Time will tell, but Coach Greenberg believes that anyone who “does not think that Virginia Tech is not one of the Top 65 teams is certifiably insane”. I agree with him, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean that the Hokies will get in. Here is a look at Tech’s resume: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, along with some other factors that could impact their selection status.
- 4th place finish in the ACC, with a winning conference record at 9-7. Only twice in the history of the ACC has a team with a winning record not made the Big Dance: uva in 2000, and fsu in 2006. Both those squads were 9-7, but lost their opening round game in the ACC Tournament. 21 of 23 teams that have gone 9-7 or 8-6 have made the tournament. Therefore, there is a 91% chance that the Hokies will make the dance based on this stat alone.
- A win in the ACC Tournament against miami, who was ranked in the top 30 of the RPI.
- maryland’s bubble burst on Thursday. Tech is the only bubble team from the ACC. There is no other competition.
- Tech is 5-2 in their last 7 games, with their only 2 losses coming at the buzzer against the two teams playing for the ACC Championship. The Hokies are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time and could be a tough test for any opponent in the first round of the Big Dance.
- Even though a loss is a loss, the Hokies’ performance against #1 unc in the ACC semis was viewed very positively by the so-called experts. Dickie V changed his tone after the game. He was calling Tech out of the tourney before the game, and in after it.
- The ACC is the highest RPI-rated conference.
- I doubt this really matters, but I bet Coach Greenberg will be on every sports talk radio and TV show imaginable on Selection Sunday, lobbying for the Hokies. As we all know, he is a media darling and not afraid to speak his mind. Either way, the Hokies will get a lot of good press.
- The Hokies were 0-4 against the Top 3 teams in the ACC.
- The Hokies’ best non-conference win is … unc-greensboro (RPI of 126). No, it’s not st. johns. They did not even make their own conference tournament.
- The Hokies’ RPI ranking is #53 or #55 depending on where you look. Tech was #34 last year on Selection Sunday.
- Tech’s strength of schedule is ranked 51st.
- temple, who was also on the bubble, won an automatic bid Saturday night by beating st. joe’s in the A-10 tourney. This probably knocks out another bubble team.
- No one on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee this year has ties to the ACC. In recent history when this has been the case, the ACC has gotten the shaft with less bids than in other years.
- 1-7 vs. the RPI Top 50
- A non-conference strength of schedule that ranks #137
- Losses to #121 richmond, #127 old dominion, and #155 penn state
- It could be very ugly if either georgia or illinois win their conference tournaments Sunday. Both are not even on the bubble. Root against the dawgs (sorry Sis) and the illini.
If you want even more analysis, take a look back at my post from last year that evaluates the ACC bubble teams from 2005 through 2007.
Do yourself a favor today. Don’t watch any college basketball or listen to sports talk radio until 6pm. It is going to drive you mad listening to the so-called experts discuss the bubble because we are squarely on it. In the hours of basketball watching that I did on Saturday, it appears that the majority of broadcasters believe that Tech is out. Only Dickie V, Digger Phelps, and Billy Packer (who said Tech was in after the miami win) believed that Tech should get a bid. Even our boyz, Jay Bilas and Joe Lunardi, dissed Tech. Whatever.
Of course, I believe that the Hokies should get a bid. However, I have a sinking feeling that Tech won’t. After the win over georgia tech, I thought VT would get in by winning 3 more games. The Hokies did that, but now I fear that these wins were not against the right 3 opponents. Last week’s loss to clemson and Saturday’s loss in the ACC Semis were two of the most crushing defeats for me as a fan. The last time I felt this down was after the dockery shot. The Hokies have had a tremendous and wonderful season, but that doesn’t mean that these close losses can’t hurt. If we had won one of these two games, then I probably would not be writing this column.
Of course, in the big picture, this experience should help the Baby Hokies for the next several years. However, this team got closer to winning an ACC Championship than last year’s team. Can you believe that? Ask clemson and uva fans how tough it is to win an ACC basketball championship. These opportunities don’t come along often for ACC schools not from the state of North Carolina. Let’s hope this team takes this great run, along with the lessons learned from the two tough losses, to propel them into next year as an ACC favorite.
Time will tell.