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Cavaliers walk fine line between winning and losing

Saturday was two snowstorms ago at this point, but it was also the last time Virginia played. The Cavaliers lost in overtime to Wake Forest, which marked Virginia's fifth loss this season by five points or less.

Each year, there are certain teams on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble that suffered a number of close losses. Virginia Tech, for example, suffered that fate last season and made the NIT. This year, the Hokies have won close games. And the difference between the teams that win close games and lose close games is often evident.

"They're usually playing in March," said Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg, whose team plays the Cavaliers on Saturday.

Although Virginia's players contend that they've won their share of close games, it depends what you consider close. There were tight games when Virginia pulled away in the end with free throws -- "The games we have won we made our free throws and have been solid," Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said -- but the Cavaliers have won only one game by five points or less.

"I think if you look at the games we've won, they're not by five points or less, but we won a number of close games, too," forward Will Sherrill said, pointing to wins over Alabama-Birmingham, UNC Wilmington and North Carolina State. "I don't think it's something that in close games, we freeze or tense up or anything like that. I just think, sometimes, the ball doesn't bounce our ways. And in a number of those losses we were making free throws or making shots to make it closer, but we really hadn't put ourselves in a position to win."

By Zach Berman  |  February 10, 2010; 2:42 PM ET
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