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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, January 26, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

The Hokie Hotline was live from Beamerís Restaurant in Christiansburg. Bill Roth opened the show by reviewing the news of the day:

  • Virginia Tech campus was closed due to inclement weather today.
  • Latest AP Womenís poll have VT ranked at #23
  • VT men's and women's basketball teams will both face UCONN this week. The women's game will be on Tuesday at 7 pm at the Cassell, and the men's game will be on Wednesday at the Cassell. UCONNís menís and womení teams are both ranked, at #6 and #3 respectively.
  • Fans are requested to wear orange to the womenís game, and the most spirited fan will receive a $250 gift certificate to the University Bookstore.
  • The menís game will be broadcast on ESPN Plus at 7 pm on Wednesday, and the womenís game can be seen on Hokie TV at on Tuesday at 7 pm.
  • Despite the terrible weather, work continues on the west side of Lane Stadium. Currently the large footer holes are being drilled.

Seth Greenberg

Roth and Greenberg began the interview portion of the show by discussing the rather long trip back from New Jersey after Saturdayís game. The team was not able to land in Roanoke due to weather, and was re-routed to Richmond, where they had to take a bus back to campus. The trip was a long 14.5 hours. Although the trip back was difficult, the team still practiced on Sunday, thereby only missing 1 scheduled practice.

Roth asked Greenberg if he had time to watch the tape of the Seton Hall game. Greenberg responded that, after arriving home at 7 pm, and a nice dinner with his family, he did watch the game film. After spending about 3-4 hours watching the tape, it was edited and shown to the players Sunday morning. Some of the things that came out of the film are that Tech continues to improve, but they still have plenty to work on. We are still having trouble in defensive transition.

Ken in Marion called in wondering how the coach planned to deal with the new level of play that Tech will face in the ACC next year. Greenberg responded by saying that we really need to recruit ACC caliber players to compete. Also, he pointed out that in recent years the Big East has been a much more successful conference than the ACC. He felt like the level of play would be similar, but that there is a perception that it is a step up because the ACC has been consistently good for so many years. Also, with the regional influence the ACC has, the perception is probably greater in this area. In the big picture the ACC is better than the Big East, there are multiple elite teams in the ACC, but there are no gimmies in either league.

Roth pointed out that Tech jumped up in a level of competition from the A-10, where they won on average about 50% of their games, to the Big East where they have won about 25%. Roth continued to mention that in the next two nights, the men's and women's basketball teams would be playing two top 10 teams in UCONN. While those matchups will draw a crowd, if it were the Duke men's and women's teams visiting the Cassell, you wouldnít be able to get a ticket to the game. Greenberg stated that itís similar to the St. Johnsí v Syracuse match-up at the GardenÖitís a regional rivalry.

Gary in Martinsville called in to compliment the coach on his game management, but had a question about players missing an open Bryant Matthews a couple times against Seton Hall and that the bench was not supporting the team much during the Notre Dame game. Greenberg responded by saying that the players may miss an open teammate for a number of reasons, including that the defender on the ball handler may have closed the passing lane. However, he did admit that our players are young and still learning, it's not unusual for a freshman or sophomore to make mistakes, especially when they are as fatigued as our guys get.

Regarding the bench, he agreed that the bench wasnít in the game as much as they needed to be. He stated that might be because they arenít getting enough playing time, but he said that in this program, playing time is earned not given. He said that when youíre not in the game, you're still part of the team, and if you canít be a good teammate, then you won't be on the team.

Steve in Christiansburg called in and said that this year's team, unlike previous years, doesnít quit when they get down. They seem to fight back a number of times, only to fall just short of taking the lead. Greenberg said that is true, but against WVU we were able to come from behind twice and win the game. He said that he doesnít believe that itís because they work so hard to come back that they donít have anything left. His goal is to teach this team to compete for 40 minutes, he demands at every practice, every game, and every play. The day we stop demanding that they compete is the day they stop competing. He did admit that fatigue is a factor as well.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and asked the coach to comment on the play of Zabian Dowdell. Greenberg said that he was really pleased with Zabian, and that he is one of those players that takes advantage of every opportunity to work on his game, whether it be a practice or shooting around before a game. He said that they are trying to get him to work into the middle a little more, be a little more physical, and draw and dish. He needs to defend the half court a little better as well, but overall heís a hard worker in the classroom as well as on the court. Heís a pleasure to be around.

Roth asked about the improved play of Markus Sailes, and Greenberg said that heís very pleased with Sailes as well. Sailes has only two turnovers in 180 minutes, and heís averaging 36 minutes a game. Coach said they are trying to get him to work on stepping into his shots and being a little more physical. Overall, VT is taking more shots than their opponents because of guys like Markus who are taking care of the ball. They just need to find a way to make more of those shots.

Roth asked about the status of Jamon Gordon, who is currently out with a knee injury. Greenberg said that he definitely would not play against UCONN, but we might see him a little on Saturday against Syracuse. Coach said he definitely wants Gordon on the court in February, during a critical home stretch for the Hokies.

Charlie in Roanoke called in and wanted to know who it is that keeps promoting wearing orange, because he doesnít want to look like the "boo-hoos" or Tennessee. He also wondered if it was possible to have Rayna DuBose make a free-throw during a womenís game. Roth and Greenberg answered the second question first by stating that Raynaís scholarship had been transferred from an athletic scholarship, and they werenít real sure of the possibility of that. Greenberg did point out that Rayna attends every meeting and practice of the team and is a great supporter for the women. Roth responded to Charlieís question about the orange by stating that there are a lot of schools that wear maroon, so one could argue that we looked like Miss. State or Texas A&M, but basically the team wanted people to all wear orange, and orange is one of VTís colors, so we should wear it and be supportive.

Roth threw in a bit of trivia, in that Clyde Vaughan, asst. coach for UCONN, was recruited and coached by Greenberg at Pitt. Greenberg noted that Vaughan was a great coach, and will make a very good head coach one day. Roth pointed out that during his playing years and coaching years Vaughan has never been able to win at the Cassell.

Chris in Blackstone called in and wanted to know how the coach motivated the team and how do they keep them from getting dejected. Greenberg said that the coaches have a plan, and that is to take things one game at a time. Each game they may have some special motivation, such as with Seton Hall they talked about how they were right across the river from NYC, where we want to be in the Big East Tournament. He said that the overriding principal is that we have great energy whether it be game time or practice time. Every single day we are going to challenge these kids.

Roth reflected that last year when UCONN visited the Hokies they were coming off an upset loss, and they fell to the Hokies by 21 at the Cassell. Roth wondered after UCONNís loss to Providence last weekend and their coach's meltdown during the press conference afterward, if perhaps the stage was set for another upset. Greenberg said that one thing he knew for sure was that UCONN probably has had some spirited practice sessions, and they will be ready to play. Greenberg said that their mindset may be more like their game against Utah, where they played lights out following a tough loss.

Charles in Salem called in with a question regarding our geographic tactics in recruiting, wondering where our target areas are and if we recruit overseas. Greenberg said that Virginia is the first priority, then the ACC footprint, then the U.S. as a whole. He said that with the new ACC affiliation, they can recruit almost anywhere in the country successfully. Regarding international recruiting, they do have some contacts, and they certainly explore those options as they are identified.

Roth wrapped up the show by asking the coach for a primer on Syracuse, who the Hokies will face on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Coach said that the Orangemen are a physical team with a lot of depth in the front court. The Cuse is a bigger version of the Seton Hall team VT just played, in that they just come out and play good ball. They have McNamara, who is good off the screen, Warwick who is a great defender, and Pace, who is improved and a slasher. Overall itís a tough team and a tough environment.

With that Roth wrapped up the show, reminding fans to show up for this week's gamesÖWomen Hokies 7 pm on Tuesday (wear orange)Ö.Men on Wednesday at 7pmÖ

-- Phil


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