News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Friday, March 2, 2001
by Will Stewart,

Tech Women Set for BE Tournament

As this weekend's Big East Tournament approaches, Bonnie Henrickson's basketball club find themselves in an interesting and advantageous position to prepare for their second-round opponent.

As the fourth seed with its built-in bye, the Hokies get to sit on the sidelines Saturday and watch #5 Villanova and #12 St. John's play to see which one gets to face Tech at noon on Sunday.

Obviously, the chance to go into Sunday's game with "fresh legs" is good, but the fact that one of the possible opponents is St. John's is also particularly fortunate for Tech. Since the Hokies just played St. John's in their season-ending game Tuesday, Tech's game plan and preparation for the Red Storm is fresh in their minds. This means they can concentrate on preparing to meet Villanova in the second round.

That way, if Nova wins, Tech will be ready, and if by chance St. John's pulls the upset, Tech will just need a quick refresher to be ready for them.

Tech beat both teams in the regular season. In addition to downing St. John's 62-54 last Tuesday, the Hokies beat Villanova 65-59 on January 23rd in Blacksburg. Tech used a game-ending 13-0 run to defeat the Wildcats (click here for the TSL recap).

In terms of their records, Villanova and Virginia Tech are identical. Both teams are 11-5 in the conference and 20-7 overall. But the two teams are perceived very differently in the rankings and the RPI ratings (all rankings and ratings as of 3/2/01):


AP Rank

Coaches Rank

RPI Rating

Villanova #28 #23 #10
Virginia Tech No Votes #45 #26

Virginia Tech's lack of respect in the AP and Coaches' polls are somewhat baffling. The Hokies finished fourth in a strong conference, won 20 regular season games, and can boast of victories over Virginia and Villanova. But those accomplishments and Tech's 10-2 record over the last 12 games of the season does not appear to have made much of an impression on the voters.

The reason the Hokies aren't ranked and are barely getting votes in both polls can be traced back to their early season performance and the sound beatings they received at the hands of Notre Dame and UConn in the second half of the season.

Tech started out 6-3, and two of their three losses were bad ones: 77-57 to Florida State and 80-59 to Clemson. Many voters wrote the Hokies off at that point, and although Tech came on strong as the season went on, big losses to Notre Dame (75-55 on January 13th) and UConn (90-38 on Feb. 7th) didn't help. Nor did a 65-59 loss to sub-.500 Boston College on Feb. 18th.

Boston College, by the way, is living proof that something's rotten in women's college basketball rankings. The Eagles, despite their 13-14 record, received 2 votes in the AP Poll, whereas the Hokies received 0. That's a small example of a ranking system that I think is rife with skewed rankings that are based primarily on tradition and preseason expectations, and very little on actual results during the season.

But the Big East Tournament is not about rankings and RPI ratings. It's about lacing 'em up and playing ball. A first-round bye can be a double-edged sword. The deeper a team goes into a tournament, the more a bye can help, but by the same token, many teams that receive first-round byes lose in the second round when they encounter a team that has played the day before and has some momentum. It is precisely this scenario that the Hokies must avoid.

There is no question, though, that the bye is a good thing for Tech's star forward, Tere Williams, as she seeks to recover fully from the knee injury she suffered against Boston College nearly two weeks ago.

Williams played -- and starred -- against Seton Hall in Tech's 52-46 victory last Saturday, but she was much less effective against St. John's on Tuesday. In that game, she went scoreless from the field in the first half and had to be helped off the floor when she aggravated the knee. She came on strong in the second half though, scoring 8 points and keying a late run that put the game out of reach.

If Tech makes it past the first round, they will most likely face #1 seed Notre Dame on Monday. Sunday's quarterfinals will not be televised. According to the Big East's web site, Monday's semifinals will be shown by Fox Sports Net New England and Fox Sports Net Florida. Tuesday night's championship game will appear on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for Big East women's standings
Click here for Big East women's tournament bracket

Recruiting Database Notes

TSL's 2001 football recruiting database is now up to date on player commitments and signings. In addition, the heights and weights of the players who signed with Virginia Tech have been adjusted to match the information that was handed out at the Recruiting Roundup at Greg Roberts Sports Club on February 11th.

Most of the weight adjustments were in the upward direction. Notable exceptions were Jeff King (who lost 5 pounds during basketball season, dropping him from 245 to 240) and Chris Pannell, who also dropped 20 pounds after the football season ended, taking him from 260 to 240 in the database.

Most height adjustments that were made decreased the player's height by one inch. King's height, for example, was adjusted from 6-6 to 6-5 (In a TSL interview early last fall, Pulaski County Coach Joel Hicks insisted that King is a legitimate 6-6, but the Roundup handout listed him at 6-5, so I made the change to avoid confusion. It doesn't matter - King is a very tall young man with loads of potential).

Also, as Jimmy Robertson pointed out in a recent hokiesports.comthenewspaper article, running back Justin Hamilton being listed as unranked by PrepStar was a mistake. The PrepStar postseason issue (in addition to many other misprints and mistakes) inadvertently omitted the #3 running back in the Atlantic Region, which is where Hamilton was ranked. I have corrected Justin's database entry to reflect his PrepStar All-American status, and I have also corrected the articles that were run on this site to reflect that the Hokies signed 13 PrepStar AA's, not just 12 as previously reported.

The article "Inside the Numbers: Ranking the Recruits" that appeared in this month's TSL Extra had Justin's correct PrepStar ranking in it and therefore is not in error.

TSL hopes to have the recruiting database populated soon with players that are targeted for the 2002 recruiting class. The 2002 database already contains 4 recruits, including VT verbals Aaron Rouse and Nic Schmitt.

The database can be accessed from TSL's Football Recruiting Page.


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