At least now we know the NCAA Selection Committee is certifiably insane. The third time was not the charm for Virginia Tech, as they did not receive an invitation to the Big Dance for the third consecutive year. Once again they will be relegated to the Junior Prom, the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). The Hokies became the first ACC team to win 10 conference games and not make the tournament, a dubious distinction.
For the second time in three years the Hokies were one of the first teams out, a bitter pill to swallow. Bubble teams that made it included florida, minnesota, utep, and utah state. Tech had the fifth highest RPI of teams that didn’t make it but CBS’s Seth Davis guessed that the Hokies were the first team out. He later asked the head of the committee, Dan Guerrero, about bubble teams and mentioned VT specifically and the first thing Dan mentioned was out of conference strength of schedule.
The ACC got six teams in with duke (1 seed), maryland (4), clemson (7), wake (9), fsu(9), and georgia tech (10). Notice something? Two of those teams (clemson and wake) lost in the ACC Tournament First Round, not even the quarterfinals. VT beat both of them and finished ahead of them. maryland and fsu also lost in the quarterfinals in their first tourney game.
We shall see how the Hokies respond in the NIT. Two years ago that young Hokie team was on a mission to show the committee was wrong and played well, blowing out two teams before losing to ole miss in the quarterfinals. Last year Tech seemed less interested and almost lost in the first round to duquesne before winning in two overtimes. In the second round they got absolutely blasted by baylor, a team that moved all the way up to a 3-seed this year in the Big Dance. With the bulk of this Hokie team represented by juniors, I’m not sure how hard they will play in the NIT. This has to be a huge disappointment, and they may have a “been there, done that” attitude. We shall see what the crowds will be like, too. Tech has gotten great turnouts from the students the last few years who have had the Cassell rocking, taking advantage of the general admission seating.
It is hard to believe a team that won 10 ACC regular season conference games, and 23 games overall, did not make the tournament. But VT’s extremely weak out of conference schedule apparently did them in. As did the loss to the last place miami hurricanes in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Tech’s weak in conference schedule (they played the bottom five ACC teams twice and the top six just once) also didn’t help. Still, this is tough to take and I’m sure the team is as sick as I am right now.