have been dead even since ACC expansion.

Close Game, As Usual

Virginia Tech and UVA have faced each other 16 times since ACC expansion. The series is now tied at eight wins for each team, and the Hokies have narrowly outscored UVA 1,037-1,029 in that run. The Hoos won four of the first five meetings, but since then Tech has come out on top in seven of the last 11 games. Overall, it has been a very evenly matched rivalry since expansion.

I wouldn’t expect anything different the next time the teams meet. The second meeting of the season will take place in Blacksburg on Tuesday, February 21 at 9pm.