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Men's Basketball: Thoughts on U-Va.-Va. Tech rivalry

When Virginia and Virginia Tech meet, the in-state rivalry is a much-discussed story line. Although when Virginia is 3-1 in the ACC and Virginia Tech is 2-2, the game is not about bragging rights as it is about simply winning a game that both teams need to win.

"To everyone else surrounding the game -- fans, alumni, students -- it takes on great significance," Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said. "For the coaches, it's the next game."

And it's a game in which the Cavaliers must protect their home court, while the Hokies must steal a game on the road to avoid falling below .500 in the ACC.

Virginia Coach Tony Bennett joked that when he played at Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Chicago Bears were still considered the rival. While an assistant coach at Wisconsin, he experienced the rivalry with Marquette and some Big Ten schools. Upon arriving at Washington State, Bennett saw the in-state, intra-conference rivalry that matches that of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Greenberg said the games have become more significant since the Hokies joined the ACC. Both teams need to stay alive to remain competitive in the ACC, considering neither entered the season as one of the league's top teams.

The game also can factor into the living rooms of recruits, as Virginia and Virginia Tech are often competing for players around the state and within the region. Virginia's Jerome Meyinsse said the in-state players all know one another, and the game takes on significance to them.

But the rivalry aspect means more to the students, alumni and fans than it does to the players and coaches -- both of which just need another win.

"Its not like we're an hour away from each other and they're seeing each other all the time," Greenberg said.

By Zach Berman  |  January 27, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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