The Cavalier Daily
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Tech, take two

Watching the game Saturday was torturous. And I'm not just talking about the awful announcers who several times called two-point shots "three-pointers," mispronounced names left and right, and even on one occasion referred to the Virginia Tech players as "Cavaliers." Blegh. It wasn't just the obsession Hokie fans seem to have with power outages. It wasn't the caustic chants of "JUST LIKE FOOT-BALL!" that cut to the core of me like Ish Smith cut into the lane against our defense. It wasn't the terrible quality of Raycom Sports' broadcast, nor the bamboo shoots that were being eased under my fingernails. It wasn't even that we lost. It was how.

During the coverage, the commentators discussed the "Keys to the Game" as analysts are want to do.

"This is what [insert team here] has to do to win."

In this case, the team was Virginia.

So whatever stat men Raycom has working the game look back at Virginia's season and try to find some kind of correlation among the games they have won. For example, Virginia is 10-1 when they score more than 70 points.

The commentators also might mention that "Virginia needs to see offensive production outside of Landesberg and Scott."

Or, "They need to manage a reasonable field goal percentage."

Of course, as anyone who has taken a basic course in statistics will tell you, correlation doesn't prove causation, and in these cases, there is no causation.

If Landesberg scored 250 points all by himself, the Cavaliers wouldn't really need points from anyone else, would they?

What if they held the Hokies to 15 points in regulation - would they still need to score 70 to win?

If they only shot 8 percent from the field, couldn't they still win if they took 10,000 shots?

The bottom line is the old John Madden rule: Score more points than the other team. That is what Virginia hasn't been doing.

The Cavaliers and the Hokies were tied with two minutes left. Just like they were tied at the end of regulation against the Hokies during the last matchup, or against the Demon Deacons last week.\nThe key for Virginia to win Saturday was the last two minutes of the game. Throw away everything else. Forget Sammy's abysmal 1-7 shooting up until that point. It doesn't matter that when sophomore center Assane Sene is on the floor, the Cavaliers are basically playing four on five on offense.

Whatever happened during the first 38 minutes of the game didn't matter. Throw all those "Keys to the Game" out the window. Virginia played pretty badly for most of the game, shooting only 32.8 percent and fouling up a storm during the second half. But that didn't matter because whatever Virginia was doing, they were tied with the Hokies with 1:51 left. Sure there were four times that if Sylven had just shot a three instead of a 20-foot, eight-inch jumper, the Orange and Blue would be leading instead of tied. Or how about the wide-open dunk that Mike Scott missed? Bet he wishes he had that one back.

But, again, none of that matters. Virginia was still in the game with less than two minutes left. The game was tied, and the Cavaliers had the ball. Advantage Virginia, right?

Whatever the team is doing for the majority of the game is working - they just can't finish. Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't prefer to be up 20 with 1:51 remaining, but frankly, I'll take tied with less than two minutes and possession.

Then again, if I were with the Hokies, I'd take that, too.


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