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Malcolm Delaney playing with confidence

Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney seems to have unwavering faith in the Hokies. All season, he has asserted that Virginia Tech "is a good team" in the face of questions about the legitimacy of its 18-4 record.

But after Virginia Tech's biggest win of the season, against Clemson on Saturday, Delaney spoke with particularly candid confidence about himself and his teammates. It was a subtle shift in tone that seemed to reveal the state of the team. Virginia Tech is riding high right now.

"People can say whatever they want," Delaney said Saturday when asked if Virginia Tech needed the quality win that Clemson represented. "I’m not sure there was one person who thought we would have this record we have right now, and the record we have in the ACC. So we stick together. We’re not worried about what people say. We know we can beat any team in the ACC as long as we come to play.”

Asked specifically about playing Clemson, Delaney said: "We’re confident playing against Clemson. This is probably one of the games we look forward to every year."

One of the reasons the Hokies like to play Clemson, Delaney pointed out, was because they "kill that press" that Clemson likes to run, although the Tigers did not use much of it on Saturday.

Delaney also addressed the numerous fouls he drew against Clemson. He made 20 of 23 free throws to tie a school record for number of free-throw attempts in a game. Delaney, who scored 30 points, said he knew that the Tigers liked to block shots, so he tried to pump fake and head fake them to draw fouls. And it worked.

"I just out-smart people," Delaney said. "I drew four fouls. The rest, they just fouled. Like I said, they like blocking shots. I just used my brain."

In a six-minute post-game interview with reporters, Delaney spoke with an easy swagger and added a few jokes about his teammates. Delaney is Virginia Tech's leading scorer and its emotional leader; the team often goes as he goes, so to speak.

To hear Delaney so upbeat after the game seemed telling of the state of the Hokies, who gained not only an important win by beating Clemson, but seemed to pick up some confidence along the way.

By Mark Viera  |  February 8, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
 
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