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How They Could Lose

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page G03

In so many ways, this has been a breakthrough season for Virginia Tech. But before labeling the Hokies the tournament dark horse, keep in mind they lost this season to Virginia Military Institute, 72-68, on Dec. 4. And their 67-65 upset of Duke notwithstanding, they still suffered a trio of humiliating losses to ACC heavyweights: 85-51 to North Carolina on Dec. 19, 83-63 to Wake Forest on Feb. 5 and 100-65 at Duke on Jan. 30.

The Hokies at times have showed their youth, as their aggressive play has resulted in foul trouble. That's particularly troublesome in the front court, where Virginia Tech can't afford to lose sophomore Coleman Collins or freshman Deron Washington, its lone scoring threats in the post.

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The Hokies don't shoot three-pointers particularly well and are ranked near the bottom of the league in foul shooting, both of which seem to be essential qualities for tournament success. It's not that hard to envision Virginia Tech pulling an upset in the quarterfinal round, but it's nearly impossible to see it reaching, let alone winning, Sunday's title game.

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