It is officially March so let the madness begin! Wow, what a turn of events the last week of February was for the Hokies. They entered the week 21-4 and 8-3. They exited Black History Month with three straight losses and firmly back on the bubble. But that’s in the past and the Hokies have to forget about the week that wasn’t and make this the week that gets them in.
Tech has to win the nc state game on Wednesday (first game I’ve called a ‘must’ win all season). The wolfpack have won two in a row over wake and miami and had maryland down double digits the game before that. But you simply cannot lose to 4-10 teams at home and expect to make the Big Dance.
Random Thought: If I had offered you an 8-6 ACC record with a week to go, would you have taken it? I’m not sure I would have. We knew VT was playing the worst four teams in the ACC twice (it actually turned out they played the bottom five teams with unc’s downfall). Tech is 6-3 against those bottom feeders (not great, but decent… and 5-2 if you take out unc), and 2-3 against the upper half of the league (same thing – not great but decent). I guess that isn’t that bad and if the Hokies can pull out both games this week, that’s a strong performance. But that’s a big if.
ACC First Round Bye and Top 4 Tournament Seed:
We know duke and maryland will be the top two seeds (they play this week). unc’s win over wake Saturday was huge for the Hokies chances of getting a bye but the clemson comeback win over fsu was disastrous. A tigers loss would have made it next to impossible for them to finish ahead of VT. fsu blew a 13 point first half lead (the score was just 21-19 at the half in a game that set basketball back 50 years… and that included a half court shot at the buzzer by clemson). Then the noles blew a 5-point lead with 90 seconds to go thanks to 1/4 from the FT line and 2 turnovers and lost 53-50 (it wasn’t that close, fsu scored at the buzzer). With the win clemson swept the two games over fsu.
VT, clemson, fsu, and wake are all tied for third at 8-6 right now. georgia tech looms in seventh at 7-7. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head between all tied teams (in this case four teams), so let’s look at that for the four teams tied for third:
- VT: 2-1 (done with these teams)
- clemson: 2-1 (at wake this weekend)
- fsu: 1-2 (play wake at home midweek)
- wake: 0-1 (have to play @fsu and clemson at home)
Since VT and clemson have the best record against the tied teams, you eliminate fsu and wake and then you move to their head-to-head against each other, which gives the Hokies the advantage over clemson. So right now it is VT #3, clemson #4, fsu #5, and wake #6. But obviously there is a lot of work left to go and tiebreakers will change as teams fall out of ties. Obviously the worst case scenario is VT ends up tied with just fsu, or with fsu and clemson (clemson would win out there, then fsu, then VT).
We know this: if VT wins both games this week, they will get a bye in the First Round next week (and make the Big Dance, in my opinion). After that, it gets a bit murky. We also know if VT losses both they have almost no chance at a bye.
georgia tech is lurking, too, and have games against clemson and VT left so they can make up some ground and get some tiebreakers. The jackets are 2-3 against the four teams tied at 8-6.
Some major streaks ended this weekend for the Hokies:
- 14 game home win streak (every home game this year)
- 9 game ACC overtime win streak (dating back to Feb of 2006)
- 6 game overtime win streak – all games (dating back to the xavier half court shot early last year)
- and of course the 7 game winning streak of the maroon dress jeans (piling on, my undefeated USA Loudmouth pants lost for the first time on Sunday… in overtime)
- But hey – we finished 4-1 against uva and maryland in football and basketball this year – pretty awesome
ACC Power Poll (movement, ACC Record, RPI):
- duke (-) | 12-2 | #2
- maryland (-) | 11-3 | #25
- clemson (^^) | 8-6 | #27 (moved way up with win over fsu)
- VIRGINIA TECH (v) | 8-6 | #52
- fsu (^) | 8-6 | #41
- wake (vv) | 8-6 | #29
- georgia tech (-) | 7-7 | #33
- bc (^) | 5-9 | #101
- unc (^) | 4-10 | #87
- nc state (^^) | 4-10 | #110
- miami (-) | 4-10 | #102
- uva (vvvv) | 5-9 | #114
Note: I updated the RPI rankings as of Monday morning