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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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Hokies Come Close But Lose 75-70 To Florida In Overtime

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Virginia Tech saw its men's basketball season come to an end in the NCAA Tournament today, and it was somewhat similar to the way the Hokies saw their time at the ACC Tournament finish: They started strong with great ball movement, tough defense and timely outside shooting to lead at the half, but then hit a stretch in the final 7 minutes of the game where the defense got tired, the shots stopped dropping, and Florida pulled out a 75-70 overtime win.

It was a game of mixed emotions if you’re a Hokie fan. This was only year 2 of the Mike Young coaching experience, and after a surprising .500 season in year 1, this was supposed to be the next step toward establishing an identity that got them into the NCAAs in year 3.

At times – like in the first half – Virginia Tech looked far ahead of schedule. Tough defense caused Florida to act confused, turning the ball over 8 times (Florida would have 18 turnovers in the game), including several on shot clock violations. The Gators just simply couldn’t get their offense going in a timely enough matter to get a decent shot off.

The Hokies packaged that with sharp offensive play that included screens and passes that seemed to find the right man when he was open, and when Hunter Cattoor nailed his third straight three-pointer and Tyrece Radford added another jumper, the Hokies had their biggest lead of the game at 21-11.

The lead would shrink to only 29-25 at halftime, and then Virginia Tech – as it did against North Carolina – morphed back to the second-year type of team most of us expected. Outside shots stopped falling, as they only shot 37 percent from the floor in the second half, and even worse in overtime.

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If You Want To Win, You Have To Take Chances

Over the years, I've come to see a certain personality during the NCAA Tournament.

You know the type. The one who brags "hey, I picked that upset," when a 12 seed surprisingly beats a 5 seed. Or when it gets down to the final four, says he got just about all of the games correct in the early round, but "missed by that much" on a few of the finalists.

Oddly, this person never shows his actual brackets to see if what he's saying is true. Usually it's a good friend who you've known for years, so you don't push it and ask to see them, because you already KNOW he's lying.

So that I won't be confused with THAT guy, here are my picks before the first game is played. I had given serious consideration to spending hours reading up on what all the experts had to say, but then I realized "who am I kidding?" The tournament is unpredictable every year, and when you add in the COVID factor, it's even more of a guessing game.

So I went game for game and just picked the teams I've seen and liked. You never win an office pool picking all favorites, and you never win if you pick too many upsets. I HAVE probably picked too many upsets, but now you have the evidence to taunt me every weekend as my brackets go down in flames.

I'm not going to be THAT guy 😊

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These Shining Moments Brought Back Great Memories

Today, it all begins.

The play-in games are done (Texas Southern, Drake, Norfolk State and UCLA were the winners), and Virginia Tech gets it all going shortly after noon from Hinkle Fieldhouse when the Hokies face Florida.

To commemorate the tournament, the NCAA has released a 3-minute all-time video of the Big Dance, and I have to say, it both made me feel old AND made me feel goosebumps, as it captures just about all the great moments I’ve come to remember about the tournament.

My first memory of the tournament - when it was only two weekends - was the historic victory by then-unknown Texas Western, winning it all at Cole Field House up at College Park. A black and white snippet of the team is in the early seconds, then – to the music of One Shining Moment – the memories start coming one after another.

There’s Dell Curry’s son Steph, showing the world that there is no shot too long that he can’t make, Gary Williams getting his hair tousled after winning a national championship (I have a basketball here in the house signed by Gary), and Jim Valvano, running around the court in search of someone to hug after the "Survive and Advance" miracle in Albuquerque. I was lucky enough to cover that N.C. State team in about a dozen games that season.

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The Cutout Of Maggie The WonderBeagle Lives!

I’m sure none of you ever forget things, but as I move deeper into my senior years, it happens.

Last night, while checking with my oldest friend about tornados and other bad weather moving through where he lives in Mississippi, it hit me of something BIG I forgot. Something that filled me with immediate regret.

My oldest friend is named Doug, and as a Christmas present, he gave money to Virginia Tech so he could place a cutout of someone in Cassell Coliseum. He chose my beloved Maggie The WonderBeagle, and it made me smile every time I watched the Hokies, knowing that at least one member of the family had left the house and was watching in Cassell.

But a few weeks ago, he forwarded an email saying with the season ending, those cutouts had to go. You were given a form to fill out to have them either mailed to you or picked up, and they had to be gotten by March 13. Otherwise, they were going in the shredder.

Last night while talking to Doug, it occurred to me it was March 17.

This led to a thought of “oh no, I’ve killed my dog,” and I took to Twitter to ask if anybody was available to help me try to stop the shredding of an Ashburn Foxhound. Twitter can be a nasty cesspool at times, but it is also filled with good people who will help you if they can. Several offers were made, and I got an email from one lovely person saying she worked at Virginia Tech and would be glad to help grab Maggie if she still existed.

So this morning I started with an email to Terry Bolt, Senior Director of Major Gifts for Intercollegiate Athletics, pleading for clemency. She immediately responded, forwarding the email to the person she thought was handling the cutouts. That person immediately responded, saying she was forwarding the request to Bob Gavagan, Associate Director, Marketing & Fan Experience, as this was his area.

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Not Sure I Understand Controversy Over Young's Remarks

It’s not unusual for me to get up some mornings, look at social media, and immediately get aggravated. Happens more days than it doesn’t, to be honest.

But today’s perusing of topics on Twitter this morning really annoys me. There are some who have taken a harmless analogy by Virginia Tech Coach Mike Young and tried to turn it into something entirely different.

The New York Post, for example, has a headline saying “Mike Young Takes Random Shot At Jehovah’s Witnesses.” TMZ had a headline that said Young “Trashes Jehovah’s Witnesses.” I’ve seen a poster using the “NotMyCoach” hashtag because of this, and I’ve seen comments like “disgusting” replying to this.

So now that you’ve seen what I think is a huge overreaction, let’s look at what Young said. He had been asked about playing Ohio State, assuming the Hokies beat Florida in the first round. Reacting the way any coach would, Young strongly stated they weren’t going to overlook anybody and were only focused on the next team on the schedule.

"We're not playing the Jehovah Witnesses all-star team; We’re playing the Florida Gators" Young said. “We’re playing the Gators, man, we’re playing the Gators. I do know who our next opponent would be if we were lucky enough to win, but there’s not a chance in hell you starting thinking about anything, nothing…I will not give one clip about anything but Coach White’s Gator team, and that’s the same for my team.

“This is it. This is one game and if you play poorly or get outplayed, I’m going to be walking down the hall after talking to you guys via Zoom and there’s going to be an NCAA Representative telling me, ‘your plane leaves in 45 minutes. Good luck to you. Go get your stuff packed and get out of here’.”

To me, Young is saying Florida is not an all-star church league team. He could have said Southern Baptist All-Star team, the All-Presbyterian all-star team or any other phrase to denote a recreational team versus a major college team. There was indeed no malice, and when he was told the phrase might have offended someone – although I can’t imagine how – he immediately apologized.

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Coach Norman Dale, er, Mike Young Focused Only On Florida

There is something special to me about Virginia Tech’s opening game in the NCAA Tournament against Florida taking place in Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University.

Part of it is the tradition of the building, but part of it is the fact I’m just a sucker for old sports movies. I drive my wife crazy when I seem to be watching the same movie for the 47th time, but that’s just how I am.

My favorite, is Hoosiers. And parts of it remind me of this Hokie team.

Hoosiers was filmed in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the movie is loosely based on the Milan High School basketball team that won the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship in that very same building. A player named Bobby Plump hit the game-winner, became a mythical figure in Indiana basketball, and was created as character Jimmy Chitwood in the movie.

Hokie Coach Mike Young even mentioned the specialness of Hinkle Fieldhouse this morning, as the team arrived in Indianapolis yesterday, noting  "I've been a lot of places, but never been to Butler's campus or been to Hinkle Fieldhouse. As a basketball person and the history of that building, I look forward to that."

This, of course, has evoked comparisons in my mind between Virginia Tech and the Hickory Huskers underdog team that took the basketball world by storm in Indiana in the movie. Young even looks a little like coach Norman Dale (played by Gene Hackman) and has a similar style of coaching fundamentals.

I could just imagine the Hokies getting off a red church revival bus, the team walking into Hinkle, and Young asking John Ojiako to put Wabissa Bede on his shoulders, tossing a tape measure to Bede, and asking him to measure how high the rims are, as was done in the movie the first time Hickory entered the Fieldhouse.

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In Case You Were Wondering...

If you read this story yesterday on Tre Mitchell, you may have wondered – much like I did – how he ended up at UMass in the first place.

His final six including some pretty stout schools, including three from the ACC: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Syracuse. Providence, Indiana and UMass were the other three. His home is just outside Pittsburgh, so none of the schools were nearby.

This story by Matt Vautour of MassLive.com seems to explain the reason quite well. Turns out Mitchell played at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut, and his coach was Tony Bergeron. UMass hired Bergeron as an assistant coach, and shortly afterward Mitchell signed with UMass.

Bergeron is also very close to the family, and he is engaged to Mitchell’s mother.

So that sort of explains why Mitchell went to UMass. It doesn’t explain why he’s leaving, as when asked about it by Vautour, he declined to provide any details.

So who knows what will happen, or how interested the Hokies are. But Bergeron and Mitchell appeared to be a package deal when he went to UMass. Whether that will happen again remains to be seen, and would certainly affect any interest by Virginia Tech.

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For Hokie Fans Dreaming Of Another Big Man...

It was only a week ago many noticed Storm Murphy, a high-scoring guard from Wofford, had entered the transfer portal and Virginia Tech fans immediately thought “we could use a point guard who could score.”

We all know how that turned out, as Murphy is transferring to Virginia Tech. But seconds after that happened, Hokie fans started thinking “and if we could only get another big man...”

There’s one out there, Hokie faithful. He’s good, he’d be a great fit, and he is already aware of Virginia Tech.

Tre Mitchell is a 6-foot-9, 240-pound center from Pittsburgh who has played two seasons at UMass. He was named Atlantic 10 all-conference and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year his freshman year, and last season averaged 18.8 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game.

This morning on Twitter he announced he is leaving UMass, saying "After extensive thought and conversations with family I’ve decided that at this juncture I’m going to weigh every option and have entered my name into the transfer portal."

Why is this of particular interest to Virginia Tech fans? Well, after a high school career that included him being named the Connecticut Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in 2019, he narrowed his choices down to six before picking Massachusetts. Among those six were the Hokies of Virginia Tech.

If you will remember, this was a time when the head coach of the Hokies was Buzz Williams, and that entire year you couldn’t go anywhere in basketball circles where people weren’t saying “you know, Buzz is going to leave after this season and go to a school in Texas.” Whether that made any difference, I don’t know, but if you're not sure the coach recruiting you will be there the next season, it would make most think twice.

But it wouldn't be a great leap to think as a high school senior, the Atlantic Coast Conference was a place Mitchell thought about playing in. Three of his final six were in the ACC: Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Syracuse.

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Like The Lottery, Here's Something Else You Won't Win

It’s a Monday. The day after Selection Sunday. Also, the day after Daylight Savings Time.

Two things need to happen. One is for me to notice and appreciate that the digital time display on the garage door opener that I can never figure out actually has the correct time after six months of being wrong.

The other is to fill out a bracket for the office pool.

The problem is, I have no office. The closest thing I have is Doug Doughty, who has graciously been contributing great content here the last month, and Maggie the WonderBeagle. Give a bracket to Maggie, and either she likes the Clemson Tigers to win every game, or she just sticks her paw pad on any bracket without any hint of who she likes.

But it’s tradition. So I stole someone else’s bracket and replaced their logos with ours. I sent one to Doug and told him the office prize is a whopping $5. But let’s be serious, the prize here is the ability to be able to needle the other and text things like “nice pick” at 11:53 pm after one prediction on the bracket goes horribly bad.

If you would like to join our little office pool, you can download the bracket here. I’m not going to measure the Tuesday games, so you have until Friday morning to get them in. If you’re looking to win money, I recommend you go to the zillion other sites that offer such things.

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Hokies Will Start Off Tournament In Very 1st 12:15 Game

Well, that’s cool.

Virginia Tech found out a few moments ago when the Hokies will take the court in the NCAA Tournament, and it turns out they will play in the very first game on Friday in a 12:15 pm game on CBS at Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler campus. The No. 10 seed Hokies face No. 7 Florida.

The announcers will be the network’s “A” team, with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson.

This tends to be the most watched game of the first day since it’s the very first, so the Hokies will get great exposure across the country. It’s also a nice surprise because historically, Virginia Tech has a way of ending up in 9:55 PM games on the other side of the country when it’s really tough to watch.

Virginia will play its first game Saturday night at 7 PM in Assembly Hall on the Indiana campus in Bloomington. That game will be aired on TruTV.

For a complete listing of television times for all games, click here

If the building where the Hokies will play looks familiar when you see it on TV Friday, Hinkle Fieldhouse is where the movie "Hoosiers" was filmed, and was the same building that hosted the 1954 Indiana state championship game where Milan won the state title on Bobby Plump's game-winner. Hoosiers is loosely based on that game.

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Virginia In West, Plays Ohio; Hokies In South, Face Florida

The pairings for the NCAA Tournament were just announced, with Virginia Tech dropping to a 10th seed in the South Region and will face No. 7 seed Florida. Virginia's COVID issues in the ACC Tournament did not affect their ability to play in the NCAAs, and they enter the tournament as a 4th seed in the West Region and will open with No. 13 Ohio.

Should the Hokies get past Florida, they would then have to play the winner of Ohio State-Oral Roberts, which more than likely will be the No. 2 Buckeyes. Baylor is the top seed in the South. Technically, since there was no tournament last year, this is the fourth straight year the Hokies have made the NCAA's. The No. 10 seed, however, is the lowest Virginia Tech has ever received. 

The committee seems to want a rematch of Virginia and Gonzaga, as they are both in the West. The Cavaliers would face the winner of Creighton-UCSB in the second round should they advance. Gonzaga is the top seed in the West and the No. 1 seed in the entire tournament.

Florida had a ho-hum 14-9 season where they were only ranked for one week all season, coming in at No. 22 the first week of February. This came after an 85-80 win over then No. 11 West Virginia, but the Gators then lost their next two games to South Carolina and Arkansas respectively, and fell out of the rankings.

Virginia Tech, conversely, was only unranked one week in December, coming into the NCAA Tournament being ranked 12 consecutive weeks. But they will be the lower seed at No. 10.

Florida lost its last two regular-season games to Missouri and Tennessee, then beat Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament before being eliminated by Tennessee.

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