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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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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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Recent Comments
Doug Johnson

Cut-Outs Do Live!

https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/watch-bud-lights-ode-cardboard-sports-fan/2288081... Read More
Thursday, 18 March 2021 13:37
Dave Scarangella

This one will!

And you made it happen!
Thursday, 18 March 2021 13:48
Dave Scarangella

Update:

She's on her way home... ... Read More
Thursday, 18 March 2021 16:32
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College Notebook: Virginia Wasn't Alone In Its COVID Fears

Virginia wasn't alone in its fears upon learning of a positive COVID test coming out of  the UVa camp on the eve of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

"It was a really tough couple of hours when I saw that Virginia tested positive and we played them less than 24 hours before that," said Syracuse senior Marek Dolezaj following a 72-69 last-second loss to UVa at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

"It was a really hard season and it can get to anyone -- Kansas, Duke, Virginia. There could be more teams. So, we're just happy that we were all negative and now we're trying to keep ourselves safe."

AS SPECULATED in last week's column, former Virginia men's basketball Dave Leitao did not survive a second tour as the head coach at DePaul.

Leitao was 63-60 in four seasons at UVa prior to his dismissal following a 10-18 season in 2008-2009.

As Virginia filled that vacancy with Tony Bennett, Leitao returned to DePaul, where a three-year 58-34 record between 2002-2005 had landed him the Virginia job.

In his return to DePaul, Leitao was 69-112 overall and 21-84 in Big East play and a four-year extension negotiated last spring couldn't help him. 

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Dave Fulton

Wertz

Didn't realize Trey Wertz was son of Langston Wertz. Langston does a terrific job covering high school athletics in the Charlotte ... Read More
Wednesday, 17 March 2021 17:47
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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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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Nothing More

I agree 100% with your "stance," Dave. Many folks seem to look for any quote or innocent action to turn into something it isn't. I... Read More
Wednesday, 17 March 2021 12:07
Guest — Johnny Hurst

I'm Outraged :-)

A friend of mine since high school somewhere along his life path became a Jehovah's Witness. I thought about messaging him on Face... Read More
Thursday, 18 March 2021 11:10
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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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Hokies Can Make A Run In NCAA Tournament

Virginia Tech basketball's ACC Tournament came to a somewhat predictable end against North Carolina, as sitting for 12 days before playing and maintaining a high level of play is about as difficult as it gets.

But after studying the pairings announced last night, the path ahead for Virginia Tech seems doable.

The Hokies can make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia Tech's first-round matchup comes against Florida, that one school who lured Kerry Blackshear Jr. away from Blacksburg upon Mike Young's arrival. The Gators are a good/not great team that finished fifth in the SEC, and have lost three of their last four games. From a size and personnel point, the Hokies match up well with the Gators.

Should Virginia Tech move past Florida in the first round, they'll likely face No. 2 Ohio State, an unpredictable team that won 10 of 11 games, capped off their regular season with four straight losses, then won three games in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes went 21-9 in one of the toughest conferences in America, but we've seen how hot and cold they can run. 

A Sweet 16 run would open up all sorts of possibilities. Here are some of the other teams to watch in the South Region that Virginia Tech could run up against...

  • No. 1 Baylor: The Bears are probably the second-best team in the country behind Gonzaga. Baylor won 22 games in one of the best conferences in America and sports wins over Illinois, Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas and West Virginia. That said, Baylor did lose to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship tournament.
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UVa Not Worried About How Much They're Favored By

One topic that Virginia is likely to shy away from this week is the betting line.

The Cavaliers (18-6) are 10-point favorites over first-round NCAA West Region opponent Ohio (16-7) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

If you don't believe in betting lines, consider that Virginia is a No. 4 seed and Ohio is a No. 13 seed.

That's giving Ohio more credit than UVa opponent Maryland-Baltimore County received prior to its 2018 game with Virginia, which was a number one seed at the time.

In the first instance of a No. 16 seed beating a No. 1 seed, UMBC defeated the Cavaliers 74-54 at the Charlotte Coliseum.

 Jay Huff and fellow fifth-year UVa senior Austin Katstra were on that UVa team, although neither played against the Retrievers.

Almost as memorable as a No. 1 seed losing to a 16 seed was the Cavaliers coming back to win the 2019 NCAA championship one year later.

The most prominent returnees from that team are Huff and point guard Kihei Clark, starters on this year's team.

There was a question whether the Cavaliers would play this week after it was reported that a Virginia player had tested positive for COVID-19 following a 72-69 victory over Syracuse in an ACC Tournament quarterfinal.

Virginia's scheduled semifinal game with Georgia Tech was called off and a number of issues had to be resolved prior to Sunday's announcement of the pairings.

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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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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Larry Cherney

Looking ahead...

I think we're 2 players away, a complete 1 and a serious "big man." Padulla and Murphy will be an upgrades @ the 1 and If Bede st... Read More
Monday, 15 March 2021 15:11
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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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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

SEC

We'll be pulling for our Hokie friends. Always good to get a shot at taking down a SEC team.
Monday, 15 March 2021 08:32
Dave Scarangella

Thanks!

We'll be doing the same for Virginia Saturday, and all Commonwealth teams, for that matter. Well, until one of us plays the other.... Read More
Monday, 15 March 2021 09:31

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They Finally Did It...

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After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

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