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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, January 12, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

The Hokie Hotline was live from Beamers restaurant in Christiansburg, Virginia. Roth started the show by re-capping some of the Hokie Headlines of the week. Today the NCAA Management Council voted down by a 17-7 margin the proposal to allow conferences with 11 teams to hold a conference championship game. The ACC is currently slated to field 11 teams next year, with the inclusion date of Boston College still yet undecided.

The commissioners of the Big East, Conference USA, and ACC met this past weekend to discuss the changes to each conference, and Conference USA indicated that they would allow Cincinnati and Louisville to leave CUSA at the end of this year if they were reimbursed for their lost NCAA menís basketball units (money). If a deal can be reached whereby that would occur, Boston College would be free to join the ACC for the 2004 football season and a conference championship game would take place. Roth indicated that a decision should be forthcoming in the next couple of days.

(Editorial Note: the media is reporting that the conferences could not come to an agreement, and BC will enter the ACC in 2005-2006, not 2004-2005. See today's News and Notes update.)

Tech basketball senior Bryant Matthews was 1 of 30 seniors selected as a finalist for the Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award, which goes to the top male senior in Division I basketball. VT will take on the Mountaineers of West Virginia Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum. WVU offensive leader Drew Schifino has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. Finally, a 10 foot 1800 pound bronze Hokie Bird, donated by the Roanoke Hokie Club, has arrived at the Cassell.

Seth Greenberg

Roth began the interview portion of the show, talking with Greenberg about the dismissal of WVUís offensive leader Drew Schifino. Greenberg indicated that he felt sorry for both Drew and Coach Beilein, as itís a tough thing to have to go through for both individuals. Greenberg indicated that although Drew was a great part of the WVU team, and an excellent student (3.6 GPA last fall), good chemistry is a very important part of a successful season, and WVU still has a number of players that have played very well.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and asked the coach what security measures the WVU administration has taken to protect Hokie fans and player who will travel to the game on Wednesday. Coach Greenberg said that he really hadnít even thought about it until now. He said that he certainly hoped there wouldnít be any problems, and indicated that the WVU team and fans will definitely be in the game and excited. Roth jumped in and stated that WVU does a good job, and will have the crowd under control. Greenberg then made the quote of the night, "Theyíve gotta be out of couches."

Roth brought up the news that Bryant Matthews was included as one of thirty seniors as a finalist for the Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award. Greenberg said that Matthews was a pleasure to coach. Bryant is relentless, really cares about winning, heís the hardest worker, wants to win, has great academics, and is all-round a pleasure to be around. Additionally, Monday was Bryantís 22nd birthday (Happy Birthday Bryant!). Roth indicated that Bryant said he wanted a win for his birthday. He also pointed out to the coach that it seemed Matthews was much more mature this year. Greenberg agreed, and qualified that he still tried to do too much in the 2nd half against Pitt, but that overall he was a leader and a great person.

E-mail from Mike in Richmond asked about Bryan Randallís progress in learning the plays and what was Bryan's primary role with the team. Coach responded by indicating that Bryan really brings some intangibles to this basketball team, in that he can help guys learn how to prepare, watch film, compete, and provide leadership. He said the Randall has an incredible work ethic and heís a leader. He hasnít played competitively in three years, so his skills are still evolving. Roth pointed out that with the loss of Jamon Gordon to injury, Randall will see the opportunity to play a little more this year, than he might next year with the return of Gordon and Dixon and the addition of Holt and Cook. Greenberg agreed, but indicated that Randall is just enjoying the opportunity and having fun, while also respecting the game and working hard.

Roth brought up the recent play of Zabian Dowdell, who is shooting 44% from the floor, has 43 assists and 19 turnovers. Zabian is averaging 19 points per game. Greenberg admitted that Zabian was playing at a high level, although he did have a push last week, but that heís playing with confidence, works hard, and practices at game speed. He said he would like Zabian to be a little more aggressive.

Roth asked Greenberg to quantify the improvement he has seen in his team from the start of the season. Greenberg said that Zabian is light years ahead of where he began, that heís playing with a lot more confidence. Roth was quick to point out that if the season ended tomorrow, he would probably be part of the Big East all rookie team. Greenberg said that itís a long season, and the areas that Zabian needs to improve include fighting for position, and that playing defense has been a big adjustment. Greenberg pointed out that the season has been a little frustrating, because they really havenít had a single practice with the entire team, due to injuries.

In looking forward to Wednesdayís matchup with West Virginia, Roth asked Greenberg to talk a little about the WVU style of play. Greenberg described WVUís as a team, which splits time between a 1-3-1 and a man formation. They play very high and wide and have shot blocker in the middle, with their goal to force you into the middle of the court. They play a similar set as VT, but their formations are a little higher and wider than VTís. Greenberg added that they are very good at disrupting a teamís passing lanes.

Roth pointed out that after this Wednesdayís game, WVU will visit Tech in February, and that may be the last meeting between the teams for a while. He asked Coach Greenberg to comment on how he approaches scheduling, and why a team like WVU wouldnít be on the schedule. Greenberg indicated that you have to schedule based upon the bigger picture of your team, and what goals you're trying to accomplish in the long run. He indicated that while it may be in WVUís best interest to schedule Tech out of conference, itís really not something that fits into Techís overall goals. Greenberg said that they want the marquee matchups, but they also want those matchups that will pay some dividends in recruiting. Games against former conference foes in the Big East are of interest to this program, but probably the teams in the larger markets. Greenberg indicated that he would like to schedule a game at Madison Square Garden, we have been also talking to Tennessee, and travel is a big factor. Tech will schedule tough teams, but they are also not going to over schedule our team either.

Roth asked about scheduling with recruiting in mind, by asking the coach what his pitch is when he goes into a recruitís living room. Greenberg indicated that he first has the benefit of presenting a world-class university experience, with a beautiful campus, and a great education. Additionally, now we have the allure of playing in the ACC. He also uses his playing style as a topic. Greenberg admitted that his coaching staff realizes that itís going to take 3 or 4 solid years recruiting to re-build this program.

Roth pointed out that Tech has a future star sitting out right now in Justin Holt from Tacoma, Washington. Greenberg agreed and indicated that Justin has been impressive in practice. Today was Justinís best practice, and heís a very skilled player, who has so many skills that sometimes he tries to use them all at once, and itís not as effective. He said that Justin has great lower body strength, is very athletic, and just needs to let the game come to him.

Roth mentioned that Tech recruit Marquie Cooke from Hampton Roads was also playing at a high level. Greenberg said the other day he had 37points, 7-8 assists, and that he played very well against Georgia Techís highly touted recruit Buck Fredrick. He said that Cook was very competitive. Greenberg feels that the future for Techís perimeter next year is very bright.

Roth closed the show by re-capping some of the key points already discussed regarding the WVU match-up this Wednesday.

-- Phil


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