There’s an early (7:00) tip tonight, as the Pack takes on the Castrated Turkeys on ESPNU. Before the season started, you wouldn’t have been surprised that one team enters the contest in sole possession of third place. But nobody would have predicted Virginia Tech to be that team. After losing their best big man and 2 all-conference caliber guards, the Hokies entered 2007-08 as arguably the least talented and least experienced squad in the ACC. Yet there they sit at 5-3. Seth Greenberg is bringing a knife to a gun fight, but he’s still standing. Like Jim Grobe in football, he is finding success at a job that would be a wasteland for most coaches – and challenging for league supremacy when the right mix of senior leadership and opportunity collide (see Wake football, 2006 and VT basketball, 2006-07).
That said, the Hokies are eminently beatable. They have no real star-caliber player, and shoot poorly from the outside. They don’t have the multiple, dynamic guards that give NC State fits. And if last season is any guide, they don’t have the right mojo.
Relive the glory of three decisive Wolfpack victories here, here, here, here, and here. I can’t explain this rationally. But this kind of thing has historical precedent – Dean Smith struggled against Les Robinson. Paul Hewitt crumbled against Herb Sendek. And maybe – just maybe – Sid has Seth’s number. Or it could just be a small sample size. I suppose we’ll find out tonight – and the Pack needs this one badly.